Awards, accolades, and openings give Austin something to celebrate

At the recent annual convention of the International Association of Culinary Professionals in Seattle, the executive cookbook committee bestowed the prestigious Design Award to Shearer Publishing of Fredericksburg for Fonda San Miguel – 30 Years of Food and Art. The Design Award recognizes exceptional accomplishment in the areas of cookbook design, photography, and styling and is not necessarily given every year. When a writer-for-hire turns a cookbook manuscript over to the publisher, there's no way of knowing how the book will ultimately turn out. After two years of work, the Fonda San Miguel book was published in the fall of 2005. My reaction to the finished product was that the team of Kathy Shearer, Alison Tartt, Barbara Jezek, Tracey Maurer, and Julie Hettiger had truly managed to capture the spirit and essence of the restaurant with their design. They created a book that restaurateur Tom Gilliland and chef Miguel Ravago would be proud to call their own. I'm very glad the IACP cookbook committee saw it the same way, too. Congratulations to everyone involved... Student chef Carolyn Bream of the Texas Culinary Academy beat out two other contestants for the $15,000 Stephan Pyles Culinary Scholarship in an Iron Chef-style cook-off in San Antonio in March. In addition to the check, Carolyn won the opportunity to accompany chef Pyles to a celebrity charity fundraiser in California in September and to assist him at a celebrity chef dinner at his eponymous restaurant, Stephan Pyles, in Dallas in October. Good for her... If you've ever tried to have a pizza delivered at night in the 78702 ZIP code, you know exactly how Noah Polk felt during a bartending shift at the Longbranch Inn (1133 E. 11th). Polk recognized his unrequited craving as a business opportunity and recruited his buddy, journeyman baker Michael Freid, to be his partner in East Side Pies (1401-B Rosewood,

524-0933). The tiny new pizzeria opened a little more than a month ago serving strictly thin-crust pies with quality ingredients. The guys are making everything from scratch – roasting garlic, peppers, onions, and eggplant; making their own Italian sausage, meatballs, pestos, and salad dressings; even whipping up cookies and brownies. The pies are very good. Check out their menu on the Web at and stop by for a slice. They'll deliver in 78702 and will consider other nearby areas when they can... Another welcome new eatery in central East Austin is Ms. B's Downtown (1050 E. 11th,

542-9143), the second Creole restaurant from husband and wife team Billy and Brenda McGowan. The new spot is open daily from 11am-10pm and is located in the J. Sneed building, part of the ongoing revitalization initiative along the East 11th and 12th Street corridor. It represents a homecoming for Billy McGowan, who grew up in the neighborhood.

Event Menu April 28-May 3

Join in a celebration of the art of Mexican cuisine at Festival Mexico 2006 an annual extravaganza presented by Mexic-Arte Museum (419 Congress, 480-9373). The festive street fair is staged next to the museum, at Fifth and Congress and will feature strolling musicians, folk dancers, and exquisite decorations inspired by the opening of a new exhibit, "Los Hilos de Oaxaca," textile works and traditional costumes from the various indigenous peoples of the Mexican state of Oaxaca. The fair will showcase the signature dishes of many of Austin's finest Mexican restaurants as well as those of visiting chef Guillermo González Beristáin, the award-winning proprietor of three popular restaurants in Monterrey, Mexico. Mexican wines, margaritas, and premium tequilas will be available. Presale tickets are $35 for adults, $20 for children 12 and under, and $40 at the door. Saturday, April 29, 6-9pm.

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