All hail Taco Queen María Corba­lán, Caritas of Austin helps out with the Do Good Deli, and more yummy tidbits from all over

About 350 people showed up at Taco Xpress (2529 S. Lamar, 444-0261) on Dec. 5 to help Taco Queen María Corba­lán celebrate the release of her autobiography Maridée (Plain View Press, $14.95) and watch the new documentary about her path from Argentinean immigrant to Austin taco royalty. If you missed the party, buy the DVD and signed copies of the book the next time you're there... Austin baker Tracy Claros is certainly having a wonderful year. Her award-winning lemon puddings were recently featured in the annual New York Times food section holiday gift guide. That's good news for her and the entire Austin artisan food scene... Caritas ( provides food and services to Austin's homeless, working poor, and international immigrants. The nonprofit has just debuted their first for-profit venture, the Do Good Deli (211 E. Seventh, 394-7945), a sandwich shop selling locally flavored sandwiches, salads, chips, fruit, cookies, and drinks at very reasonable prices. Proceeds benefit Caritas, and they'll even deliver in the Down­town area. I was particularly impressed with the Two-Step Turkey ($7.99) and the Rockin' Roast Beef ($8.99) with tangy pickle spears, bags of Dirty-brand Jalapeño Heat potato chips, and peanut-butter cookies. Check out the menu at K&N Management, the local franchisees who brought Rudy's "Coun­try Store" & Bar-B-Q to Austin and Round Rock, have added a brand-new food concept to the company. Mighty Fine Bur­gers, Fries, & Shakes (Shops at Arbor Walk, 10515 MoPac N., 524-2400) debuted to big crowds last week. They offer all-natural, hand-formed Texas beef burgers and cheeseburgers, all-beef chili dogs, fresh-cut crinkle fries, hand-dipped Blue Bell milkshakes, sodas, and a fresh-squeezed strawberry lemonade that is remarkable... Some friends joined me for a ladies culinary road trip to Driftwood and Wimberley last weekend, and one of our stops was at the Cookie Jar (13710 RR 12 in Wimberley, 512/847-3660). In addition to an absolutely stellar line of cookies, Judy Marts' cozy shop sells distinctive copper cookie cutters, lovely cookie jars, and a selection of baking books. I loved all the cookies we tried, but I have to say that the marvelous Peanut Pay bar convinced me Marts is a baker after my own heart. It's a good thing her shop is in Wim­berley, because I could hurt myself in there.

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