So if you haven’t heard, it is time to circle the fundraising bake sale wagons. Austin Bakes who held the phenomenally successful bake sales raising money for tsunamis in Japan and wildfires in Bastrop is rolling out next weekend for our neighbors in West, Texas. Bakers, volunteers, and most of all, patrons are needed for May 4th, 2013. Eight convenient locations and goodies from the best in central Texas with all of the donations going to a good cause. I will update later in the week with the donations coming from epicuriosities and Cooking Planit.com. See ya’ll there!
Addie Broyles is a food writer for the Austin American Statesman. She is also a mother, daughter, blogger, feminist champion, chicken farmer, social media ninja, and a million other things too numerous to list. I first read Addie’s words when she was brought to the Statesman soon after Kitty Crider retired from her post at the Statesman. Big shoes to fill indeed. I first met Addie at a blogger’s happy hour at Opal Divine’s on South Congress that Addie organized in a continuing effort to bring together the online foodie community in Austin at a time when bloggers were seen by most traditional media as a direct threat. Instead of treating the online community as competition, Addie’s approach was to organize a real dialogue and foster a personal connection that I hope she has profited from as much as we have.
I recently was invited to celebrate Addie’s birthday at a gorgeous spot near the pedestrian bridge on North Lamar known as Open Room Austin. Mando Reyes from Tacojournalism grilled up some delicious tacos and brought his beautiful wife and cute as a button daughter to socialize. Addie invited us all to this ” Pay it Forward” dinner where the attendees where asked to enjoy the evening but instead of inviting Addie to a reciprocal event or bringing a gift, she requested we do something nice for someone else in a typically selfless act. I have been racking my brain for my “Pay it Forward” event and I think I came up with a good idea.
Austin is suffering from a record breaking heat wave that currently has us in our 37th day of 100+ temperatures. I seem to live right now going from my air conditioned car to a hopefully air conditioned building. Unfortunately, there is a large need, especially among the elderly in Austin, for donations of fans to help deal with the extreme heat for those that do not have air conditioning . Family Eldercare Austin is down to a dozen fans and in desperate need of donations to help people literally survive.
Addie’s so cool, I think we should show her our appreciation for her many contributions to the Austin foodie community by donating to this worthy cause in her name. You can bring a new fan to any fire station in Austin, San Marcos, or Georgetown through August or you can contribute online here to Family Eldercare. You are more than welcome to donate anonymously but if you would like to add a comment documenting your gift, I would be honored to share these with Addie in an effort to show her how much we appreciate her.
Now I know Addie did not intend for our “Pay it Forward” acts to be done in her name but I am hoping my shameless use of the goodwill she generates will inspire my fellow foodies to act just like she has inspired me. I will be dropping a fan off this weekend at the fire station closest to my house. Hope you find the time to do the same.
Thanks to all of you in advance!
AUSTIN BAKES FOR JAPAN ON SATURDAY, APRIL 2, 2011.
Several Austin Locations to Hold Bake Sales with All Proceeds Going to Japan Aid Charity.
Austin, TX (March 24, 2011) — On Saturday, April 2 from 10 a.m. until at least 2 p.m., hundreds of bakers, bloggers, businesses, and consumers will unite for “Austin Bakes for Japan,” a bake sale fundraising event to help survivors of the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Over 70 home cooks and dozens of local bakeries will be contributing baked goods at locations throughout Austin with proceeds going to AmeriCares work in Japan.
Austin Bakes for Japan locations:
Downtown: Woof Gang Bakery Austin, 1204 N. Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX 78703 (10am-2pm)
North Central: Foreign & Domestic, 306 E. 53rd Street, Austin, TX 78751 (10am-2pm)
South: Hotel San Jose, 1316 South Congress Avenue, Austin, TX 78704 (10am-2pm)
East: Nomad Bar, 1213 Corona Drive, Austin, TX 78723 (10am-2pm)
Austin Bakes for Japan location open later as part of a Community Block Party:
Baked goods will include Japanese-themed cake pops, homemade pop tarts, classic chocolate brownies, cookies of all kinds, and more. Among the homemade offerings will be locally sourced, organic, vegan and gluten-free items. In addition, customers may purchase gourmet pastries that have been donated by some of Austin’s finest professional bakers.
