This week's local foodie news

A contingent of Austinites spent much of last week in Portland, Ore., at the annual conference of the International Associa­tion of Culinary Professionals. One of their activities was manning a booth encouraging conferencegoers to attend the 2011 gathering here in Austin. Food journalist ( and Southern Foodways Alliance co-founder Toni Tipton-Martin is chair of the local IACP conference committee and will need plenty of assistance from our local food community to put on a great Austin showcase next June... Guests at this weekend's First Look Festival at the new Backyard at Bee Cave (13472 Bee Cave Pkwy., Bee Cave, 512/263-4146, will enjoy an all-local musical lineup as well as a trailer food court featuring some of Austin's tastiest mobile food vendors: Torchy's Tacos, sandwiches from Mandola's Italian Market, sausage wraps by Best Wurst, Smokey Mo's Bar-B-Q, and Giovanni's Pizza Stand. Although he already has a waiting list, food court manager Moshe Prystowsky says interested mobile vendors should contact him at the venue. Meanwhile, chef Luke Bibby is at home in the new Backyard kitchen and will continue backstage catering for guest artists and crews... Austin custom cake shop Blue Note Bakery (4201 S. Congress #101, 797-7367, is one of four regional bakeries featured in the May issue of Every Day With Rachael Ray. Check out photos of Blue Note's signature tie-dyed "South Austin" wedding cake, presented as an alternative to traditional white cakes... Austin Lyric Opera promoted the opening of its production of Hansel and Gretel with a hotly contested gingerbread house contest two weeks ago. Be sure to check out the winning houses in the Long Center lobby while attending the last few performances this weekend... There are some changes in the local Thai restaurant scene. The former Thai Passion north is under new ownership with a new name and menu. It is now Thai House (9014 Research #150, 832-9722, CK Thai Cuisine (5207 Brodie #200, 892-2744) also has new owners and a new menu. Readers who were loyal fans of the former Thai Tara are curious to know when, where, or if the former Sixth Street Thai restaurant will relocate. Thai Tara, phone home... We were sent a sneak peek of menu drafts for a new north central Austin restaurant called Foreign & Domes­tic, Food & Drink (306 E. 53rd), coming soon from chef couple Ned and Jodi Elliott. The menus look interesting but no word yet on when the eatery will open... Sunday, May 2, is Lemonade Day Austin, and we're told that upward of 10,000 youngsters around the metro area will be learning about entrepreneurship firsthand by operating homemade lemonade stands. Parents who would like to learn more about this project and help their kids participate can do so online at Each child who registers will receive a yellow backpack full of the information necessary to create a successful lemonade stand and gets to keep any money he or she earns. I know I'll be on the lookout for lemonade stands!

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