News you can eat
7 things to know in Austin food right now: Juice and coffee drive-thru whirls into Sunset Valley
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.
A unique restaurant concept specializing solely in fried rice is now open at Lakeline Mall. An offshoot of the popular H Mart Korean-fried chicken operation, Donkey Mo’s (also owned by CKN Hospitality), 18 Fried Rice features a menu comprised of six fried rice varieties including chicken, shrimp, beef, combo, and veggie, plus Korean rice bowls topped with ribeye beef bulgogi. 18 Fried Rice offers dine-in, takeout, and delivery, and is currently open within Lakeline Mall at 11200 Lakeline Mall Dr Ste. VC08 from 11 am-3 pm and 4-7 pm, Tuesday through Friday; 11 am-7 pm, Saturday; and noon-6 pm, Sunday.
Two popular local brands have teamed up to create a one-stop shop for health-focused, caffeine-obsessed Austinites. For its 27th Austin location, JuiceLand partnered with Little City Coffee to open the chain’s first joint juice and coffee drive-thru and café at the northeast corner of Mopac and Southwest Parkway. In addition to JuiceLand’s staple menu of smoothies, bowls, cold-pressed juices, and tonics, patrons can now also enjoy Little City’s assortment of espresso drinks, drip coffees, and fresh roasted coffee blends. Little City existed as a brand in Austin for two decades before closing briefly in 2011, eventually being revived by Casa Brasil Coffee owner Joel Shuler. Opened October 27, the joint drive-through operation is now Little City’s second Austin location, the other currently operating at 415 E. St. Elmo Rd. The new JuiceLand and Little City outpost is open Monday through Saturday from 7 am to 9 pm, and Sunday from 8 am to 8 pm.
Other news and notes
Austin farmers market favorites The Sourdough Project are expanding in Central Texas. The locally owned cracker company announced its crackers are now available at Wheatsville Co-op and Whole Foods Market, as well as Central Market. For nearly a decade, Sourdough Project founder Jennifer Holmer El-Azzi and her husband, Danny, have made their crackers with just a few ingredients: Texas-grown heirloom wheat stone milled by Barton Springs Mill, organic extra virgin olive oil, and sea salt.
Speaking of Wheatsville Co-op, as CultureMap reported last week, the long-running co-op is in financial distress. Unlike big box chains and supermarkets, the locally owned market has seen sales drop by about 15 percent during the pandemic, according to a November 3 email to owners. Recent media attention is leading to a slight boost in sales, and Wheatsville general manager Mark Jacob writes that staff is working hard to increase inventory, expand bulk food offerings and curbside service, and reimagine its deli department. Visit either one of Wheatsville's two locations: 3101 Guadalupe St. and 4001 S. Lamar Blvd. Order online, check weekly deals, and more at the website.
A new Austin-based app is connecting local foodies with struggling or out-of-work chefs. Zymmo allowsAustinchefs to create profiles to upload images of items they’re preparing along with set prices and delivery options. Foodies can book these ready-made meals for same-day pick up or delivery, or place an order for a later date. Those looking for an in-person experience can also commission a chef directly through Zymmo for private events with their families, friends, or a small group. “Our team sees freelance chefs as the future of food, and Zymmo was designed to give chefs the power to take control of their careers and provide foodies direct access to their unique food offerings,” says founder Vidhya Subramanian via a press release. Foodies and chefs can join Zymmo by downloading the app on the App Store or Google Play.
On Veteran’s Day, iconic Austin-based fried chicken outpost Pluckers Wing Bar is inviting all veterans and active-duty military for a free meal while dining at the restaurant. Guests with a valid military ID can enjoy a complimentary entree, side, and non-alcoholic beverage up to the price of $15. The offer is available for dine-in only at all Plucker’s locations and will be available all day on Wednesday, November 11.
Get ready for a fresh take on the traditional wine and cheese paring experience. On Saturday, November 7, the famed Tatsu-Ya restaurant group is teaming up with artisan cheese shop Antonelli’s for a special virtual sake and cheese tasting experience. The event, which leads guests through a tasting of three four-ounce imported sake bottles and three curated cheeses, will be held over Zoom from 7- 8 pm, and includes special tasting panelists. Kits for the upcoming session are $70 and can be preordered through Thursday, November 5, at tatsu-ya.com. Kits will be available for pickup on Saturday, November 7 at Ramen Tatsu-Ya's East Sixth Street location between the hours of 11 am to 5 pm.