The Capital Area Food Bank could use a hand; plus, ring in the season with events all over town

Katrina evacuee Noel Martin helps to stock shelves at the Capital Area Food Bank.
Katrina evacuee Noel Martin helps to stock shelves at the Capital Area Food Bank. (Photo By John Anderson)

We've devoted this week's entire section to promoting Austin food products and specialty retailers as great holiday gift ideas, and we're proud and happy to do it. However, at this time of year, it's important to remember that the less fortunate among us need food simply to survive. The devastating events of the past year have put a tremendous strain on our area's food safety net. The Capital Area Food Bank (8201 S. Congress, 282-2111) and all the Central Texas care agencies and food pantries it supports are in dire need of food donations. Please include a grocery bag of nonperishable food items on you holiday gift list. If you can't make it to CAFB to drop off your donation, food donations are being accepted at area Randalls and RunTex stores, as well as the Crown Plaza Holiday Inn. It will be some of the easiest shopping you do all year, providing a gift the recipients are guaranteed to treasure.

Event Menu: Dec. 8-15

Ring in the season tonight with those whisky-loving merry maltsters at Opal Divine's Penn Field (3601 S. Congress Ste. K100, 707-0237) at their third annual Whisky Festival. Brand ambassadors will be on hand to answer questions about the impressive line of malts they've assembled, appetizers will be served, and taxi vouchers will be available for a safe ride home. Tickets are $45 at the door for a product sample card and commemorative Opal's logo tasting glass; 7pm, Thursday, Dec. 8.

Help the folks at Boggy Creek Farm (3414 Lyons Rd., 926-4650) celebrate the bounty of their winter crops and farmer Larry Butler's birthday this weekend. There will be hot soup and beverages, Breton music from Bouree Texane, artisan booths, and plenty of custom-made food products and organic produce. Go to for directions; 9am-2pm, Saturday, Dec. 10.

Meat lovers can learn the butchering and grilling secrets of Brazilian Churrascaria from Brazilian native Tony Sousa at a class titled From Brazil to Your Grill at Casa Brasil (5213 Evans, 407-9887). They promise the information and the food will be very satisfying. Tickets are $45, and seating is limited, so make reservations now; 2-5pm, Saturday, Dec. 10.

The historic downtown home that houses the Tea Embassy (900 Rio Grande, 330-9991) is decorated for Christmas and ready to welcome guests to shop and attend three days of holiday teas this weekend. Enjoy holiday cheer and a three-course tea menu prepared by Amuse Bouche Catering for $35 per person. Seatings at 1pm and 3:30pm, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, Dec. 9, 10, and 11.

The chefs at the Alamo Drafthouse locations are preparing a mouth-watering lineup of holiday feasts to complement the movies opening this month. Go directly to the Web site at for menus, prices, and screening times for the French feast accompanying Moulin Rouge, the exotic Narnian delights and wine pairings for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and the wild island luau to be served with Peter Jackson's King Kong.

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