Some spirited sightseeing and an eight-course cupcake dinner in this week's food news

Tipsy Texan co-owner David Alan and top Austin bartender Bill Norris have already enjoyed some serious libation-based vacations this summer, with more to come. Alan reports he spent two weeks traveling in Monaco, France, and Switzerland touring vineyards and visiting absinthe distilleries before his trip culminated at the Absinthe Festival in Boveresse, Switzerland. After returning from Europe, Alan joined Norris and a group of top American mixologists in Guadalajara, Mexico, for a tour of some of that country's top tequila distilleries (think Tesoro, Herradura, etc.) hosted by the Mexican government and the tequila industry. The tours included what Alan described as "unprecedented, total access" to the facilities they visited. "My head is swimming from all the things we saw and learned – I'm still trying to figure out how to incorporate all this new information into my business," he said. Alan and Norris will also be part of the Austin cocktail community contingent making the summer pilgrimage to New Orleans for the Crescent City's Tales of the Cocktail convention July 20-24. Then they've got a Kentucky bourbon tour planned for August. Both men promise blog and Facebook posts about their travels, complete with photos.

Speaking of drinking, the new Flix Brewhouse (I-35 & Hester's Crossing) held a sneak preview last week and our resident beer blogger Lee Nichols was there. Check out his blog,, and "Flix Brewhouse Arrives in Round Rock," Picture in Picture blog, to read all about it. We're told the kitchen at the new movie theatre/brewpub comes online July 15, and the first beers from the microbrewery should be ready in mid-August.

In food business news around town, chef Andrew Francisco has joined forces with entrepreneur Gino Angulo and his wife in a new venture called the Kitchen Window (415 Jessie), part of a project called Jessie Street Eats behind Thom's Market, just off Barton Springs Road. We're eager to check this out... After our recent story "Beer Convenience" (June 24), we heard from Bryan Hantes and Patrick Taylor, owners of the Corner Market (11010 Domain Dr. #112) in the Domain. Their upscale convenience store features quick shopping, snacks, coffee, beer, and wines... And the owners of Cannoli Joe's (4715 Hwy. 290 W.) are celebrating the restaurant's fourth anniversary by lowering prices: weekday lunch is $7.99; dinner is $10.99 Wednesday-Friday; on weekends, brunch is $10.99, and dinner is $12.99; and kids eat for $5.99 all the time.

Australian cupcake baker Jess Pryles makes her annual summer visit to Sugar Mama's Bake­shop (1905 S. First) later this month. This year, she and owner Olivia O'Neal are throwing an eight-course Dessert for Dinner cupcake tasting at the Volstead Lounge (1500 E. Sixth) on July 26. The event sold out quickly, but be sure to stop by the storefront to see what else those two are whipping up while Pryles is in town.

How cool was it to see Wayne Mueller of Louie Mueller Barbecue (206 W. Second St., Taylor) demonstrating the fine art of preparing authentic Texas brisket on the July 2 CBS Early Show? Way to represent!

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Tipsy Texan, absinthe, spirited sight-seeing, David Alan, Bill Norris, cocktails, Jess Pryles, Sugar Mama Bakeshop, cupcakes, Dessert for Dinner

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