Cedar Door owners opening Italian-Southern restaurant downtown Friday

Two of the most popular dining trends over the past several years in Austin have been Southern and Italian cuisines. Soon you can get a taste of both under one roof. Longtime Cedar Door owners Steve and Heather Potts will open La Volpe Friday at 201 Brazos St. B, next door to their downtown bar. The restaurant helmed by executive chef Will Eason intends to “blend traditional Italian with ultra-fresh ingredients and Southern flavors.”

Ravioli at La Volpe, which opens Friday. (Credit: The Velox Standard)

Eason got his start in cooking at Revival Grill in Greensboro, North Carolina and eventually made his way to Italian-inspired Second Bar + Kitchen before going to work at the Cedar Door in 2014.

His menu includes fried baby artichokes with shaved fennel and limoncello crema, charred okra with smoked tomato and mustard green purée, white truffle lasagne with porcini mushrooms, ribeye with Texas cabernet compound butter; and a grilled pork chop.

Pastry chef Amanda Neber, a veteran of Olive & June and Foreign & Domestic, has created a menu that includes charred corn panna cotta with cinnamon cornbread croutons; and sweet tea tiramisù.

The bar at La Volpe (meaning “fox” in Italian) features Italian and Texas wines, craft beers, and handcrafted cocktails infused with fresh herbs and spices.

La Volpe is located at 201 Brazos St. Building B. Dinner will be served Tuesday-Thursday from 5 to 10 p.m. and until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, with Sunday brunch planned in the coming weeks.

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Suerte chef collaborating with 40 North Pizza for charity special

What happens when one of the city’s best Mexican chefs joins forces with a rising pizza star? You can find out starting next Monday, as Suerte chef Fermín Nuñez will be the next chef collaborating with 40 North Pizza.

Núñez and chef Clint Elmore of 40 North have created a Mexican-inspired “La Buena” pizza topped with mole amarillo, nduja, pickled carrots, and kale.

Pizza Buena collaboration between chefs Clint Elmore and Fermin Nunez of Suerte. (Contributed)

The pizza, along with a queso fundido baked in 40 North’s wood-fired oven and featuring avocado, oregano, pickled onions, and chile morita, will be available on the menu at 40 North.

The restaurant will host a kick-off pizza party Monday from 6 to 10 p.m., with both chefs in the kitchen collabing on the La Buena and a one-night-only mole negro pizza. The La Buena and special queso fundido will be available for the month of October. As with each of their guest chef collaborations, a small portion of proceeds benefits charity. In this cases, $1 from each pizza sale will be donated to Grassroots Leadership, Núñez’s charity of choice.

40 North is the relatively new brick-and-mortar restaurant at 900 West 10th St. it shares a named with the pizza trailer Elmore previously operated on South First Street that made our Best Pizza in Austin list a few years back.

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Celebrate National Cheeseburger Day with some of Austin’s best burgers

It’s National Cheeseburger Day in ‘Merica. Now, I just turned in my annual dining guide and am hitting the reset button with a juice cleanse, so I hate National Cheeseburger Day this year. However, in honor of this most magnificent fake holiday, I’m re-posting my Best Hamburgers in Austin list from 2015. I’m just posting them in alphabetical order below; so if you want the juicy descriptions of all of them, go read the original story for my rationale and beautiful adjectives and thrilling verbs.

The burger at Odd Duck. (Laura Skelding AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
07/23/15 Laura Skelding/AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Dining Guide: Matthew Odam’s Top 25 restaurants in Austin. The green tomato hamburger at Odd Duck.
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Obviously, the original list is a little bit dated. Some of these might not be on my list now, and others would be. I haven’t had time to revisit them all, and the dozens (hundreds?) of places in Austin that serve burgers, but I am going to go ahead and throw in some more favorites from my last few years of dining. The new additions you see below would make the updated list, which I may or may not be currently researching. If you don’t see your favorite, tell me what a dummy I am in the comments section. (I know there are some I must still try. Looking at you, L’Oca d’Oro brunch burger.) Happy National Cheeseburger Day, you animals.

