7 things to know in Austin food right now: Hotly anticipated Korean barbecue spot fires up
Editor's note: We get it. It can be difficult to keep up with the fast pace of Austin's restaurant and bar scene. We have you covered with our regular roundup of essential food news.
An anticipated Korean concept is now cooking in South Austin. Located in the Lamar Union development at 1100 S. Lamar Blvd., Jjim Korean Braised BBQ practices its namesake Korean method of slow cooking, or braising, meat until tender. The concept is the latest from CKN hospitality, the powerhouse group behind Donkey Mo’s Korean Fried Chicken and Roba Katsu. On the menu are two types of Jjim: spicy pork rib Jjim and Galbi Jjim (made with beef short ribs). Each is served family-style in a cast-iron skillet alongside veggies and steamed rice. Customers can also enjoy such side dishes as soy pickles and fresh Geot Juhri kimchi, in addition to appetizers like Korean kimchi pancakes and Dubu Dubu fried tofu pockets. Reservations for Jjiim’s limited dine-in table service are now available, and Jjim is also accepting takeout orders via www.jjimbbq.com. The restaurant’s regular hours are 5-9 pm Sunday through Thursday and 5-10 pm Friday and Saturday. (Hours may change due to the winter storm.)
The League Kitchen and Tavern's latest location at the Hill Country Galleria in Bee Cave will open Tuesday, March 2 (the original date of February 18 has been pushed back due to weather). This is the fourth outpost for the New American, chef-inspired eatery, which also operates in Lakeway, Dripping Springs, and Avery Ranch. The League Bee Cave will offer a chef-inspired menu featuring "Beginnings," like meatloaf bites and smoked salmon deviled eggs, plus burgers and sandwiches and "Main Attractions," like chicken fried pork chops. The concept’s 5,000-square-foot space boasts an expansive patio, and the tavern will also feature an extensive bar program of craft cocktails, wine, and draft beer. Hours for The League Bee Cave will be 11 am-9 pm Sunday through Thursday and 11 am-10 pm Friday and Saturday.
Other News and Notes
The historic winter weather making its way through Texas has put a pause on many local restaurants' dine-in and takeout services, and it's affecting grocery store operations as well. Wheatsville Food Co-op's South Lamar location is closed Tuesday, February 16, and the Guadalupe store is open 10 am-10 pm. The store is carrying limited stock, and its curbside service is currently unavailable. Additionally, some H-E-B stores are observing limited hours February 16 and will be open from noon-5 pm; others remain closed.
Aba, the Mediterranean restaurant at South Congress’s bustling new Music Lane development, has expanded its offerings. Its new catering service means customers can enjoy Aba favorites, including garlic hummus, spreads, cold and hot mezze, and kebabs, for takeout and delivery. Additionally, the restaurant has debuted two new meal packages. The Dinner for Two package, $29.95 per person, includes smoky garlic hummus, chicken kebabs, and village salad. For a more elevated experience, Aba’s Date Night for Two option includes charred eggplant spread, marinated olives and feta, Moroccan spiced beef tagine, and a sommelier-selected bottle of red or white wine for $99.95 plus tax. Both meal deals can be ordered for same-day delivery or carry out by visiting Aba’s website or by calling 737-273-0199.
Austin-based Freebirds World Burrito is giving back to those on the frontlines. UT Health Austin staff and volunteers who are administering the COVID-19 vaccine are set to receive 500-plus free meals from Freebirds. The meals will be distributed over the course of the next three Fridays, beginning February 19. Additionally, the company recently announced that it will pay employees up to four hours of regular rate pay to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Texas wine is fine, and now it’s moving online. To adapt to the ongoing pandemic, Texas Fine Wines, the privately funded marketing initiative representing four of Texas’ most distinguished wineries, is launching a monthly virtual “Talk and Taste” series. Participants can join wine experts and enthusiasts for engaging discussions on various wine topics and the latest releases, featuring bottles from Bending Branch Winery, Duchman Family Winery, Pedernales Cellars, and Spicewood Vineyards. Events will include tastings centered around Texas Tempranillo, obscure wine varietals, summer sippers, and holiday wines. Sign up for the virtual events (and get details on Texas Fine Wine’s bottle tasting bundles) here.
The second season ofUnited Tacos of America, a food and culture program hosted by Austin taco journalists Jarod Neece and Mando Rayo, will air weekly on a new YouTube channel, IDENTITY. Shot during the ongoing pandemic, the show’s second season joins original programming including Ate, an Asian cooking show hosted by Houston food personality Isabel Protomartir, and Tex-Mex Queen, a Tejano-inspired culinary series hosted by Corpus Christi-based cook book author Vianney Rodriguez. (The channel was created by Rayo and United Tacos director Dennis Burnett; CultureMap contributor Trey Gutierrez serves as story producer for United Tacos.)