No Reservations, Mindy Kucan's Hot Summer Night, and more

Alamo chefs John Bullington and Trish Eichelberger
Alamo chefs John Bullington and Trish Eichelberger (Photo by John Anderson)

The folks at Warner Bros. are certainly going all out to promote the summer's second big foodie movie, No Reservations, to Food Network viewers. Two programs during the evening of July 26 featured appearances by the film's stars -- Catherine Zeta-Jones, Aaron Eckhart, and Abigail Breslin -- and the movie trailer ran between all the other shows. Emeril Lagasse prepared dishes from the movie for Eckhart and Breslin on Emeril Live, and Marc Summers interviewed all the stars and the chefs who trained them on Unwrapped. Award-winning New York chef Michael White, chef/owner of Fiamma Osteria in New York and Las Vegas, taught Zeta-Jones and Eckhart how to wield squeeze bottles, sauté pans, and kitchen torches like a working chef and oversaw food preparation on set. Former Top Chef contestant Lee Anne Wong developed the actual recipes used to represent each chef's personal cuisine in the film and taught young Breslin how to peel asparagus and flip pancakes. Many of the scenes in the film's fictional Bleecker Street eatery were filmed at the Little Owl restaurant (90 Bedford St., in Greenwich Village. The folks at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema decided this restaurant romance would be the perfect vehicle to bring back the fundraising film series Eat Drink Watch Movies to benefit the Capital Area Food Bank. Alamo chefs John Bullington and Trish Eichelberger will prepare their interpretations of the movie chefs' contrasting dishes at a special movie feast on Wednesday, Aug. 8. Tickets are $75 and can be purchased online at, where you can also check out the menu. Don't miss it... Now for the lightning round of local restaurant news: If you're a big fan of the food at Vespaio (1610 S. Congress, 441-6100) but don't like long waits for a table, we hear tables are somewhat easier to come by on Monday evenings, now that the restaurant serves dinner seven nights a week... NeWorlDeli (4101 Guadalupe, 451-7170) is justifiably famous for their delicious sandwiches at lunchtime, and now they're getting into the dinner business, as well. Look for affordable comfort-food classics there between 5 and 9pm Wednesday through Saturday... Jorge's (2203 Hancock Dr., 454-1980) is getting the jump on Hatch chile season. They'll be selling 1-pound packages of roasted and peeled New Mexico chiles ($4.99) and offering menu specials made with the peppers until Aug. 18. There will be more Hatch chiles at restaurants and markets around town as the month continues... Drop into either Hoover's Cooking outlet (2002 Manor Rd., 479-5006; 13376 Research #400, 335-0300) to check out their new daily specialty salads and burgers, including one dedicated to Hoover's mentor, Night Hawk founder Harry Akin... Longtime fans of the Hyde Park Bar & Grill (4206 Duval St., 458-3168; 4521 West Gate Blvd., 899-2700) signature dessert Wom Kim's Peach Pudding should be thrilled to find the recipe in the August issue of Bon Appétit magazine... There was plenty of speculation about what Warehouse District hospitality entrepreneur Michael Girard would do with the restaurant space in the 300 block of Colorado after he closed Capitol Brasserie earlier this year. Well, now we know. Look for Girard and business partners Diggy Taylor and C.K. Chin to debut Imperia: Modern Asian Dining (310 Colorado) sometime in August. They describe the concept of the new spot as "Vibe Dining -- a combination of upscale dining along with vigorous socializing, in elegant surroundings with the highest level of indulgent service." Sounds interesting... Hilton Austin (500 E. Fourth) bartender Mirjana "Mindy" Kucan won the Hilton's summer mixology contest in New Orleans in July with a refreshing all-Texas cocktail called Hot Summer Night. Here's the recipe: Muddle thyme leaves, a drop of local honey, and a squeeze of lemon in a rocks glass. Fill the glass with ice. Add 1.5 ounces of Tito's Handmade Vodka and one-half ounce of Paula's Texas Lemon Liqueur. Top generously with Sprite, and garnish with a thyme sprig and a lemon twist. Enjoy.

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