Here’s what happened this week in the world of Austin fare:
Industry love — This Sunday, December 15, Whisler’s hosts a special Brewers, Butchers & Bartenders Service Industry Night. Commencing at 6 pm, the newish East Side bar is inviting all those who work in Austin’s vibrant hospitality industry, as well as their friends and family, to join in celebration. The appreciation event features discount drinks, cocktails and such succulent edibles as chili and cornbread from Salt & Time. Austin’s Independence Brewing Co. will be serving its seasonal Extra Special Bitter for $5 a pint.
The season of giving — The Austin Food & Wine Alliance announced its 2013 Culinary Grant recipients this week. Popular preserves company Confituras took home the $10,000 grant, followed by barley growers Blacklands Malt ($5,000), East Side butcher shop Salt & Time ($5,000) and boutique vegetable farm Skinny Lane Farm ($5,000). Honorable mentions included Dewberry Hills Farm, Jester King Brewery and Fresh Chefs Society. For more information on the recipients and what they plan to put the grant money toward, visit the Austin Food & Wine Alliance website.
Two years and counting — On Tuesday, December 17, Lucy’s Fried Chicken celebrates its second anniversary with a special steak dinner. The popular restaurant will partner with Thirsty Planet Brewing Company to prepare an assortment of anniversary-inspired courses (think dry-aged New York strips with warm bacon potato salad). The dinner costs $25 to attend and includes a pint of Silverback Pale Ale and a Thirsty Planet pint glass.
Ortiz spills the beans — Yours truly spoke with Rene Ortiz this week over at Texas Monthly, and the lively chef 'fessed up about leaving behind La Condesa and Sway and what’s to come from his newest projects. Spoiler alert: imagine glitter, dancing and decadent dishes.
Reopening — After closing following damages from a November kitchen fire, La Condesa has finally reopened for service once more. The downtown restaurant reportedly suffered more than $75,000 in damages. It's now looking to hire employees in an assortment of positions. For more information on La Condesa employment, take a look at this Craiglist ad.
Qui in New York — World travelers Paul Qui and his East Side Queen Deana Saukam were in New York for a Tasting Table event. To see some of the dishes the award-winning chef whipped up for East Coast festivities, check out the Qui Facebook.
Odd Duck is here — Listen up, everyone! You better start making your way to South Lamar Boulevard right now, because Odd Duck has officially opened. Bryce Gilmore’s new restaurant has been in the works for over a year, bravely enduring the relentless hype and excitement that comes with such an exciting project. And if just looking at the tweets is any indication, it seems the fanfare is stellar.
Culinary competition — Sharp Entertainment is hosting a casting call this Saturday, December 14, in Austin for a new Spike TV competition: Frankenfood. Sounds ... promising? Those interested in auditioning are instructed to bring a one-of-a-kind dish that features an unconventional-but-delicious combination of ingredients. See the company’s website for location, times and more details.
Burger fest — Now that Round Rock’s In-N-Out Burger has made its debut, the Central Austin location is following in its footsteps. On December 12, the out-of-state burger chained opened its doors for service. The California burger enterprise is expected to open another location in Cedar Park some time next year.
Uchi pizza? — Last but not least, the names behind the Uchi establishment announced this week that they’re opening a pizza place in 2014. For more information on St. Philip, see our coverage of the announcement.
That’s all for this week, folks! See you next time.