Dog Haus Biergarten Four Points is celebrating its grand reopening with daily specials, a revamped happy hour menu, swag, and more. They will donate 15 percent of its grand reopening sales on December 1 and 2 to Keep Austin Fed.
Texas French Bread
News You Can Eat
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.
Texas French Bread can’t stop making news, returning triumphantly from a large fire — with support from lots of very loyal customers — frequenting farmers markets, and finally setting up a new food trailer. The Airstream is open in the beautiful garden that the bakery previously rented at 2900 Rio Grande St., every day except Monday from 8 am to 2 pm. The kitchen opens at 10 am. All items are first-come, first-serve until the trailer runs out. Customers can get coffee, sack lunches, and the great bakes they’ve been missing. The company commented on Instagram that plans to rebuild are “still up in the air.”
Mini golf and snacks are a match made in nostalgia heaven, but Dirdie Birdie is really kicking that combo up a notch. The restaurant, full bar, and indoor mini golf course is opening on November 18, thanks especially to work by Chef Nic Yanes of very chic, relatively affordable restaurants Juniper and Uncle Nicky's. The adult-focused 12-hole course contains lots of references to Austin, and is “almost like an interactive art gallery,” according to a note from a publicist. Check it out at 10910 Domain Drive. Check the website for hours over Thanksgiving, and expect regular opening hours to resume the following week.
The Toasted Yolk Café arrived in the Austin area for the first time on November 14, at 14105 Ronald Reagan Blvd. in Cedar Park. This giant breakfast and lunch spot (at 5,178 square feet) serves all the classics and, of course, a lot of eggs, but it also offers a full bar, nine TVs, online check-in, and a to-go area. The restaurant donated 10 percent of its opening day sales to The Dog Alliance. Although it’s new in Austin, the chain already has 28 restaurants, mostly in Texas, and lists 16 more coming soon including one in Lakeway. Visit at 14105 Ronald Reagan Boulevard from 7 am to 3 pm every day. Medical professionals in uniform or with ID receive half off drinks from Monday to Thursday until 10 am.
Other news and notes
Geraldine’s, the bar and restaurant at Hotel Van Zandt, is turning seven and celebrating on November 17. To celebrate, it’s relaunching Birds, Bubbles + Blues, a Thursday-night event featuring the restaurant’s spicy fried chicken, sparkling wine specials, and Austin-based blues musicians. The Geraldine’s menu is all about upscale southern foods — often with an interesting twist — so this fried chicken shouldn’t be missed, ambience aside.
On November 20, Aviary Wine & Kitchen will spin out into a series of special Sunday services: Aviary will be manning an all-day happy hour (3-9 pm), and a rotating list of guest chefs will be stepping in to take over the kitchen for pop-ups. That means $2 off glasses of wine, $10 off bottles, and $2 off beer, while chefs from around Austin regale diners with special 4-6 menu items. First Elementary ATX visits, then Che Cazzo, Chef’s Kiss, Penang Shack, and Elementary ATX once more, finishing out the series on December 18. Walk-up service only.
As if we needed any more reasons to fall in love with Camp Lucy, the Hill Country event venue is hosting its 2nd annual Christmas Chili Cook-Off on December 4. The Sacred Oaks venue is an unreasonably beautiful place to be tasting professional and amateur chilis, with whiskey, an open bar with holiday cocktails, a holiday market, a s’mores table, live music, donations for Helping Hands Pantry, and more. All this happens from 3-6 pm. Tickets ($70 over age 21, $45 under) available on Eventbrite.
Photo courtesy of Modern Rocks Gallery
Let All the Children Boogie
As Austinites explore hundreds of studios on the Austin Studio Tour, the Starman peers out from behind glass. Modern Rocks, a gallery featuring rock and roll photographs and very often organizing rare collections, opens a new David Bowie exhibition on Friday, November 11, as part of the tour. The collection will display prints from across Bowie’s career, known for its many pivots and distinct phases.
