National media still eating up Austin's food scene; and other edible news to chew on

Although national media coverage of our local food scene has become more common lately, it's still a treat when local folks pop up on national TV. Amy's Ice Creams owner Amy Sim­mons, her husband, and one of their talented ice cream slingers appeared on ABC's The View last week for a segment about the best ice creams in America. The View ladies seemed suitably impressed with both the ice cream and the showmanship demonstrated by the Amy's crew... Austin was also the subject of the first segment of the new Cooking Channel culinary travel series Eden Eats (8pm Sundays), with hostess Eden Grinshpan checking out the ever-expanding ethnic diversity of our local food offerings. Look for a rerun on channel 204, Sunday, July 24, at 4pm. And rampant online speculation continues about the possibility of the new season of Bravo's Top Chef being shot in San Antonio, Dallas, and Austin... As for print media coverage, Central Texas barbecue joints in Taylor, Lockhart, and Luling were featured in a New York Times Magazine story about summer treks last week, The Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Fest­ival appears in a national Food Fest map in the new issue of Martha Stewart's Everyday Food, and parkside chef/owner Shawn Cirkiel and his adorable young family are the subject of an outdoor-entertaining story about sundown suppers in the August issue of Southern Living.

Speaking of good ice cream, Cincinnati-based Graeter's ice cream, made nationally famous as one of Oprah Winfrey's favorite things, is now available in Austin. A recent sample pack of pints was a huge hit with my colleagues at the Chronicle office – they raved about the luscious vanilla and refreshing mint chocolate chip. Graeter's ice creams are now at H-E-B stores.

Former Austin chef Paul Petersen announced his return to town last week. He's teamed with fellow San Antonio native Roger Diaz in an overhaul of the Lake Creek Shopping Center outlet of Diaz's Vivo restaurant (12233 RR 620 N.). Petersen's new menu will still focus on San Antonio-style Tex-Mex with some added upscale touches, and the bar now has a tequila club for special cocktail events. Look for Petersen to present a salsa demonstration in the cooking tent at the upcoming Austin Chronicle Hot Sauce Festival, Aug. 28.

In other local restaurant news, Magna Sam­paio is a partner in the newly opened Hugo's Restaurant & Tequila Bar (300 S. Lamar) on the ground floor of a mixed-use development a few blocks south of the river. Hugo's presents a South American/Latin menu with some Tex-Mex dishes and large selections of both tequila and beer. It's open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner... And Austin fans of chef Parind Vora's Restaurant Jezebel will be pleased to know that the eclectic fine dining venue will return as one of three restaurants planned for the Cirrus Logic building being built at 800 W. Sixth by former Jezebel regular and Cirrus CEO Jason Rhode. Look for Vora to open Jezebel, Cafe Ziño, and Bar Ziño some time in 2012.

In the off-with-my-head department: Sauced Pizza owners Annette Rhode and Carson Nunez are both graduates of the ACC Culinary Arts program rather than Le Cordon Bleu. My sincere apologies to the young entrepreneurs and their culinary instructors.

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