Peace Through Pie – and beer


Peace Through Pie Socials were a popular method of celebrating the Martin Luther King holiday during the past week. What started as a single pie social at Austin's historic Sweet Home Missionary Baptist Church four years ago has blossomed into a delicious movement bringing people together around pies. The coolest email I received invited guests to "Come eat our homework" as the combined culinary programs from Travis High School in Austin and Connally High School in Pflugerville presented a "No Place for Hate" MLK pie social.

Chronicle contributing food writer MM Pack reports that Confituras' bourbon-brown-sugar peach preserves, Rumble Cask Reserve from Balcones Distilling, and Independence Brewing Co.'s Convict Hill oatmeal stout earned prizes at the Good Food Awards in San Francisco last week.

The Natural Epicurean Academy of Culin­ary Arts (1700 S. Lamar) will award three $5,000, merit-based scholarships for the upcoming session of the school's professional chef training program. These scholarships are available to professionals in the fields of yoga training, health care, and macrobiotics, and the deadline for applications is Jan. 27. Get more info at 476-2276 or

Sputnik, a Russian imperial coffee-oatmeal stout from Austin Beerworks and Cuvée Coffee Roasting Company, makes its draft debut at the Austin premiere of Man on a Mission at the Alamo Draft­house South Lamar, Friday, Jan. 20, 7pm. Sputnik drafts will also be served during screenings of the film at the Alamo Drafthouse Village (Feb. 1) and the Alamo Drafthouse Lake Creek (Feb. 9).

Executive Chef Phillip Brown and pastry chef Jill Schweder from Austin's Vince Young Steak­house present a dinner at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City this weekend.

Project Transitions has more themed dinners than ever listed in the Guess Who's Com­ing to Dinner invitations this year, but do reserve quickly. Didn't get an invite? Call 454-8646.

Longtime Austin chef Ruben Rodriguez passed away last week at age 54. He is survived by his wife Juanita and their four children, three grandchildren, and a large extended family. A native of Guanajuato, Mexico, Rodriguez began his Austin culinary career in a Holiday Inn kitchen in 1976 and spent many years at the Hilton Highland Mall, where he acquired his skills for producing elegant garnishes and ice sculptures. Striking out on their own, Ruben and Juanita operated Evita's Botanitas, which was famous for Ruben's award-winning signature salsas served with a selection of Tex-Mex and Interior Mexican dishes. Illness forced Ruben's retirement in 2010 and, like so many independent restaurant owners, he had no health insurance. To help out with the family's medical and funeral expenses, fans and friends can send checks to Juanita Rodriguez at 205 Ainsworth, Austin, TX 78745.

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