Food-o-File

Virginia B. Wood serves up some serious restaurant news in this week's "Food-o-File."


Okra Flap

In keeping with the renewed interest in accuracy in journalism, frequent Chronicle contributor MM Pack took Chicago Tribune columnist John Kass to task over his mangling of information about some Central Texas farmers in a recent column he wrote about the health effects of okra over Oreos. It seems Kass interviewed both Carol Ann Sayle of Boggy Creek Farm and Sarah Rowland of Hairston Creek Farm for a humor column about such potential products as Okreos and Viokra. Problem was, Kass garbled all the background information he got from both conversations. He quoted Rowland, but gave her Sayle's middle name (Ann), husband (Larry), former profession (landscape painter), and mail-order product (smoke-dried tomatoes). Once Pack set him straight, Kass used the correction to get a second column out of the situation. The entire melodrama was also chronicled in the Boggy Creek weekly e-mail newsletter, which you can subscribe to at www.boggycreekfarm.com.


Grassroots Effort

While we're told this has been a less-than-stellar year for some area charity functions, here's some good news about an upcoming grassroots fundraising effort to benefit Share Our Strength's hunger-fighting programs. Pals Patty Sengstalk and Jody Patterson, aka the Serene Order of the Surreal Dragonfly, saw a recent Parade magazine article encouraging folks to create their own Great American Bake Sales to benefit Share Our Strength. The friends took the challenge and have scheduled a bake sale for Thursday, June 5, featuring baked goods and sweets prepared by themselves, their friends, and some Austin businesses. That morning, they plan to sell in the office building where Patterson works and then set up shop at Prima Dora (1912 S. Congress, 447-4736) later that day to capitalize on First Thursday crowds. The sale is registered with the national organization and all the proceeds will benefit Share Our Strength. Go check them out.


A Lotta Restaurant News

Chefs' babies bonanza -- John Maxwell of the Mansion at Judges' Hill and wife Lisa welcomed daughter Lauren a couple of weeks ago, and Shawn Cirkiel of Jean-Luc's Bistro and his wife Bria expect their first baby between Christmas and New Year's Eve. Congratulations all around!... What was planned as a wine dinner turned into a surprise anniversary celebration for the owners of Fall Creek Vineyards at Ranch 616 (616 Nueces, 479-7616) a couple of Sundays ago. Ranch chef/owner Kevin Williamson surprised good friends Susan and Ed Auler by inviting their family and friends to celebrate 20 years of creating great wines, providing unflagging support, and demonstrating high standards for the Texas wine industry. The accolades are well deserved... Judging by the menus taped in the windows of the long-awaited South Congress Cafe (1600 S. Congress), it shouldn't be too much longer before the new eatery from the Trudy's folks is open for business. We'll keep you posted... Also on South Congress, newly recognized best new restaurant Lambert's American Kitchen (1716 S. Congress, 383-8877) is very much open for business behind the scaffolding where workers are rebuilding the façade of the buildings on that block... Former Carrabba's partner Jim Smith and a group of investors have recently reopened Cafe Bleu (8714 Lime Creek Rd., 401-2538) at the Sandy Creek Marina near Volente. Look for some dishes from last year's Mediterranean menu as well as many new items. They open at 5pm during the week and stay late on weekends with live music. Smith says he and his partners are planning a catering kitchen and wedding facility in the vicinity and are already working with area wedding coordinators to schedule events... The little cottage that formerly housed Si Bon has been completely redesigned by Joel Mozersky and is now home to Uchi (801 S. Lamar, 916-4808), a hip new sushi bar and restaurant with former DemiEpicurious sous chef Justin Sells on the range. They are open for business.

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