The Austin Chronicle


By Virginia B. Wood, June 4, 2004, Food

Fresh Fruit, Fresh Foods

This is shaping up to be one of the best years in recent memory for Central Texas fruit growers. There are still a few strawberries around, blackberries have just come into their own, and the peach crop looks to be phenomenal after two disappointing seasons. Look for great fresh fruit at all of the area farmers' markets, and be sure to check for maps and listings of roadside peach stands all over the hill country. In addition to fresh fruits and vegetables, both the Austin Farmers' Market (Fourth & Guadalupe) and the Westlake Farmers Market (4100 Westbank Dr.) have a large number of food vendors selling items they've raised, canned, baked, or prepared. Based on samples from the Westlake market, I found enough diversity of products to put together three meals a day for several days: Everything from farm eggs, hearty granola, and sweet rolls for breakfast to breads, crackers, marvelous rustic pâtés, terrines, and farmstead cheeses for lunch; pastured whole chickens, farmed shrimp, authentic tamales, and empanadas for dinner; plus enough pickles, salsas, ketchups, pestos, sauces, jams, and jellies to spice up any meal. You can't go wrong shopping at farmers' markets this time of year!

More Area Food TV

Truluck's corporate chef Johnny Carino e-mailed to announce that he has recently entered into an agreement with Killeen PBS affiliate KNCT to produce a 26-segment cooking show with Carino as both co-producer and star. Carino is probably one of the only chefs in the country who is also a competitive body builder, and producing a cooking show that focuses on healthy cooking and lifestyles has been one of his longtime goals. The show films in July and August and has a projected September air date. The multifaceted chef is also preparing for a half-hour weekly radio program, which will air on Killeen's 91.3FM. Congratulations, chef.

We Appreciate Your Speed

The Capital Excavation Inc. street crew working on the Fifth and Sixth street sections of the Lamar reconstruction has finished early, and ecstatic area merchants threw them a party earlier this week to say thanks a million! The alfresco luncheon included food from Shoal Creek Saloon, Rounder's Pizza, Portabla, Z'Tejas Grill, and Sweetish Hill Bakery. If the traffic snarls have kept you away from these and other Old West Austin eateries, you'll be glad to know that the Fifth and Sixth street sections of the project are open, the coast is clear, and they are eager to feed you.

Zen, Again

Japanese-fast-food entrepreneur Adam Weisberg announces the opening of his third Zen outlet, with yet another projected for 2005. The new restaurant, with interiors designed by the ultra-hip and hot Joel Mozersky, is located at 3423 Guadalupe. Stop in for fresh, fast, healthy, and affordable Japanese-style dishes.

Events on the Menu, June 4-11, 2004

Grilling in the Vineyard Festival at Spicewood Vineyards (1419 Burnet County Road 409,, 830/693-5328), June 4-6. This event kicks off with a winemaker dinner prepared by chefs Quincy Erickson and Karen Farnsworth of Amuse Bouche Catering ($65) on Friday evening. Festivities continue on Saturday and Sunday with winery tours, tastings, hay rides, and grilling demos from chefs Mark Schmidt of Cafe 909 in Marble Falls, Ike Johnson of Grapevine Market, Kevin Williamson of Ranch 616, and Mark Paul of Wink and Zoot. Demos are $10. Wes Marshall, Chronicle contributor and author of The Wine Roads of Texas, will be on hand to lead discussions of food and wine pairings. Admission is free.

Tamale Party at the Vortex Theatre (2307 Manor Rd., 478-5282), June 5, 5pm-midnight. Celebrate the opening of their new cafe and admire the newly installed antique bar. Enjoy tamales, margaritas, and a pico de gallo and salsa contest, plus busting a piñata and dancing under the moonlight to mariachi and salsa music. Tickets are $10 in advance or at the door.

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