New menus, new arrivals, new ventures, and other news
Two Austin culinary entrepreneurs have been in touch recently with news about menu enhancements at their restaurants. Zen (various locations, www.eatzen.com) founder Adam Weisberg called to share his enthusiasm about some spicy new items on the Zen menus developed in consultation with Torchy's Tacos chef/owner Michael Rypka. "We decided it was time to add some bolder flavors to our menus, so we're offering a few new things with Japanese ingredients prepared with a bit of a Texas attitude," Weisberg explained. Drop by your favorite Zen outlet to check them out. Meanwhile, Daily Juice (various locations, www.dailyjuice.org) owner Matt Shook says employees are pleased to be eating and serving hot soups prepared by the Soup Peddler at his three outlets. To-go cups of hot soup ($4.50) should really hit the spot on the hike-and-bike trail in cooler weather. Shook also confirmed that his South Austin retail venture with David Ansel, the Juicebox/Soup Peddler, is slated to open in the second week of December.
Speaking of Rypka, he and wife Stacey welcomed a real, live treat into their home on Halloween with the arrival of Michael Travis Rypka (8 pounds, 5 ounces; 20½ inches). We're betting that boy will have a lifetime of cool birthday parties!
Jen Strickland and Terri Hannifin created the Carnival o' Pizza as an homage to the neighborhood block parties and street festivals of their New York childhoods, and their customers at Home Slice Pizza (1415 S. Congress, 444-7437, www.homeslicepizza.com) have totally embraced the annual celebration. This year, in addition to games, carnival booths, a raffle (VIP seating for your group for a year, anyone?), and live music along with plenty of pizza and beer, the wackiest component of the festivities has a new fundraising wrinkle. Each contestant in the Hands on an Eggplant Sub contest will have his or her own personal Web page from which to solicit sponsorship donations from friends and fans before and during the endurance contest. Contestants compete for a year of free pizza but also raise money for the carnival's charity beneficiary; proceeds benefit Habitat Young Professionals. Have fun at the carnival on Saturday, Nov. 20, from noon to 7pm, or stay all night watching old movies to see just what time your favorite H.O.E. wins the contest.
The grand prize in Faraday's Holiday Baking Contest went to Linda Adams, who took home a Viking stand mixer for her Gram's Lemon Pecan Sandies. People's Choice winner Pam Hoover (Chocolate Intemperance) took home a Cuisinart food processor. Individual category winners were Joe Lowke (cardamom cheesecake), Susan Norcia (apple bars), and Stacey Rider (apple cranberry dumplings). Congratulations to them all; see winning recipes at www.faradayskitchenstore.com.