Food-o-File

Austin foodies win hearts and competitions

Unfortunately, I had to back out of my planned judging duties at Saturday's Austin Restaurant Throwdown at Manny's Uptown Kitchen (9503 Research), but organizers tell me a crowd of 250 bought ballots to participate in the people's choice voting for the Best Reuben in Austin. The judges' award and 60% of the charity proceeds went to Fricano's Deli and Christopher House. Manny's won the people's choice vote, and its charity, Meals on Wheels & More, divided the remaining 40% donation with the other charities. Based on the success of this event, look for another Throw­down in the coming months.

Austin's newest food trailer park is the Mueller eateries, located in a parking lot on the western edge of the Mueller development, near the Mueller Hangar. There's plenty of convenient parking, a group of comfortable picnic tables in front of the trailers, and several more tables under the hangar. Currently, the lineup includes Mmmpanadas (weekdays, 11am-2pm; weekends, 10am-2pm), Elixer Coffee (weekdays, 7:45am-11am; weekends, 8am-1:30pm), and Short Bus Subs (weekdays, 7:30am-2pm; weekends, 9am-3pm), but we're told to expect a total of six trailers in the near future. I joined a bundled-up group of families on Sunday afternoon and discovered why my Chronicle colleague Mick Vann is such a big fan of Short Bus Subs: The hearty, overstuffed sandwiches are made on hoagie rolls baked fresh every morning in its commissary kitchen, and good bread makes a good sandwich. Now I can't wait to see what other trailers show up over there.

Speaking of new trailer concepts, the newest food trailer in the historic entertain­ment district is selling bags of fresh, hot, Minne­sota-style minidoughnuts at the corner of Sixth & Red River, 9pm-2am on weekends. Doc Munchies (www.twitter.com/docmunchies) is the brainchild of two Austin couples who were familiar with the Minnesota county fair and farmers' market staple item and decided to introduce it into the Austin market. There's plenty of savory street food available up and down East Sixth (think sausages and pizza slices), but these are the first sweets. I'm very curious about how they'll do.

What once were sleepy little farm towns outside Austin are now bustling communities attracting interesting food concepts. There's now a vineyard and winery in Florence, and besides boasting a busy weekly farmers' market, Cedar Park is a hot new chain restaurant destination. Folks there are enjoying a new Logan's Roadhouse and looking forward to a Mighty Fine Burgers outlet in the near future. In Hutto, locals recently celebrated the opening of Sarah's Texas Pantry (101-B East St., 512/758-9571, www.sarahstexaspantry.com), a neighborhood grocer offering farm-fresh produce, organic eggs, and a selection of Texas artisanal cheeses, meats, and canned goods.

Congratulations to Austin bartender Marcelo Nascimento of Lucky 13 Cocktail Co. (www.lucky13cocktailco.com), named Master of the Manhattan at a drink contest sponsored by Woodford Reserve bourbon and Esquire magazine in New York City earlier this month. Look for his winning Voodoo Manhattan recipe to appear in a Woodford Reserve ad in the February issue of Esquire. Good for him!

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

trailer food, Austin Restaurant Throwdown, Manny's Uptown Kitchen, Fricano's Deli, Mueller, Mmmpanadas, Elixer Coffee, Short Bus Subs, Doc Munchies, Cedar Park, Sarah's Texas Pantry, Marcelo Nascimento, Lucky 13 Cocktail Co., Master of the Manhattan, Woodford Reserve, Esquire

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