Attention, chocoholics; plus, the Granite Cafe is eroding
Though chocolate is not one of my obsessions, I do recognize a good chocolate product when I find one. The last time I really swooned over chocolate was more than two years ago, when a friend turned me on to Miles of Chocolate, which, by the way, is featured as a "chocolate of the month" choice in the new Neiman Marcus catalog and is now for sale at Dean & DeLuca, Sutton Place Gourmet, and Balducci's in New York City. Then, two weeks ago, I had two chocolate epiphanies in the same week! Houston caterer Richard Kaplan (firstname.lastname@example.org) is selling his Brown Paper Chocolates at the Westlake Farmers Market (Burger Center Parking Lot, Highway 290 West, www.westlakefarmersmarket.com) on Saturday mornings and sent me some samples. Each little square brown box holds a hunk of delectable chocolate enhanced with interesting flavor combinations, such as dark chocolate with espresso, Kahlua, and cocoa nibs or almonds, aged tequila, and ancho chile; milk chocolate with filberts, Frangelico, and currants or cashews, Jack Daniels, caramel, and fleur de sel; white chocolate with candied Meyer lemon, Myer's Dark Rum, and fresh thyme or pine nuts, Pernod, and candied fennel. I haven't tried them all yet, but the milk chocolate with cashews and fleur de sel was an absolute revelation. The other product couldn't be more different, but it's equally remarkable. Austinite Tom Pederson (email@example.com) became fascinated with the study of all things chocolate and developed Kakawa Pure Whole Bean Chocolates. Look for him at the Downtown Farmers' Market (Republic Square Park, Fourth & Guadalupe, www.austinfarmers market.org). Pederson searches out the highest-quality whole cacao beans from tropical growing regions such as Venezuela and covers them with premium chocolates, delivering a unique bag of candies where smooth, luscious chocolate envelops crunchy, fresh roasted beans. This is chocolate candy at its most basic and distinctive. Chocoholics will want to find these guys!
Sam Dickey called to say that Granite Cafe (2905 San Gabriel, 472-6483) will be closing when their current lease is up at the end of December. That means you've got a couple of months to dash into the Granite for a nostalgic bite or drink on the patio. Readers have been eager for the newly relocated Elsi's (6601 Burnet Rd., 454-0747) to start serving again, and we're happy to announce they're open and cooking. Same good food and friendly staff in a much bigger new space. We'll have an update on the Dot's Place resurrection next week as information develops.
Event Menu: November 5-11
Celebrate Central Texas' fall pecan crop, buy all kinds of goodies made with pecans, and sign a nutty congratulation card for the newly elected president at the Downtown Farmers' Market (Republic Square Park, Fourth & Guadalupe, www.austinfarmersmarket.org) on Saturday morning, Nov. 6, 9am-1pm.
Dunk your friends in the dunking booth, eat ice cream, listen to live music, watch the ice cream tossing contest, and bid on hats decorated by Austin notables at the Amy's Ice Creams Carnival to benefit the future Children's Medical Center of Central Texas this Saturday, Nov. 6, at 3500 Guadalupe from noon to 4pm.
The newly renamed Wine and Food Foundation of Texas hosts its fifth annual Stephan Pyles Celebrity Chef Dinner this weekend, prepared by chefs Will Packwood, Stewart Scruggs, David Apthorpe, and Mark Chapman with the assistance of this year's $15,000 scholarship winner, Susan Harkness. The dinner will be held at Mirabelle (8127 Mesa, 346-7900), and tickets are $125. Make reservations online at www.winefoodfoundation.org or call 327-7555. 7pm, Sunday, Nov. 7.
Eat, Drink, Watch Movies screens Frida at the Alamo Drafthouse Downtown with a delicious four-course menu from chef Alex Duran of Málaga and door prizes from Mexic-Arte Museum. Fifty dollars per person, reservations online at www.drafthouse.com. The evening benefits the Capital Area Food Bank. 7pm, Nov. 8.
Fredericksburg pastry chef/bakery owner Rebecca Rather will sign copies of her new book, The Pastry Queen: Royally Good Recipes From the Texas Hill Country's Rather Sweet Bakery & Cafe (Ten Speed Press) at Gardens (1818 W. 35th, 451-5490) from 4 to 7pm, Nov. 10.