Food-o-File

We heard from Marci Wilson of the Ameri­can Cheese Society with a correction to MM Pack's recent profile of global cheese-buyer Cathy Strange. Wilson informs us that the American Cheese Society was formed in 1983 and that there were 1,208 cheeses entered in their 2007 national competition. We regret the errors... My absolute favorite sweet bite of this past year has to be a peach-nectar-filled chocolate created by Chocolat (330 W. Main in Fred­er­icksburg, 830/990-9382; www.chocolat-tx.us). The staff at the Hill Country chocolatier creates wine, liqueur, and fruit nectar fillings, encases them in sugar using a European technique mastered by owner Lecia Duke, and then enrobes the centers in dark chocolate. They melt in your mouth and are simply divine. This Saturday, two teams of Chocolat staffers will be sampling their distinctive Texas flavor collection – Sam Houston Bourbon, Tequila D'Almendrado, Becker Cabernet, Paula's Texas Orange, Texas Mesquite Roasted Coffee, and Peach Nectar – at the flagship Whole Foods Market (Fifth & Lamar) from 11am-3pm. Try them, and you'll be hooked, I promise... Today is Nov. 15, and that means the Beaujolais nouveau arrives at both the venerable French bistro Chez Nous (510 Neches, 473-2413) and in the Hill Country at the Dodging Duck Brewhaus (402 River Rd. in Boerne, 830/248-3825). Drop by to enjoy a glass of the young, seasonal red wine, just right for holiday quaffing... In recent weeks I've been lucky enough to be a guest at two new national chain restaurants that are now calling Austin home. We thoroughly enjoyed a ladies lunch at NoRTH (11506 Century Oaks Terrace, 339-4400) in the Domain, where we encountered an innovative new bar snack called zucca chips – whisper-thin slices of zucchini squash lightly battered, fried, and dusted with sea salt so as to disappear quickly on the tongue. We were also particularly impressed with a thin-crust fig and goat cheese pizza and a perfect amberjack fillet. Another group caught the soft opening dinner at the Brazilian-style churrascaria chain Fogo de Chão (309 E. Third, 472-0220) that just opened west of the Austin Convention Center. The meats were exemplary, perfectly seasoned, and served piping hot by the strolling gauchos. Favorites at our table were the lamb chops, leg of lamb, and beef slices from gargantuan ribs. Our Wes Marshall was impressed with both the Argentinean Malbec and the French Chablis being poured with the meal... Chef Adam Wetherington of the brand-new Sagra Trattoria (1610 San Antonio St., 535-3764) has been spotted shopping for fresh, organic produce at Boggy Creek Farm (3414 Lyons, 926-4650), which bodes well for customers at the regional Italian restaurant that recently opened for both lunch and dinner in the former Mars location... Looking for a delicious smoked turkey for the Thanksgiving table? The folks at Rudy's Country Store & Bar-B-Que (www.rudysbbq.com) can help out. Their turkeys are $39.95 or $45.95 and come with a bottle of their signature "Sause." Order now for Nov. 21 pickup... Just in time for Happy Tamaledays, the kitchen at Berryhill Baja Grill (3600 Capital of TX Hwy. N., Building A; 327-9033) has added limited-time-only turkey tamales to a menu that already includes beef, pork, chicken, and spinach/corn varieties. Order in advance, and enjoy a special holiday cocktail at the bar while you wait.

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