The owners of Tacodeli were overwhelmed by the enthusiastic response to their 13th anniversary social media campaign to solicit creative new taco recipes. Based on descriptions of the winners, taco originality is alive and well in Austin – we're talking goat curry and Rocky Mountain oysters. Winners and runners-up in both the meat and veggie categories get gift cards, and interpretations of the winning taco recipes will appear on the menus at all locations during January. Check out the winners' original posts. Taking first place in the meat division was Rimas Remeza's Báhn Mì Taco: thin sliced pork shoulder topped with red chile-tomatillo sauce, a slaw of jalapeno, cabbage, and carrots, garnished with cucumbers and radishes. Runners-up were Anja Marie, Ron Schneider, Daniel Vincent, and Kate Houlihan. Chris Kubinski's Over Easy Street took top honors in the breakfast/veggie category, with Tacodeli's own three potato hash, crisp bacon, housemade sausage, eggs, and Monterey Jack. Coming in second and third were Emily Breedlove and Eric Sartoris. An honorable mention for the Most Austintatious Taco went to Mauricio Davila Farias for his suggestion honoring the late Leslie Cochran with grilled criadillas de toro, aka bull testicles. All recipes were submitted via Facebook or Twitter, and that proved so successful that Tacodeli took to social media again last week with a promise to donate $10 to the Sustainable Food Center for every new Twitter follower they attracted last Wednesday. They were so delighted by the numbers, they doubled down on the donation, sending $5,780 to help build SFC's new headquarters.
A quick round of year-end restaurant news: Trish Eichelberger has been named the Austin market concept chef by the Alamo Drafthouse, moving up from her position running the kitchen at the HighBall. She'll be responsible for developing feast and special event menus, participating in community events, and sourcing from local vendors... Cipollina (1213 W. Lynn) now offers prepackaged, fully cooked meals for two that include a meat or vegetarian option with two sides. Get Greg Randle to help with a wine selection, and a 30% discount on wine with the take-out meal... Last week's cold front brought great news for hot chocolate lovers: Packages of those decadently delicious Sip Chocolate drinking blends (Dark With Sea Salt, Spicy Spice, and Peppermint) are now available for $15 at www.sipchocolate.com... Expect changes in the Warehouse District in the coming year, with new bars such as Avenue on Congress and restaurants Capital Grille, Searsucker, and Mastman's Deli taking over empty spaces, plus promotions such as Warehouse Wednesdays, designed to attract new business to the area.
Please indulge me while I congratulate some regular contributors to the Chronicle food section: Wes Marshall's book What's a Wine Lover to Do? (Artisan, $17.95) has been translated into both Dutch and Czech. And Claudia Alarcón has recently returned from making a presentation on Mayan foodways at the 17th European Mayan Conference held in Helsinki, Finland. We're proud of them both.
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