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AUSTIN, TEXAS, NOW COMPETES WITH
HOUSTON AND DALLAS by John Mariani
NEW YORK CORNER:
Château by John Mariani
by John Mariani
☀AUSTIN RESTAURANTS NOW COMPETE
WITH HOUSTON AND DALLAS
by John Mariani
Austin has had for a while now an edge on both Dallas and Houston for its music scene, thanks to the long-running TV show "Austin City Limits" and to a throbbing nightlife--this is a college town--along Sixth Street. It's also the state capital and home to Dell Computers. So there's a lot of money around to spend on good food and entertainment.
And it's now got a small burgeoning section known as Second Street District (though it lops over onto other streets) near City Hall with a slew of new galleries and boutiques, including the Mercury Design Studio, Ligne Roset Boutique for modern furniture, and Eliza Page Jewelry and Accessories--all first rate in their style and pretty well priced as well. There are also 18 places to eat in the District.
But all over Austin a lot of good restaurants and eateries abound, giving the city bragging rights. Here are some of the most interesting right now. (For my last Virtual Gourmet report on Austin dining, click here.)
owner Lawrence McGuire, 26, set out to do nothing more or
less than to open a good-sized, extremely amiable, brightly colored
Gulf Coast-style seafood restaurant where everything on the menu is
done with such care and panache that it seems a statement about the
whole idea of what is simple, wholesome goodness in American
cooking. It couldn't be less pretentious or more colorful, and
those colors are happy yellows and blues inside, with a big,
gregarious patio outside.
You expect a cold and raw bar here, and Perla's is set up within eye
of the dining room just to make your appetite rise. The best item there
is the spicy
peel-and-eat shrimp and escabeche. I also liked the New Orleans
style BBQ with grilled ciabatta
bread; jumbo lump crab Louie, with
cornmeal fried green tomatoes, and Russian dressing was the kind of throwback dish that needs a revival as good as Perla's.
daily for breakfast, Mon.-Fri. for lunch, and Wed.-Sat. for dinner.
Dinner appetizers run $8-$10, entrees $22-$30.
Condesa is named after a burgeoning
section of Mexico City popular with young people who hang at the bars
and new restaurants till late at night, and this Austin nightclub/resto
is trying hard to be the same kind of place. Looks like it's working:
the night I
visited, the bar (stocking 80 tequilas) was jammed and the dining room
thronged with people ordering colorful cocktails with odd names, and
plates upon plates of modern Mexican food.
La Condesa is open daily for
lunch and dinner.
NEW YORK CORNER
by John Mariani
Château just makes the cut as a "New
York" restaurant, because if you miss it by a country mile on Route 35,
you'll be in Connecticut.
Le Château is open for
dinner Tues.-Sun., for brunch on Sun. Prix fixe dinner available at $42
or $46 on Fri. & Sat. À la carte, appetizers run $7.50-$17,
main courses $29-$35.
FROM THE WINE CELLAR
Four Seasons Restaurant Brings Back Historic California Barrel Tasting
THE MENU AND WINES
2008 Sauvignon Blanc, Emmolo, Napa Valley
Risotto, Diver Scallops, Parsley Froth
2008 Chardonnay, Forman Vineyards, Napa Valley
2007 Chardonnay, El Molino, Rutherford, Napa Valley
2007 Chardonnay, Far Niente Estate Bottled, Napa Valley
Roasted Arctic Char, Porcini Mushrooms, Pinot Noir Sauce
2007 Pinot Noir Belle Glos, Las Alturas Vineyard, Santa Lucia Highlands
2007 Pinot Noir EnRoute, Russian River Valley, “Les Pommiers”
2006 Pinot Noir, El Molino, Rutherford, Napa Valley
Filet of Bison, Foie Gras, Black Truffle
2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Caymus Vineyards, Special Selection, Napa Valley
2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, Forman Vineyards, Napa Valley
2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, Far Niente Estate Bottled, Napa Valley, Oakville
2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, Nickel & Nickel Sullenger Vineyard, Napa Valley, Oakville
2004 Cabernet Sauvignon, Diamond Creek Vineyards, Volcanic Hill
Pear and Fig Tart Tatin
2005 Dolce, Far Niente, Napa Valley
John Mariani's weekly wine column appears in Bloomberg Muse News, from which this story was adapted. Bloomberg News covers Culture from art, books, and theater to wine, travel, and food on a daily basis.
