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8 things to know in Austin food right now: Boutique cottage hotel whips up sweet pop-up

8 things to know in Austin food: Boutique hotel whips up sweet pop-up

Fluff Meringue Fluff On The Go
The Wayback Inn and Fluff Meringues are whipping up something special. Courtesy photo

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.

Bee Cave’s boutique cottage hotel and cafe The Wayback Austin is whipping up a new dessert pop-up. Via a partnership with local British-inspired patisserie Fluff Meringues, the Wayback will debut Fluff On-The-Go, a stunning display of meringues, pastries, and coffee and espresso drinks located within the hotel’s picturesque, oak-shaded property at 9601 Bee Cave Rd. Preorders for the pop-up, which is set to open for business on December 1, can be placed two days in advance via Fluff Meringues website, by calling 512-387-0605, or at Fluff Meringue’s brick-and-mortar location at 4800 Burnet Rd. Fluff On-The-Go is scheduled to run through February 2021.

Last weekend, the newly opened second location of Seoulju served its last meal. Opened in July as a socially distanced offshoot of owner John Lee’s restaurant on North Lamar, Seoulju’s to-go iteration operated out a ghost kitchen concept inside Kitchen United on Burnet Road. The take-out restaurant served a stripped-down menu of the concept's famed Korean fried chicken and rice dishes. Seoulju’s social media pages announced the shuttering earlier this month, stating the closure came about as a result of a desire to focus efforts on their North Lamar location during uncertain times. Seolju’s original location remains open at 9515 N. Lamar Blvd. for dine-in and takeout service as well delivery via the third-party app Spirit Tree. Reservations for dine-in service can be made via OpenTable here.

Farm to Market Grocery, a South Congress staple for more than 15 years is closing — but don't despair. Posting on NextDoor, owner Peg McCoy says that the market has been purchased by Stephanie Steele, a longtime vet of Whole Foods Market. The space will shut down on Thursday, November 26, for a few months of "rejuvenation." When it reopens as Tiny Grocer, customers will be able to order sandwiches and prepared foods to go and, in the tradition of Farm to Market, still pick up a wide assortment of local products and specialty items. Swing by this week to say goodbye to Farm to Market and take advantage of some last-minute deals.

In an effort to stay afloat during the pandemic, beloved downtown craft cocktail bar Small Victory has reopened with a new line of to-go cocktails and elevated bar snacks. Known for its innovative cocktail creations and old fashioned method of creating ice in-house, Small Victory had been shuttered since March 14. “Our tiny, patio-less space unfortunately just isn’t safe for indoor drinking right now," says Small Victory’s Bar Manager, Laura Maddox, CultureMap Austin’s 2020 Tastemaker Bartender of the Year. “We, like many hospitality businesses right now, have reached the end of our rope in terms of government assistance in this time of need.” The operation’s new to-go menu includes such signature drinks as the Bartender’s Choice Mystery Daiquiri (a favorite of Small Victory’s happy hour menu) and the scotch whisky forward Artist’s Special. Most to-go drinks are available in 8-ounce, 12-ounce, and 16-ounce bottle formats. Because alcohol orders must include at least one food item, Small Victory is also offering mixed nuts and marinated olives alongside its famous cheese-and-charcuterie board, which features six selections of sliced-to-order cheese. Small Victory’s curbside concept is open at 108 E. Seventh St. from 2-10 pm, Thursday through Sunday. Pre-orders can be placed 24/7 for pickup during business hours at Small Victory’s website.

Other news and notes

Bunkhouse Group, the renowned hospitality company behind Hotel San Jose, Hotel Saint Cecilia, and Jo’s Coffee, recently announced that it had tapped La Colombe as the company’s official coffee purveyor. In addition to supplying coffee to six of Bunkhouse’s hotels and all four Jo’s Coffee outposts (as well as a forthcoming fifth Jo’s location set to open on 41st and Red River streets later this winter), La Colombe has introduced its own custom Jo’s House coffee blend, a medium roast coffee featuring notes of milk chocolate, nuts, and honey. “[Jo’s House roast] is a truly special blend that transverses beverages, tasting exceptional as an americano or cortado, and just as good on drip,” says Nicolas O’Connell, senior VP of wholesale and sales at La Colombe, in a press release. In addition to being served in beverages, 12-ounce bags of the exclusive La Colombe roast are available for purchase at all Jo’s locations and select Bunkhouse properties, as well as online at joscoffeeshop.com.

Sazan Ramen, a new ramen operation known for creamy, paitan-style ramen, is welcoming a seasoned new executive chef to its team. Kris Hammond, a first generation Korean-Japanese-Italian American, brings to Sazan an expansive resume which includes stints at the Michelin-starred Chicago restaurant GreenRiver and renowned Shanghai eatery Alma. Sazan, which is located at 6929 Airport Blvd., will continue to serve its curated menu of creamy paitan ramen and homestyle Japanese dishes such as dumplings, and Hammond will also introduce seasonal ramen options including the currently available Chicken Chintan Shoyu, served with cashew, menma, and house-made yuzu-kosho paste.

To celebrate Giving Tuesday on December 1, the Austin chapter of Les Dames d’ Escoffier is a hosting a tasty fundraiser for its scholarship and grant program. As part of the organization’s Pallella for Good event, customers can order chef-prepared paella meals from now until noon on Saturday, November 28. The traditional, saffron-forward Spanish rice dish is available in one of two styles: Valenciana (chicken and seafood) and Paella Vegetariana (vegetarian), both of which are prepared by Fer Candil, founder of Spanish catering service Paellas, Tapas and More, and Carol Huntsberger, owner of Quality Seafood Market. Customers will be able to grab their pre-ordered paella meals in the Quality Seafood parking lot (5621 Airport Blvd.) on Tuesday, December 1, from 4-7 pm. Both paella offerings are priced at $40 for two portions and are served with baguette slices, homemade aioli, and green salad. Preorders for Les Dames Paella for Good event can be made online.

One of the state's top sommelier turned winemaker, Rae Wilson is launching her third label of wines made from 100-percent Texas fruit. Available via Wilson’s company, Wine for the People, the first two wines of this new label include 2019 vintages of a Carignan Blend and Chenin Blanch, the former of which is a lighter-bodied red wine reminiscent of those found in Southern France while the latter is a bottle-fermented sparkling wine made from 46-year-old vines at Martin’s Vineyard (some of the oldest in Texas). Both releases will be exclusively available via Wine for the People’s wine club and at the organization’s forthcoming tasting room, set to open in Southwest Austin in the near future. Customers can now sign up for the wine club, whose membership includes four annual shipments of newly released wines, as well as several perks at the taproom once it opens. Wine For the People is also set to debut a paid apprenticeship program for future female winemakers to earn specialized training in the wine business. Interested parties register for Wine for the People’s wine club and learn more about the forthcoming apprenticeship programs and tasting rooms at the website.