The Austin Chronicle


By Virginia B. Wood, September 9, 2011, Food

One of the worst things that happened while I was out of the house unexpectedly for about 10 days was a power outage or surge that tripped the breakers, cutting off power to the refrigerator. Losing fresh food, local salsas, cheeses, and condiments was bad enough, but the loss of a freezer full of beautiful summer produce – sweet peaches from Caskey Orchards, blackberries, wild plums, and black-eyed peas – plus some choice cuts of local meats and charcuterie was a huge disappointment. I was feeling really sorry for myself until some friends had to be evacuated from their home during the Labor Day fires, and then I got right over it. It's just good to be home.

Food on TV: Have to say I'm hooked on the new season of Top Chef Just Des­serts – I'm really impressed with the new level of difficulty in all the challenges. Contest­ants need to have extensive skill sets to keep up this year, and it'll be interesting to see how things turn out. Texas pastry chefs Lina Bianca­mano, formerly of Stephan Pyles in Dallas, and Vanarian Kuch of Tiny Boxwoods in Houston were the first two eliminations. Former Asti/Fino pastry chef Amanda Rockman, who now works for the Bristol in Chicago, is still coming on strong, and I'm pulling for her. ... Bravo is also promoting the upcoming debut of Top Chef: Texas, so naturally I'm eager to see which Texas chefs and restaurants are involved. ... No Texas food trucks are competing in this season's Great Food Truck Race, but public voting has started for season three; go to to vote for local hopefuls Colibri Cuisine, Chi'Lantro, Hey Cupcake! and the Vegan Yacht or throw some support to Chef Tai's Mobile Gourmet Food Truck ( And if you think you've got the chops to be the next Guy Fieri or Paula Deen, the Food Network is holding an open audition for the eighth season of The Next Food Network Star in Austin at the Hyatt Reg­ency (208 Barton Springs Rd.) on Satur­day, Sept. 10, from 9am to 1pm. Good luck!

If you're still hankering for Hatch chiles, Austin's homegrown Z'Tejas chain hosts its annual Chile Bash through Sept. 25 at all locations. Purchase special menu items such as chile and onion rings, chipotle meatballs, and chicken tinga rellenos, and $1 from every chile entrée will be donated to the Livestrong Cancer Survivorship Center at the Dell Children's Hospital.

In the off with our heads department, the address of Panaderia Chuy's new location is 801 E. William Can­non, and the winner in the Individual Red Sauce category in last week's Hot Sauce Fest is Anthony Padilla. We regret the errors.

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