A roundup of this week's food news
By Virginia B. Wood, Fri., Sept. 7, 2012
Fall is off to a flying start with high hopes for a winning football season that will be good for the hospitality economy, and a whole lot of news on the local food scene. Having recently broken ground on their new headquarters near the Capital MetroRail MLK station, the Sustainable Food Center still needs to raise more than a million dollars to complete the project, which will include offices, classrooms, and a state-of-the-art teaching kitchen, plus a teaching and community food garden. A group of local food and drink establishments, collectively known as the Breadwinners, have come together to help with this endeavor, and they have some novel fundraising plans scheduled for this fall. Look for special dishes and custom cocktails designated as fundraising items on menus around town, plus some signature dinners and events. "The goal of our gift is to inform and inspire other restaurant and food industry groups to recognize the importance of the SFC. A large part of our group's passion for local food, farmers, and gardens comes from our time at SFC and is reflected in the menus at 24 Diner and Easy Tiger," says Scott Hentschel of ELM Restaurant Group. Food businesses interested in becoming Breadwinners can contact SFC Community Relations Director Susan Leibrock at 236-0074, ext. 111.
Austin's dynamic Asian food options continue expanding with the opening of Ramen Tatsu-Ya (8557 Research Blvd., #126) from local chefs and hip-hop DJs Tatsu Aikawa and Takuya Matsumoto (read more about the opening of this authentic ramen slurp shop in our On the Range blog), as well as Spin Modern Thai Cuisine (14005 Hwy. 183 N., #1000) from East Side King co-owner Ek Timrerk and his fellow Uchi alum, Thai Changthong.
Liberty Tavern in the Hilton Downtown (500 E. Fourth) has been renovated and reopens this weekend with a new concept capitalizing on Austin's thriving craft brewing trend. Offering an America-meets-Texas menu, the tavern will have 12 beers on tap, 20 bottled beers in different styles, plus three signature ales from local brewing partner Independence Brewery, in regular pints and 20-ounce Texas draughts. Texas-based spirits at the bar will include Tito's Vodka, Treaty Oak Rum, Dulce Vida Tequila, and Rebecca Creek Whiskey. Open for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a late-night happy hour every day.
The annual Z'Tejas Chile Bash kicked off earlier this week and runs through Sept. 23 at all three Austin locations. With the purchase of every special Hatch chile menu item, Z'Tejas donates $1 to the Livestrong Survivorship Center at Dell Children's Medical Center... And since September is Hunger Action Month, all local Torchy's Tacos will donate the proceeds from their Taco of the Month sales to the Capital Area Food Bank. Eat those Washingtonian tacos!
Top Chef Paul Qui will be back at Uchi (810 S. Lamar) Sept. 10-15... Peche chef Jason Dodge has opened Cherry Street in the former Hog Island Deli location (1612 Lavaca)... Michael Waters is the new brewer at Uncle Billy's Brew & Que (1530 Barton Springs Rd.).