Salt Lick evacuated Tuesday, will reopen Wednesday

Salt Lick evacuated the restaurant in Driftwood Tuesday evening after smoke from a vent fire in the banquet area entered the dining room. The restaurant will reopen with regular hours Wednesday at 11 a.m. Nobody was hurt in the fire and the restaurant received no significant damage.

One Twitter user was on the scene:

Paul Qui’s Kuneho opens January 2, with sneak peek the preceding week

Perfect bites at Kuneho: aged beef tongue, salmon butter, morcilla a la dinuguan, uni toast with lardo. (Credit: Mark Weatherford)
Perfect bites at Kuneho: aged beef tongue, salmon butter, morcilla a la dinuguan, uni toast with lardo. (Credit: Mark Weatherford)

Update: Kuneho will now open on January 4

James Beard Award-winning Paul Qui will return to the kitchen following the shutter of his eponymous restaurant, Qui.

He will open Kuneho (the name means “rabbit” in his native Tagalog) at 1600 E. Sixth Street on January 2, following a week of preview dinners and a sneak peek celebration event on New Year’s Eve. Qui closed his first restaurant in September, six months after his arrest for assault against his girlfriend in March. That case is ongoing, with a pre-trial hearing slated for February. Qui discussed his arrest and personal struggles in an interview with the Statesman this summer.

Kuneho will be more casual than its predecessor, serving sushi and globally inspired dishes, continuing Qui’s pursuit for “the perfect bite.” Dishes will include sunchoke dashi with Hausbar Farm vegetables and dried uni; and snapper with burnt savoy cabbage and a sauce made with nori, black pepper and yuzu. See the complete opening menu at bottom.

Qui will be joined in the kitchen by chef de cuisine Mia Li, a veteran of Thai Kun with both Chinese (father) and Thai (mother) roots. Kuneho will feature four separate spaces — a main dining room, cocktail lounge, sushi bar and patio — and be open Sunday-Thursday from 5 p.m. until 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday until 11 p.m.

There will be preview dinners December 27-30, with dishes offered at 25-percent discount. Those attending earn access to the restaurant’s New Year’s Eve party. Reservations can be made by emailing or calling 512-436-9626.

The complete opening food menu is located below:

Perfect Bites

Quail egg + caviar, light soy sauce

Trout roe migas

Morcilla a la dinuguan

Mussel Escabeche

Peanut Gazpacho in a bite

Caviar toast

Uni toast with lardo

Foie Toast


Salmon Butter

Rabbit hand pie

Caramelized Eggplant

Kuneho Sushi

Aged Beef Tongue- 30 day age, black pepper, fish caramel

Enoki Mushroom- tamari

Hearts of Palm- peanut sauce, roasted peanuts

Crispy Onion

Smoked Short Rib- smoked tamari, fresh wasabi

Pork Jam- toboki, chicharonne

Foiegras- umeboshi pate de fruit, shiso

Avocado- yuzukosho, tamari


Big eye tuna

Sustainable Blue Fin

Sustainable Blue Fin toro

Ora King Salmon


Japanese Sea Bream

Black Bass

Sea Urchin



Gulf Shrimp


Kurodai Tiradito- black bass ginger, garlic, aji amarillo, olive oil

Madai Carpaccio- Japanese sea bream, garlic oil, smoked soy

Atun poke- big eye tuna, avocado, green apple, red onion, tamari, pumpkin seed oil

Kinilawin- cobia, coconut vinegar, coconut milk, red onion, cilantro, black pepper

Smoked Sake- ora king salmon, whey, green tea oil, crispy garlic

Mixta Ceviche- fin fish and shellfish marinated in citrus

Aji aji- horse mackerel, aji amarillo, leche de tigre

Sabe Escabeche- east coast mackarel, ponzu, tomatoes, herbs

Sunchoke Dashi- a selection of vegetables from HausBar Farms, dried uni, croutons

