Food-o-File

Think things are slowing down after SXSW? Not when it comes to the food business in Austin.

Eat, Drink, Watch Movies

Listen in to talk radio 1370AM this Saturday morning, March 27, between 9 and 10am, when I'll be a guest on The Austin Cooking Hour. Moderator Glenn Mack has invited me to discuss the Eat, Drink, Watch Movies series, and I'll be giving away a set of tickets to the upcoming event. On Monday evening, March 29, 7pm, we'll be screening the Bollywood epic Lagaan at the Alamo Drafthouse Downtown with an Indian fine dining menu designed by Ajay Behl of Taj Palace (6700 Middle Fiskville, 452-9959). As usual, the event is a joint venture between the Chronicle, Austin RentAll Party, the Drafthouse, and one of Austin's finest restaurants, benefiting the Capital Area Food Bank. This could be the only chance that Austin Indian film buffs will have to see the Academy Award-nominated Lagaan on the big screen, so make reservations at www.drafthouse.com.


News About Local Italian Ciao!

A friend and I spent a leisurely Sunday afternoon sampling the wares of the Tuscany Market & Vineyard (12221 Riata Chase Parkway, 249-1500), a new grocery/deli/wine/coffee shop in the Riata development just past the Oak Knoll exit off Highway 183 North. The shop is attractively decorated with comfortable seating in the wi-fi ready coffee shop area. Bright, eye-popping deli cases are chock-full of inviting prepared foods, panini, salads, deli meats and cheeses, locally made desserts and pastries, and La Brea Bakery breads. The wine selection looks good, and they offer a wine-tasting option that is completely new in the area. Based on the quality of the foods we tasted, this place should become a popular neighborhood hangout in no time... Closer to the center of town, another new Italian spot has just been open a few weeks. Hog Island Italian Deli (1612 Lavaca, 482-9090) offers a selection of salads and sandwiches in the South Philadelphia Italian style. Proprietors Bill Schulz and Carlo DiMarco are natives of the City of Brotherly Love, and they've brought the rich and storied traditions of hoagies and cheese steaks with them to Austin. The shop offers a variety of quality deli meats and cheeses by the pound and a large selection of sandwiches made on Italian bread loaves shipped in from South Philly. DiMarco says the recipes for such items as the meatballs on the meatball sub are third-generation family heirlooms. Be sure to read the menu for an explanation of the store's moniker, as well as the history behind how hoagies got their name... Some time this summer, look for Barton Springs Restaurant Row mainstay Pizza Nizza (1608 Barton Springs Rd., 474-7470) to move to Rollingwood. Owner Mark Stiles tells us that years of dealing with congested traffic and road construction outside his restaurant taught him that in the pizza biz, takeout and delivery could be more profitable than seated dining. When the new Pizza Nizza opens in Rollingwood Plaza at 2728 Bee Caves Rd. in mid-July, it will be strictly a takeout, delivery, and catering operation with a larger service area... Longtime lake-area favorite the Hill Country Pasta House (3519 RR 620 N., 266-9445) has recently changed ownership. New owner Brian Gilbert worked with Brinker International's Chili's concept and Central Market before striking out on his own. He's teamed up with Houston chef Jimmy Mitchell, formerly of the Rainbow Lodge and Messina Hof Vineyards, and the partners have completely reimagined the restaurant. Expect new decor, a new menu, brick oven cooking classes, a huge organic garden, and regular wine dinners... Though we didn't get the scoop, we've confirmed that Jas and Kristine Lemert will continue to operate the original Romeo's (1500 Barton Springs Rd., 476-1090) and have only closed their Burnet Road location.

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