New additions (alphabetically):

Brewer’s Table, Cafe No Se, Casino El Camino, Dai DueDelray Cafe, Garbo’s, Holy RollerJune’s All Day Soursop

2015 List

Six classic burgers for about $6 (alphabetically)

Best veggie burgers

 

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Willie Nelson’s Luck, TX culinary grant will award $5,000 to Texas chef

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Farm-Aid founder and Texas legend Willie Nelson’s annual Luck Reunion has teamed with the Austin Food & Wine Alliance to award a $5,000 culinary grant to a chef “whose inspiration and vision have contributed to the American roots narrative by leaving a distinctive mark on culinary culture.”

Willie Nelson performs at the Luck Reunion on March 16, 2017. Suzanne Cordeiro/FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN

The grant will be one of six from the Austin Food & Wine Alliance that will distribute $60,000 in support of culinary innovation and community giveback projects in Central Texas. The Alliance awards specific grants each year funded by supporters, and this year’s Willie Nelson’s Luck, TX grant stems from the Luck Reunion, an arts, music, cultural and food event that takes place each year at Nelson’s Luck, Texas.

“Luck Reunion was established to celebrate creative communities influenced by the no-holds-barred, rogue creative culture pioneered by our landlord Willie Nelson; and brought to life in the Texas ‘town’ of Luck,” said Ellee Fletcher, producer of Luck Reunion and Nelson’s great-niece. “This grant will be awarded to a chef whose inspiration and vision have similarly contributed to the American roots narrative by leaving a distinctive mark on culinary culture.”

Grant applications are being accepted through October 12 at austinfoodwinealliance.org. Grant winners will be announced and awarded at a ceremony in early December.     

Previous AFWA grants include the state’s first organic apple orchard (Argus Cidery), the first USDA-inspected salumi producer in Texas (Salt & Time Butcher Shop & Salumeria), the state’s first locally grown and malted barley to support craft beer production (Blacklands Malt), a unique volunteer program teaching farming skills to diverse populations and culinary students (New Farm Institute at Green Gate Farms), Austin’s first and only community-supported bakeshop (Miche Bread) and a Georgetown farm producing stress-free, free-range meat while helping wounded veterans (Snodgrass Farms).

Austin restaurant earns honor of Best Wine List in North America

Looking for a bottle of 2015 Jean Claude Courtault Chablis Grand Cru to pair with your appetizer of crab toast? Or maybe a bottle of Chappellet’s Pritchard Hill Estate Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon to go with your dry-aged bone-in ribeye? This Clarksville institution has you covered.

Emma Janzen AMERICAN-STATESMAN

One of the deepest, broadest and most exclusive wine lists in Texas has been honored as the Best Medium-Size Wine List in North America by The World of Fine Wine. After several years of advancing up the star rankings, Jeffrey’s earned the distinction this month from the industry publication, which had the following to say about the program led by Master Sommelier and McGuire Moorman Hospitality vice president of operations June Rodil.

The wine list embodies clarity and complexity with defined headlines such as ‘Grower Champagne’, with labels from Robert Barbichon Blanc de Noirs Brut NV, to Jacques Selosse “Millésimé” Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs 2005, and ‘Négociant Champagne’, such as Bollinger “La Grande Année” 2005, and Ruinart Rosé Brut NV. Not overlooking sparkling wines, a few cherry-picked options from Spain and Italy are some of the options available, alongside Oregon’s Soter “Mineral Springs Ranch” Brut Rosé, which is sustainably produced.

Judges of the 2017 awards commented that Jeffrey’s has an, “Elegant choice and layout”, with a “very good spirit selection.”

Snack on Franklin Barbecue, Foreign & Domestic, more at chef battle

The Austin chapter of the Les Dames de Escoffier hosts its fourth annual En Garde! Food Fight at 7 p.m. Sept. 20 at the Barr Mansion & Artisan Ballroom (10463 Sprinkle Road).

