Local culinary news from Cuisines editor Virginia B. Wood.
More Good News for Hungry Kids
Last spring we introduced you to the Capital Area Food Bank's (CAFB) Kids Cafe program and the Sustainable Food Center (www.auschron.com/issues/dispatch/2000-04-28/food_feature.html), and this week we have great news concerning both organizations. As of the end of October, there are three new Kids Cafes providing hungry Austin children free meals after school three evenings a week. The cafe at Blanton Elementary is funded by restaurant company Fired Up Inc., the Austin Community Foundation is funding the new cafe at Blackshear Elementary, and food service giant ConAgra is providing funds for the cafe at Zavala Elementary. Additionally, CAFB executive director Judy Carter informs us that the Dell Foundation is underwriting the cost of the Kids Cafes at four local Boys & Girls Clubs sites which includes building a service kitchen where food for all four cafe programs will be prepared after its completion this spring.
The Sustainable Food Center received a $5,000 check from the Southwest region of Whole Foods Markets on Friday, Nov. 10. Southwest region produce team leader Chris Romano announced the donation to support the SFC youth community gardens and La Cocina Allegre educational programs. Whole Foods Southwest region produce teams won the prize money by selling the most Enza apples and Zespri kiwi in the Down Under Charity Challenge sponsored by New Zealand fruit growers.
If You Knew Sushi
Judging from my e-mail, Austin sushi lovers are abuzz about two new dining options. Sushi Sake (9305 Research #500, 527-0888) has been open about six weeks, serving a traditional Japanese menu in addition to their sushi offerings. Last week marked the debut of Umi Sushi Bar & Grill (5510 S. I-35 #400, 383-8681) in the Lowe's/Albertson's shopping center. Saga-san, former sushi chef at Musashino Sushi Dokoro, is the executive chef at the new Umi, which many think bodes well for the new eatery. And speaking of Musashino Sushi Dokoro (3407 Greystone, 795-8593), waiting for a table there just got a little easier with the expansion of the bar area upstairs at Chinatown (3407 Greystone, 343-9307), where they've also added a small sushi bar!
Messina Hof Wine Premiere Festival
Paul and Merrill Bonarrigo, owners of Messina Hof Wine Cellars (4545 Old Reliance Road in Bryan, 979/778-9463) invite you to experience their annual Wine Premiere Festival this weekend, Nov. 17-18, on the grounds of the winery in Bryan. The weekend kicks off with a four-course Chef's Table Dinner prepared by Eric Segura at the Vintage House restaurant on Friday night. On Saturday, Nov. 18, guests can choose from events such as a 10K Run, a Mystery Walk Through the Vines where you can test your wine and food-tasting palate on a 5K walking course in the vineyard, or put together a team to enter the Grape Stomp Competition. For the less athletically inclined, the Bonarrigos will present a Food & Wine Pairing Seminar and a Port Blending Lab. The festivities end with an incredible eight-course Wine Premiere Celebration Dinner prepared by chef Segura and complemented by various Messina Hof vintages. Live music and dancing will follow dinner. For reservations, call 979/778-9463x34.