In this week's "Food-o-File," Food Editor Virginia B. Wood tells us about Austin restaurants at a Fever Pitch, a Shack Attack, Asti's Farm to Table dinner, and much more.
If you've eaten in a local Mexican or Korean restaurant in the past couple of weeks, you may have noticed that your gracious host appears tired, perhaps even sleep-deprived. Blame it on the World Cup! Evitas Botanitas (441-2424) chef/owner Ruben Rodriguez was yawning late Sunday afternoon when I stopped in for a bite, but he wouldn't have missed Mexico's exciting win the night before for anything. Here at the Chronicle, our resident soccer fanatic is Publisher Nick Barbaro, and he's incredibly devoted to the sport. He has been hosting 6am pre-game breakfasts at his home every morning, serving foods appropriate to the countries playing each day. He apparently plans to continue the practice throughout the tournament. Not being a soccer fan or an early riser, I admit I haven't attended these gatherings, and don't know much about the food other than from the weekly menus that arrive via staff e-mail. These pre-game breakfasts are not open to the public.
No, this is not another sports reference; it's about tacos. Several readers had called or e-mailed about the destruction of the Tamale House at the corner of Guadalupe and 29th, wondering if I had any idea what would replace it. According to a press release last week, the new tenant on that corner will be the fourth outlet of the homegrown Mexican food-to-go restaurants, Taco Shack (4412 Medical Pkwy., 467-8533; 3901-C Spicewood Springs Rd., 418-8900; 12439 Metric, 873-7977; 2825 Guadalupe, 320-8889). Taco Shack owners Greg Ward and Orlando and Yolanda Arriaga are excited about the new campus-area location, and plan a soft opening sometime later in June with a grand opening scheduled for the fall, once students return. In keeping with the successful format, the new Shack will serve freshly prepared Mexican food based on treasured family recipes. There will be no inside seating, just window service and some patio tables. Drop by for a bite.
Farm to Table
Those of us lucky enough to attend the second annual Farm to Table dinner last Tuesday night at Asti (403-C E. 43rd, 451-1218) were treated to an exceptional meal culled from local organic produce freshly picked at Boggy Creek Farm (3414 Lyons, 926-4650) paired with Texas and Italian wines. While the entire meal was marvelous, the show-stopper for me was the salad course: thick slices of ruby-red vine-ripened tomatoes and paper-thin rounds of zucchini topped with ricotta salata cheese crumbles and toasted pine nuts, doused with lemon and extra virgin olive oil. A truly divine taste of Texas summer. Asti owners Wm. Emmett and Lisa Fox introduced Boggy Creek farmers Larry Butler and Carol Ann Sayle to the appreciative diners and announced that they'll do another dinner in October with fall produce. Speaking of Boggy Creek produce and divine tastes of summer, steamed ears of their Silver Queen corn slathered with butter and a sprinkling of sea salt made a dynamite meal around my house the other night.
Award-winning vintner Michael Scholz of Wattle Creek Winery in Sonoma, Calif., will be the featured speaker at Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar (320 E. Second, 457-1500) wine dinner at 6:30pm, Thursday, June 27. The four-course dinner will focus on the secrets of pairing wine with foods. Reservations are necessary.