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Austin's Week in Food

This week in food: Odd Duck restaurant opening, best bartender and Bikinis

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Banger's Holiday Lamb Sausage
Banger's lamb holiday sausage.  Photo by Banger's/Strange Fruit PR
Justin Adame Bartender Appreciation Winenr
Thirsty Nickel's Justin Adame won the national Bartender Appreciation Day contest.  Photo by Susan Friedman/ Friedman PR
Students working on Driskill Hotel gingerbread house
Culinary students constructing The Driskill Hotel's gingerbread house. Photo by Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts/ PHCP
Driskill Hotel gingerbread house
The final gingerbread product. Photo by Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts/ PHCP
Austin Photo: Places_Food_Odd_Duck_Farm_to_Trailer
This famed trailer is announcing the dates for its brick-and-mortar opening. Photo by Maggie's Austin Courtesy of Maggie's Austin
Bikinis, Texas dance hall exterior
Bikinis, Texas is (almost) open for business.  Photo courtesy of Bikinis, Texas
Banger's Holiday Lamb Sausage
Justin Adame Bartender Appreciation Winenr
Students working on Driskill Hotel gingerbread house
Driskill Hotel gingerbread house
Austin Photo: Places_Food_Odd_Duck_Farm_to_Trailer
Bikinis, Texas dance hall exterior

Here’s what happened in the world of Austin fare this week:

Keep Austin Weird — As if we didn't already know our city was dope, The New York Times dedicated a whole travel piece to Austin's unique culinary workings. Writer Robert Draper remarks that the "city’s indigenous compulsion to self-invent has at last caught up to its culinary scene… [and] Austin today offers a new dining experience — one in which you can go five or six days eating out on the town without being limited to tacos and brisket." Draper points to city favorites like Qui, Barley Swine, Arro and Uchi to prove his awesomely accurate point.

Restaurant opening – According to the Austin Chronicle, Bryce Gilmore’s Odd Duck is closing in on opening day. Swoon! The long-awaited trailer-to-brick-and-mortar restaurant has been in the works for over the past year (though it seems more like an eternity). Gilmore tells the Chronicle that he’ll first host a friends and family-only event before opening the 120-seat restaurant’s doors.

Odd Duck's opening also means changes for Barley Swine. The formerly no-reservations restaurant has switched to a tasting a menu and now takes, wait for it, reservations!

Bikini season - Breastaurant capital Bikinis, Texas opens on January 3, 2014, according to a Facebook post. The so-called “most magical place in the world” will open every Friday-Sunday from 12 am – 12 pm. As expected, bikinis, breasts and general debauchery will all be on display.

Bartender love - Justin Adame, a bartender at Thirsty Nickel, was named the winner of Bartender Appreciation Day, a national competition hosted by Sailor Jerry Rum and Liquor.com. Adame was acclaimed by locals particularly for his “great personality, ability to listen to their woes and… his good pour.” To celebrate Adame’s national victory, Sailor Jerry is hosting a party on Friday, December 6 at Thirsty Nickel (325 East 6th Street) beginning at 8 pm. The event is free of charge and features a myriad of Sailor Jerry drinks. 

12 days of feasting – Beginning this Tuesday, December 10, Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew will celebrate a new, scrumptious holiday: The 12 Days of Meat (not to be confused with Christmas, y’all). Over a dozen carnivorous days, Stiles Switch’s pitmaster, Lance Kirkpatrick, will prepare and smoke one-of-a-kind, off-the-menu specials. Wondering what to expect? Here’s the succulent lineup:

Tuesday, December 10 - Smoked Pork Loin Stuffed with Cornbread & Spicy Sausage
Wednesday, December 11 - Smoked Turkey Legs
Thursday, December 12 - Bacon-Wrapped Smoked Quail
Friday, December 13 - Smoked Alligator Kabobs
Saturday, December 14 - Cajun Christmas: Adeline’s Smoked Chicken & Sausage Gumbo with Bread Pudding
Sunday, December 15 - Smoked Pork Chop on a Stick
Monday, December 16  - Closed
Tuesday, December 17  - Pit-Smoked Prime Rib
Wednesday, December 18  - Smoked Bone-In Ribeye
Thursday, December 19 - Brisket Meatloaf
Friday, December 20  - Smoked Ham & Sweet Potatoes
Saturday, December 21 - Brisket Stew with Homemade Cornbread
Sunday, December 22   - Stiles Switch Brisket Tamales

Holiday meats – Following Stiles Switch's lead, Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden will also feature a lineup of holiday meat specials. The restaurant launched a maple and brown sugar-glazed ham sausage this week, and in the remaining weeks of December will feature a Holiday Lamb Sausage (ground lamb with pomegranate molasses, lavender, oregano, rosemary and sage); a Louisiana Turducken Sausage (confit duck leg, chicken thighs and turkey breast with Cajun seasonings) and a Holiday Turkey Sausage (ground turkey sausage with browned sage and dried cranberries).

Edible hotels - On Wednesday, The Driskill Hotel unveiled a gingerbread house replica of their historic building. The frosty masterpiece was created by a number of baking and pastry students from the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts. The artistic work required over 50 pounds of gingerbread dough and two weeks to piece together. Call it a labor of love… Want to get a glimpse of the massive cookie house? The sugary structure will be on display in the hotel throughout the month of December.

Feasting - The Noble Sandwich Co. will feature its annual holiday dinner next Friday, December 13, at 8 pm. The elaborate menu will showcase such gourmet creations as braised antelope heart with salsify, Brussels sprouts, preserved Meyer lemon and jus and chocolate blood ice cream with duck crackling brittle and citrus mint syrup, among other unique dishes. Tickets to the winter BYOB dinner are $65 a person. To reserve a spot, please email noblepigaustin@gmail.com.

Famous foodies - Tribeza named local power chef Sonya Coté one of their top thirteen people of the year, doting that her most recent project, Eden East, “unquestionably embodies her personal dedication to community.” Read more about the eclectic life of the bohemian farm-to-table chef.

New lunch hoursHenri’s Cheese Shop will now open for Sunday lunch (11 am – 3 pm). The upscale South Lamar Boulevard shop features a variety of edibles (including cheese and meat boards) on the new mid-day menu.

Jewelry and cuisine – Searsucker partners with Kendra Scott Jewelry on Sunday, December 8, to host a “Sparkling Sunday." The combination shopping-eating event takes place during Searsucker’s brunch hours, featuring an assortment of Kendra Scott’s famed jewelry for sale. Complimentary Domaine Chandon Champagne will be served during the glitzy festivities. Reservations for brunch (10 am – 3 pm) are available to guests as well.  

That's all this week, folks. See you next time! 

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