Remembering Russell Altenhof; plus, the Food Network finds us so irresistible that they'd like to put us on a plate and sop us up with a biscuit

The Food Network was all over Central Texas again last week. Austin was the featured destination on the new series Giada's Weekend Getaways. Host Giada de Laurentis two-stepped and ate chicken-fried steak at the Broken Spoke; enjoyed brunch, shopping, and ice cream in SoCo; took a pedicab to dinner at Jeffrey's; and then hit Lockhart for barbecue before jetting away. An upcoming Food Network series called Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives filmed a segment at the legendary Louis Mueller BBQ in Taylor early last week. No word yet on when that series debuts, but we'll keep you posted… The local food scene is bustling with lots of new spots these days. The seventh Waterloo Ice House (14900 Avery Ranch Blvd., 255-4873) opened in the new Plaza at Avery Ranch, where they're open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner… Franchisees Monique and Steve Price have brought the first Shipley Do-Nuts (8213 Brodie, 233-NUTS, outlet to Austin. Enjoy their distinctive doughnuts and kolaches daily from 5am to 6pm… In early March, Jim-Jim's Water-Ice (615-A E. Sixth, 708-8285) resumes their ever-popular concessions at Deep Eddy and Barton Springs swimming pools and adds a new outlet at the weekly Farmers' Market Downtown at Fourth and Guadalupe… The much-heralded opening of the new Domain shopping center at MoPac and Parmer takes place this weekend, and there are several upscale eateries in the mix. Successful Dallas chef/restaurateur Kevin Rathbun enters the Austin market with the third outlet of his "gourmet backyard cuisine" concept – Jasper's (11506 Century Oaks Terrace #128, 834-4111). The menu focuses on American regional dishes, and the restaurant features a "modern outdoors" theme with both indoor and outdoor dining areas and a full bar with plasma-screen televisions. Another new entry in that market is an outlet of the venerable Napa Valley gourmet specialty food and wine retailer Oakville Grocery, where shoppers can also enjoy chef-prepared menu options at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Austinites Amy March and Emily Morrison bring a new concept in tea appreciation with the Steeping Room (11410 Century Oaks Terrace #112, 977-8337), a tea shop, sanctuary lounge, and restaurant that offers a full line of teas, tea accessories, and a tea-friendly dining menu.

In Memoriam: Russell Altenhof

We join the farmers, vendors, and shoppers at the Farmers' Market Downtown in mourning the recent untimely death of Central Texas farmer Russell Altenhof. The popular beef vendor leaves behind a wife and 14-year-old daughter. Friends and customers are encouraged to make memorial donations to a scholarship fund for his daughter at the info booth at the weekly market or by mail to: Memorial Scholarship fund for Jaime Altenhof; Attn.: Joyce Johnston, American Bank of Texas N.A.; 200 N. Austin St., Seguin, TX 78155.

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