BEST NEW WORD OF THE YEAR
Yorkers’ water-cooler chitchat has changed. They used to talk about sex
and politics and TV shows. Now they can’t stop yapping about what
they’re shoving down their pie holes.We see it in the meticulous
record-keeping of eating habits on personal blogs. The ubiquitous
Facebook updates and tweets about subscribers’ most recent meals.
(Surely you also have those five or so friends whose feeds are 90
percent food-consumption-related?) The requisite iPhone pic before a
certain kind of diner—let’s call him a foodiot—ravages his plate."--Joe
Pompeo, "The Foodiots," New York
IT CAN BE TOLD, Y'ALL!
understand you're a big fan of false lashes.
for submissions: QUICK
only events, special dinners, etc, open to the public, not restaurant
openings or personnel changes. When submitting please send the
pertinent info, incl. tel # and site, in one short paragraph as simple
e-mail text, WITH DATE LISTED FIRST, as below. Thanks. John
IMPORTANT NOTE: Owing to
the number or Thanksgiving announcements received, QUICK
publish any but a handful of the most unusual.
In NYC, Chef Terrance
Brennan introduced new menus at Bar
Artisanal in Tribeca. In addition to the a la carte menu,
Bar Artisanal continues its 2 lunch prix fixes (2-courses
for $21, 3-courses for $25), a 3-course dinner for $35, and
for brunch, a $25 menu. Call 212-925-1600.
* On Nov. 6 SpringHouse in Alexander City, AL, is hosting a wine dinner with winemaker Michael Honig of Honig Wines and guest chef Chris Hastings of the Hot and Hot Fish Club in Birmingham, with a menu from Chris and Idie Hastings’ cookbook, The Hot and Hot Fish Club Cookbook. $75 per person and autographed cookbooks are $35. Call Michelle at 256-215-7080 or visit www.springhouseatcrossroads.com.
On Nov. 9, California's Opus One, comes east to Trummer's On Main in Clifton, Virginia. Limited to 20
seats, this vertical wine tasting features Opus One vintagesand a
4-course dinner by Executive Chef Clayton Miller. Lead by Sommelier
Tyler Packwood. $350 pp. Call 703-266-1623.
On Nov. 11, two Michelin-starred chefs, Dominique Crenn of Luce restaurant at the
InterContinental San Francisco and
Donatella Zampoli from the wine estates of Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi will
create a 6-course dinner inspired by Tuscany in an evening to
benefit the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable
Agriculture. $75 pp, with wine pairings an additional
$30. Call 415-616-6566.
On Nov 12-14, in Grand Rapids,
the 2nd Annual Grand Rapids
International Wine & Food Festival returns to the Steelcase
ballroom inside DeVos Place. Over 100 wineries from around the
world will provide samples of as many as 1,000 assorted wines.
Chefs from 10 of the area’s top
restaurants will serve samples of their culinary specialties, along
with four special Pairing menus. Gourmet
specialty items and high-end accessories will also be available in the
new Riverfront Marketplace. $15 pp., with 50 cent tasting tickets.
Visit www.GRWineFestival.com or 800-328-6550.
* On Nov.
13 in NYC, former Fiamma
Pasta Chef de Partie Jessica Botta
at The French Culinary Institute, will share techniques for mixing,
kneading and rolling pasta dough. and round out their education by
preparing seasonal fillings and sauces. $195 pp.; visit
* On Nov.
