A Majestic future for Grape Vine Market? Plus: Noodle-ism and Mangia aren't just local favorites.
In the off-with-my-head department, sincere apologies to new mom Holly Bullington for changing her name ["Food-o-File," Food, Oct. 21]. According to Dad John, the coolest photo in Jack's baby book is of father and son in their matching Astros regalia... The big buzz at last week's "Zinner's" Wine Club gathering was all about the impending sale of Grape Vine Market (7938 Great Northern Blvd., 323-5900) to Majestic Liquors of Fort Worth, although there's been no official confirmation as yet. We'll keep you posted... A devoted fan of Noodle-ism (107 W. Fifth, 275-9988) phoned in a tip about an accolade recently awarded to the popular downtown noodle house. The Oakland, Calif., publication Chinese Restaurant News has chosen the top 100 Chinese restaurants in the country for 2005, and Noodle-ism was one of only two Texas eateries to make the list. Congratulations to chef/owner Jeff Liu!... And speaking of industry honors, Austin's homegrown Mangia (various locations) has been named Independent Pizzeria of the Year for 2005 by Pizza Today magazine. Kudos to owners Jeff Sayers, Mark Negro, and John Kinnard, who have big expansion plans for the next few years... Ana's Salsa company founders Juanita Anna Olvera-Ullrich and husband Jim celebrated a sales milestone this month with their one-millionth tub of salsa. The tasty concoction, a frequent winner at the Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival, can be found on grocery store shelves all over town... If you're looking for affordable pan de muerto and sugar skulls to complement a Día de Los Muertos altar, La Mexicana Bakery (1924 S. First, 443-6672) has a good supply.
News About Town
The Sunset Valley Farmers Market (Toney Burger Center parking lot, 280-1976) hosts a Halloween party for kids of all ages. Dr. Melba Martinez and her drama students from UT will be on hand in costumes to give guided tours of a Haunted House ($2), tell Halloween stories, paint faces, help kids decorate pumpkins, and have their photos taken with kids. Vendors will have plenty of pumpkin-related food items as well as bountiful fall crops; Saturday, Oct. 29, 9:30am-1pm.
Event Menu :: Oct. 27-Nov. 3
North by Northwest (10010 Capital of TX Hwy., 467-6969) and SafePlace host a German-style Oktoberfest fall family celebration this weekend, complete with German food and specially brewed beers, live polka music, a bratwurst-eating contest, a Harley-Davidson Biketoberfest area, human bowling, jousting, rock climbing, a wiener-dog costume contest, plus face-painting and a moonwalk for the kids. Admission is $2. Go to www.nxnwbrew.com for a full schedule of events. Saturday, Oct. 29, noon to 10pm; Sunday, Oct. 30, noon-6pm.
The culinary offerings at this year's Texas Book Festival are varied and delicious. The weekend kicks off with a spaghetti dinner screening of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly hosted by star Eli Wallach at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar (www.originalalamo.com). On Saturday and Sunday, stop by the cooking tent at 11th and Congress to have books signed by an impressive lineup of both local chefs, national cookbook authors, and food writers: Tom Gilliland and Miguel Ravago, Mark Bittman, Roland Mesnier, Jeff Blank, Andrew F. Smith, Ted Allen, and Rebecca Rather. Then, move onto the Capitol building for a tasteful food-writing seminar with James E. McWilliams and Julie Powell. For a full schedule, go to www.texasbookfestival.org; Friday, Oct. 28-Sunday, Oct. 30.
Sweetish Hill Bakery (1120 W. Sixth, 472-1347) founder Patricia Bauer-Slate will bring back her famous eggs Benedict for a one-day event benefiting Mobile Loaves and Fishes. The poached eggs will be served atop Sweetish Hill bread, ham or spinach, and napped with Patricia's signature hollandaise. Combined with a Sweetish Hill croissant or danish, fresh jams, and coffee donated by Katz's Fair Trade Coffee, the meal will cost $10. Only a limited number will be served; Sunday, Oct. 30, 9am-noon.
Congregation Agudas Achim (www.caa-austin.org) hosts their first annual Kosher Chili Cook-off this weekend at the Dell Jewish Community Center (7300 Hart Ln.). The temple will provide kosher meats and cooking utensils and 22 four-person teams will provide their own kosher spices and recipes. Celebrity judges will award prizes for best Beef, Specialty Turkey, Specialty Veggie, People's Choice chili dishes as well as a trophy for booth decoration. This is a bring-the-family event and tickets are $5 for kids 5-12 and $10 for adults. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the People's Community Clinic. For tickets or more information, call the Hot Chili line at 735-8426. 11:30am-3pm Sunday, Oct. 30.