One week without a column and news surely does back up around here. Restaurant openings, exciting new products, chef stories: You name it, we've got it!

Plenty O' News

One week without a column and news surely does back up around here. Restaurant openings, exciting new products, chef stories: You name it, we've got it! Two of the newest dining destinations in town are Lambert's (1716 S. Congress, 383-8877), the hot new neighborhood bistro in the SoCo area from chef Louis Lambert (see article at ), and Ciola's (1310 South RR 620 Ste. C-1 in Lakeway Plaza, 263-9936, the lake area's newest eatery in the Italian-American family tradition. Check them out... Correspondence from longtime Del Valle restaurateurs Dick and Surin Simcoe, owners of Little Thailand (4315 Caldwell, 247-3855) announces they have Kaffir or Thai Lime trees for sale at the restaurant in addition to various Thai peppers and lemongrass. The leaves, rather than the extremely bitter fruit of this tree, are an essential flavor ingredient to many Thai dishes such as lemongrass soup, Thai curries, and the traditional Thai beef salad. The plant is tropical but can live a healthy life at 33 degrees north latitude with some tender loving care and attention, according to Simcoe. The lime trees will need plenty of sun and should be moved to a protected area such as a patio or greenhouse during a freeze. In turn, they will provide the authentic flavor of Thailand to home-cooked meals... After years of teaching Austinites to love flan in a variety of flavors, flan queen Marta Guzman has developed yet another new taste treat for lovers of the traditional caramel custard. Guzman's newest product to hit Austin grocery stores is Lowfat Vanilla Flan. With only 3 grams of fat and 228 calories, the new lowfat version has the same velvety texture as the original, but should be a welcome dessert diversion for folks who seriously monitor their fat intake. The new Lowfat Vanilla Flan is currently flying off the shelves at both Central Markets. Ask for it in your favorite grocery store... Writers Sally Blue and Michelle Grant have cooked up a new book project and they want to hear your humorous kitchen disaster stories. If you've got a hysterical "new bride in the kitchen" story, a recipe from hell, or a family food calamity yarn that's the centerpiece of every holiday gathering, send it in. Submissions should be pasted into the body of an e-mail (no attachments, please) and sent to or snail-mailed to Kitchen Disasters, attn: Michelle Grant, 1208 Verdant Way, Austin, TX 78746. For more information, e-mail Submission deadline is July 31, 2002... In addition to creating menus for new restaurant concepts, developing a program to pitch to the Food Network, planning wine dinners, and teaching sold-out "healthy lifestyle" cooking classes at Central Market, Truluck's executive chef Johnny Carino also competes as a bodybuilder. In June alone, Carino and his 2.5% body fat will appear in the Plano Lone Star Classic, the Ronnie Coleman Classic, and the Oklahoma nationals. It's a safe bet he's the only Austin chef who will be showing every well-developed muscle on his body to over 1,000 people next month!... Barbecue will meet bulgoki this summer as a talented group of Austin chefs represent the Texas Beef Council overseas. Chefs Chris Howard of Starlite, Sam Dickey of Granite Cafe, and Will Packwood, formerly of Emilia's, will take turns teaching cooking classes featuring Texas beef products in South Korea over the next few months. We'll be getting foreign correspondence from the chefs via e-mail over the summer, so look for stories of their exploits in our occasional "Will Travel for Food" column... Congratulations and a big Texas welcome go to energetic former New Yorker Fernando Saralegui, the new executive director of the Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival (329-0770).

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Texas Beef Council, Chris Howard, Starlite, Sam Dickey, Granite Café, Will Packwood, Emilia's, Darryl Sneary, Ranch 616, Louis Lambert, Lambert's, Little Thailand, Marta Guzman, Truluck's, Johnny Carino

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