Franklin Barbecue in Austin. (Laura Skelding/2014 American-Statesman)

The night, which benefits programs for the nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the work of women working in the culinary, beverage and hospitality industries, will feature eight female chefs battling it out in contests like the Macaron Smackdown, Biscuit Battle and Paella Pair Off.

Franklin Barbecue, Foreign & Domestic, Sway and others will provide small bites, and wine will be provided by Virtuoso Wine and Spirits and Fall Creek Vineyards and Winery. Guests will also have the opportunity to challenge a sommelier in a blind wine tasting.

Tickets cost $65 online and $75 at the door. More details at ldeiaustin.org.

Legendary East Austin Mexican restaurant adds dinner service

The famed migas at Cisco’s Restaurant (1511 E. Sixth St.) are staying up past their bed time. The legendary restaurant opened in 1950 by Rudy “Cisco” Cisneros has long been known for its breakfast tacos, biscuits and lunch plates, and now its getting in on the nighttime action of East Austin.

Cisco’s Restaurant now serves dinner. Ralph Barrera/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

The restaurant recently introduced a dinner menu, which includes an expanded version of the fajitas it serves as lunch, along with taco salads, crispy tacos and those popular migas. The dinner changes follow the new ownership’s addition of beer, margaritas, Bloody Marys and screwdrivers. Cisco’s is open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

An ownership team that includes Matt Cisneros, grandson of restaurant founder and namesake Rudy “Cisco” Cisneros; Antone’s co-owner Will Bridges; commercial builder and co-owner of historic Hoffbrau Steakhouse, Rick McMinn; and Bryan Schneider purchased the longtime community favorite and regular hangout of politicos from Clovis Cisneros last year.

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Best taco truck in Austin opens Mueller location today

The best migas tacos in Austin (America?) now have another point of distribution. Maritza and Reyna Vazquez opened their third Veracruz All Natural taco truck today.

Migas taco Veracruz All Natural. Contributed

The latest truck is located at 4209 Airport Blvd and is open Tuesday-Sunday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

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Cole and Franklin’s Loro now accepting online to-go orders

If you’ve snooped around the north side of the Loro parking lot and ambled over to the bar counter at the north end of the restaurant, you know that Tyson Cole and Aaron Franklin’s ‘fine-casual’ concept Loro already has dedicated parking spots and pick-up area for to-go orders. Today the restaurant took another step toward making things convenient and efficient for guests by introducing online to-go ordering.

Chicken Karaage with chili aioli and Szechuan salt; Garlic Rice Noodles with pineapple, mint, currants, cashews, and fish sauce; Texas Smoked Sweet Corn with yuzu kosho aioli, lime, and sunburst tomato; Oak Grilled Snap Peas with kimchi emulsion, are menu offerings at Loro. Seen on Tuesday, August 21, 2018 in Austin, TX. AMANDA VOISARD / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

The to-go menu includes daytime items like oak-grilled snap peas; char siew pork belly, Thai green curry pork sausage, smoked prime bavette and more. Since the sliced brisket is only available at dinner, it is not available via to-go service.

To-go ordering is available from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Guests can order online here and pay online or in person, and enter the dedicated door on the northwest side of the building. Guests can also order ahead by calling 512-916-4858.

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Southern Living names three Austin barbecue spots in its Top 50

Southern Living’s barbecue editor Robert Moss has named the Top 50 Barbecue Joints in the South. Louie Mueller Barbecue of Taylor and Snow’s BBQ of Lexington both cracked the Top 5, coming in at two and five, respectively.

Franklin Barbecue. (Matthew Odam AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Austin’s highest-ranked spot is Franklin Barbecue, which came in at #7. It was followed by Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ at #17 and Micklethwait Craft Meats at #35. Check out the full list and see what other Texas barbecue greats made the cut at SouthernLiving.com.

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