Avo Shell- avocado, yuzu, blue crab, savory kuro cereal


Roti canai with curry rabbit and parmesan

Sweet greens salad with carrot ginger dressing

Sunomono- pickle plate

Dorsey’s vegetable with lemon miso hummus

Kuneho queen crab

Nabe and More

Hamachi bibimbap

Vegetable bibimbap

Sisig + fried egg

Mussel with dinuguan sauce and jamon

Sizzling rice ochazuke

Poached grouper in kombu milk broth

Ben’s Snapper with burnt nappa, nori, black pepper, yuzu

All the Rolls

Kimchi and velveeta eggrolls

Hearts of palm lumpia

Austin Roll- fish cake, cucumber, avocado, sweet chili vinegar

Philly Speer Roll- smoked ora king salmon, laughing cow cheese, ash

Negihama, smoke tamari, fresh wasabi

Negitoro, smoked tamari, fresh wasabi

Fried Shrimp roll, green mango, kuneho sauce, crispy stuff

Super Crunchy Salmon Roll

Big Beef Roll, yummy beef parts, avocado, cucumber, yuzukosho miso

Agemono fried goodness

Fried Half chicken, banana ketchup, nam jim, pan de mie and pickles

Pork rib nam, pork jam, cucumber

Hamachi kama

Sake kama

Seasonal tempura vegetables, tensuyu

Chicken Karaage

Chicken ribs , master bbq sauce, acharra

Tonkatsu – kurobuta pork chop, shredded cabbage, fruit sauce

Tonguekatsu- aged beef tongue, hot mustard, milk bread, pickles

Yakimono/ Grill

Aged beef tongue, fish caramel, hot mustard

Smoked short rib, seasonal kimchi and pickles

Pork Belly Lechon fresh asian pear salad

Unicorn en Vaso- grilled corn with sea urchin and kewpie in a cup

Elotes- grilled corn Japanese texas style

Smoked short ribs, seasonal kimchi

Pork belly Lechon, asian pear salad

Kuneho Sweets

Foie “Roti Boy” coffee bun

Matcha Mochi and Valrhona ganache

Japanese Cheesecake


Veggie Heaven owner offers opening update and announces new meat-friendly concept

Mei Chen (left), with daughter Stacy, closed Veggie Heaven on the Drag in 2014, after 16 years in business. (Matthew Odam/American-Statesman)
Mei Chen (left), with daughter Stacy, closed Veggie Heaven on the Drag in 2014, after 16 years in business.
(Matthew Odam/American-Statesman)

All good things to those who wait. Stacy Chen, owner of Veggie Heaven founder Mei Chen, had hoped to have the new location of Veggie Heaven open by now at 1611 W. Fifth St. But, as all restaurant owners know, these things take time. Chen says that as soon as final air duct work gets approved by the city, she will be ready to open the new iteration of the Asian veggie-centric restaurant her mother opened in 1998. Chen is hoping for an opening around the end of the year, so looks like all of your fried-vegan-nugget dreams will come true in 2017.

In addition to Veggie Heaven, Chen also plans to open Yoshi Kitchen, a meat-friendly restaurant, in 2017. The Asian-fusion restaurant will be located at 3318 Harmon Ave. near I-35 and serve a variety of dishes, like teriyaki, ramen, Asian barbecue, Asian burgers and more. Chen hopes to have that restaurant open by the end of February.


Austin chefs and restaurateurs name their favorite cookbook and food-related books


Don’t want to splurge on cooking lessons or a $500 gift card to the French Laundry as a holiday gift for your favorite food lover this year? Books make wonderful presents for the food-obsessive in your life. They are evocative, educational, transportive and often beautiful. And nobody knows these books better than restaurant industry professionals.

I asked 25 of Austin’s top chefs and restaurant operators to name their favorite food-related books, from cookbooks to memoirs to tomes on food philosophy. Let their answers help you during your holiday shopping or serve as a year-round personal reading guide.

While I recommend shopping for these books at independent bookstores like BookPeople and specialty shops like Métier Cook’s Supply, you can also purchase most of them from multiple online outlets, sometimes directly from the publisher or author.

Below are a few of the participating chefs. Read the full list at

Adam Brick, chef de cuisine at Apis Restaurant & Apiary

“The French Laundry Cookbook” by Thomas Keller: “I read this book front to back when I was 12 years old, and it is by the far the single greatest factor that lead me into kitchens at a young age. The idea in the book about acknowledging that only once you have accepted that perfection is unattainable, only then can you truly pursue it. The idea that I’d be chasing the carrot for the rest of my life is still in my bones and has made me into the person and cook I am today.”

cochonMark Buley, chef and partner at Odd Duck

“Cooking by Hand” by Paul Bertolli: “The most poetic expression of the tactile experience of being a chef who really cares deeply about the product and the process.”

