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August Texas Food Events

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Chefs Erica Beneke, Bridge Bishop, Kenzie Allen, Hannah Love, Abby Yates and Alexis Chong at Eat.Drink.Empower dinner.

 

Texas Restaurant Weeks

August means restaurant weeks all around Texas! It’s hot, you don’t want to turn your oven on so get out and support your favorite restaurants or try a new one.

Houston Restaurant Weeks
August 1 – September 1

Eat Out for Good 
August 3 – August 13

DFW Restaurant Week
August 11 – August 17

San Antonio Restaurant Week
August 16 – August 23

Grub Trivia
August 17, 12-4pm

Whether you’re a cooking connoisseur, a food-biz wiz, or gastronome novice, Slow Food Austin Grub Trivia challenges you to join the second annual fundraising event full of food-focused, pub style trivia. Teams will compete to win the surprise grand prize and the honor of being named the quickest slow foodies in town. Register a team or attend with a general admisson ticket to enjoy the grub and watch the competition.

EAT. DRINK. EMPOWER
August 21, 6-10pm

MAX’s Wine Dive Austin is proud to present the second annual Eat. Drink. Empower event showcasing Austin’s top female talent coming together for a worthy cause, and to celebrate the growing number of female chefs on the rise. This year’s event will feature a 12-course menu with beverage pairings, all curated and designed by the talented team of female chefs and bartenders. A portion of the event;s proceeds will go directly to SafePlace’s domestic violence and sexual assault programming.   

 

 

 

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Two local food magazines debut in Houston and San Antonio

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It’s been an exciting month for the local food word in Texas with the debut of two new magazines.

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Edible San Antonio debuted (the digital issue isn’t online just yet) with their Fall Harvest issue.  I’m looking forward to following the growth of the farmers markets, local sourcing restaurants and food artisans in the Alamo City, and am thrilled that another Edible magazine will be helping tell those stories.  Edible San Antonio is publishing on a six times/year rotation and offers a $35/year subscription.

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The magazine launch that has had me circling my mailbox in anticipation is Sugar & Rice from Houston.  My friends Chris Cusack, who you may know from his days as a co-owner at Thunderbird Coffee, Benjy Mason and David Leftwich have conspired to create a beautiful, thoughtful journal focused on the Gulf Coast region.  It’s gorgeous, inspired and I haven’t been this excited to get a magazine in the mail since I received my first issue of Garden & Gun.  Sugar & Rice is publishing quarterly and subscriptions are $30/year.

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I love that there is now a magazine focused on local food stories in four of Texas’ major cities (Edible Austin, Edible Dallas & Fort Worth, Edible San Antonio and Sugar & Rice).  Getting a subscription to each will guarantee that you have one of the best informed libraries in the state. See you at the magazine stand!

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Texas restaurant weeks invite you to get out of the kitchen

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It is hot – not grab a fan hot, but egg frying on the sidewalk hot.  It’s definitely too hot to cook and here in Texas we have another month or more of 100 degree days stretching ahead of us.

Fortunately, the local restaurants have come to the rescue in Houston, Dallas and San Antonio by hosting their restaurant weeks in August.  During the week(s), participating restaurants offer a two to three course prix fixe menu and donate part of the proceeds to a worthy non-profit.  It is a fantastic way to explore restaurants that are normally out of your budget or have been on your “to try” list for a while.

The stars have aligned so that I’ll be in Dallas and Houston to participate in their respective restaurant weeks.  Now, I just have to find an excuse to get down to San Antonio, as I’d hate to miss a special menu at Restaurant Gwendolyn, where I ate one of my best meals last year.  I still think about the strawberry sorbet; it was like biting into a fresh, ripe berry straight from the field.

I’ve enjoyed lovely meals at Haven in Houston and had so much fun dining at Grace, Lonesome Dove and Private Social in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.  Each chef has their own innovative way to incorporate local, seasonal ingredients and their Restaurant Week menus are inviting.

Haven - crawfish gnocchi

Crawfish gnocchi from haven

I’m going to focus my meals on visiting restaurants on my ever growing “to try” list.  I’ve been itching to go to Feast and Branch Water Tavern in Houston and I’m hoping to make it to CampO Modern Country Bistro and Rathbun’s in Dallas.

Following is a quick round up of details for each city’s restaurant week festivities, which non-profit they benefit and the restaurants that I know of that source locally.  If you have your heart set on a particular menu, definitely make reservations well in advance.  The hot spots book up fast.

Where will you be feasting during Restaurant Week?

 

Houston Restaurant Weeks,  August 1st through 31st with proceeds benefitting the Houston Food Bank.  Lunch and brunch are  2 courses for $20, dinner is 3 courses for $35.

