No rest from the fests; plus, Paul Petersen in the pages of Esquire

Hot on the heels of their success with the Austin City Limits Music Festival, the busy folks at C3 Presents are throwing another big Texas music event with a major culinary enhancement. The Big State Festival is scheduled for Oct. 13-14 at Texas World Speedway in Bryan-College Station. In addition to 50 musical acts, events include the Big State BBQ Showdown competition with big cash prizes. The number of competing teams will be limited to 75, and they will compete in three major categories: beef brisket, pork ribs, and pork shoulder. Teams may also enter such Off the Hoof categories as poultry, exotic meats, best sauce, and best booth. Potential cook-off contestants are encouraged to register at before the deadline of Oct. 1. Another culinary attraction will be the Ring of Fire tent, where selected celebrity chefs and musicians will demonstrate their cowboy (and -girl) cooking prowess. Tickets to the Big State Festival are also available online... Manor Road was festooned with orange balloons one day last week to announce a new Cap Metro route to the area. Free 'Dillo buses will now service the popular Manor Road restaurant row about every 20 minutes from 11am to 2pm weekdays. Ride the 'Dillo to enjoy the new lunch at Stortini (1917 Manor Rd., 391-9500) weekdays during the same hours... The new menu format has proved so popular that Quack's Maplewood Bakery & Cafe (1400 E. 38½, 478-2257) is adding neighborhood delivery service. General manager Duke Correa reports that they've gotten scooters from Scooter Revolution and have positions available for aspiring delivery drivers... No sooner had I written a piece about Austin achieving critical mass where Italian restaurants are concerned than I heard from two more Italian eateries with news to share. Joe Melomo, the new proprietor of Andiamo (2521 Rutland, 719-3377,, e-mailed to announce the opening of a new party room at his North Austin Ristorante that can accommodate up to 40 diners for parties, Italian language classes, or movie nights with food and wine. Party planner Daniela Marcone can assist guests in planning all events. We also heard from Mark and Lisa Spedale, the husband-and-wife team that has just expanded their long-established catering company into Primizie Osteria (1000 E. 11th, 236-0088, The chic neighborhood spot is in the newish East End development just a few blocks east of I-35. Primizie is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day, offering frittata, antipasti, salads, pasta, panini, desserts, beer, and wine. The menu looks very inviting... Kudos to former Austin chef and recent Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Contest finalist Paul Petersen for the great coverage he's received in the October issue of Esquire. In his position as executive chef at the historic Gage Hotel in Marathon, Texas, Petersen came in at No. 34 in Esquire's annual Top 100 "emerging ideas, trends, and people to look out for." I'll bet I'm not the only one hoping the talented young chef finds his way back to the Austin market sooner rather than later.

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