What do farmers' market and foodie films at the Alamo Drafthouse have in common? Virginia B. Wood tells you all about them in this week's "Food-o-File."

Opening Day

Mother Nature served up a warm and muggy morning for the opening of the new Austin Farmers' Market at Republic Square Park last Saturday morning, but the enthusiastic crowds didn't seem to mind. Shoppers and the media turned out in force. However, by the time we arrived, between 9 and 10am, most of the produce and farm-fresh eggs that had been for sale were already sold out, prompting complaints from some shoppers and inspiring others to check out other local markets for the first time. Pamela Boyar of the Westlake Market, Larry Butler of Boggy Creek, and Tony Piccola from South Austin all reported a midmorning surge of new customers. In fact, all of the markets we contacted had good crowds and sellout days, calming some of the initial fears about the new market's potential impact. Organizers of the new market were pleased with the maiden effort. "We are so delighted with the way things went," Sustainable Food Center Executive Director Mark Skrabacz told me first thing Monday morning. "Of course, it was not without its challenges, and I got to see and hear about everything that went wrong. We do have 25 farmers committed to this market for the season, and we expect more of them to arrive each week as their crops ripen and the season develops." The coming weeks will bring tomatoes, dewberries, and eventually, a few precious peaches. Shop early and often, all over town.

Eat, Drink, Watch Movies

Time is running out to make reservations for Dinner Rush. The screening of this wonderful slice of restaurant life will be at the Alamo Drafthouse Downtown on Monday evening, May 12, at 7pm. Chef Harvey Harris of Siena will be on the range, and valet parking is included in the $55 ticket price. This is a gem of a movie and a marvelous dinner you don't want to miss. The spring series culminates on Monday, May 26, with the screening of Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? at the brand-new Alamo Lake Creek as part of its grand-opening celebration. The movie is a comedic romp through the culinary scene of late-Seventies Europe, where the top chefs are mysteriously turning up dead, killed in the same manner as the preparation of their various specialties! Four of Austin's best chefs are updating the rather ponderous old-school Continental menu depicted in the film, creating a fabulous four-course meal with wines that will be well worth the $60 price of admission. Shawn Cirkiel of Jean-Luc's Bistro will prepare Stuffed Quails en Croûte, John Maxwell of the Mansion at Judge's Hill will serve a succulent lobster creation, we'll have Roasted Stuffed Duck Breast With Foie Gras Mousseline and Red Wine Duckling Jus from Robert Brady of Aquarelle, and a divine raspberry and chocolate Bombe Richelieu from Katherine Clapner, also of the Mansion. Foodies and film lovers alike will want to experience this delightful evening to see just which chefs are still alive at the end of the movie. As always, our partners in this endeavor are the Alamo Drafthouse and Austin RentAll Party, and the proceeds benefit the Capital Area Food Bank. Make your reservations online at

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