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This Week in Food

This week in food: Odd Duck slammed by GQ, HuffPo's bad listicle and Restaurant Week details

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Odd Duck Austin 2812
Odd Duck is slammed by GQ. Photo by Jon Shapley
austin photo set: news_aug_arden_mixers on the map
Banger's plays host to Craft Photo by: Veronica Castelo
qui restaurant tattoos
The very dedicated — and toned! — wait staff of Qui takes their dedication to the next level. Qui restaurant/ Facebook
Odd Duck Austin 2812
austin photo set: news_aug_arden_mixers on the map
qui restaurant tattoos

This week in Austin food news, Qui-sters get tattoos, HuffPo misses the mark — and GQ says Odd Duck does, too.

Huffington Post misses the mark
It finally happened. After years of trying, Huffington Post has put together the most arbitrary Austin listicle yet. The story, entitled "23 Food Things Only People Who've Lived in Austin Would Understand," praises over-hyped dishes like Kerbey Lane queso and Rudy's breakfast tacos. The story reads like a freshman college student’s food guide, with most of the featured restaurants, bakeries and trailers rooted right around campus. What gives? While late-night Tiff’s Treats and crispy Hyde Park fries have undoubtedly garnered great fanfare, let’s leave the list-making to locals in the know. Sorry, HuffPo.

Charitable feasts 
Well, it looks like the Sustainable Food Center Chef Series: Spring Bounty at La Condesa is a contender for the hottest dinner ticket of 2014. The culinary benefit, which takes place on Sunday, April 13 at La Condesa, boasts a who’s who roster of chefs. Rick Lopez of La Condesa, Andrew Wiseheart of Contigo, Alexis Chong of Sway, Paul Qui and Jorge Hernandez of Qui, Shawn Cirkiel and Justin Rupp of Olive & June, Casey Wilcox of Justine’s, and Kyle McKinney of Barley Swine are all scheduled to cook for the multi-course meal. Tickets to the dining event cost $150 with all proceeds going to the Sustainable Food Center.

Craft comes to Bangers
Film Director and certified cicerone Craig Noble will be at Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden on April 8 to discuss his newest work, Craft. The film dissects the life and work of craft brewers who strive to maintain quality, originality and integrity amidst the massive growth of the craft-brewing industry. Banger’s Executive Chef Ted Prater will serve a specially made sausage to pair with Noble’s latest collaboration beer with Hops & Grain: The Farmhouse Ale, a hoppy, golden-hued beer with citrus aromas and a hint of spice that honors Southern Belgian classics. Following the screening, Noble will sit for a Q&A with the audience. The price to attend the food-film event is $15, with food and beer pairings available for purchase separately. Tickets can be purchased here.

Restaurant tattoos 
Leave it up to the Qui team to take things to the extreme when it comes to culinary art. Staff at the east side restaurant took to local tattoo parlor Bijou Studio to pay tribute to one of their signature celebrated dishes: Rabbit 7 Ways. The Qui-sters showcased their exciting new ink on Facebook promising to release more details soon about the unconventional collaboration.  

Austin Restaurant Week reveals spring dates
Ready your forks, my dears, because plans behind the 6th biannual Austin Restaurant Week are quickly piecing together. This spring’s Austin Restaurant Week will take place on May 11-14 and May 18-21, featuring a myriad of prix-fixe brunch, lunch and dinner menus. It was also announced that TRIBEZA is taking over as producer of the beloved dining event.

This spring’s Austin Restaurant Week plans to benefit Meals on Wheels and More, with $2 from every meal going to benefit the culinary organization. “Since 2011, Austin Restaurant Week has raised more than $72,000 to help us help those we serve,” Dan Pruett, president and CEO of Meals on Wheels and More, said in a press release. No news just yet on official lineup, but we’ll release details as they come.

The Odd Duck fails to impress GQ
With a James Beard Foundation Award finalist nomination under his belt, it seems Barley Swine's Bryce Gilmore can do nothing wrong. But don’t tell that to Alan Richman, food editor of GQ magazine. Richman recently published a feature entitled “The Rise of Egotarian Cuisine" that all but slaughters a dish at Gilmore's newest endeavor, Odd Duck. The intro to the story warns readers that Richman is concerned. "Something has gone wrong in our restaurant kitchens lately. Suddenly, a new breed of chefs seems to have decided that they should be cooking not for your pleasure but for their own. In this competitive, male-dominated school of cooking, the dishes that customers are served may be highly inventive and intelligent, but too often they are more self-indulgent than inspired. The result? Restaurants where the only person who needs to be pleased is never you, just the chef," Richman says. 

In the feature, Richman points to a meal at Odd Duck as the worst dish he’s had all year. “At Trois Mec in Los Angeles, I ate grilled cabbage, bone marrow flan, smoked almond milk crème anglaise, and a cured egg. Together, on one plate. At Odd Duck in Austin, I ate boudin-infused grits, an ice-cold pickled shrimp, grilled olives, and a fried pork rind. Together, on one plate. Trois Mec's combination was unrecognizable, Odd Duck's unfathomable. They were both the work of highly regarded chefs. Reservations were in demand. At both, customers appeared enthralled, totally absorbed by the food in front of them. However, one dish was among the tastiest I ate all year. The other was absolutely the worst.”

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