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After the judging results of the recent Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival ran in the paper, we got a call from a very proud mother advising us that the second-place winner in the Individual Green Sauce category, Rishi Bajekal, was her 11-year-old son. Anu Naimpally told me that Rishi is already quite a salsa aficionado and did extensive library research and testing before settling on the green sauce formula that won his prize. I'm pretty sure this makes him the youngest person to win an award at the festival. Congratulations, Rishi, and good luck next year... Owners of the local Ruth's Chris Steak House (Sixth and Congress, 477-7884) franchise are proud to announce that their corporate president and CEO William L. Hyde has been "named to the newly created Travel and Tourism Promotional Advisory Board by Commerce Secretary Don Evans." Founded in New Orleans by the late Ruth Fertel, Ruth's Chris has 86 destination restaurants in major cities around the globe, and the company vigorously supports travel and tourism as a beneficial clean industry for all those cities.


Two interesting new dining spots have recently opened just south of the river. Mutual friends suggested I check into Zax Pints & Plates (312 Barton Springs Rd., 481-0100), a new casual spot located in the old Al Capone's space at Barton Springs Road and Riverside. Partners Jeffrey Lind and Michael Baldwin have reimagined the space, exposing beams, hardwood floors, and long boarded-up windows, plus adding a brass-topped bar and a comfortable new deck. The menu is affordable ($6-18) and has a Mediterranean influence. They feature 20 beers on tap, with concentration on local and regional craft beers, and will offer live music on their patio on Saturday nights. Zax is open for lunch and dinner, six days a week... After months of waiting, D&L's Texas Music Cafe (1321 S. Congress, 445-4441) is cooking in the old Under the Sun space cheek by jowl with the Continental Club. Chef Ray Wheat, formerly of Hudson's on the Bend, is on the range at Texas Music. The bill of fare is American Regional with a Cajun flair ($3-21), and breakfast is available all day long. Looking to cater to that late-night music-loving crowd, they're open from 10am-4am daily... Though it's not a new restaurant, local chocolate king Miles Compton invites you to check out his new Web site,

KLRU Chef Demos

Many readers have written and called to ask about the Rising Star Chefs cooking segments so heavily promoted by KLRU last month. It seems that, like me, many viewers were frustrated when they were unable to locate the segments featuring local chefs among five hours of annoying fundraising pitches and cooking show reruns and finally gave up trying. It's difficult for me to believe presenting them that way was a particularly effective fundraising tool. Judging by the mail, however, there is still a fair amount of interest in seeing those segments. To have your very own copy, contact KLRU via their Web site (, and subscribe at the $75 level to receive a CD of the cooking segments as a premium. Also, the gentleman I spoke with suggested they might rerun the segments as one long program at some point in the future. I'd love to see them.

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