Food-o-File

2009 ended in a flurry of culinary activity

2009 certainly ended in a flurry of culinary activity, with multiple restaurant openings and weekly additions to the local trailer cuisine scene. To recap: We sampled the drink-friendly comfort food at Davis Tucker and John Hocken­­yos' new Red's Porch (3508 S. Lamar, 440-REDS, www.redsporch.com), with a big deck overlooking the Barton Creek Green­belt; there's a second location of the San Antonio-style Mexi­can food restaurant VIVO in far North­west Austin (12233 RR 620 N., 331-4660, www.vivo-austin.com); the casual new Lift Cafe (215-A S. Lamar, 472-LIFT, www.liftaustin.com) is open just a few strides from the hike and bike trail around Lady Bird Lake; the "chef-inspired comfort food" of 24 Diner (600 N. Lamar, 472-5400, www.24diner.com) is serving around the clock; after considerable feedback from their loyal Downtown customer base, Ron and Yasbel Flores have brought back their popular Cuban menu at Habana Underground (709 E. Sixth, 443-4252, www.habana.com), overlooking scenic Waller Creek on Sixth Street, just downstairs from their sports bar, the Texas Embassy; and former Z'Tejas corporate chef Jack Gilmore could have a hit on his hands with mouthwatering farm-to-table menu items at Jack Allen's Kitchen (7720 Hwy. 71 W., 852-8558, www.jackallenskitchen.com). On the trailer cuisine scene, I'm curious to try the late-night Indian food at the cleverly named G'Raj Mahal (91 Red River, 480-2255) positioned near all those busy new bars in the Rainey Street neighborhood, and I'm fascinated by the idea of quality French pastries, baguette sandwiches, and coffee from Chiap­as being served out of Austin's first reimagined metal storage container cafe at La Boîte (1700 S. Lamar, 377-6198, www.laboitecafe.com) ... I noticed the new Odd Duck Farm to Trailer (1219 S. Lamar, 695-6922, www.oddduckfarmtotrailer.com) in the same lot with Gour­dough's and Austin Brevita over the weekend but will have to go back when it is open... In addition to saying goodbye to a personal favorite restaurant when Evitas Botanitas closed in Decem­ber, the recent holidays also brought the news that Lisa and Mark Spedale had closed Primizie Osteria (1000 E. 11th) after unsatisfactory rent renegotiations with the Austin Revitalization Authority. The couple will continue to operate their successful catering operation and can be reached at www.primizieaustin.com. It seems the first casualty of the Downtown Mexican restaurant sweepstakes is the local outlet of the Colorado-based Rio Grande (Third & San Jacinto), which closed after New Year's Eve... We also received a clarification of a news item from Brad Fowler, whose family has owned the venerable Ski Shores Cafe (2905 Pearce, www.skishores.com) since the Fifties. Fowler advises us that the popular lakeside venue is closed for repairs and will reopen in the spring under new management... Cannoli Joe's (4715 Hwy. 290 W., 892-4444, www.cannolijoes.com) chef/partner Bob Hauser got in touch to announce he's serving all-you-can-eat filet mignon every night during January ($13.99 a person weeknights, $15.99 weekends). Hauser reveals the secret behind this amazing offer is the beef buying power of the restaurant's parent company, County Line Bar-B-Q.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

restaurant openings, Davis Tucker, John Hockenyos, Red's Porch, VIVO, Lift Cafe, 24 Diner, Habana Calle 6, Jack Gilmore, Jack Allen's Kitchen, G'Raj Mahal, La Boîte, Evitas Botanitas, Primizie Osteria, Lisa and Mark Spedale, Ski Shores Cafe, Cannoli Joe's, filet mignon, County Line

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