13-15 in Monterey, CA, the
Monterey County Vintners &
Growers Association presents The Annual Great Wine Escape,
celebrating Monterey County’s world-class wines and gastronomic
delights crafted by nationally recognized chefs during a weekend of
extraordinary events, with 50+ wineries showcase their wines.Ticket
prices begin at $40. Packages, including accommodations, are
available. Call 831-375-9400; www.montereywines.org.
* On Nov. 14 in NYC, Alto welcomes winemaker Raffaella
Bologna of Braida in Piedmont. Several Braida wines,
including 3 vintages of Bricco dell' Uccelone Barbera,
will be served during a 7-course tasting menu. $185.
Email email@example.com for information.
* On Nov. 15 in Dallas, Aurora will offer their
monthly Sunday brunchwith 3 courses for $65 pp. Call 214-528-9400 or
Everett Potter's Travel Report:
I consider this the best and savviest blog of its kind on the web. Potter is a columnist for USA Weekend, Diversion, Laptop and Luxury Spa Finder, a contributing editor for Ski and a frequent contributor to National Geographic Traveler, ForbesTraveler.com and Elle Decor. "I’ve designed this site is for people who take their travel seriously," says Potter. "For travelers who want to learn about special places but don’t necessarily want to pay through the nose for the privilege of staying there. Because at the end of the day, it’s not so much about five-star places as five-star experiences." THIS WEEK: Smart Deals on The Sancturay Hotel, NYC; Europe's Best Bookshops; Interview with Jim Dossett of Adventure.link; Deals in Travel to Austria; Mandalas:Mirrors of the Cosmos; Drive to Your Cruise Ship.
Las Vegas is the new on-line site for Virtual Gourmet
A. Curtas., who since 1995 has been commenting on the Las Vegas food
scene and reviewing restaurants for Nevada Public Radio. He is
the restaurant critic for KLAS TV, Channel 8 in Las Vegas, and his past
reviews can be accessed at KNPR.org.
Click on the logo below to go directly to his site.
Tennis Resorts Online: A Critical Guide to the World's Best Tennis Resorts and Tennis Camps, published by ROGER COX, who has spent more than two decades writing about tennis travel, including a 17-year stretch for Tennis magazine. He has also written for Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel, New York Magazine, Travel & Leisure, Esquire, Money, USTA Magazine, Men's Journal, and The Robb Report. He has authored two books-The World's Best Tennis Vacations (Stephen Greene Press/Viking Penguin, 1990) and The Best Places to Stay in the Rockies (Houghton Mifflin, 1992 & 1994), and the Melbourne (Australia) chapter to the Wall Street Journal Business Guide to Cities of the Pacific Rim (Fodor's Travel Guides, 1991). THIS WEEK: NEW ENGLAND TENNIS HOLIDAYS OUT AT ESSEX.
Family Travel Forum (FTF), whose motto is "Have Kids, Still Travel!",
is dedicated to the ideals, promotion and support of travel with
children. Founded by business professionals John Manton and Kyle
McCarthy with first class travel industry credentials and global family
travel experience, the independent, family-supported FTF will provide
its members with honest, unbiased information, informed advice and
practical tips; all designed to make traveling a rewarding, healthy,
safe, better value and hassle-free experience for adults and children
who journey together. Membership in FTF will lead you to new worlds of
adventure, fun and learning. Join the movement.
nickonwine: An engaging, interactive wine column by Nick Passmore, Artisanal Editor, Four Seasons Magazine; Wine Columnist, BusinessWeek.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.nickonwine.com.
MARIANI'S VIRTUAL GOURMET NEWSLETTER is published weekly. Editor/Publisher: John Mariani. Contributing Writers: Robert Mariani, John A. Curtas, Edward Brivio, Mort Hochstein, Suzanne Wright, and Brian Freedman. Contributing Photographers: Galina Stepanoff-Dargery, Bobby Pirillo. Technical Advisor: Gerry McLoughlin.
Any of John Mariani's books below
may be ordered from amazon.com by clicking on the cover image.