Chef winners, restaurant openings, and more

Congratulations to chef Christina Lee, winner of the Chefs Under Fire 2010 culinary competition held recently at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center. A second-generation chef, Lee attended the University of Texas at Austin and is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York City. She works at the original Central Market Cooking School (4001 N. Lamar, 206-1014, To see chef Lee in action, register for one of her Holiday 101 cooking classes in November or for a hands-on Chinese dumpling class she will present with her father, retired chef and restaurateur Lawrence Lee, on Dec. 28... The Travis County Farmers' Market (6701 Burnet Rd.) reopens under new management next Thursday, Nov. 11, with vendors selling from 3 to 7pm. Farmers, artisan foodmakers, mobile food vendors, and craft artisans interested in booth rentals at the market are encouraged to e-mail Jean Kruse at The Austin chapter of Les Dames d'Escof­fier challenges Austin food lovers to outbid one another at its virtual fundraiser, the annual online Food Fight. To attend the auction, go to and bid on culinary travel packages, gift baskets, cooking classes, and special events. Bidding is open through Nov. 12, and proceeds benefit Les Dames' scholarship funds... Fall is always a busy time for new restaurant openings in Austin. We're told Northwest Hills neighbors are falling in love with the cozy little Anabelle's Casual Dining Room (8105 Mesa, 795-2062,, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the space formerly occupied by Ms. B's... Uvalde native and longtime Austin restaurateur Jose Uriegas is back in business, serving his signature Tex-Mex and Norteño-style Mexican dishes at Mexitas Mexican Food Restaurant just east of the Capitol (1109 N. I-35, 467-4444)... I keep hearing good things about the innovative burgers and luxurious milkshakes at SoCo's new Hopdoddy Burger Bar (1400 S. Congress, 243-7505, and am eager to try them out... Things are about to get busier on San Jacinto Boulevard, what with parkside's chef and owner Shawn Cirkiel set to open the backspace (507 San Jacinto, 474-9899, later this month, offering authentic Neapolitan pizza prepared in an imported Italian wood-fired oven, and the debut of Vince Young's Steakhouse (301 San Jacinto, 45-STEAK, in the former Rio Grande location... Mike & Charlie's restaurant, bar, and takeout emporium was a happening spot on 34th Street during the Seventies and Eighties here in River City, and I have fond memories of selling them brownies, carrot cakes, lemon bars, and Bailey Square chocolate cakes back in the day. Former owner Kathleen Littlepage e-mailed recently to let me know that former employees, purveyors, and loyal fans are invited to a Mike & Charlie's reunion at Jim LeMond's Barton Springs Saloon (424 S. Lamar, 482-9673, on Sunday, Nov. 7, at 7pm. See you there.

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