Austin Bakes for West a winner, plus accolades and openings
Last week brought more good news for people in the local food community. The best news, of course, is that Austin Bakes for West raised over $20,000 to aid relief work in West, Texas. Congratulations to Kathryn Hutchison and her army of baking and selling volunteers for a job well done. Kudos, also, to the team who created the online magazine Dark Rye (www.darkrye.com) for Whole Foods Markets, because they won a James Beard Foundation Journalism Award in the Group Food Blog category on Friday night. And Austin Pie Queen Jaynie Buckingham's Heath toffee pie recently brought home a first place in the professional division of the Crisco National Pie Championships in Florida. Buckingham's Cutie Pie trailer has been on hiatus the past few months, but she's now actively looking for a new spot for her bright pink trailer.
Food Network casting directors have obviously had their eye on Austin. Uchiko sushi chef Angela Majko recently made it as far as the second round before getting Chopped, but two more local competitors will be diving into those mystery baskets for a chance to win $10,000 sometime soon. We're told longtime Austin chef David Garrido will appear on the program in June, and we learned this week that a segment of Chopped featuring Nate Echelberger, of the Holy Smokers cooking competition team, is set to air on Tuesday, May 14, 9pm. And speaking of Garrido, we're eager to sample the "New World Latino" menu he's developed to go with some new interior touches, a new website, and complimentary valet parking at Garrido's (360 Nueces #10).
Houndstooth Coffee (401 Congress) is now open in the Frost Bank Tower with coffee service during the week plus special food and coffee pairing events on weekends with table service – sounds intriguing. Also Downtown, dishes such as Pop-Over Eggs Benedict and Bananas Foster French Toast on the new brunch menu at the Bonneville (202 W. Cesar Chavez) really caught my eye. That's another place I'm eager to try.
New restaurant openings here used to be so few and far between that they were big news, but with the fast pace and fluidity of the Austin restaurant market these days, no sooner does one thing close than two more open up in its place. Though the new Jeffrey's (1204 West Lynn) opened quietly last week, there are still some other high-profile openings on the summer horizon, such as Qui (1600 E. Sixth), slated for June, and Bridget Dunlap's Mettle (507 Calles), Spanish chef Daniel Olivella's Barlata Austin (1500 S. Lamar), and Bryce Gilmore's Odd Duck. Meanwhile, we learned this week that the original Opal Divine's Freehouse (700 W. Sixth) will close at the end of the month with plans to relocate sometime in 2014 into a bigger Downtown venue that will allow for more kitchen space. No word yet on who will be taking over the Civil-War-era B.J. Smith building with the 18-inch-thick stone walls hidden behind all those decks, but we're betting on some new bar concept.