Video: The life of a restaurant critic’s spoiled dog

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So, what’s it like being the dog of a restaurant critic? Not too shabby. Check out a day in the life of Ziggy Odam. And, when you’re looking for something good to eat, check out the Austin360 Dining Guide at austin360.com/eats.

 

Event: Suntory Whisky dinner at Vox Table Tuesday

suntory

It’s Suntory time at Vox Table (1100 S. Lamar Blvd.) Tuesday night, as the restaurant will host a six-course dinner paired with selections from the Suntory family of whisky. The menu includes red crab soufflé paired with Suntory Toki, grilled venison paired with Hakushu 12 Year, and a dessert of upside down pear cake and Yamazaki 18 year. Tickets for the 7 p.m. dinner cost $120 and can be purchased online.

Now open: Barbecue restaurant EastSide Tavern in East Austin

EastSde Tavern. (Credit: Facebook.com/eastsidetavernaustin)
EastSde Tavern. (Credit: Facebook.com/eastsidetavernaustin)

Barbecue restaurant EastSide Tavern opened in a refined, industrial space at 1501 E. Cesar Chavez St. last week. The restaurant serves barbecue staples like brisket, pulled pork, pork ribs, turkey and chicken, as well as some change-of-pace dishes like blackened fish tacos, Frito pie and smoked chicken wings. In addition to a couple of dozen beers and wine, EastSde Tavern also serves a slew of specialty cocktails, including barrel-aged and tap cocktails. (eastsidetavernaustin.com)

Now open: Culinary Dropout and Flower Child balance each other at Domain Northside

Fred chicken at Culinary Dropout.
Fred chicken at Culinary Dropout.

The Domain Northside continues its seemingly endless restaurant expansion with the opening of Flower Child and Culinary Dropout, two disparate concepts from Sam Fox, who also opened True Food Kitchen and North Italia.

Described as a “playground for grown-ups,” Culinary Dropout serves dishes like Thai chili chicken wings, bbq pork belly nachos and Cap’n Crunch crusted French toast. The restaurant, which also features a full bar and games like ping pong and cornhole, is located at 11721 Rock Rose, Suite #100 and is open daily for lunch and dinner.

Mother's Earth Bowl at Flower Child.
Mother’s Earth Bowl at Flower Child.

Next door to that playful concept is the more responsible Flower Child, a clean-eating spot that serves a variety of salads and grain bowls topped with proteins like grass-fed steak and organic tofu, as well as a roster of vegetarian dishes like Indian-spiced cauliflower and spicy Japanese eggplant. Flower Child serves kombucha on tap and takes the elevated-consciousness marketing approach the extra mile, with a yoga mat “parking” area. Flower Child is also located at 11721, in the suite adjacent to Culinary Dropout. It is open daily for lunch and dinner.

Ramen Tatsu-Ya to open Texas-influenced izakaya that serves smoked meat

Takuya Matsumoto, left, and Tatsu Aikawa are the chef-owners Ramen Tatsu-Ya. They are opening a Texas-influenced izakaya later this winter in East Austin.
Takuya Matsumoto, left, and Tatsu Aikawa are the chef-owners Ramen Tatsu-Ya. They are opening a Texas-influenced izakaya later this winter in East Austin.

The ramen masters at Ramen Tatsu-Ya have announced they will introduce Kemuri Tatsu-Ya later this winter. The concept will be a “Texas-influenced take on izakayas.” The name is derived from the Japanese word for “smoke,” and while the opening menu is still being finalized, diners can expect smoked meats.

To further the smoke theme, the restaurant will be located in the old Live Oak BBQ space at 2713 E. Second St. McCray & Co. which has worked with Austin restaurants like Lenoir, will design the space, which will “honor both the smoke-stained walls of the space and the traditional Japanese izakaya concept.”

Ramen Tatsu-Ya announced earlier this month that they would be opening a location in Houston.

La Feria on South Lamar closes; office project to take its place?

laferiaUpdate: La Feria, which closed its South Lamar location at the end of October, opened its new location today at 6301 W. Parmer Lane.

La Feria Mexican restaurant has ended its 17-year run at 2010 S. Lamar Blvd. The restaurant, which moved there from 1816 S. Lamar Bvld. in 1999, took over the old Bill Miller BBQ space.

New York-based development company Sackman Enterprises Inc. purchased the land in 2014 and told the Statesman’s Shonda Novak last year that La Feria would continue until they decided to move forward with an office project there.

When contacted for this post, a representative who works with Sackman Enterprises said the company has no comment on the future plans for the land at South Lamar Boulevard and Mary Street.

 

 

 

Fresa’s accepting submissions for free Thanksgiving dinners for families in need

Fresa's is giving away three Thanksgiving dinners to families in need.
Fresa’s is giving away three Thanksgiving dinners to families in need.

In the spirit of giving thanks, Fresa’s is giving away three of its pre-packaged Thanksgiving dinners to three area families in need. The meals, valued at $285, include roasted turkey, gravy, citrus-seasoned cranberry sauce, chorizo cornbread stuffing and other sides. Austinites can nominate a friend, family member of colleague they think is deserving by emailing Fresa’s at thanksgiving@fresaschicken.com with an explanation of the family and their needs. Fresa’s is asking submissions to include a name and email address or phone number for the person being nominated. The restaurant is accepting submissions through midnight Saturday and will contact winners on Sunday.

For those interested in buying their own Thanksgiving dinner from Fresa’s (which served 8 to 10 people), visit fresaschicken.com.


