News You Can Eat
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.
Movie pitch: a third-generation pizza joint gets reincarnated in its original building in San Marcos. It’s true! Valentino’s served the community for more than 35 years in a century-old building at 110 North LBJ Dr., before suddenly closing in 2018. The interior has been completely rebuilt, but owners Harlan Scott and Cody Taylor repurposed what they could and stayed true to the original menu (“pizza, salad, subs, wings, and the famous Valentino’s cheese breadsticks”). The new-old restaurant is open Sunday through Wednesday from 11 am to 11 pm, and until midnight all other days, selling slices until 3 am.
One unique Austin restaurant, plant-based gastropub the Beer Plant, is launching another August 25. Named Tellus Joe by day and simply Tellus by night, this Oaxacan restaurant and bar is completely plant-based while staying true to regional cuisine. Tellus Joe is keeping things casual with organic coffee, pastries, and breakfast tacos, while Tellus turns up the atmosphere for finer dining featuring tlayudas, aguachile negro, and cauliflower steaks with carrot mole. The restaurant at 3108 Windsor Rd. is very small; reservations should be made by phone or email (512- 220-0459 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Other news and notes
Cookie baker Tiff’s Treats and sign maker — uh, Tex-Mex restaurant — El Arroyo are teaming up to deliver cookies in style. El Arroyo signs featuring cookie one-liners will be printed as stickers for all one and two dozen cookie boxes starting August 25. The Tiff’s Treats truck will also make a stop at the restaurant from 10 am to 7 pm that day, handing out free cookies and delivery coupons. Photo opps are, of course, promised.
[Updated from last week's food news, which included the wrong date.] August 26 is National Dog Day, and surely in a place like Austin there will be plenty to do. Here’s one: Asian smokehouse Loro and dog treat makers the Pawstin Barkery are teaming up to provide free gourmet dog snacks on the restaurant’s patio, while they last. They’re made with peanut butter, bananas and Loro beef tallow. Loro is an easy place to eat with dogs year-round, and serves barbecue by James Beard award-winning chefs Tyson Cole and Aaron Franklin.
The ever-classy Watertrade cocktail bar announced a new bar manager in Nadia Hernandez, and a new cocktail menu along with her. The menu is inspired by the sekki, 24 short seasons used to organize agriculture, and includes a wide variety of alcohols and even some nonalcoholic spirits. The bar is more accessible than Otoko, the sushi restaurant where it resides, which now lends some hosomaki rolls (small maki rolls) so bar patrons can taste the fish, too.
September is National Bourbon Heritage Month, so Garrison Brothers Distillery is going on tour. Restaurants and bars nationwide are incorporating the distillery’s Small Batch or HoneyDew Bourbon into limited edition dishes and cocktails. Five Austin locations are participating: Eureka!, III Forks Steakhouse, and Blue Corn Harvest in Georgetown, Cedar Park, and Leander. Follow the itinerary and track your progress on the Bourbon Takeover of America Passport app.
It’s fun to indiscriminately inhale tacos, but why not kick it up a notch and learn something? Tacos of Texas, a podcast by James Beard nominee Mando Rayo, launched its second season on August 16, and has already covered the “intersection of tacos and music,” focusing on “screwmbia,” and LGBTQ+ taco lovers. Airing on Tuesdays, this KUT and KUTX joint production will explore culture through tacos in 12 more episodes this season. Listen on kutkutx.studio.