The breeding season for new restaurants in Austin is November-December

I'd be hard-pressed to recall an Austin Novem­ber/December with more new restaurant activity. Out near the lake, a second outlet of Uncle Billy's Brew & Que (6550 Comanche Trail Ste. B-201, 266-0111) is serving hand-crafted brews and barbecue, next to Houston chef Robert Del Grande's new Soleil (6550 Comanche Trail Ste. B-101, 266-0600), which takes its inspiration from Italy and the Mediter­ranean. Both eateries share the same dramatic Lake Travis sunset views as the Oasis. Also look for Sobani (1700 RR 620 N., 266-3900), a midpriced bistro from chef Jon Gaboric that serves dinner daily and lunch every day but Saturday. Farther up the road, check out the custom wedding cakes and fine pastries at Michelle's Patis­serie (12233 RR 620 N., 433-6860,

Meanwhile, South Austin is buzzing about the new dining opportunities in the Austinville 78704 development, where you can get great tacos at Papalote Taco House (2803 S. Lamar, 804-2472) and enjoy the very healthy combination of fresh juice drinks paired with piping hot servings of distinctive soups at the Juicebox & Soup Peddler (2801 S. Lamar, 444-SOUP). Next door is a new Phil's Icehouse/Amy's Ice Creams tandem: burgers and those Austin­ta­tious frozen treats (2901 S. Lamar). In the Bouldin Creek area, be sure to try the French-inspired pastries at La Pâtisserie by Luxe Sweets (602 W. Annie, 912-0033) created by Kitchen Space owner Soraiya Nagree. Also check out New India Cuisine (2304 S. Con­gress, 445-9727), which has taken up residence in the old Richard Jones barbecue location.

There are several eagerly awaited restaurant openings scheduled to take place Downtown this month, all dependent on final permitting and inspections. The new W Hotel (200 Lavaca) is scheduled to open this week, including the restaurant Trace. Around the corner at the Austonian (200 Congress), Executive Chef David Bull is optimistic that both his eateries, the upscale Congress and more casual Second, will be open before the end of the year. The eagerly anticipated Haddingtons (601 W. Sixth) from restaurateur Michael Polombo, chef Zack Northcutt, and bar master Bill Norris is also shooting for a pre-Christmas opening.

Foodways Texas ( is a new cultural organization founded to study, document, and honor the culinary history and food traditions of the Lone Star State. Founding members include food writers, chefs, restaurateurs, farmers, ranchers, food artisans, brewers, and scholars. The organization, under the direction of Executive Director Marvin Bendele, will make its home at the University of Texas through an affiliation with the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement. Foodways Texas is slated to hold an annual educational symposium, create an independent film series focusing on Texas food traditions, and coordinate an oral history program documenting Texas foods. A local launch party for Foodways Texas will be held at Momo's (618 W. Sixth), noon-5pm this Saturday, Dec. 11, with food and music. Check out the invitation at and stop by to consider becoming a member.

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