Food-o-File

A new little lady in the Big Apple, a new gelato shop, and a new chef in town: all in a week's food news

Before we get carried away with local happenings, there's a bit of good news from New York City. Former Chronicle contributing Food writer Ronna Welsh and husband Matt Allen welcomed daughter Eleanor Juliette Welsh Allen (7 lbs., 14 oz., 19.5 inches long) on Feb. 27. Mazel tov! Back here, it's possible once again to take a stroll downtown and purchase some authentic Italian gelato. Folks who work, shop, live, and party within walking distance of the new 2nd Street District are finding their way into Paciugo (241 W. Second, 474-7600), a new gelato and coffee shop that is part of a Dallas-based chain. Paciugo means "messy concoction" in Italian, and the shops are the brainchild of an entrepreneur who immigrated to Dallas from Turin. The company began there and is now selling franchises in cities all over the country. Paul Amin is the franchisee for the area from San Marcos to Georgetown, and he already has two more outlets on the drawing board. The friendly, comfortable shop features 32 to 40 flavors of gelato and sorbetto, as well as fine Italian coffee. Yum!... Making our way up Lavaca from the gelato shop, we noticed a banner announcing lunch is now being served at 219 West (219 W. Fourth, 474-2194). The eclectic evening menu here is designed to pair well with specific spirits and regularly puts out some of the best bar food in the Warehouse District, so we've got high hopes for their lunches. They've got appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers, and entrées in the $3.50-$13.95 range... Headed west on Sixth, we noticed that both Rocco's Grill and Crescent City Beignets have closed... One of the most eagerly awaited tenants in the new Triangle development bordered by Lamar, Guadalupe, and 47th Street has to be Mandola's Italian Market (4700 W. Guadalupe #12, 419-9700). The market belongs to longtime Houston chef/restaurateur Damian Mandola and his wife, Trina, who are recent transplants to the Austin area. The new venture will be part restaurant, part grocery and specialty store, and all Italian. The Mandolas will also open Mandola Estate Winery later this spring at their vineyards near Driftwood and ultimately plan to feature their own Italian varietal wines in the market. PBS fans will recognize the ebullient chef Mandola from the syndicated cooking shows he hosts with his restaurateur nephew Johnny Carrabba.


Event Menu: March 10-17

Pull on your cowboy boots and western duds and hustle on down to Auditorium Shores for the annual Cowboy Breakfast kicking off the Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo! Grab a mug of genuine cowboy coffee and fill up a plate with biscuits and cream gravy, griddle cakes and syrup, sausages, breakfast tacos, kolaches, or doughnuts. These vittles will stick to your ribs all day!; 6am-9am, Friday, March 10.

The local chapter of Les Amis du Vin (www.ladv.org) hosts a wine-tasting dinner at Cafe Caprice (900 W. 10th, 477-5576). The four-course dinner is $75 per person ($65, members), and reservations are necessary (925-3985); 7pm, Tuesday, March 14.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Ronna Welsh, Matt Allen, Eleanor Juliette Welsh Allen, Paciugo, Paul Amin, Mandola's Italian Market, Damian Mandola, Cowboy Breakfast, Les Amis du Vin

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