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.
News and notes
For next the outrageous installment of their popular hot dog pop-up, the women behind Austin's famed La Barbecue are bringing the famous Red Rocket Wiener Wagon to east side pub Cavalier. This latest event, dubbed Wieners and Wigs, takes place Wednesday, November 18, and will feature a fabulous drag show on Cavalier’s patio along. Patrons can order from a menu of handcrafted specialty cocktails and, of course, Red Rocket's "big o’l nine-inch umami dogs." While reservations are not required for the event, patio seating will be socially distanced and available on a first come, first served basis. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own chairs for seating. Cavalier is located at 2400 Webberville Rd. Doors open at 6 pm on the day of the event, which is set to run until 9 pm.
UT Austin minister of culture Matthew McConaughey has teamed up with bourbon distillery Wild Turkey (a company for which he serves as creative director) to honor four everyday heroes who’ve supported their communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the initiative, McConaughey personally connected with four such “Local Legends” via video chat to learn more about their work before rewarding each with a personalized token of appreciation. Among those surprised by the Oscar-winning actor were Austin singer/songwriter Nakia Reynoso, who helped pass the Austin Music Disaster Relief Fund to support local musicians. On November 16, Wild Turkey release all four videos chronicling the surprises, which can be viewed on the company’s Instagram page here.
To celebrate nine years of serving elevated French gastropub fare (plus one of the city’s most thoughtfully curated craft beer selections), campus-area restaurant Hopfields is throwing an anniversary party with a holiday twist. On Saturday, November 21, the eatery will hold its Friendsgivingversary party, featuring holiday-themed specials like cranberry beer Jell-O shots, socially distanced outdoor patio games, and an assortment of celebratory including selections from Hopfields' personal cellar. For eats, chef James Flowers’ menu will include such unique offerings as Brussels sprouts with crispy 'shrooms, savory bread pudding, and turkey sausage on a stick with cranberry chutney. Hopfields Friendsgivingversary will take place on November 21 from 11 am-5 pm with the majority of the celebration taking place on the operation’s newly extended back patio to enforce social distancing. Reservations, while not required for the celebration, are always encouraged.
After winning Best New Restaurant at the 2020 CultureMap Austin’s Tastemaker Awards, the vegan charcuterie kings at Rebel Cheese are paring up with acclaimed Texan winery William Chris Vineyards to put a plant-based spin on the traditional wine and cheese tasting experience. On Friday, November 20, guests can join Rebel Cheese co-owners Kristen Maitland and Fred Zwar via Zoom for a discussion on the duo’s house-made cheese and the various inspirations behind them. Tony Offill, the winemaker at William Chris Vineyards, will also be joining the event to discuss the evening’s curated wine selections. Included with the event’s $95 tasting packages are four house-made vegan kinds of cheese, jam pairings, and other accouterments including bread, fruits, and nuts. The package also features a bottle of both William Chris’s 2019 Roussanne High Plains and a 2017 Artists Blend wines. Participants can pick up their tasting packages on the day of the event at the Rebel Cheese’s Mueller location at 2200 Aldrich St. Ste. 120 between 10 am - 6:30 pm. Online links to the virtual event, which is set to begin at 7 pm, are included with the tasting kits and can be purchased via Toasttab here.
Wille Nelson’s iconic Luck Reunion music festival is hosting an online evening of good food and live music. Produced in part by Austin delivery service Assembly Kitchen, the event, dubbed Prime Cuts: Family Meal Presented by Remy Cointreau, will gather Luck favorite chefs and musicians around the virtual table this Thursday, November 19. Austin-based chefs Kristen Kish and Alex Munoz of French/Italian inspired eatery Arlo Grey, and Philip Speer of Assembly and modern Mexican restaurant Comedor will guide viewers through a preparation of a traditional holiday family meal, including tamales made with fresh masa and slow-cooked, farm-raised pork, as well as a Munoz’s own family recipe for pinto beans with rice. For libations, Prime Cuts will feature holiday cocktail making demonstrations for hot buttered rum and Cosmopolitans from mixologist Emily Arseneau. Finally, New Jersey psych-soul songstress Nicole Atkins and New Orleans genre-benders Tank and the Bangas will be on hand to deliver an up-beat cooking soundtrack. All of the event’s food and drink packages can be purchased for delivery on Assembly’s website here. Drink kits start at $12 while the tamale dinner cook-along package is selling for $34. Additionally, all proceeds from the event will benefit the Luck Family Foundation x Assembly Thanksgiving Community Initiative to help support the Central Texas community in the fight against hunger this holiday season.
Brooklyn-based mushroom farming network Smallhold is now offering its specialty assortment of culinary fungi for sale year-round at Central Market stores in Austin. Customers can choose from nutty lion’s mane, deep cerulean oyster, and meaty royal trumpet mushroom varieties. Launched by partners Andrew Carter and Adam DeMartino in 2017, Smallhold’s distributed farming model uses proprietary technology that allows the company to pop-up mushroom farms in a variety of locations across the country with variables controlled and customized via Smallhold’s centralized systems. The company aims to have mini-farms inside of all Central Market stores by 2021.
Summer House on Music Lane, the anchor restaurant of the recently opened Hotel Magdalena, has made its official debut. Leading the kitchen is Austin hospitality vet Jeffrey Hundelt, who previously worked at Launderette and Fresa's. As executive chef, Hundelt has crafted a menu focused on grilled local meats and seasonal vegetables using "global cooking influences with classic techniques and an unpretentious, Austin sensibility." The restaurant is open to the public and hotel guests for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch.
Nearly a year after the opening of their east side taproom at 1916 Tillery St., near the Cherrywood and Mueller neighborhoods, Austin-based Moontower Cider Co. has both expanded its hours and added a full-service espresso bar. Headed by photographer and conceptual artist Marshall Walker, the cidery’s new coffee operation currently serves a variety of espresso drinks (made using locally sourced Figure 8 Coffee beans and Mill-King Creamery milk) via a walk-up window for customers to enjoy on Moontower’s shaded outdoor patio. Alongside espresso, the concept’s menu features cold brew coffee and a selection of rotating pastries such as carrot, pumpkin, and chocolate loaf cakes. Moontower’s extended tasting room hours are now 8 am - 9 pm, Friday and Saturday, and 8 am - 7 pm on Sunday. Additionally, the cidery’s coffee window will be open 8 am - 3 pm, Friday and Saturday, and from 8 am-1 pm Sunday.