Editor's note: We are pleased to present the second installment of a new weekly column offering up the best, quirkiest and most interesting things in Austin food and restaurant news. Check back every Friday for a new roundup.
Here's what happened this week in Austin fare:
Cookie Wars A P. Terry's customer has challenged the burger franchise to a cookie throwdown. Ellie Livesay, a frequent P. Terry's customer, got in contact with Patrick Terry, owner-creator of the local burger franchise, to see if he would be willing to sample her signature oatmeal cookie. Impressed by the homemade treat, Terry is allowing customers to choose whether his or Livesay's cookie should be on the menu.
The P. Terry's Cookie Challenge will take place from Monday, December 2, through Sunday, December 8. During this time, guests can visit any of the seven P. Terry's locations and vote for their favorite of the two cookies. If Livesay's signature cookie garners the most votes, it will replace the current cookie on the menu.
Love for Chili Food & Wine shined some major light on 24 Diner’s House Chili — dubbing the meaty dish one of the best chilis in the nation. “Hewing to Texas tradition, [24 Diner's] no-bean chili is smoky and rich with braised brisket, chuck roast and poblano chiles,” the publication dotes.
Chef Shuffle Janina O’Leary, James Beard Award semifinalist and former TRACE executive pastry chef, has been hired as the pastry chef of an upcoming French-inspired restaurant and wine bar: laV. “My pastry program for laV will consist of rustic breads, pastries, seasonal and light-hearted desserts. … I will, of course, continue to focus on flavor, ingredients and technique while showcasing brand new desserts that are different from what I have done in the past,” O’Leary tells the Austin American-Statesman. The new restaurant is slated to open in "very early" 2014. Let's hope the chef creates a dish that's as magical as her signature Drunken Doughnuts.
Que the Madness Carnivores rejoice: Beloved Lockhart barbecue haunt Black’s Barbecue is debuting an Austin location in early 2014. Twin brothers Mark and Michael Black, great grandsons of original founder Edgar Black, will feature post-oak-smoked barbecue with an array of signature sides at the new restaurant. Worried the brothers may not live up to family's expectations? Don't be. The duo has been in the thick of the barbecue business alongside family members over the past few years.
Back in Business La Condesa is aiming for an early December reopening after closing due to a kitchen fire, according to a post on Facebook. The director of marketing and events, Alexis C. Lanman, also revealed the results of their recent staff benefit. "The community really showed up for us, and it was great for our team's morale. We raised almost $5,000, all of which will go directly to our employees," Lanman told CultureMap.
Awards Season The Good Food Awards announced its 2014 Good Food Awards Finalists this week, and the nominees include a handful of Austin faves. In the beer category, Independence Brewing Company’s Independence Ale and Convict Stout were nominated alongside Jester King Brewery’s Atrial Rubicite and RU-55 Barrel-Aged Sour Red.
Letelier Food Company's Apricot Sage Chicken Liver Pâte and Pâte de Campagne and TRACE's Smoked Venison Sausage were all nominated in the charcuterie category. Confituras also received a nomination in preserves for its pickled blueberries. For the full list of nominees, visit the Good Food Awards website.
An Expensive Salad Austinite Abbie Argersinger was awarded $25,000 at the National Beef Cook-off in Washington, D.C., for her Cali-Avocado Steak Salad, according to the Austin American-Statesman. Food writer Addie Broyles published the recipe in the publication's Food Matters section this week.
Get Your Gobble This week, Gourdough's Public House announced a new fall doughnut called The Gobbler. The decadent, meaty pastry is covered in thick turkey slices, savory dressing, creamy mashed potatoes, brown gravy and housemade habanero cranberry jam. The seasonal dish will be available until the end of November.
Beverage Buzz The Elm Restaurant Group has announced a new beverage director for Arro, 24 Diner and Easy Tiger Bake Shop & Beer Garden. Craig Collins, one of only 211 master sommeliers in the world, has been hired to aid the group in refining its current beverage menus as well as those for any future projects the growing brand opens.
“Executive Chef Andrew Curren and I have dreamed of working together since our college days at [Texas A&M University],” Collins said in a press release. “We share a passion for fine food, excellent wine and superior service that I am excited to share with our guests.” In his short time with the group, Collins has created a 100 percent French wine list at Arro, pushed 24 Diner toward an all-American wine program and increased the selection of fine whiskeys and signature cocktails at Easy Tiger Bake Shop & Beer Garden.
Staycation This Saturday, November 23, Hotel San Jose is hosting a special brunch cocktail hour with $3 mimosas and an assortment of breakfast classics and pastries. The brunch will be held 10 am - 1 pm with live music by DJ Secondliner.
Fresh-Squeezed News JuiceLand will open its sixth location on December 1 in East Austin. The walk-up beverage bar features fresh vegetable and fruit juices, aguas frescas, smoothies and more. For more information, visit the JuiceLand website.
New Restaurants Former Sway and La Condesa chefs Rene Ortiz and Laura Sawicki have finally announced their newest project after months of remaining hush-hush. Read the full story here. I'll admit: I can't wait to see what's to come from this collaboration.
That's all for this week! See you next time!