Backstreet Café

Benjy’s (Village & Upper Washington)

Branch Water Tavern

Feast

Haven

Rainbow Lodge

Sorrel Urban Bistro

 

Dallas-Fort Worth KRLD Restaurant Week kicks off on August 13th.  The main event runs through August 19th, but some restaurants have chosen to extend to a 2nd (through August 26th) and even 3rd (through September 2nd) week.  Seven dollars from each meal will be donated to either the North Texas Food Bank in Dallas or Lena Pope Home in Fort Worth.

CampO Modern Country Bistro – through September 2nd

Grace – through September 2nd

Lonesome Dove – through August 19th

Private Social – through August 19th

Rathbun’s Blue Plate Kitchen – through August 19th

 

San Antonio’s restaurant week is sponsored through Culinaria, a non-profit that showcases wine and culinary events throughout the year to benefit culinary arts students and food related aid organizations. Restaurant week is 8/18-8/25 and features three course prix fixe menus for $15 at lunch and $35 at dinner.

Bin 555

Luke

Restaurant Gwendolyn

Tre Trattoria (Downtown & Alamo Heights)

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Farmers markets are thriving in San Antonio

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A few weekends ago I visited San Antonio and had a chance to stop by both the Pearl and Quarry Farmers Markets.  Once again, I was delighted to see how quickly the markets in San Antonio are growing and how much they have to offer.

Saturday morning there was quite a crowd at the Pearl Farmers Market as the City of San Antonio Parks and Rec department was giving away fruit and nut trees.  The line for the trees wrapped around the brewery and the Culinary Institute of America.  I love that Pearl can accommodate the market and other activities with plenty of parking and space for both and that many of the people waiting for trees made their way over to the market to shop.

The farm booths were packed with lovely winter produce with plenty of to offer thanks to the almost spring like weather that week.

Turnps at the marketWinter produce at Pearl market

I recognized a number of the vendors from my previous visits and was happy to discover a number of new faces.  I bought some chorizo from La Hacienda products and was tempted by their cookies but decided to save those for another day.

Hacienda chorizo and pastries

I was particularly excited to find Restaurant Gwendolyn at the market.  I had read Chef Michael Sohocki was now offering hot and prepared food at the market, and I couldn’t wait to try it.  My dinner at Restaurant Gwendolyn was one of the best meals I ate  last year and the market offerings did not disappoint. The biscuits and gravy were terrific and the lentil soup looked amazing – one of the vendors said it was the best lentil soup in town.  I also picked up some of their spicy sausages and whole seed mustard for home.

Lentil soup from Restaurant Gwendolyn

I had a lovely chat with Bryan and Rhonda Bickham of Springfield Farm.  They used to work the SFC Downtown Austin Farmers Market each week, but have family running that booth so that they can focus on the bustling San Antonio markets. Bryan shared with me that Pearl is their highest volume market and continues to grow.  In addition to their fresh produce, the Bickhams are also selling body products made by their daughters from natural ingredients and herbs.  I picked up some rosemary and mint lip balm that I love. It keeps your lips soft and it smells minty fresh in case you’ve misplaced your breath mints.

Body products from Springfield farm

I also had a nice visit with with Kelly Escobedo of South Texas Heritage Pork who shared the news of the revitalized Slow Food South Texas Chapter and helped connect me with the group.  I can’t wait to attend some of their upcoming events.

South Texas Heritage Pork pig parts

Sunday, I headed to the Quarry Farmers Market nestled in the parking lot of the Whole Foods at the Quarry shopping center just north of downtown San Antonio.  When I visited last May, this market was brand new with about a dozen vendors.  In less than a year, the market has doubled in size and is bustling with customers.

Crowd at Quarry market

There were plenty of produce and meat vendors to fill your shopping bag.  I’m particularly fond of the wild boar pan sausage from Koch Ranches and I was happy to catch Bikkurim Farms, regulars at several Austin markets, on their first weekend at Quarry.  Some of the best additions to the market were the hot and prepared food vendors.  Restaurant Gwendolyn, the Rolling Pig food truck and The Gardener’s Feast (tamales) were all serving up delicious dishes

The most intriguing hot food booth was Ming’s Things where Ming Qian and husband Chef Hinnerk von Bargen, a professor at the Culinary Institute of America,  were cooking up gorgeous crepes and steamed buns.

Ming's Thing Crepe in the making
Ming's Thing sloppy joe buns

If baked goods are more your speed, Bakery Lorraine and Bistro Bakery have gorgeous pastries.

Bistro Bakery pastries

Heather Hunter of Cowgirl Granola has done an outstanding job organizing a successful Sunday market for the folks in San Antonio.

Have you been to either of the San Antonio markets? Who are your favorite vendors?

See you at the market!

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