news you can eat
Barbecue boats return and bonbons beckon in Austin's tastiest food news
A new restaurant is almost always something to celebrate, but let's not overlook the anniversaries. Two Austin staples are celebrating years of success this week, and another is holding its 17th annual cookoff. Meanwhile, a new chocolate shop rolls up and a bakery shuts down.
Openings and closings
Golden Eye Chocolates has just opened its first independent brick-and-mortar store at 3010 W. Anderson Lane. Suite E., although some may recognize the products from Ghostline Kitchens. This shop specializes in bonbons, often in bright colors and interesting flavor combos: milk stout float, spicy margarita, lemon lavender, caramelized banana and rum (cheekily titled There's Always Rum In The Banana Stand"), and more. It's ready to serve up some Valentine's Day orders, and some items can also be shipped. Golden Eye Chocolates is open Mondays from noon to 7 pm; Tuesdays through Thursdays from 11 am to 7 pm, and Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 8 pm.e
A breakfast chain called Eggs Up Grill is bringing a total of eight locations to Austin: four on the north side, and four on the south side. Michael and Rana Boselah, who also run Levant Café & Grill in Cedar Park, will take charge of the northern franchises, with Round Rock first in line in late 2024. Megan Hood and Omar Thompson will be responsible for the Southern locations, starting in New Braunfels. Reviewers in Dallas liked the straightforward breakfast food and the welcoming atmosphere and staff.
According to local reports, the Easy Tiger bakery location on East 7th Street is shuttering. Although a spokesperson gave some quotes to confirm the closure, the business does not seem to have acknowledged it on social media. The remaining locations do not seem to be affected, and bread production will also remain the same, since the 7th Street location did not have a bakery on site.
ICYMI: A double bar concept is working on renovating a South Austin property, complete with pickleball courts. Drifters Social Coffee & Cocktails and The Pickle Pub are aiming to match the area's laid-back and outdoorsy attitude, but with upscale cocktails. Speaking of upscale cocktails, it doesn't get much more avant garde than at The Guest House, which will be taking inspiration from Alice in Wonderland for its "aromatic fog" and "theatrical teapots."
Other news and notes
One of the most reliable spots in Austin for exotic snacks celebrated its 7th anniversary this week. Kemuri Tatsu-ya (by the same group as the very popular Ramen Tatsu-ya) shared some of its greatest hits with CultureMap to mark the occasion and make sure diners are up to date on the winter menu. Most notably, the popular limited-edition barbecue boats are back for good, featuring some of the best fatty brisket in town, and combined with a bento box for making hand rolls. A smoked tuna plate with yuzu, amazu sauce, karashi mustard and marinated daikon was one of the most luxe sharables. If the exotic angle is calling, try the ray fin jerky, which is grilled at the table. A mirin marinade gives this chewy meat with crispy edges a sweet taste.
Hotel San José and Jo’s Coffee are bringing back their famous Chili Cook-Off + Benefit for its 17th year on February 4. Proceeds will support the magazine and food access advocacy group Free Lunch. There will be a Quick Fire Competition, music, a raffle, and other festivities. Presiding over the competition will be local food experts, from chefs to critics: Jess Pryles (Hard Core Carnivore), Matthew Odam (Austin American-Statesman), Chef Kirk (Ocho + Hotel Havana), Joaquin Ceballos (Este), and Ali Clem (La Barbecue). Attendance is free, but tasting is $25. More information at bunkhousehotels.com.
Anniversaries abound! Antonelli's Cheese is turning 14 and celebrating with "Free Cheese Week." The first 75 visitors each day from February 5-9 will win a cheese wedge, with a new selection every day. Winners can come back the next day and win again, for a total of five different tastes. No purchase is necessary. Antonelli's is also giving away some free tickets to cheese tastings: Enter by posting a picture of yourself in the shop from February 5-11 and adding the right tags. More information at antonellischeese.com.