Scrambling to keep up at Spicewood. taking the Tour de Vin, and keeping NOLA efforts rolling.

Wining and Dining in the Vineyard

This will be a very busy weekend at Spicewood Vineyards (, 830/693-5328). At 7pm on Friday night, Sept. 23, winemakers Ed and Madeleine Manigold will welcome University Towers Executive Chef Sebastian Weddle, who has designed a four-course menu to showcase Spicewood's Semillon Reserve. Chef Weddle's family in Alaska is shipping fresh shrimp, Dungeness crab, and halibut for the special $70-per-person meal. Check out the full menu on the Web site, and then make the very necessary reservations, as seating is limited. The next evening, Saturday, Sept. 24, the Alamo Drafthouse Rolling Roadshow was to roll into the vineyard for an al fresco screening of the quirky wine lovers' movie Sideways, but the event has been postponed due to weather concerns. Look for updates at

Tour de Vin

The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas and Whole Foods Market present the Tour de Vin, an international wine and food tasting benefiting the foundation at 7pm on Thursday, Sept. 29. The annual event will now make its home on the rooftop plaza at the new flagship Whole Foods (525 N. Lamar, 476-1206). Chefs from the store will be joined by chefs from 10 top Austin restaurants presenting signature dishes to complement more than 50 featured wines from around the globe. Chronicle wine writer Wes Marshall reviewed the list of featured wines, and he assures me it would be impossible to sample this many top-quality, high-priced wines for the admission price of this one event. Tickets are $50 for foundation members, $70 for nonmembers, and can be purchased by calling 327-7555 or going to

Happy's Back

Former Austin chef Happy Abdelbaki returned to his native Louisiana a few years back and added certified process manager to his list of accomplishments. He developed a food manufacturing business in New Orleans preparing a line of Cajun/Creole entrées, soups, and condiments under the banner Chef Happy Foods. His young company was supplying grocery stores in New Orleans, Lafayette, and Baton Rouge and attracting attention from both Whole Foods and Central Market. Happy; his wife, Amy; their 3-year-old son; and their month-old daughter escaped NOLA, where their home near the 17th Street levee and the manufacturing plant in St. Bernard Parish were under water. While he expects both buildings to be a total loss, Happy is thankful he and his family are safe among friends in Austin. He still has a customer base, his recipes, and the innovative packaging process he developed for his product line. Abdelbaki is currently looking for a FDA/USDA-inspected kitchen in which to start over here in Austin.

A Night Out for New Orleans

Tonight – Thursday, Sept. 22 – offers the opportunity to enjoy an excellent Austin restaurant meal and make a donation to Red Cross hurricane relief efforts at the same time. More than two dozen Austin restaurants are participating in the event, donating 50% of this evening's proceeds to the Red Cross. Go to to choose a restaurant and then laissez les bons temps rouler!

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