All funds raised at the bake sale will go to AmeriCares, a non-profit organization committed to providing emergency relief to survivors of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. All baked goods will be sold by donation, so buyers can pay as much as they like.
A team of food enthusiasts and bloggers is organizing Austin Bakes for Japan, and those interested in providing baked goods and/or volunteering to help with the bake sales should contact Kathryn Hutchison at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We encourage everyone to visit the bake sale locations to support this effort through donations and to spread the word through e-mail, liking Austin Bakes on Facebook, following us on Twitter (@austinbakes), or whatever medium they prefer.
Austin Bakes for Japan is part of a national movement of bake sales for Japan on April 2. Our goal is to raise $10,000 or more to help the people of Japan in their time of need. Twenty-three cities across the U.S. are hosting fundraisers for Japan that day, including Boston, Washington, D.C., New York, Portland, San Francisco and Seattle.
AmeriCares is non-profit organization committed to providing emergency relief to survivors of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. AmeriCares has been bringing essential medicines and relief supplies to the region since the early 1980s, and they have consistently received high rankings for their work from Charity Navigator, Forbes, and The NonProfit Times. For more information about AmeriCares, visit http://www.americares.org/.
*****UPDATE***** Thanks to the team of folks but especially organizer Kathryn Hutchison, more that $11, ooo was raised during the bake sale.
For more information about the sale or to make a gift online, visit www.AustinBakes.wordpress.com
I got this press release from the organizer Kathryn and wanted to post that I will be participating. Not 100% sure what I will make yet but I have caramel/bacon marshmallow trimmings left from Bacon S’mores, so I am thinking Caramel Bacon Marshmallow fudge would not suck. I will probably have my stuff at Foreign and Domestic but I will update if that changes. Hope to see you there!
Reserve your copy now and attend a VIP launch party on March 1 at 7:30pm at Uchiko 4200 N. Lamar Blvd.
The schedule is up! What a coup for Austin snagging the 2011 IACP conference. Culinary luminaries include Diana Kennedy, Jacques Pepin, Amanda Hesser, Dorie Greenspan, John Besh, Stephen Pyles, Tom Perini, as well as plenty of our own stars from central Texas like Tyson Cole. I cannot wait!
A couple of weeks ago, I went to Houston for their Restaurant Week. Not being from Houston, I was only familiar with a few of the restaurants there and I had a hard time choosing just based on menus. For those of you unfamiliar to the Austin Restaurant scene, here are my impressions of some of the restaurants participating. Since I only publish reviews of restaurants I have been to several times, I will leave out restaurants I am unfamiliar with.
1886 Cafe & Bakery The casual bistro at the Driskill Hotel. Both the lunch and dinner offerings are $25. I would rather dine at the main restaurant at the Driskill if I had to choose but the menu choices do sound delicious.
Aquarelle A beautiful and romantic French restaurant. This is the place to whip out the ring when the champagne is poured. I am still chasing the dragon of the perfect scallop that I had here, which is offered on the Restaurant Week menu.
Austin Land and Cattle Company Forget Ruth’s Chris, this is the best steak in Austin. And my favorite cut, the fatty ribeye, is on the menu.
Chez Zee American Bistro A popular place most famous for their desserts and creme brulee french toast. While the food is good, I am saving my restaurant week picks for something a little fancier.
Ciola’s Italian American Delicious Italian food. I would go more often but they are all the way out in Lakeway. Maybe I will venture out for their popular “Big Night Out” Feast, a tribute to the movie of the same name, coming October 21.
Cipollina West Austin Bistro This is the sister restaurant to the very popular and very expensive Jeffrey’s. After a recent glowing review of the new chef, I will have to revisit soon. At $25 for the dinner menu and $35 with wine pairings, I may have to add this to my list this week.
Driskill Grill Classic Austin and one of the best in town. The Driskill’s reputation has slipped a bit since the David Bull/ Josh Watkins era but still a solid offering. The leather clad room will take you back to a time when cattle barons brokered deals with Texas politicians, a cigar in one hand and a whiskey in the other.
Eddie V’s Edgewater Grille Arboretum With a beautiful view of the hills, this is the Eddie V’s I frequent most. Their happy hour is a great value and the food is wonderful. In addition to the seafood they specialize in, they also have a reputation for cooking a mean steak which is also on the restaurant week menu for $40.
Eddie V’s Edgewater Grille Downtown The downtown location in the heart of Austin. Solid with a slightly different menu offering for restaurant week, also includes the steak option for $40.