The images in this collection are equally valuable to a music fan and a fashion devotee. Some of the prints in “David Bowie: Starman,” curated by gallery owner Steven Walker, are album covers, well-known but obtained directly from the original photographers as an alternative to hanging a record sleeve on the wall.
To honor the shapeshifter and get visitors involved beyond a quick peek inside, Modern Rocks has declared a costume contest. Tim Palmer, the record producer who collaborated with Bowie himself on “Tin Machine” (the eponymous debut for the band Bowie founded and fronted in 1988), will host and judge the contest. His pick will determine which impersonator or vision expander brings home a framed Aladdin Sane print. The runner up will take home a copy of David Bowie Icon, a comprehensive photography book documenting the artist’s entire career.
Contest onlookers and tour visitors are invited for themed cocktails by distillery consultant Mark Shilling. The exhibition can be viewed through the end of 2022, when it will relocate to the David Bowie World Fan Convention in New York City.
Bowie was always interesting to look at, to put it mildly. As a teenager, he repped long hair and an otherwise sharp presentation in a TV interview with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Long-Haired Men. He went through a few iconic mullets, an outward fascination with fascist design elements, and a whole lot of rouge.
Other shots from cover sessions appear alongside the more famous images in the exhibition, including limited edition, signed prints from the cover shoot for “Diamond Dogs” by Terry O’Neill (Bowie dressed foppishly, yet working class); “Pin-Ups” by Justin De Villeneuve (Bowie with culture-shifting model Twiggy); and “Heroes” by Masayoshi Sukita (Bowie incredibly coiffed and austerely incredulous). Also included are Brian Duffy’s “Aladdin Sane” and “Scary Monsters” shoots — the former so iconic it became the visual shorthand for anything Bowie — plus early prints from Alec Byrne, Brian Aris, Kevin Cummins, Jake Chessum, Markus Klinko, and more.
The opening reception for “David Bowie: Starman” takes place on November 11, from 7-10 pm. RSVP on Eventbrite. More information about the Austin Studio Tour, including an interactive map, is available at austinstudiotour.org.
Not Your Mum's Pastrami
Not every farmers market is so lucky as to have a stand shelling out freshly sliced hot pastrami. Mum Foods brought the people what they didn’t know they needed — and what they promptly fell in love with — for years at three Austin markets, earning acclaim in Texas Monthly for the “best pastrami in the state” all the way back in 2017, and maintaining a juicy reputation since. It is finally taking up a more permanent residence in the Windsor Park neighborhood at 5811 Manor Road.
Officially Mum Foods Smokehouse and Delicatessen, the new space plans a soft opening on November 10 with “more grand opening celebrations to follow.” Fans should, of course, look into the new brick-and-mortar store, but can still keep Mum Foods in their farmers market routines (i.e. eating fresh, fat-dripping slices right at the stand before stashing the rest and hoping it makes it home).
Yes, the pastrami is still the star, sliced thick with a visible layer of fat intact, more like a barbecue brisket than what’s famous on the East Coast. The new space really hammers that point home with the smokehouse and deli equally emphasized, and favorites from both readily available by the pound or in sandwiches.
The latter include old favorites from the Mum Foods Modern Micro Deli — a former popup at the now-closed East Side Cafe — like the reuben-ish Rachel Sandwich with slaw and sauce, or the smoked chicken salad. These days, breads will be made in-house, too, for sandwiches on sourdough rye, pumpernickel, and beef tallow challah.
The barbecue portion includes Central Texas-style brisket, sausage, beef ribs, and smoked turkey. Rounded out with deli sides (supposedly distinct from barbecue sides), salads, and desserts, all made from local ingredients. A mysterious, mostly empty page on the website devoted to barbecue also says “pig roast” and “coming soon.”
Some other clues may be gleaned from the more explicit, sophisticated catering menu, with confit and smoked beef ribs in the colder seasons, and grilled Lockhart quail or hanger steak in the warmer ones.
Along with all these house specialties, the team is bringing local craft beers, wine, and even a coffee bar using Talisman Coffee products. Keeping pace with the meats, these espressos are also house-roasted from Nicaraguan beans grown on a family farm — not any family, but the owner’s for five generations.
