Apps guide you to grub; and more

One of the most interesting elements of South by Southwest 2011 has to be the pop-up phenomenon – it seems there's not a parking lot or empty retail or restaurant space that hasn't been rented out to someone for the duration of the festival. Parking lots have become outdoor party venues complete with food trailer parks, retail spaces are hawking everything from Apple products to wine, and formerly empty restaurant spaces are hosting free food. In addition to renting out empty spaces, some businesses made contact with going concerns and bought them out for a couple of weeks – witness the deal between CNN and Max's Wine Dive (207 San Jacinto). The news network brought in chefs from Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group in New York to consult with Max's chef JP Lacoste on special menu items, and re-christened the entire space as the "CNN Grill" for the duration of SXSW – a concept CNN has employed at events such as the Republican and Democratic national conventions and election nights since 2004... Once again this year, the Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill (303 Red River) struck a deal to host the "Fast Company Grill" during the Festival, although a portion of that restaurant remains open to the public as well.

This year's Interactive crowd is certainly making use of cell phone cameras and iPhone apps. The folks from Foodspotting attended the third annual BBQ Crash Course at Emo's in droves last Friday, snapping plenty of photos of the banana pudding as a component of their weekend food treasure hunt. Speaking of new apps, Jonathan Shapiro created one after visiting SXSW last year. "I found it cumbersome to navigate multiple websites/blogs to find some of the best places to eat, so I surveyed locals in Austin about their favorite places to eat and what to order," he explained via e-mail. From that survey, Shapiro created an Austin Restaurant Guide listing restaurants and favorite dishes at each spot. Check out the survey at and look for the iPhone app at the iTunes App store.

One of my favorite new restaurants is Foreign & Domestic (306 E. 53rd), and I'm very excited to know they're opening for brunch starting this Sunday, March 20, from 11am to 3pm. Check out the entire brunch menu at

Here are some suggestions for culinary mementos of your 2011 visit to Austin: Barbecue Lover's Guide to Austin by Gloria Corral is a comprehensive, self-published paperback barbecue guide you can pick up at local independent BookPeople (603 N. Lamar); Maria's Crazy Kitchen: Recipes From Austin's Beloved Taco Xpress by Maria Corbalan and Ruth Carter is a genuinely handmade piece of local folk art for sale at Taco Xpress (2529 S. Lamar) and contains good recipes, too; AustiNuts (2900 W. Anderson, 323-6887) has created two sizes of guitar-shaped boxes celebrating the live music capital of the world and filled them with tasty nut assortments – look for these great gifts at the store, online, and in Downtown hotels and airport gift shops.

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More Max's Wine Dive
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Wine of the Week
For SXSW wine-lovers

Wes Marshall, March 19, 2010

Max's Wine Dive
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Max's offers a very affordable brunch and happy hour, but loud music is part of the package

Virginia B. Wood, July 17, 2009

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