New Year's resolutions
Foreign & Domestic (306 E. 53rd) chef/owner Ned Elliott once again this January hosts Indie Chefs Week. This popular event evolved out of a social media camaraderie between a new generation of up-and-coming chefs and has now become a national showcase for emerging talent. In addition to fascinating meals, guests will enjoy an interactive dining experience, chatting with the chefs and observing them at work in the restaurant's open kitchen. During the week of Jan. 6-10, chefs and pastry chefs from Texas, New York, Virginia, Louisiana, Wisconsin, California, Oregon, and Ontario will serve signature dishes at the dinners; Tue.- Fri., Jan. 6-9, guests can choose seven courses by seven different chefs with wine pairings ($195 table, $225 counter) or opt for the Sat., Jan. 10, blowout where 30 chefs will serve 15 courses with wine pairings ($275 table, $315 counter). Tickets are on sale at the restaurant or online at www.indiechefsweek.com/atx-jan-2015.
The Sustainable Food Center's Downtown farmers' market is getting some new vendors. Gemma and Michael Matherne began selling their delightful Curious Confections pastries and holiday sweets a couple of Saturdays back, and on Jan. 3, look for Freedmen's at the Market, a booth offering farm-to-pit smoked meats by pit master Evan LeRoy. In addition to three different meats by the pound each week, Freedmen's will offer side dishes, drinks, and other provisions like house barbecue sauce, pickled vegetables, and desserts.
Restaurateur Ronald Cheng describes each of his Chinatown restaurants as having different personalities. In keeping with Chinatown Downtown's (107 W. Fifth) status as a popular spot for daily after-work happy hours and karaoke on weekends, that particular outlet is now offering Japanese pub-style izakaya dishes in addition to their regular menu. Izakaya meals traditionally begin with sharable plates of sushi and lighter fare and progress to yakitori (skewered meats cooked on the grill). In other Cheng dynasty news, both Chinatown North (3407 Greystone) and Chinatown Westlake (2712 Bee Caves Rd.) will be serving dim sum brunch from 11am-2:30pm on Christmas Day.
ELM Restaurant Group is making the most of failed bar properties Downtown. While work continues on their Tuscan-inspired eatery, Italic, slated to debut in the spring of 2015 at West Sixth and Colorado, they've already announced another new project. Look for Irene's (506 West), an unpretentious and hospitable Southern bar and restaurant, to open in the former home of Joe's Bar & Grill, offering breakfast items from a counter service window, a lunch menu of classic hearty sandwiches, and dinner based on traditional blue plate specials.
Gelateria Gemelli, a new project from business partners Andrew Sabola and Meghan Erwin, will open in the Corazon (1000 E. Fifth) mixed-use development in February with some gelatos made with local ingredients foraged by Valerie Broussard and gluten-free cones developed by Karen Morgan. According to the Corazon website, it will also be home to the Bee Grocery, Spartan Pizza, and Maggie Louise Confections.