Photos: Philip Speer, Paul Qui and other Austin chefs go down the side of building to raise awareness about addiction

Chef Philip Speer, left, works with Over the Edge training manager Troy Wilson, right, before he rappels down the Omni Hotel as part of the Shatterproof Challenge Rappel on Wednesday, November 16, 2016. The Shatterproof Challenge Rappel is a national non-profit working towards ending the stigma of addiction. A group of well known Austin chefs, including Paul Qui and Philip Speer, took part in the challenge in a team named 86 Addiction. DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Chef Philip Speer, left, works with Over the Edge training manager Troy Wilson, right, before he rappels down the Omni Hotel as part of the Shatterproof Challenge Rappel on Wednesday, November 16, 2016. The Shatterproof Challenge Rappel is a national non-profit working towards ending the stigma of addiction. A group of well known Austin chefs, including Paul Qui and Philip Speer, took part in the challenge in a team named 86 Addiction. DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Bonhomie chef Philip Speer rounded up about a dozen of his friends from the Austin restaurant community to rappel down the side of the Omni Hotel in downtown Austin Wednesday to raise money for Shatterproof, an organization that raises awareness about addiction and works to fight the stigma surrounding the disease. Read more about Speer and his efforts here and check out photos of the industry professionals in this gallery.

A crowd watches as people rappel down the side of the Omni Hotel as part of the Shatterproof Challenge Rappel on Wednesday, November 16, 2016. The Shatterproof Challenge Rappel is a national non-profit working towards ending the stigma of addiction. A group of well known Austin chefs, including Paul Qui and Philip Speer, took part in the challenge in a team named 86 Addiction. DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
A crowd watches as people rappel down the side of the Omni Hotel as part of the Shatterproof Challenge Rappel on Wednesday, November 16, 2016. The Shatterproof Challenge Rappel is a national non-profit working towards ending the stigma of addiction. A group of well known Austin chefs, including Paul Qui and Philip Speer, took part in the challenge in a team named 86 Addiction. DEBORAH CANNON / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Restaurant review: Boiler Nine Bar + Grill

Boiler Nine Bar + Grill restaurant recently opened in the Seaholm Power Plant location on Cesar Chavez in downtown Austin.  RALPH BARRERA/AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Boiler Nine Bar + Grill restaurant recently opened in the Seaholm Power Plant location on Cesar Chavez in downtown Austin.
RALPH BARRERA/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Check out this video preview of the new Boiler Nine Bar + Grill, and then get a taste of the review by reading the first few grafs below. For the complete review, head to MyStatesman.com.

“This doesn’t look like Austin.”

“This doesn’t feel like Austin.”

Or, worse: “This looks like Dallas.”

You’ll hear some variation of that lament as you traverse parts of recently sprouted or newly polished Austin.

It’s too sparkling. It’s too slick. It’s too … new.

We like things a little more lived-in around here. Places with character. It doesn’t have to be old, but it helps if it can pass for having been around since before the 21st century. Sometimes just a reincarnation of an old spirit in a new body will do.

At least, that’s how a certain strain of Austinites feel. Many recent transplants, younger consumers and trend-chasers are drawn to the glossy, antiseptic familiarity of mixed-use developments found in every major city in America today. Servicing such disparate masters can be a real challenge.

Welcome to the world of being a restaurant operator today in Austin. The problem is highlighted by the wealth of first-generation restaurant spaces in town. How can you make a new space feel like it has earned history? And how can someone who’s been around awhile avoid the label of newcomer?

The sleek, industrial Boiler Nine Bar + Grill, named after its location in the former Seaholm Power Plant’s ninth boiler room, sits at the crux of Austin’s old-new conundrum. One of Austin’s newest restaurants (it opened this summer), it is located in one of the older buildings in Austin to house a restaurant. The restaurant is centered on the warming cuisine fueled by live-fire cooking, though the space looks like it just got removed from its plastic wrapping. And the team behind it isn’t new, but their context has changed.

Read the full review on MyStatesman.com.

Iconic Hudson’s on the Bend returns Friday under new ownership

Sous vide octopus at Hudson's on the Bend. (Credit: Neil Burger)
Sous vide octopus at Hudson’s on the Bend. (Credit: Neil Burger)

One of Austin’s iconic restaurants returns in a new incarnation this weekend, as Hudson’s on the Bend reopens under new ownership and management.

Chris McFall and chef Billy Caruso purchased the restaurant beloved for its wild game and charming Hill Country aesthetic from founder Jeff Blank earlier this year. Caruso, a Lake Travis native and graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, has served as sommelier at III Forks and Paggi House in Austin and, mostly recently, held the position of executive chef at III Forks in Chicago.

Co-owner and executive chef Billy Caruso. (Credit: Neil Burger)
Co-owner and executive chef Billy Caruso. (Credit: Neil Burger)

Caruso’s menu will update Blank’s take on game and Hill Country cuisine, with dishes like yellow bolita wild boar tamale with house mole negro; venison tartare with cucumber, fermented Fresno chili and yogurt; alligator ribs with tomato fresco and aji amarillo aioli; hot and crunchy trout; chicken-fried quail; and smoked vanilla panna cotta.

The culinary team also includes chef de cuisine Brandon Silver, a veteran of Qui; executive pastry chef Rosie Gibson, who worked under award-winner Laura Sawicki at Launderette; and beverage manager Stephen Keys, whose cocktails will include herbs, flowers and produce grown in the restaurant’s onsite garden.

The space has been updated and modernized by architects Ben May of Ben May Design, who worked on Contigo; Lucas Bryer of Bryer Construction and Installation, whose design builds include work at Easy Tiger Bake Shop & Beer Garden and Geraldine’s; and designer Tabette Stewart of CCG Development.

Hudson’s on the Bend is located at 3509 RM 620 North overlooking Lake Travis in West Austin. For more information about the new Hudson’s on the Bend, or to make reservations, call 512-266-1369 or visit HudsonsOnTheBend.com.