Famous foodies at SXSW, juicy farmers' market news, and more

Musicians, filmmakers, and game-designers weren't the only people attracting media attention here in River City over the past few weeks – restaurant chefs and TV cooks alike have been getting their fair share of notice. Texas chefs/restaurateurs Kent and Kevin Rathbun and their former sous chef Tre Wilcox whipped Bobby Flay in a televised Iron Chef America battle in late February and hosted watch parties at their Jasper's outlet here (11506 Cen­tury Oaks Terrace #128, 834-4111, Some dishes from that "Battle Elk" are available as specials on the Jasper's menu through the end of March. Not to be outdone, local sushi master and Uchi (801 S. Lamar, 916-4808, co-owner chef Tyson Cole appears in his own battle against Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto this Sunday evening at 9pm on the Food Network. The watch party at the Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar starts at 8:45pm on Sunday night. Cheer for chef Cole, and make a cash donation to the Capital Area Food Bank... Rachael Ray has been everywhere else this year, so why not South by Southwest? That's right, the "EVOO" girl herself was in town last week, shopping at Cissi's Market (1400 S. Congress, 225-0521, and whipping up seven-layer sliders for a band showcase at Beauty Bar featuring husband John Cusimano's band, the Cringe. (My VIP press invitation to that party was surely lost in the mail.) One of Ray's newest Food Network colleagues, Rescue Chef star Danny Boome, was also in our town last week, presumably helping some home cooks save themselves from kitchen disasters... Hill Country wineries and barbecue joints share the spotlight in a feature story in the April issue of Food & Wine magazine, on stands this week. Correspon­dent Thomas Ryder and his team sampled wines at Flat Creek Estate, Stone House Vine­yard, Woodrose Winery, Fall Creek Vineyards, Alamosa Wine Cel­lars, Lost Creek Vineyard & Winery, and Becker Vineyards. They tried barbecue at some well-known places in Llano, but he deemed the smoked meats at Opie's Barbecue (9504 Hwy. 71 E., in Spicewood, 830/693-8660) as the very best of their trip. Our Wes Marshall certainly agrees – he reports that the bigger, new Opie's is easily accessible from the highway and putting out very fine meats... And though there's no Texas connection this year, the new season of Top Chef started on Bravo last week with 16 chefs from around the country competing in Chicago. I haven't picked my favorite yet, but I'll keep you posted... With all the increased emphasis on eating locally, area farmers' markets are really flourishing. The new Tarrytown Farm­ers' Market (2815 Exposition) will be open this Satur­day from 9am-1pm, according to market manager Debbie Bishop. It's been operating every other week for a couple of months now and plans to go weekly starting April 5. There are currently about 25 vendors participating in the market, which is held in an attractive, spring-fed, wooded area next to Talulah Bleu Tarry­town Florist (2815 Exposition, 391-9700); there's free parking available across the street in the Casis Element­ary parking lot. And speaking of local markets, the Austin Farmers' Market at the Triangle (West 46th and Triangle Avenue) is now running 4-8pm every Wednesday.

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food news, SXSW, Kent Rathbun, Kevin Rathbun, Tre Wilcox, Iron Chef, Jasper's, Uchi, Tyson Cole, John Cusimano, Rachael Ray, Danny Boome, Food & Wine magazine, Opie's Barbecue, Tarrytown Farm­ers' Market, Austin Farmers' Market at the Triangle

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