The sweets beat: Contigo hires a new pastry chef
Steven Cak is the new pastry chef at Contigo (2027 Anchor) as well as the upcoming restaurant from the same team to be called Gardner (1914 E. Sixth). Cak, a graduate of both the Scottsdale Culinary Institute (savory) and the Culinary Institute of America New York (baking and pastry), says the new position's appeal was the opportunity to get back into the kitchen full-time, making breads and pastries and creating some vegetable-influenced desserts for the upcoming Gardner menu. Chef/restaurateur Shawn Cirkiel reports that Cak's former position as executive pastry chef at Parkside Projects will go unfilled for now, explaining that "pastry sous chefs in each of our restaurants have stepped up to take over pastries and desserts." Cak replaces pastry chef Kendall Melton, who has left Austin for Colorado... And speaking of Colorado: Austin was well-represented at the Aspen Food & Wine Classic this past weekend, what with restaurateur Kevin Williamson of Ranch 616 hosting the annual Texas Legends & Wildcatters Party and Delysia Chocolatier handing out samples in the Grand Tasting tent.
One of my new favorite things has to be High Brew Coffee, the line of cold-brewed, canned coffee beverages founded by David Smith, co-founder of Sweet Leaf Tea. I first encountered ice-cold cans of High Brew in the Grand Tasting tent at the Austin Food & Wine Festival in April. I'm fond of the smooth Mexican Vanilla and Dark Chocolate Mocha flavors, both only 60 calories for an 8-ounce serving, great from the can or over ice. Look for them at Whole Foods, Wheatsville Co-op, and select H-E-B stores.
The parking lot at Terry Black's Barbecue (1003 Barton Springs Rd.) was packed with cars over the weekend, as friends and family experienced the soft opening of the new barbecue joint created by the third and fourth generations of the venerable Central Texas rural barbecue royalty. It won't be long before diners can make the comparison of the fare presented by both branches of the Black family in Austin. Turns out the other branch of the family will open a Black's Barbecue storefront at 3110 Guadalupe later this summer, selling meats trucked in fresh daily from the original pits in Lockhart.
Since the Picnic Food Trailer Park (1720 Barton Springs Rd.) opened this spring, a few more designated food truck parks are coming online: Break Point at the Boardwalk (2201½ Lakeshore) is along the new lake boardwalk; the GoodLife Food Park (900 E. Cesar Chavez) will be at the northeast corner of Cesar Chavez and Brushy; and the new Zilker Food Park (1210 Barton Springs Rd.) is offering pricey spots in the parking lot at a former bike shop/KFC location... The owners of Azul Tequila (4211 S. Lamar) and sibling restaurant Papalote Taco House (2803 S. Lamar) are advancing to the Northwest. Sunday we noticed the progress being made on the new Azul Tequila outlet (3815 Dry Creek), and we're told the second Papalote (13265 Research) should be open later in the summer.