Food-o-File

All the restaurant news that fits


All the Restaurant News That Fits

First up, in the off-with-our-heads department, some corrections need to be made in information we ran in a recent feature review and a "Second Helpings" column. If Rachel Feit's review of the G'towne Restaurant (1201-D Church St. in Georgetown, 512/869-4100) inspired you to sample their German cuisine, please be advised they are no longer open on Sundays. And fans of Asian barbecue should note that the original Mongolian BBQ downtown has a new look and a new name, the Mongolian Grille (117 San Jacinto, 476-3938) and is now a completely separate business entity from the second Mongolian BBQ (9200 N. Lamar, 837-4898) outlet... Former Austin Java Company employees Philip Myers and Achim Thiemermann (aka Chef Keem) have opened Austin's newest wholesale bakery and dessert operation, Live by Chocolate (442-6083, livebychocolate@excite.com). Though Myers and Chef Keem ultimately plan to offer a full line of desserts and wedding cakes, the first products the partners are promoting around town are a gourmet slice-and-bake cookie dough packed with pecans, semi-sweet white chocolate, and butterscotch chips as well as their ultra-decadent Chocolate Truffle Cake. The Truffle Cakes are available to order for Valentine's Day. The four-layer, 6-inch cake sample they brought me last week, with dark chocolate layers filled and covered with rich chocolate ganache, would make the perfect chocolate lovers' ending to a romantic meal... Looking for a great meal and an interesting culinary experience on Saturday afternoon? Star Canyon (701 Congress Ave., 391-1550) Executive Chef Ron Brannon invites you to his once-a-month cooking classes held in the restaurant's private dining room. Classes are $35 for five courses of their signature Southwestern cuisine complete with recipes. The next two are scheduled for Feb. 9 and March 9, and reservations are necessary... Great news, taco lovers: The parking problems have been solved at Taco X-Press (2529-A South Lamar, 444-0261); the tow-away signs are gone, and everybody's happy. By the way, Taco Queen Maria Corbalan and her hardworking staff are now catering; their great taco lineup is available for you to serve at home... In keeping with the local trend toward casual fine dining and revising menu prices downward, Ella's (#1 Jefferson Square, 458-2148) has recently changed its name to Ella's Ranch and added several lower-priced Southwestern menu items from its more casual sister restaurant, Ranch 616 (616 Nueces, 479-7616). Ella's proprietor Sharon Gerhardt reports that the changes make it financially feasible for patrons to dine at Ella's more than once a week... In an effort to keep themselves competitive in the current economy, Austin's most sophisticated French restaurant, Aquarelle (606 Rio Grande, 479-8117) has also lowered some prices and is offering both in-house and off-premise catering services to their clientele... Scotch aficionados and Merry Maltsters should gather at 7pm tonight, Feb. 7, at Opal Divine's Freehouse (700 W. Sixth, 477-3308, www.opaldivines.com) for a presentation about their upcoming motor coach tour of Scotland's traditional whiskey-producing regions scheduled for early September. The trip sounds fabulous, and this week will be the last chance to sign up for "early bird" discounts... Friday, Feb. 8 is the last day to register your personal gumbo recipe in the annual Central Market Gumbo Contest. Pick up an entry form with all the scoop at the information desk (4000 N. Lamar, 206-1000) and then bring your Gumbo to be judged on Sunday, Feb. 10. They'll celebrate Mardi Gras with a big fais-do-do on the CM patio from 6-10pm on Sunday and announce the winners. Bonne chance, ma chère!

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