“Glorious French Food: A Fresh Approach to the Classics” by James Peterson: “A great mashup of technique and food anthropology with respect to French food. It is the most dog-eared, highlighted cookbook that I have. It pays homage to the classics, which is what I fear the current generation would leave as a missed opportunity without books like this.”

“Au Pied de Cochon: The Album” by Martin Picard: “A cult classic. He cooks with emboldened passion that is a motivation for almost any dish based on excess that we do at Odd Duck.”

Tyson Cole, chef and owner of Hai Hospitality (Uchi, Uchiko, Top Knot)

“Blood, Bones and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef” by Gabrielle Hamilton: “Gabrielle’s food at Prune NYC is some of the best you’ve ever had, and it’s rooted in her childhood and mother’s French upbringing and her experience as a kid around their house with a plethora of eats and killer food combinations. Love this book and her cooking to no end. It’s all about the simplicity. And room-temp butter!”

wfSonya Coté, executive chef at Eden East and Hillside Farmacy

“Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Tradition and Craft of Live-Culture Foods” by Sandor Ellix Katz: “I’ve bought this book over and over again. It’s a great travel companion, as well, as it reads like a novel and tells many tales. I love the way that the author describes each process. It’s a bit sarcastic and is also based on many of his personal experiences. Last season, I bought this book for my mother who had been going through some health problems, my best guy friend who operates a small farm in North Carolina, and my chef de cuisine at Eden East. I’ve made several recipes from this book and recommend it to anyone that’s interested in making their own fermented foods.”

Todd Duplechan, chef-owner of Lenoir

“Cooking by hand” by Paul Bertoli: “This was the first book that I saw the ground up cooking philosophy of cooking alongside a plants life cycle. From sprouts-shoots-buds-fruit-foliage-flowers to seeds.
Also, milling of grains to make pasta and cracked grain dishes before it was commonplace.”

“The Gun Club Cookbook” by Charlie Brown: “A cook and lifestyle book about a place that couldn’t exist anymore. A competitive skeet/trap shooting club with a gastronomic bar and restaurant attached. At its core it is a book calling men to cook and understand food which was way before its time. **fair warning, it’s a vintage book so there is some questionable cartoons**”

aubergeJesse Griffiths, chef-owner of Dai Due

“The Auberge of the Flowering Hearth” by Roy Andrees de Groot:  “It’s a nice blend of a travel journal (the author was blind) about a small restaurant in the French mountains that was run by two women — one cooked and one selected the wines.  The attention given to the meal itself, in its entirety instead of disparate courses, is fascinating, as are the wine selections for each course and the choice of aperitif and digestif based on the tone of the meal.  It is beautiful, post-war French cooking at its finest, with the second half of the book dedicated to the recipes.”

Rick Lopez, executive chef at La Condesa

“The Soul of a Chef: The Journey Toward Perfection” by Michael Ruhlman: “I read this book three times in 2006 before I moved to New York City to work at Café Boulud under chef Gavin Kaysen. It helped me understand the lifestyle of a driven cook and chef. Each chef’s story was an inspiration to me, and it made me want to create my own story and pave my own path. I still recommend this book to young cooks today.”

Elaine Martin, co-founder and owner of Eastside Café

“From the Earth to the Table: John Ash’s Wine Country Cuisine” by John Ash and Sid Goldstein: “The recipes are tasty and simple, relying on fresh ingredients. He wrote this in 1995 before the foodie craze.”

Larry McGuire, co-founder of McGuire Moorman Hospitality (Lamberts Downtown Barbecue, Perla’s Seafood & Oyster Bar, Elizabeth Street Café, Jeffrey’s of Austin, June’s All Day, et al)

“Living & Eating” by Annie Bell and John Pawson: “Pawson is one of my favorite architects, and his food is super simple yet luxurious. His London apartment, serving pieces, and daily menus are aspirational.”

ajiYoshi Okai, chef at Otoko

“Aji” by Tokuzo Akiyama: “In Aji, Tokuzo Akiyama talks about about his life in the restaurant industry and his personal philosophy. He used to work at Hotel Ritz Paris, and he helped spread French cuisine in Japan. I think he taught me that being a chef in another country is a little hard, but if you have a passion for your work, you will be OK. He also said that cooking is like music — I feel that way, too, because I play music also. So many similarities.”

