March comes in like a SXSW and Virginia B. Wood gets down to business, in this week's "Food-o-File."

Busy, Busy, Busy

We're all abuzz with pre-SXSW activities at the Chronicle office this week, which makes me wonder if I'll have time to sample the great "Austin Music on the Menu" lineup at the Central Market Cooking School (4001 N. Lamar, 458-3068). In keeping with SXSW, the cooking school has invited several popular local musicians, who are also known for their culinary prowess, to teach cooking classes next week. Look for husband-and-wife team Kimmie Rhodes and Joe Gracey to present some of their French bistro favorites on March 2, singer-songwriter Michael Fracasso to prepare an Italian feast on March 3, the multitalented Steven Fromholz whipping up a Southwestern menu on March 4, singer-songwriter Trish Murphy on March 5, and Malcolm "Papa Mali" Welborne to cook up a soulful Caribbean meal on March 6. Any way you look at it, that's quite a lineup!... Congratulations to the four Austin restaurants featured in the "News & Notes" section of the March issue of Food & Wine magazine -- DemiEpicurious, El Meson, Wink, and Lambert's -- we're always glad when national publications share our taste in restaurants... Kudos are also due to the Junior League of Austin (467-9455, because their newest cookbook, Austin Entertains, was recently recognized as a regional winner in the 2002 Tabasco Community Cookbook Awards. The beautifully photographed Austin Entertains is available via the Junior League Web site as well as at bookstores around town... The Valentine's Day edition of our Eat, Drink, Watch Movies film series was another smash hit, with 125 loving couples enjoying a screening of Mostly Martha complemented by a divine meal from Patricia Bauer-Slate and the Portabla angels. The happy couples streamed blissfully out of the Alamo Drafthouse Village clutching stems of flowers from Monet's of Austin and gold-foil boxes of custom-made truffles from Passionfood. A good time was had by all, and a hefty donation to the Capital Area Food Bank is forthcoming. Food-bank Deputy Executive Director Dan Pruett tells me that the money raised by the Eat, Drink, Watch Movies film series will be dedicated to their "Fresh Food for Families" program, which distributes fresh produce and other perishable foods to specific locations around the city each month. We're negotiating now for films to feature in the spring series, such as Tampopo, The Dead, and Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? We'll keep you posted on final film selections and dates. As always, if you have foodie movie suggestions, please e-mail them to me at It's all good news around the Garrido household these days. Jeffrey's Executive Chef David Garrido and wife Jennifer welcomed son Gabriel Garrido a few weeks ago. Gabriel made his Austin debut four-and-a-half weeks early and weighed in at 4 pounds, 11 ounces, "the size of a little chicken," according to his father, but is thriving and gaining weight. The Garrido family is also celebrating David's recent win in a cooking contest sponsored by Houston's My Table Dining Guide and Air France. The grand prize is an all-expenses-paid trip to the Cognac region, which the Garridos plan to take this July.

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