Dough tossing, (more) restaurants closing, coffee pouring, wine drinking, and more local tidbits
Since this week's Food section is so pizza-centric, it seems only fitting that we encourage some of the independent pie makers mentioned in our feature story, "Indie Pizzas," to compete in the pizza-dough-tossing contest at this weekend's Carnival-o-Pizza at Home Slice Pizza (1415 S. Congress, 444-7437, www.homeslicepizza.com), Saturday, Nov. 15, noon-7pm. Call the restaurant for details on how to enter... I never intended to make this column a weekly recitation of restaurant closures, but unfortunately, the hits just keep on coming. After five years in Marble Falls, the talented chef/sommelier husband-and-wife team Mark and Shelly Schmidt have closed the wonderful Cafe 909 and relocated to Houston. The Schmidts report they'll take a much-deserved vacation to visit family and investigate gastro-pubs in England and Scotland before returning to the Bayou City to scout potential restaurant locations there. We wish them all the luck in the world. Also, longtime Austin restaurateur Rachel Davila and her family closed the Circle C outlet of their restaurant at the end of October and will focus their energies on the original Nuevo León location (1501 E. Sixth, 479-0097, www.nuevoleoninaustin.com) and their taco stand at the corner of East 15th and San Antonio... The Specialty Coffee Association of America held its South Central Regional Barista Competition in Austin two weeks ago, and Central Texas competitors swept all three top prizes. Barista Clancy Rose of Cuvée Coffee Roasting Co. (soon to be of Spicewood) took first prize, which entitles him to compete in the United States Barista Championship in Portland, Ore., next March. Patrick Pierce and Lorenzo Perkins of Austin's Caffe Medici (1101 West Lynn, 534-0549, www.caffemedici.com) took second and third place, respectively. Congratulations to them all... In preparation for last week's column about the transition at the local catering company she founded, I had the occasion to chat with Rebecca Wallace Ford, now the general manager of Cissi's Market (1400 S. Congress, 225-0521, www.cissismarket.com). The swank SoCo shop has recently undergone renovations to add a wine bar and seating area where customers can enjoy the distinctive cuisine of Executive Chef Deegan McClung and new pastry chef Faith Hoi Yan Chan. If the pastries Chan serves in the store are anywhere nearly as remarkable as the transcendent lavender madeleines she prepared for the recent Green Corn Project party, she is definitely a new pastry chef to watch. Food at Cissi's is available to eat in or take out, and the catering department is now booking holiday parties... And speaking of wine bars, Vino Vino (4119 Guadalupe, 465-9282, www.vinovinotx.com) owner Jeff Courington e-mailed to say new chef Esteban Escobar has created a new menu for the popular Hyde Park spot; Escobar is an El Paso native who received his culinary training in the Bay Area... In the off-with-my-head department, sincere apologies to Olivia pastry chef Sarah Jordan for the mistake I made with her last name in last week's review.