Fiore Tedesco, co-owner and chef at L’Oca d’Oro

“The Classic Italian Cookbook” by Marcella Hazan: “When I first read this I was struck by the book’s lack of pretension and the simple utility of her recipes. Her voice in this book has always reminded me of my grandmother, as I’m sure it has for thousands of other Italian-Americans of my generation. A few of my favorite recipes in here are Milk Braised Pork Shoulder, Pasta e Fagioli and Coffee Granita with whipped cream.


Olamaie to cancel lunch, add dinner nightly in 2017

Salad of grilled gulf crab at Olamaie on Tuesday September 13, 2016. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Salad of grilled gulf crab at Olamaie on Tuesday September 13, 2016. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

One of the best lunches in town will soon end, while the conundrum of where to eat a nice dinner on a Sunday night is about to get another solution. Beginning January 3, Olamaie will end its lunch service, but it will also begin dinner service seven nights a week. Olamaie will open its dining room at 5 p.m. nightly and still offer communal cocktail preparations and shareable hors d’oeuvres in its parlor and on its porch.

Related: Olamaie ranks #2 in Austin360 Dining Guide for 2016

National burger news: Shake Shack’s gluten-free option; Wayback Burgers opens at Northcross


Avoiders of gluten who love Shake Shack have reason to celebrate. The burger chain created by Danny Meyer announced this week that they now offer gluten-free hamburger buns.

Connecticut-based Wayback Burgers opened in the Northcross Mall (2525 West Anderson Lane, Suite 135). It is the eighth Texas location of the burger and sandwich spot and the first in Austin. It is open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.


Parkside owner bringing Jugo Fresh juice bar to downtown

Shawn Cirkiel at Parkside on Tuesday, November 29, 2016. (Deborah Cannon AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
Shawn Cirkiel at Parkside on Tuesday, November 29, 2016. (Deborah Cannon AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Restaurateur Shawn Cirkiel has already staked claim to part of downtown with Parkside and Backspace, and he will add to his collection of businesses in January when he opens Jugo Fresh at 603 Brazo St.

Jugo Fresh will serve fresh-pressed juices, smoothies, packaged snacks, hot items and salads at the space just a block down from the Texas bistro and raw bar he opened in 2008. The juice bar will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

Jugo Fresh joins Daily Juice (205 W. Third Street) and Juiceland (120 E. Fourth St.) in the downtown juice game.

For more on the history of Cirkiel and his Parkside Projects, read this story from Statesman business writer Gary Dinges.



You can now get Louie Mueller Barbecue shipped to your doorstep

You can now get Louie Mueller Barbecue shipped to you.
You can now get Louie Mueller Barbecue shipped to you.

Looking to give an out-of-state friend or relative a taste of what Central Texas is all about? Shipping Texas barbecue is one way to make people happy/jealous.

Now you can send some of the best the area has to offer. You can now order delivery of Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor via  But it’s gonna cost you.

Shipping a brisket weighing 5.5 to 6.5 pounds costs $249. The shipping is free, but that’s still a hefty price tag, especially when you compare it to ordering directly from Black’s BBQ in Lockhart, which will cost you about $100 (including shipping) for four pounds of fatty brisket. Not only can you order the famed brisket and beef ribs ($199 for about four pounds) from Louie Mueller, you can also order a whole turkey ($169), 2.5 pounds of beef sausage ($119) and more. Goldbely is currently advertising delivery of Louie Mueller Barbecue by December 20.

The family-owned barbecue temple in Taylor isn’t the only Texas barbecue available via Goldbely. You can also buy smoked meats from Salt Lick and Davila’s BBQ in Seguin, as well as non-barbecue-items from other Texas vendors.

10 of the most beautiful Austin food photos from 2016

Mixed beet carpaccio at Fabi & Rosi. (Credit: Ralph Barrera AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
Mixed beet carpaccio at Fabi & Rosi. (Credit: Ralph Barrera AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

As the year comes to a close, I take a look back at some of the best looking (and tastiest) dishes I posted to Instagram (one of which was taken by a Statesman photog but landed on my Instagram feed). They are listed in no specific order. Follow along @matthewodam.

Do you take great food photos? If so, you could win a $50 gift card to one of a dozen Austin restaurants. Visit any of the restaurants in my Top 100 (see the full list at, tag it #austin360diningguide and you could win. My favorite gram from each month wins a $50 gift card. The winner from November was @brisketandbagels and his photo of the burger at Odd Duck. He won a $50 gift card to Tacodeli.

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That saba don't need no filter. #sushi #chirashibowl

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And the people all said #ramen. #thefeed360

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