Food News Buffet
Yes, citizen, the local landscape of dining and drinking continues its rolling boil of uncertainty here in the midst of a coronavirus pandemic, and we can only hope that, however you're choosing to interact with the food service community, you're tipping as big as you can.
In happier news, the Austin-based nonprofit BakingForGood.org has joined forces with Austin Creative Alliance to present an auction-style bake sale (with 45 volunteer bakers!) as a fundraiser for Black Art Matters ATX. This yeasty celebration started on Monday, with more than 60 items to bid on – including a multitude of cakes, pies, breads, and savory creations. The sale runs through Saturday, July 11, and the bidding starts at $25.
Among the participants in the #BakersAgainstRacism movement is longtime Austin purveyor of culinary goodness Texas French Bread – which has recently expanded to daily service, with curbside pick-up in the parking lot. "We open at 8am for baked goods and coffee," owner Murph Willcott tells us, "and our kitchen serves from 10am until close at 2pm. For now, we've canceled our takeout dinner service as we try to keep a lid on the number of folks working in the building." This place has lunchtime sandwiches to live for, and Murph says the new Cuban is his current favorite. And, yes, wine is available.
One of our favorite magazines is Texas Monthly, and boy howdy do they have a fine thing going on right now: a seven-week series of virtual happy hours, featuring an array of summer cocktails from some of Texas' finest bartenders (in Austin, DFW, Houston, and San Antonio). It's not just any drinking series, though, it's also an opportunity for the mighty mixologists to shed light on the causes that matter most to them. (Austin's own Robert Bjorn Taylor kicked off the series with a scotch-based drink – the Robert Royale – and encouraged donations to Black Lives Matter.) You want to imbibe along with the best and brightest and most whistle-wetting the Lone Star State has to offer? Each Friday through (*does some quick math*) August 14 debuts a new video and recipe for your tippling enjoyment.
Speaking of drinks, we've got our annual Drinks Issue coming up fast, where you'll get some fine reportage about the local beverage industry. But if you want actual Tales of the Cocktail®, ah, you'll have to wait a little longer, as that New Orleans-based and booze-forward Foundation's annual conference (and Spirited Awards announcement) has been rescheduled for a virtual presentation later this fall (Sept. 21-24).
Finally, we love this sentence from a recent press release and wish that David Foster Wallace was still around to see it: "It was clear to Anthon that onboarding Flowers was a no-brainer." What it means is that Hopfields has hired acclaimed chef James Flowers (formerly of Cipollina, Asti, Wink, Trio, and more) to run the kitchen. And what that means is: Hopfields' regular menu delights will remain, but be supercharged by homemade bread and innovative weekend specials – just in time for the (limited) reopening of dine-in service.
Bao'd Up: The Chickens of July This local chain of Chinese goodness celebrated National Fried Chicken Day on July 6, of course, but they've also extended the exaltation of succulent yardbird flesh through the entire month. Yes, succulent: "We marinate each chicken thigh for four hours using a secret family recipe handed down over several generations," says Ting Li, the eatery's executive chef. "I can't tell you everything that's in it, but some of the key ingredients are Sichuan chili, Chinese cinnamon, star anise, and clove." So you can get that, plus two pan-seared buns, a side of Sichuan fries with spicy mayo, and a side of fresh coleslaw for just under ten bucks, at all four Bao'd Up locations, until August comes busting in. Through July 31. Bao'd Up, 1911 Aldrich Ste. A-1, 737/717-3002. www.baodup.com.
Andiamo Ristorante: Private Dining Rooms Available Reckon, if you're going to dine out, this private room deal (10 people minimum, 18 maximum) is among the safer options in town. It's $50 per person ($25 more gets you wine pairings), and the food'll be great, because – well, Andiamo, right? Listen: fried ravioli; tropical salad; fettucine with saffron, shrimp, scallions, and asparagus; a trio of beef, duck, and lamb with balsamic mint sauce; and, for dessert, panna cotta. Need we add, mmmmmmmmm? Andiamo Ristorante, 2521 Rutland, 512/719-3377. www.andiamoitaliano.com.
BakingForGood.org: Black Art Matters The Austin-based baking nonprofit BakingForGood.org has joined forces with the Austin Creative Alliance to present an auction-style bake sale (with 45 volunteer bakers!) as a fundraiser for Black Art Matters ATX. With Barton Springs Mill and Batch Craft Beer & Kolaches among the sponsors of this community-forward, palate-pleasing gig, we reckon it'll send shivers of joy through your favorite breadbox. Mon.-Sat., July 6-11. Citizen, place your bid. www.bakingforgood.org.
Texas Monthly's Happy Hour Series This seven-week series from one of the country's favorite magazines features summer cocktail creations from an array of Texas' finest bartenders (in Austin, DFW, Houston, and San Antonio). But this isn't just any drinking series, it's also an opportunity for these mixologists to shed light on the causes that matter most to them. (Most recently: Austin's Robert Bjorn Taylor, an African American bartender at ARRIVE Hotels & Restaurants, kicked off the series with a scotch-based drink – the Robert Royale – and encouraged donations to Black Lives Matter.) You want a virtual date with the best and brightest and most whistle-wetting the Lone Star State has to offer? Each Friday debuts a new video and recipe for you to imbibe along at home with – and we heartily recommend it. Fridays, through Aug. 14. www.texasmonthly.com. Free.
Austin's Pizza x Easy Tiger: Time for Dessert Look, this has nothing to do with our current Pie Fighters action, and, anyway, it's too late for influencing anything with the announcement. So, be aware that Easy Tiger desserts are now available at four Austin's Pizza locations including Westlake, Four Points, William Cannon, and Cuernavaca, with plans to expand to more locations soon. We're talking specifically about the big chocolate chip cookie, the turtle cookie, and those scrumptious brownies and blondies. And you already know how good the Tiger's bready wares are, so, ah, what are you waiting for? A better pandemic? www.austinspizza.com.