More information will become available to newsletter subscribers, including details about the grand opening. Find Mum Foods by the pound at Texas Farmers Markets at Mueller and Lakeline, as well as the The Barton Creek Farmers Market.
Photo courtesy of Flower Child
Nine months after Fox Restaurant concepts announced a new Flower Child in the works, the new Westlake restaurant is ready to open on Tuesday, November 1. The Arizona-based concept is in 10 states and D.C.; the new location is the third Flower Child in Austin and the 11th in Texas.
The fast-casual restaurant specializes in holistic food made from scratch, which visitors order at the counter. Almost everything on the menu is dotted with at least one of three diet indicators — vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free — and the website points out a blanket tendency to keep paleo, keto, low-sugar, and other dietary considerations in mind.
Stylistically, it just gets wider from there. A cauliflower rice becomes “risotto” with the addition of maple coconut cream. Chicken enchiladas live in harmony with spicy Thai wraps with tofu and veggies. More Mediterranean treats like hummus, or a Greek yogurt and feta dip, join the American Cobb salad.
A new spot at 3300 Bee Caves Rd. situates the eatery among several others: both large fast food chains and smaller, but still casual restaurants. Flower Child is very similar to Modern Market Eatery, directly across the street, which serves similar “clean, nourishing and delicious food."
Where Modern Market seems to focus more on bowls, sandwiches, salads, and pizzas with straightforward American flavors, Flower Child digs deeper into more complicated flavors and an entrées-and-sides approach. Both rely on modular foods that are easy to customize and create quickly.
Flower Child’s other Austin locations are at Domain Northside (between Sephora and RH), and downtown on West 2nd Street. Despite the industrial genre conventions of fast-casual restaurants, these restaurants are homey and not identical to each other. As the name might suggest, Flower Child brings the outside in, with lots of plants and woven patio seating that close the gap between a quick meal in the middle of running errands to a warm catch-up with a practical friend.
The Westlake Hills Flower Child will open to the public on November 1. More information is available at iamaflowerchild.com.
Photo courtesy of BBQ Ramen Tatsu-ya
Put That In Your Ramen And Smoke It
The Tatsu-ya group is slowly turning Austin into a theme park for Tatsu-ya restaurants, and Austinites are thrilled to wait in those lines. Following the sad closure of Contigo last year, BBQ Ramen Tatsu-ya opened on the sly in the Anchor Lane space earlier this week, getting its feet under it before the guaranteed wave of customers.
Contigo — a very well-known and well-loved restaurant in the MLK neighborhood, known for emphasizing Texas cuisine — let go of its prized patio space in December of 2021 after 10 years of service. The Tatsu-ya group, coming up on its own 10-year milestone this fall, swooped in before it had decided on a name, announcing only that the concept would combine ramen and barbecue.
Word about Tatsu-ya travels fast, but this one actually stayed under wraps. As news in August came about more Ramen Tatsu-ya locations — just from ramen-obsessed Redditors noticing signs going up — curiosity was piqued, but still no announcement was made.
BBQ Ramen Tatsu-ya sticks to the script, not venturing as far from the initial brand as DipDipDip Tatsu-ya or Tiki Tatsu-ya. Still, the menu does get creative as the name promises, and honors Contigo’s memory with a focus on Texas food.
“In Japanese, the word “en” translates to “circle” and means fate or karma, and this new project brings that to mind,” said owner and chef Tatsu Aikawa in a press release. “It feels like coming full-circle from seven years ago when Andrew and I were cooking together in the Contigo kitchen for an episode of ‘BBQ With Franklin’ and throwing it back to 2013 when smoked brisket ramen was born during a shift family meal. This is a serendipitous opportunity and we’re excited to bring new creative energy and serve the community.”
The meat is smoked on-site at 2027 Anchor Lane, for a relatively pared-down menu. Six creative appetizers use Japanese ingredients in a Texan format: the side sampler comes with “amazu slaw, chili cukes, J potato salad, ‘hot’ mustard on mustard greens, pickled shishito, and fermented radish.”
