Food-o-File

Good food news for smart cookies with a little Southern comfort and help with your New Year's resolution

The annual sale of Girl Scout cookies began Jan. 19 and continues through Feb. 25. The entrepreneurial young ladies will be selling eight flavors of cookies for $3.50 per box, $2.65 of which goes directly to fund Girl Scout programs in Central Texas. Check out cookie booth locations at www.gsctx.org and shop to show your support!

Richard Whitaker's report (see "Hidden Capitol Kitchens") on Capitol-area dining and drinking secrets reminded me of a new Downtown hot-food delivery service that's been gaining popularity over the past months. Chef Samantha "Sam" Rhodes is a UT grad and former big-city real estate executive who followed her bliss into the kitchen and started a South­ern comfort food delivery business called SoCoToGo (970-8646, www.socotogo.com). She and her employees whip up Southern comfort standards every weekday and deliver from 11am to 2pm in the area bounded by Cesar Chavez and 15th and MoPac and I-35. Among her menu highlights are chicken-fried chicken (with or without cream gravy), Ultimate Tacos with fried tilapia or avocado slices, chopped brisket Sammies, and sidekicks such as hash-brown casserole, kicked-up green beans with bacon, skillet corn, garlic mashers, or fried dill pickles. Some recently added Friday specials like King Ranch casserole and carne guisado have been very well-received. Call Rhodes – she and her crew will gladly deliver the food necessary to comfort your caucus.

If you're still trying to make good on that New Year's resolution to get healthier, we've just heard from a new joint venture that would like to help out. Chef Andrew Brooks of Spirited Foods Co. (kyosabrooks@grandecom.net) is offering special pricing on his weight-loss and vegetarian prepared meal plans to customers working out with certified personal trainer Chris Silman (698-8074, chris silmancpt@gmail.com). The special pricing is for a limited time only, so get a move on!

Speaking of what's new, there were several more restaurant openings in the past few weeks. Out near the lake, two longtime Manuel's employees have struck out on their own with Santa Catarina (1310 RR 620 S., Lakeway, 512/300-0946, www.santacatarinarestaurant.com) in a former Flores Mexican Restaurant location, where they're serving Interior Mexican specialties daily from 11am to 10pm. Also new in that neighborhood is Don Juan's Cantina (3595 RR 620 S., Bee Cave, 512/263-8888, www.donjuanscantina.com), offering happy hour daily from 4 to 7pm with a free nacho bar. In South Austin, a second local outlet of the chain Sherlock's Baker St. Pub & Grill has opened in the former Alligator Grill space (3003 S. Lamar), and both local outlets of Newflower Farm­ers' Market have changed their names to Sunflower Farmers' Market (6920 Manchaca Rd.; 12700 Shops Pkwy., Bee Cave) to reflect the same name as the other stores in the chain. And Downtown, the highly anticipated Haddingtons (601 W. Sixth, 992-0204, www.thehaddington.com) is finally open, and we're eager to try it.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

new restaurants, Girl Scout cookies, Samantha Rhodes, SoCoToGo, food delivery, Andrew Brooks, Spirited Foods Co., Chris Silman, Santa Catarina, Don Juan's Cantina, Sherlock's Baker St. Pub & Grill, Sunflower Farmers' Market, Newflower Farmers' Market, Haddingtons

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