Virginia B. Wood loads up your plate with events and a piece of the Big Apple.


There's enough going on this week to keep the whole town busy! There will be plenty of food, fun, and music at La Dolce Vita 2003: Roman Holiday -- on the grounds of Laguna Gloria (3809 W. 35th) tonight, Oct. 16, at 6pm -- affording you the perfect opportunity to appreciate the complete renovation of the fabled Driscoll estate that is the original home of the Austin Museum of Art. For ticket information, contact 495-9224 or Our favorite happy-hour deal at the Roaring Fork (Seventh & Congress, 583-0000) has proved so popular, it has been extended into the fall, and they've added another great bargain enticement. Be sure and sample chef Brian Krellenstein's new Special Tasting Menu, offering four courses for $25 with an option to add 3-ounce wine pairings for each course priced accordingly. The choices on this menu look very inviting, and we're assured the Fork can get you in and out in time for theatre or concert curtain times if you give them fair warning when you make your dinner reservations... Local burger patriarch Hilbert Maldonado and his entire family invite you to Hill-Bert's Burgers (3303 N. Lamar, 452-2317) for their 30th anniversary celebration this Sunday evening, Oct. 19, from 4 to 8pm. Stop by for a great burger, the best onion rings and milk shakes in town, and take time to enjoy Seventies music, door prizes, cake, plus special menu prices. We offer our heartfelt gratitude to the Maldonado clan for 30 years of consistent food quality and friendly personal service... That same evening, the Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Foundation (327-7555, hosts their fourth annual Stephan Pyles Scholarship Dinner at Mirabelle Restaurant (8127 Mesa Dr., 346-7900). Tickets are $150 per person for the reception and four-course meal to be prepared by chefs David Apthorpe, David Garrido, David Bull, Stephan Pyles, Mark Paul, and scholarship winner Natalie Guerrero... If you're curious about what the food will be like in award-winning local chef Will Packwood's new Italian restaurant, don't forget to make your dinner-and-a-movie reservations for Under the Tuscan Sun on Monday, Oct. 20, as part of our third annual Eat, Drink, Watch Movies series at


All those acronyms mean that the Saveur Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival takes New York City by storm on Wednesday, Oct. 22, with a big Texas-style barbecue bash at Blue Smoke (116 E. 27th, New York City, 212/447-7479). The guest list for the promo party will include homesick NYC-based Texans, as well as the national culinary press corps: They'll all be there to sample the brand of Texas food, wine, and hospitality for which the annual Austin festival is justifiably famous. The menu will feature such Texas delicacies as barbecued beef ribs and Gulf shrimp, crispy fried Gulf oysters and stuffed shrimp, chicken-fried steaks, Panhandle apple fried pies, and authentic Texas chili to be prepared by Texas chefs Kevin Williamson, Katherine Clapner, Stewart Scruggs, Mark Paul, David Bull, Lou Lambert, and Grady Spears. Texas wines from Becker Vineyards, Alamosa Wine Cellars, Spicewood Vineyards, Llano Estacado Winery, and Fall Creek Vineyards and spirits from Tito's Texas Vodka will flow freely, and the definitive Texas musical entertainment will be provided by Grammy-winner Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel. Though we'll miss this fabulous "Texas Does Manhattan" party, we're proud to say that the Chronicle will be well represented. Copies of wine writer Wes Marshall's The Wine Roads of Texas will be included in all of the press kits along with a copy of this week's The Austin Chronicle.

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