News You Can Eat
6 things to know in Austin food right now: Renowned ramen spot launches omakase spin-off
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.
Sazan Ramen, one of Austin's newer and most coveted ramen spots, is expanding its footprint (noodle print?) with a new venture, also serving ramen. The main distinction is that Daiboku offers an "omakase experience" — basically, a guest can ask the chef or server to decide what dish they'll receive. It sounds like not knowing what you want is the perfect way to approach this 10-seat ramen counter, although it does have some casual options. This is also one of the most accessible omakase menus in the city, offering five courses for only $39. Daiboku is located at 609 West 29th St. Book at daibokuramen.com.
Other news and notes
As evidenced by several annual events around Austin and beyond, there are few better fundraising opportunities than selling some really great wines. In fact, the Texas Wine Auction beat its goal for the year at its second annual event at the end of April, raising $245,134. These funds will go to Texas A&M Agrilife extension and wellness programs that provide support for the Texas wine industry at large while supporting hospitality workers in the area. Chef Austin Simmons of TRIS won the inaugural chef competition with an oak-smoked "Big Rib" with kimchi stylings.
The Austin Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier is one of the most active culinary supporters in the area, and has just announced new scholarships for 20 women chefs, beverage directors, students, and more. Some of the winners of more than $50,000 total represent Austin institutions including Birdie's, Antonelli’s Cheese, the Steeping Room, and Pinthouse Pizza. Awarded grants include the opportunity to take a four-day bread-making class in France, a trip to Sri Lanka to meet tea growers, and more worldly endeavors. A full list of 2023 recipients is available at ldeiaustin.org.
Lenoir has been around for more than a decade now, giving it plenty of time to get to know the community. A new Third Thursday dinner series aims to support some of those local nonprofits, sending 5 percent of the selected night's sales to each beneficiary. Upcoming recipients include the Trail Conservancy, the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM), Latinitas, and more. The next dinner is May 18, followed by another on June 15. See the scheduled dinners and book at lenoirrestaurant.com.
Peoples Rx, the historic pharmacy on North Lamar Boulevard, is showing this May 21 that it really is about the people, with a free community barbecue. The cookout will feature lots of local products like organic chicken by Greener Pastures, gluten-free bakes by Dream Bakery, Siete chips, and Peoples' own kale salad and gluten-free treats. Kosmic Kombucha or Cielo water will be keeping visitors hydrated, while some Peoples specialists add gut health supplements. Stop by between noon and 3 pm, until supplies run out.
Pitmaster Aaron Franklin's famous Hot Luck festival takes place next weekend, May 25-28. Tickets, in a variety of tiers and locations, are still available, and some of the events are free. The combination food and music festival features dishes by Austin's top chefs by day, followed by nighttime shows by its top musical talent, for a massive cookout that spans several venues. There's way too much slated to list here — for a lineup and ticketing options, visit hotluckfest.com.