Virginia B. Wood brings good news, good food, and good gossip in this week's "Food-o-File."

Great Flavors

A few weeks back, I mentioned the wonderful new goat-cheese ricotta and goat's-milk ice cream from Water Oak Farms near Bryan that's available for sale at the biweekly Boggy Creek Farm (3414 Lyons Rd., 926-4650) stand. The cheese is so good, in fact, that some local chefs have discovered it, and now it's showing up on such restaurant menus as Asti's (43rd & Duval, 451-1218), Wink's (1014 N. Lamar, 482-8868), and Vespaio's, (1610 S. Congress, 441-6100). Most recently, the mild, delicious cheese has been picked up by Grape Vine Market (7938 Great Northern Blvd., 323-5900) and Whole Foods (Sixth & Lamar, 476-1206). The individual 4-ounce servings of the goat's-milk ice cream in vanilla, chocolate, and coffee flavors are still only available at Boggy Creek, however, and they are well worth the trip... Speaking of Grape Vine Market, a friend and I dropped in for lunch at their deli the other day and sampled several of Ike Johnson's new menu items. The thin-crust pizzas are very good, as are the salads, and be sure to try the grilled Greek cheese with capers and lemon and the air-dried beef carpaccio with chopped onions, capers, pecorino Romano, and a sprinkling of truffle oil. Yummmmm. For dessert, Johnson served us triangles of Miles of Chocolate with a decadent dollop of imported Isigny Ste. Mère cream... On Thursday, July 17, the independent merchants along West Sixth held their first "Third Thursday" celebration. Portabla (1200 W. Sixth, 481-8646) got into the act by featuring their newest acquisition, organic beef from Harrell Ranch. They'll be selling packaged cuts of the great beef such as steaks, ground beef, and sausage from a special case in the store, as well as using it in all their beef menu items: Italian meatloaf, steak empanadas, and Philly cheesesteaks (Thursdays) on Sweetish Hill hoagie rolls.


Fonda San Miguel (2330 W. North Loop, 459-4121) owner Tom Gilliland has announced that the restaurant will be closed from Aug. 3 until Aug. 14 for a complete kitchen renovation... Buy your tickets now for the 2003 Culinary Flavors of Austin gala, "A Celebration of Cinema & Cuisine," benefiting the Central Texas Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The grand tasting will be held from 6 to 9pm on July 31 at the KLRU studios of Austin City Limits (26th & Guadalupe). Tickets are $50 per person, and guests will enjoy food from Bistro 88/Noodle-ism, the Bitter End, Chez DeWitt Catering, Cool River Cafe, Crimson, Granite Cafe, Kenichi, La Traviata, Louie's 106, the Brown Bar, the Mansion at Judges' Hill, Nutty Brown Cafe, Ranch 616, the Travis Room at Lakeway Inn, Wink, and Zoot... Chef Steve Mannion, director of the Culinary Academy of Austin (2823 Hancock Dr., 451-5743, spent a week in early June on a whirlwind trip through Italy. Mannion was one of 12 international chefs from nine countries who were invited to compete in a cooking contest sponsored by the Bologna Turismo Department in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. Each chef prepared the same classic dish with the same recipe, and the winner was a chef from Japan. After the contest, Mannion spent several days checking out cooking schools and high schools in northern Italy that might be interested in participating in exchange programs with CAA. He also visited the Italian Culinary Institute for Foreigners, where CAA students can already opt to spend three or six months in an exchange cooking program. Prospective culinary students interested in studying in Italy should contact Mannion at the Culinary Academy of Austin.

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