Bidding farewell to the inimitable T.J. McFarland; plus, Foo Swasdee Thais up Texas

Another Good Man Gone

During the evening of my potluck birthday party back in July, I happened to look up and notice T.J. McFarland, Wes Marshall, Kevin Lewis, Larry Butler, and Steve Nagle standing shoulder to shoulder around the dining room table, all of them well over 6 feet tall. It occurred to me what a mighty wall of manhood was represented there. One of those mighty fine men has fallen. Longtime Austin musician T.J. "Tiny" McFarland died last week of complications due to Hepatitis C. In T.J.'s early music career, he was the drummer in the band of fellow Lubbock native Joe Ely. After coming to Austin, he played drums in Alvin Crow's band for many years. T.J. also had a long career as a talent scout and booker, representing Crow and discovering such local notables as Kimmie Rhodes, Don Walser, and Wayne Hancock. I got to know T.J. and his partner Charlotte Herzele as fans of good food and good times. When they showed up on my birthday in matching Hawaiian prints bearing enchiladas verdes, they were undoubtedly the most fun couple in the house. I'm grateful my final memory of T.J. is having a great time at a party. My condolences to his family and friends.

Thai Kitchen to the World

Austin food scientist/restaurateur Dr. Foo Swasdee is the project coordinator of a culinary education outreach program sponsored by the Thai government to "train more Thai culinary professionals to assist and support the growing numbers of Thai and other restaurants who would like to incorporate Thai dishes" into their menus at home and abroad. The program has recently been expanded to Texas. The Thai Cooking Festival with Thai Kitchen to the World will take place in collaboration with the Texas Culinary Academy, Satay Restaurant Group, Central Market Cooking School, and Grape Vine Market from Sept. 13 to Sept. 21. The festival week will include both basic and advanced cooking demonstrations and classes, as well as instruction in pairing Thai foods with wine. The presentations will be geared mainly toward chefs, culinary students, and other restaurant professionals, although the public is welcome. Several of the classes will be free with a few costing from $10 to $30, and reservations are necessary. For more information about class schedules, go to or call 467-6731.

Event Menu: Sept. 10-15

• Descendants of the original Czech settlers of Burleson County host the 21st annual Kolache Festival around the Caldwell Courthouse Square this weekend. Czech food, music, and customs will be in the spotlight, where festivities include the Kolache Bake Show competition, kolache-eating contests, arts and crafts shows and vendors, Czech craft demonstrations, a 5K run/walk, and softball and golf tournaments. The day ends with the big Kolache Festival Dance with music from the Red Ravens at the Burleson County Fairgrounds. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, go to; Saturday, Sept. 10, Downtown Caldwell, 9am-6pm, Burleson County Fairgrounds, 6-10pm.

• Every year, the amazingly generous Austin restaurant community pitches in to raise money for AIDS Services of Austin, the local nonprofit outfit that provides a multitude of necessary services to our citizens living with HIV/AIDS. During Dining for Life, Austinites have the opportunity to dine at more than 60 Austin restaurants who have agreed to donate 15% of their one-evening proceeds to ASA. For a complete list of participating restaurants, go to; Monday, Sept. 12.

• If you want to brush up your Italian in anticipation of a visit to Tuscany, or you'd just like to be able to order Italian food with a little cultural flourish, instructor Tina Polo can help you out. She's beginning her Italian language classes at Ciola's Restaurant (1310 RR 620 S., 263-9936) this week. For registration information, call her at 259-2331 or e-mail; 4-9pm, Monday, Sept. 12.

Eastside Cafe (2113 Manor Rd., 476-5858) co-owner Dorsey Barger and master gardener David Kolasta offer a class on Perennial Fall Herbs and Herbaceous White Wines with instruction, appetizers, and wine tastings for $35. Reservations are necessary; 6:30-8pm, Tuesday, Sept. 13.

Dina Mondavi will present a tasting of wines from the portfolio of her family's newest venture, Folio Wine Company, focusing on Italian varietals at Ciola's Restaurant. The tasting will include 11 wines and a selection of antipasti. Reservations are suggested; 6-8pm, Thursday, Sept. 15.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Food-o-File
Finding community

Virginia B. Wood, Sept. 18, 2015

Town and country

Virginia B. Wood, Sept. 4, 2015


T.J. McFarland, Foo Swasdee, Thai Cooking Festival With Culinary Experts From Thailand, Kolache Festival, Dining for Life, Tina Polo, East Side Cafe, Dina Mondavi

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle