The latest culinary news in Austin
A couple of years ago, entrepreneurs Shellie Graham and Stephanie Ware sold the Rhythm House in the north campus area and embarked on a much bigger venture. They envisioned a business that would provide a wide range of services to Austin's burgeoning high tech community, everything from catering to errand services, gift buying to dinner reservations, party planning to event management. They christened the new business The Corporate Concierge, and were off to the races right along with the rest of the techno-boom. The concept flourished, thanks to hard work and timely investment from some Dellionaires who saw the great potential in what Graham and Ware were trying to accomplish. These days, the business is called Balance (255-8474), because "that's what we're trying to help busy executives do in their lives," says Ware, and has offices in several cities. The catering and party planning portion of local enterprise is well-equipped to handle any and all events. To provide event venues, they've purchased both The Trois Estate (3612 Pearce Road) near the lake and the Allen House (1104 San Antonio), a stately downtown Victorian. Both venues offer catering by the Balance staff, and they welcome outside caterers, as well. The most interesting tidbit of news the Balance owners had to share is the announcement that they've managed to entice beloved longtime Austin chef Miguel Ravago to return to town as executive chef of their fast-growing catering and event planning operation. Ravago's legion of fans from Bertram's and Fonda San Miguel will be pleased to know he'll be back in Austin before Thanksgiving.
To help you plan your Thanksgiving feast, the friendly folks at Wheatsville Co-op (3101 Guadalupe, 478-2667) will host a Thanksgiving Sampler Day on Saturday, Nov. 11, from 1-4pm. They'll have Shelton's Natural Turkeys as well as Unturkey and Tofurky, plus dressing, side dishes, desserts, and cider. Check out all their information on how to cook turkeys, holiday recipes, and meal suggestions for traditional and vegan/vegetarian Thanksgiving spreads. It will also be possible to pre-order side dishes, condiments, and desserts from the deli for pickup before the big day... ASTI Trattoria & Wine Bar (43rd & Duval, 451-1218) will celebrate the foods and wines of the Piedmont region of Italy in a special six-course, $75 prix-fixe dinner on Monday, Nov. 13, at 7pm. Call for reservations... Tour Scotland with Opal Divine's in the new Scotch tasting series beginning next week at Opal Divine's Freehouse (700 W. Sixth, 477-3308). The first tasting on Wednesday, Nov. 15, at 8pm, will feature five or six 12-year-old Speyside single malts with a buffet to follow. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. Souvenir T-shirts declaring "I Toured Scotland With Opal Divine 2000-2001" will be available... The Texas Book Festival event dedicated to cookbooks and their authors is this Saturday, Nov. 11, from 6-8pm at the Shoreline Grill (98 San Jacinto Blvd). Bon Appetit, Y'all is a booksigning and tasting event that offers patrons an opportunity to meet noted cookbook authors Diana Kennedy, Reed Hearon, Cheryl Alters Jamison and Bill Jamison, Tom Perini, Stephan Pyles, and Martha-Rose Schulman. Locals may remember Mrs. Kennedy for her long association with Fonda San Miguel, Reed Hearon for his work at the Avenue Cafe, and Martha Schulman for her Seventies-era vegetarian Supper Club. Tickets are $75. Call 320-5451 for ticket information.
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