Out with the old and in with the new: Longtime Statesman food editor retires, and local restaurants are boosting their new seasonal menus

Spring is here, and new menus are popping up all over town. If you get there before the withering heat returns, the folks at Eastside Cafe (2113 Manor Rd., 476-5858) will be glad to make you an Edible Flower Salad ($12.95) with romaine lettuce, rainbow chard, beet greens, pansies, snapdragons, dianthus, and grilled gulf shrimp in a lemon-tarragon vinaigrette... If you've made the commitment to eat local (or at the very least, regional), Kerbey Lane Cafes (four locations around town) have the perfect meals for you. Their new spring menu boasts a bounty of fresh vegetables from Oak Hill Farms, various Texas artisan cheeses, grass-fed meats from Loncito's Lamb and Richardson's Farm, plus some tasty new vegan and gluten-free creations... Java Jive on Fifth (Fifth and Neches in the Hilton Austin) has added a line of delectable adult milkshakes, coffee drinks, and ice cream scoops with the spirited addition of your favorite brandy or liqueur for cool, sophisticated treats... All kinds of things are changing Downtown just now. Austin American-Statesman Food Editor Kitty Crider retired at the end of March after 28 years of service to the local daily. She will continue to contribute to the paper as a freelancer from time to time, according to her farewell section... Talented young Executive Chef Josh Watkins has resigned from the Driskill Grill to become the chef/partner in a new eatery projected to open later this year on the street level of the Austin 360 tower (Third and Neches)... Cheese-monger and caterer Ike Johnson is no longer at Grape Vine Market and is busy developing a business venture of his own... After 24 years in the lower level of the JP Morgan Chase Tower (221 W. Sixth), Apple Annies Cafe closes today and will relocate to a much larger space at 319 Congress in September. "We'll have 40 feet of window frontage on the avenue, and the new location will enable us to expand our seating, to offer dinner, and to be open every day. We're also planning a gourmet-to-go prepared-food section and a meal delivery service to the lofts, condos, and hotels Down­town," said Apple Annies' founder Love Nance last week. While renovations on the new space are being completed, Apple Annies' busy wholesale bakery, catering department, and online ordering for free Downtown meal delivery (472-1884, will continue without interruption. "We'll continue to serve our Downtown customers and look forward to making new friends when we open the bigger and better location on Congress in the fall," promises Nance... Look for the newest outlet in Carlos Rivero's stable of successful restaurants to debut any day now in North­west Hills. The second El Chile Cafe & Cantina (3435 Greystone) is set to open in the former Mesa Hills Cafe location, bringing good Mexican food, margaritas, and spicy micheladas to the neighborhood. And it shouldn't be too long before Rivero's hip and happening El Chilito (2219 Manor Rd., 382-3797) taqueria concept becomes a franchise operation with outlets in other Texas cities.

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new menus, Eastside Cafe, Java Jive on Fifth, Kerbey Lane Cafe, Kitty Crider, Apple Annies, El Chile Cafe & Cantina

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