Truck Farm Farmers' Market, the Taco Taxi, and a South by Southwest food Fest round-up

Saturday morning wake-up calls are becoming a trend at my house. This weekend it was a polite fireman ringing my doorbell at 7am to tell me they were putting out a fire in my backyard, where a smoldering compost pile next door had ignited the wooden fence between the two houses. Since I was already wide awake, I embarked on an early farmers' market tour to try and evaluate changes at the two new markets – Sustainable Food Center Farmers' Market at Sunset Valley and the Barton Creek Farmers Market. Stiff wind and cold rain derailed that plan, but I'll be keeping an eye on market developments in coming weeks. I did check out the Truck Farm Farm­ers' Market (5902 Bee Caves Rd.) on a glorious Thursday afternoon. It's in an attractive spot, and I was pleased to discover that my favorite lamb purveyors, Lloyd Wendel and Isabelle Lauzière of Harper (, have a booth there. Be sure to try their great cuts of meat. Also, look for the marvelous thin asparagus from McKemie HomeGrown and decadently delicious slices of pie from Me Myself & Pie. Market manager Amy Ingram has all kinds of special events planned for this spring – an Easter egg hunt and a wedding cake bake-off in April alone... I was amazed at the number of out-of-town food events that sprouted up around South by Southwest this year – perhaps Rachael Ray is responsible. Her now-annual Music party has grown so big it took over Stubb's last Saturday, Hormel sponsored a Bacon Throwdown at Emo's during Interact­ive, Guinness brought Irishman Frank Murray to town with food and bands from the Auld Sod for an authentic Gaelic Fleadh on St. Patty's Day, Plutopia threw a party featuring local Austin foods and cocktails at the Mexican American Cultural Center, IFC brought stars from the shows Dinner With the Band and Food Party to the Cross­roads House, and NYC underground supper club A Razor, A Shiny Knife hosted an interactive cooking class and meal... One discovery we made during the Fest was a new mobile business called the Taco Taxi (, 589-5441), where colorful young Bryan Biederman prepares and delivers Mexican and Peruvian street foods based on local ingredients. Give him a try. I wasn't able to get close to the Shed BBQ (1816 E. Sixth) or El Naranjo Mobile Austin (85 Rainey) during the Festival, but I can't wait to try them both now that things are returning to abnormal around here. Also Downtown, check out the new Cafe Divine at St. David's Episcopal Church (301 E. Eighth, 610-3500), now serving lunch every Thursday at noon. It's $8 to eat in, $8.50 for take-out, with weekly menus posted at Thanks to City Council Members Sheryl Cole and Chris Riley, and Mayor Pro Tem Mike Martinez, council will consider Item 54 at its meeting Thursday, March 25 – a resolution directing the city manager to study policies regarding the on-site preparation and sale of hot foods at farmers' markets in other Texas cities (including Hous­ton and Sunset Valley) in order to come up with better policy and permit recommendations for Austin by April 22. Hooray!

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SFC Farmers' Market at Sunset Valley, Barton Creek Farmers Market, Truck Farm Farm­ers' Market, Lloyd Wendel, Isabelle Lauzière, McKemie HomeGrown, Me Myself & Pie, Rachael Ray, Bacon Throwdown, Frank Murray, Plutopia, Dinner With the Band, Food Party, A Razor, A Shiny Knife, Taco Taxi, Bryan Biederman, The Shed BBQ, El Naranjo Mobile Austin, Cafe Divine

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