News You Can Eat
7 things to know in Austin food right now: Lauded birria taco spot reopens
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.
Birria tacos never taste better than they do outside of a gas station. La Tunita 512, a well-loved, extremely tiny Austin trailer selling birria — and frequently selling out — took a three-month hiatus for inspection and “some changes,” and suddenly returned on September 16 as Palo Seco 512. The tacos are loaded with brisket and cheese fried right on the grill, with consommé as a separate side order. For a fun twist, try it in an instant ramen bowl. Palo Seco 512 is located at 2400 Burleson Rd., open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 am to 5:30 pm, and announces on Instagram when it sells out.
Yes, there are tons of hard seltzers out in the world right now. But the Austin brand Big Country claims to be the “first-ever fair trade-certified, organic hard seltzer,” and it’s launching across Texas at H-E-B, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Sprouts, Total Wine & More, and independent sellers. This product comes from a maker that has gone through a few pivots, starting with baked goods and including canned cocktails, although the website now focuses almost entirely on seltzer. There are four flavors in the 12-packs: blackberry grapefruit, passionfruit kiwi, prickly pear peach, and watermelon pineapple.
Other news and notes
One of Austin’s favorite taco chains, Tacodeli, is supporting the National Multiple Sclerosis Society with a new seasonal drink, the Jalapeño Pepino Fresca. The base mix is cucumber, lime juice, and jalapeños ($4.50), and with an upgrade of Tito’s Handmade Vodka, it becomes Tito’s Spicy Pepino. All orders of the vodka cocktail from now until November 4th will prompt a $1 donation from Tacodeli, and a matched donation by Tito’s.
Fierce Whiskers Distillery, in Southeast Austin next to Meanwhile Brewing, is celebrating its first birthday on September 24. In partnership with Virtue Craft Spirits and Liber & Co, they’ve organized a Bourbon Battle featuring 10 bartenders from some of the top bars in the city. Guests will get to try the drinks and vote for a people’s choice winner. There will also be live music by Molly Burch, a limited-edition bottle release, bites, and more. Tickets ($40) available on Eventbrite.
Two Top Chef competitors in Austin, Jo Chan and Amanda Rockman are hosting a two-night chef’s table called “Midnight in the Garden.” The top-secret location will be announced to guests before the dinner, but the invitation does promise Texas oaks. The number of courses is also a mystery, but the dinner will never happen again. There are some slots still open on September 25 at 5 pm, but 8:30 pm is sold out, as is all of September 24. Reserve ($225) or join a waitlist on Tock.
Texas taps into its German roots the weekend of September 24 (and beyond) with many Oktoberfests. In Austin, head to Meanwhile Brewing, Hi Sign Brewing, and Easy Tiger, just to name a few with very active PR teams. Koko’s Bavarian, a beer hall in the Govalle neighborhood of East Austin, is hosting the actual Prince of Bavaria Konstantin Prinz von Bayern, who is flying in to continue a tradition since 1810. Follow the links for more information on each festival.
Sour Duck Market is all about local goods, so its partnership with the YMCA is totally on-brand. On September 28, the market is donating 25% of all sales to the community center, and YMCA team members will be on-site to chat with visitors. It takes about 10 minutes to drive from Sour Duck to the Townlake and East Communities YMCAs, so this could be a great day to start a new routine of snacks and drop-in classes.