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Your tasting menu of Austin restaurant news

By Virginia B. Wood, August 2, 2013, Food

There was a little flurry of activity on Twitter this weekend when local people started talking about buying cronuts at the scratch bakery in the new H-E-B at Mueller. In case you haven't heard about cronuts, they are a croissant/doughnut hybrid developed at the Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York City that took the pastry scene by storm. News reports show lines of folks willing to pay $5 each for the distinctive pastry and the bakery only makes 250-300 of them a day. Based on my informal survey of high-profile local bakeries, there are currently no cronuts in Austin; turns out the pastry for sale at the H-E-B is a sugar-coated "croissant doughnut" and not like the NYC original at all. Bakery owners Jim Murphy (Sweetish Hill), Stephanie Schuster (Upper Crust), and Art Silver (Quack's 43rd Street Bakery) said they haven't noticed a groundswell of Austin customers demanding cronuts. And although all three shops produce the laminated pastry dough necessary for croissants every day, none of them is likely to produce cronuts because they aren't equipped with deep fryers.

In other local bakery news, when the new Wheatsville Food Co-op (4001 S. Lamar) opens later this year, it will be equipped with its own scratch bakery. Wheatsville bakery supervisor Robin Roosa spent some time this summer at the Wild Oats Market in Williamstown, Mass., getting ideas from their artisanal bread program to bring back here. The store opening is now slated for early fall.

Now a lightning round of news on the local restaurant horizon: It's looking as if Edgar and Christina Torres' long-awaited School House Pub (2207 Manor Rd.) should finally open next week, and there's great progress being made just up the street on the building that will be Haymaker (2310 Manor Rd)... We've also heard from the owners of Zed's (501 Canyon Ridge) that their bar expansion and dining room remodel is finally in progress and they've hired a new chef; the plan is to reopen in early October... A restaurant called Olamaie, featuring "modern South­ern cuisine," is what's up next for the cottage at 1610 San Antonio. In anticipation of their opening later this year, Olamaie chefs Michael Fojtasek and Grae Nonas are hosting a series of pop-up dinners at restaurants in Austin and Dallas, the first of which is Aug. 6 at Lenoir; see more information on the pop-up schedule at Fishmonger Roberto San Miguel and chef Shane Stark are partnering on a new, casual, fresh seafood restaurant and market called Pelagic Fish Market (2401 E. Cesar Chavez) in the vicinity of Counter Culture and Juan in a Million. They hope to be selling an affordably priced Gulf seafood menu there by early 2014.

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