Food-o-File

Mangia in the movies, Living Foods & Juice at Whole Foods, and Italy in Austin


Product Placement

Although the movie Sideways didn't win but one of the many Academy Awards for which it was nominated, it appears to have scored big as a two-hour advertisement for the Santa Barbara, Calif., wine country. In response to the demand, the Convention and Visitors Bureau there has put out a map of the various movie locations, and they are all experiencing a big boost in traffic and sales. Evidently, people show up to order Pinot Noir spouting lines from the movie and request the same tables or bar stools where the actors actually sat during the film. Overall sales of Pinot Noir have increased nationally, and De Loach Vineyards recently sent out promotional bottles of their 2002 vintage with a bag of popcorn as a movie tie-in. Such great promotional possibilities are certainly not lost on local pizza entrepreneur Mark Negro, who is thrilled that several shots of his Mangia Pizza delivery rig and drivers made it into the recently released film Man of the House. Though it seems unlikely the new Tommy Lee Jones film with multiple UT locations will generate the same kind of critical praise heaped on Sideways, we're always happy when a locally owned business gets a boost.

Where's the Raw Food?

Since raw foods became the rage on the West Coast, every time we have an influx of visitors from California, we get a few inquiries about whether or not Austin has a raw foods restaurant. Now that the new Whole Foods (525 N. Lamar) flagship store is open, there is finally someplace to send them. Living Foods & Juice sells smoothies, juices, and raw foods and is one of five different dine-in locations within the impressive new store, Austin's newest culinary tourist attraction.

La Speranza

Twenty-five years ago, when downtown rents were cheap and the Warehouse District was still mostly warehouses, a tiny restaurant run by a talented husband and wife team was the best place in town for authentic Italian food. Periodically, the proprietors would close up shop and travel to Italy to eat and study with master teacher Marcella Hazan, delighting lucky Austinites with transcendent meals on their return. Those delectable meals are available once again, from La Speranza Cucina Italiana (452-7517, lasperanza@swbell.net), Hallie Speranza's new custom catering operation. Hallie will prepare antipasti, soups, salads, pastas, entrées, and desserts for parties of up to 50 guests. Reading her menus brought back very delicious memories.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Mark Negro, Whole Foods, Mangia, Living Foods & Juice, La Speranza Cucina Italiana

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