Flip those Texas-Japanese ratios and you’ll get fairly normal-looking ramen bowls with unexpected ingredients like tortilla chips, smoked pecan, and lemon. Of course one of the four bowls features brisket, while others include chicken, roast beef, and the obligatory pork belly.
The meats will likely be the focus for many diners, but most Texans already know what barbecue tastes like. The feat goes much deeper than adding some smoke. One bowl is based on a “chilled chili grapefruit dipping sauce,” and sounds nearly unrecognizable as ramen except that it contains some version of all the right parts — noodles, dipping sauce, meat, a vegetable, and an egg.
“Ramen and Central Texas barbecue are each their own craft that take time to make,” said Aikawa. “There are over 80 hours put into the making of the ingredients in each bowl.”
Perhaps this careful remixing is why BBQ Ramen Tatsu-ya points out that it “politely decline[s] BBQ only.” Cocktails are equally creative, containing mostly Texas favorites like mezcal and tequila, but also surprising additions like smoked beef tallow. (If Tiki Tatsu-ya has taught Austin anything, it’s to trust Tatsu-ya bartending.) The dessert menu is short and simple, offering one banana and black sesame ice cream sandwich.
BBQ Ramen Tatsu-ya is open from 5-10 pm Sunday through Thursday, and 5-11 pm on Fridays and Saturdays, with plans to eventually offer lunch as well. The Tatsu-ya group shares that it is hiring for expansions, including new restaurants and a possible lunch service for BBQ Ramen Tatsu-ya. More information is available at bbqramen-tatsuya.com.
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There are many conceptions of Texas around the world, but most can agree that Texans do have a knack for making history. An annual acknowledgement by the Texas State History Museum Foundation (TSHMF) will celebrate the contributions of two very different Texans who used their leadership skills to coordinate huge wins for their respective teams.
Retired Navy Admiral and former University of Texas System Chancellor William H. McRaven and former NFL quarterback Roger Staubach will be honored with the History-Making Texan Award at the 19th Annual Texas Independence Day Dinner, taking place March 2, 2023, at the Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin.
McRaven’s contributions and Staubach’s are similar by nature of leading teams — one commanded troops and the other played an integral part in the Dallas Cowboys into a wave of undeniable success — but the similarities mostly stop there.
McRaven led troops to rescue the ransomed Captain Richard Phillips, search for Osama Bin Laden, and ultimately capture Iraqi politician Saddam Hussein. The Four-Star admiral has advised U.S. presidents in his retirement and written several books, mostly imparting wisdom around changing one’s own life, and hopefully the world around them.
Staubach took a more entertainment-based path to greatness, rising to fame as a star player while lifting the rest of the Cowboys with him. The team had nine consecutive winning seasons with Staubach, of 20 total. Aside from giving Texans yet another point of state pride, Staubach spent his retirement and influence on real estate and philanthropy.
“Our recipients reached the pinnacle of accomplishments and eminence in their fields. Importantly, they were selected as honorees based on their personal character and commitment to improving the lives of others,” said dinner chair and TSHMF trustee Lisa Cooley in a press release. “They stand as role models to emulate, and we look forward to sharing their dramatic and inspiring stories with our guests.”
The dinner supports the Bullock Texas State History Museum with ticket sales and underwriting from nearly 500 attendees annually. Austin’s Jan Felts Bullock, wife of Bob Bullock and museum trustee, joins Dallas’ Cooley as honorary chair. In 2022, the award went to pianist James Dick and philanthropist Lyda Hill.
More information about the foundation and the History-Making Texan Award is available at tshmf.org.
Obviously, 190 music showcases is not enough for South by Southwest. That’s 19 a day? Make it another 301. On December 7, SXSW announced the second round of 2023 showcasing artists, bringing the current total to almost 500 acts performing March 13-18, 2023, in Austin.