Estancia Churrascaria A locally owned Brazillian steakhouse similar to Fogo de Chao. If you are unfamiliar, there is a huge lavish salad bar to start and waiters in gauchos parading cuts of meats on swords for all you can eat steak. I am addicted to the Pao de Quiejo or cheese bread.
Fabi & Rosi I actually have not been to this one yet but I will be finally trying this one next week. Austin is surrounded by small communities with strong German ties but sadly lacking in any German restaurants. This one is run by a German chef and his Austin native wife. At $25 for the dinner menu, this is a value as well.
Fleming’s Domain A new location for the popular chain. They actually have a $35 prix fixe menu that changes seasonally, so kind of a waste during the limited time of restaurant week.
Fogo de Chao Same description as Estancia, lavish salad bar and meat on swords but this is the fancy chain version located right next to the convention center downtown.
Frank Fancy hot dogs. This really does not do justice to Frank’s, so I will reprint the description of my favorite, the Jackelope- Antelope and Rabbit sausage, huckleberry compote, sriracha aioli, smoked cheddar. They are also one of the few places in town to serve poutine which is the heart attack on a plate popularized in Canada of fries and cheese curds covered in gravy. Call my cardiologists now. And it is $25 per couple for the special menu.
Garrido’s Restaurant The former executive chef from Jeffrey’s does authentic Mexican in delicious new ways. A tostada with pork and watermelon was one of my favorite bites last year.
Green Pastures The beautiful grounds are a favorite among Austin brides and the Sunday brunch with the boozy southern milk punch is classic Austin. The menu for restaurant week includes steak and lobster and is among the best values for sure.
III Forks The Austin location of this chain is helmed by Jaime Gutierrez who elevates it above the typical chain food. Too bad his delicious duck is not on the menu this week.
Imperia Fancy Asian food. This is a tough one. I went here when they first opened and was impressed. Especially the lobster mashed potatoes. Not very Asian, I know but delicious none the less. They have lost the mashed potatoes as well as a revolving staff of chefs here. I hope they find their groove again soon. If you do go, sticky banana cake for dessert. Trust me.
Jasper’s Restaurant A link in Kent Rathburn’s chain. This is the first restaurant I went to during the first restaurant week and I have been back several times since. Go early and grab a couple of cocktails in the bar at continuous happy hour prices before dinner.
Jeffrey’s George Bush loved this place so much they opened one in the Watergate hotel during his presidency. But I try not to hold that against them. Deegan McClung has tried to breathe new life into this stalwart of Austin dining, sometimes with great success, sometimes not. The Chocolate Intemperance alone is worth the trip, though.
Judges’ Hill Restaurant The beautiful old home has been converted into a boutique hotel full of southern charm. This is another place I have not been to in a while that has changed chefs a couple of times since. They are offering both a $25 and $35 menu for the week that sound interesting.
Yeehaw! I am not really a country music fan. Like most little girls, especially in Texas, I did grow up with a fondness for horses but I was never really drawn to the rodeo. Until I discovered free beer and barbecue at the BBQ Cook off at the Star of Texas Rodeo. I have to say it again, FREE BEER AND BARBECUE. I love Texas!
In addition to the livestock show, roping competitions, and carnival rides, a couple dozen teams compete in the annual barbecue cookoff. They set up their smokers and in a few cases elaborate tents meant to draw in the public to taste their wares. There are actual judges for different categories such as best brisket and best beans but the public gets to vote as well with their dollars into tip jars that go towards the Austin Rodeo Scholarship fund. Many of the venues hand out beer, wine, even jello shots to raise money.
This Saturday a final bitter winter wind blew into Austin on the first day of Spring. The whipping wind may have discouraged some from attending but by 3:00PM most of the tents were packed with patrons enjoying the live music as well as the food and drinks. The La Pasadita tent pictured above is always one of the favorites. Maybe it was all the free beer but I found myself returning again and again to this tent for the tasty brisket, crispy fried catfish, and the great entertainment from LC Rocks.
Despite the chill in the air, the rodeo means spring festival season in Austin is upon us. Look for me at Reggae Fest, Texas Hill Country Wine and Food Fest, and, of course, Eeyore’s Birthday Party. And for those of you visiting for SXSW, try and make it out of downtown and come to the rodeo next year!