Here's what happened this week in the world of Austin fare:
Good Food Awards — The winners of the national Good Food Awards were announced last night in San Francisco. A handful of Austin-based artisans and purveyors, including The Jelly Queens, Confituras and Independence Brewing Company, were deemed victors in their respective categories. For the full list of winners, visit Inside Scoop San Francisco.
Austin named favorite travel destination — Popular fashion-lifestyle blog Refinery 29 named Austin in their list of top holiday destinations. The up-and-coming site doted on such popular establishments as Qui, Franklin Barbecue and the historic The Broken Spoke. Refinery 29 is clearly smitten with our city, saying “[Austin is] heavenly, y’all.”
Licha's Cantina to open soon — A tipster has informed CultureMap that the new Licha's Cantina restaurant from former Mettle general manager Daniel Brooks and Claude Benayoun may be opening sooner than the mid-February opening many other outlets are reporting. As we informed you two weeks ago, pastry chef Finney Walter also recently left Mettle, making two critical departures from the restaurant over the past few weeks.
Culinary competitions — Don Pullum, an acclaimed winemaker for Texas-based Sandstone Cellars and Pontotoc Vineyard, appeared on last night’s celeb-driven culinary competition The Taste. Spoiler alert: Pullum didn’t make it through to the next round and was sent home by the judges on this week’s “Guilty Pleasures” episode. The Texas winemaker was one of four members of Marcus Samuelsson’s team. You can catch ABC's The Taste every Thursday at 7 pm.
Qui in D.C. — Paul Qui’s food-trailer-turned-restaurant East Side King will take over Washington D.C.’s famed Toki Underground on Friday, January 24. Toki Underground opened in 2011 and in the years since has been recognized for their take on hybrid, Taiwanese-inspired dishes. Chefs Paul Qui, Moto Utsunomiya and Jorge Luis Hernandez will prepare an assortment of dishes at the one-day event, including Thai Chicken Karaage, Beef Tongue Kare Kare Buns and a mixture of other edibles. For more information on the upcoming collaboration, visit the East Side King website.
Wino weekends — MAX’S Wine Dive starts hosting Sunday FUNday wine tastings next Sunday, January 26, staring at 4 pm. The comfort food-inspired restaurant will highlight vinos from around the world accompanied by small bites prepared by Executive Chef Eric Beneke. The weekend event will take place one Sunday a month through June, with guests having the opportunity to taste an assortment of worldly wines. The dates include:
January 26: Celebrate the Spice of Life (wines to pair with spicy foods)
February 23: Return of the Red
March 30: Let’s Get Weird, Again!
April 27: All in the (Pinot) Family
May 25: Blinds, Take 2
June 29: In Love with Italy
Guests may purchase a season ticket to all the tastings for $150, or purchase individual tickets for $25 each. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit the website.
Cookbook feasts — Foreign & Domestic will host a literary-inspired dinner for author Hank Shaw and his new cookbook Duck, Duck, Goose on Monday, January 27. Shaw will whip up a four course, fowl-focused dinner alongside Dai Due’s Jesse Griffiths and F&D executive chef and owner Ned Elliott. Wine, beer and copies of Shaw’s new book will also be available for purchase. There are be two seatings for the event – 6 pm and 8:30 pm — each priced at $55, which does not include tax and tip. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the Foreign & Domestic website.
More Qui please — In case you missed it, your very own CultureMap is reporting a possible Paul Qui return to Top Chef. The popular reality show will air Top Chef Extreme this summer, and if promotional materials are any indication, it looks like Qui might be a popular candidate for the mega competition. Stay tuned to hear if more news unfolds in the weeks to come.
A mid-day splurge — Gourdough’s Public House has released a new lunch menu, featuring an assortment of quirky specials. The $7.99 meal is available from 11 am to 3 pm with options like Marvin’s Nachos, The Dirty Bird and The Half Burger. Check out a preview of the new menu on the Local Sugar blog.
Dine for a cause — In last week’s column, we previewed the upcoming Leah Ortiz benefit, which takes place this Sunday, January 16 at Swift’s Attic. Over the past few days, however, the event has posted a myriad of updates. The family-style meal will now feature beer and wine on the menu as well as a lower admission price ($50) – formerly $100. Those who work in the service industry may purchase tickets at a discounted rate of $30 with a pay stub. The event features dishes prepared by Swift’s Attic, Uchiko, Uchi, Barley Swine, Second Bar + Kitchen and Congress. Purchase your tickets through this link.
Chili wars — Jo’s Coffee has announced the lineup for their 8th Annual Chili Cook-Off, which takes place next Sunday, January 23, from 12 pm to 3 pm. The 14 participants include Arcade Midtown Kitchen, Foreign & Domestic, La Condesa, Ranch 616, Sway, Tacodeli, The Wild Bunch, Carne Knowledge, Lunafin, Santa Anna's, Fixitup Chili, Buckeye on the Bayou, Grateful Red and Bubblin' Red. The Shiner Beer-hosted event costs $20 to attend and features an assortment of chili tastings, live music and beer for purchase. All proceeds from the event will go to benefit the Sustainable Food Center.
Best bars in the South — Southern Living released their list of the 100 best bars in the South this week, and several Texas booze haunts were honored. Surprisingly, however, only three Austin bars were named in the Texas compilation: Midnight Cowboy, Contigo and Qui. For the full list, visit the Southern Living website.