Of those newly announced artists, 29 are from Austin, and eight more are from Texas, keeping the local numbers relatively high compared to the whole world. This round contains almost 10 percent Austin bands, while the first round contained nearly 7 percent.
Some of the more widely recognizable Austin acts announced in the second round include:
- Good Looks: Vocalist and guitarist Tyler Jordan cites an increasingly venerated Austin band, Spoon, as an influence. Good Looks is guitar riff-driven, wistful, and a little Southern in sound.
- Graham Reynolds (solo), Graham Reynolds & The Golden Arm Trio: A prolific composer and bandleader, Reynolds’ name pops up all over Austin films and awards ceremonies. He appears solo and with an eclectic jazz trio.
- Kalu & The Electric Joint: Frontman Kalu James arrived in Austin from Nigeria at 18 and has made a strong name for himself (and guitarist Jonathan “JT” Holt) through psychedelic, vaguely jazzy, and decidedly funky jams.
- Pleasure Venom: One of the rawest acts in town, Pleasure Venom is well-known for punk hits (and honest takes) that don’t hold back. The band is consistently making news between lots of live shows and festival appearances.
- Primo the Alien: Solo artist and producer Primo the Alien is bringing the 80s back with synthy electro-pop. She attaches it all to a double persona that’s both candid on social media and a delivery system for sensory overload onstage.
- The Tiarras: A triple-threat band of sisters, The Tiarras are always thinking about family and stepping into their power. They’ve tackled topics like lesbian and Latina representation, and although they’re young, they’re seasoned pros.
The remaining Austin bands in the second round are: Andrea Magee, Big Wy's Brass Band, Billy King & The Bad Bad Bad, Caleb De Casper, Daiistar, Del Castillo, El Combo Oscuro, Font, JM Stevens, Johnny Chops, Marshall Hood, Otis Wilkins, Pink Nasty Meets El Cento, Rett Smith, Rod Gatort, Schatzi, Shooks, S.L. Houser, The Tender Things, Thor & Friends, Trouble in The Streets, and West Texas Exiles.
Showcases are the base unit of the SXSW music experience, so to speak. They may be solo or part of a multi-day affair, especially when sponsored by large entities like Rolling Stone. Attendees with music wristbands get priority, but all wristbands get access if space remains.
Even as the lineup seems to bulge at the seams, a press release states that there are more to come. A full schedule of showcasing artists, where users can select events for their customized schedule, is available at schedule.sxsw.com.
People can learn a lot at the library. Besides all the books, magazines, online resources, and in-person programming, Austinites enjoy a buffet of rotating art exhibits that populate the gallery at the Central Library downtown, publicizing local artists and teaching visitors about the culture around them.
Now the ever-changing Austin Public Library is looking for another new exhibit sometime in 2024 between January and September, and inviting artists to apply through February 28.
Good news for artists who crave freedom, and frustrating news for artists who love something to bounce off of: This engagement offers few to no parameters. There is no explicit theme, but the library does claim a mission in a press release about the call for artists.
“The mission of the Central Library Gallery is to support local artists and art communities, raise awareness of contemporary and diverse forms of art, and to provide exhibitions in which a wide variety of identities and interests are represented,” said the release.
The Central Library website lists four current exhibitions: Hannah Hannah lends some expressionist portraits, Release the Puppets tells stories in a classic and playful medium, the Austin American-Statesman explores Austin communities of color through photographs, and a traveling exhibition documents Pride parades of the past.
The call is addressed to “artists, collectives, curators and beyond,” further widening the possibilities, but still restricting them to applicants residing in Texas. Applicants should consider the size of the gallery (2,700 square feet) and a few logistical stipulations, including that pieces may not be hung from the ceiling, and that walls may be painted.
When the jury — made up of local artists and others in the industry — announces a winning proposal in March 2023, the artist will be offered a stipend to complete the work. All project costs are the exhibitor’s responsibility, so this stipend is not unlike an advance, except that the project will not continue to generate revenue at the library.
Applications are open now through 11:59 pm on February 28, 2023. Applicants may make their proposals via submittable.com.