Nathan Bernier, KUT News.

If you’re ever looking to take a barbecue road trip through Texas, you’d have trouble finding a better book to guide you than The Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through Texas Barbecue by Daniel Vaughn. It’s the first book published on Anthony Bourdain’s new HarperCollins imprint, Ecco. KUT’s Nathan Bernier talked with Vaughn about what goes into good brisket and how to find the good out-of-the-way spots.

President Obama visited Austin yesterday and had lunch at Stubb's BBQ, a choice that some food nerds found surprising, given the growing list of choices on offer in Austin.

So where else could the President have dined on brisket and pork? To help answer that question, we asked Austin American-Statesman restaurant critic Matthew Odam.

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

We love our barbecue in Texas, and one Texan who knows a lot about it is Robb Walsh, a James Beard Award-winning writer from Houston. He has a new book out, Barbecue Crossroads, and for the book he traveled across the South, documenting various barbecue styles, not just the food but the history behind the food and the restaurants that he ate at. We spoke with Beard about the real appeal of barbecue.

The City of Austin is thinking about helping to create a permanent farmers' market that would operate seven days a week. It was the first recommendation in a recent report produced for the city by Texas Perspectives, a local economic analysis and consulting firm. 

"Permanent food markets and food hubs could well speak to all the major findings of this report," TXP wrote, "as they offer the possibility of enhancing the Austin food sector in a way that appeals to both tourists and locals." 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT

The second Austin Food & Wine Festival wrapped Sunday, with a new setup and schedule.

While last year's festival was marred by long lines, little food and a dusty Auditorium Shores, a venue change to Butler Park (with plenty of grass and shade) and some tweaks to the schedule (with less events competing with each other) made for a vastly improved festival experience.


Celebrity chefs will descend on the city this weekend for the second annual Austin Food and Wine Festival. People will shell out at least $250 for the opportunity to taste the food of famous cooks such as Marcus Samuelson, Jonathan Waxman and Graham Elliot

But if the ticket price is too high for your budget, you can still enjoy some of the featured food without having to buy a badge. That's because many of the chefs have restaurants right here in Austin. Austin American-Statesman restaurant critic Matthew Odam stopped by KUT to tell us about some of the local chefs at the Austin Food and Wine Fest. Listen to our conversation by clicking the player above.

On the table today at the Capitol’s “Food Policy Day” is school breakfast. That’s federally funded cereal, milk, yogurt and fruit.

Now, about 1,800 schools in Texas participate in the federal School Breakfast Program. Food policy advocates and some legislators are hoping that a bill up for vote at the Capitol would add another 1,000 schools to the list.


Austin’s restaurant scene is constantly growing and evolving, and Jessica Dupuy, food editor at, has her eye on five openings expected between now and the summer. Click the player above to hear our conversation and read her article at CultureMap.

Marissa Barnett for KUT News

It was perhaps the most well-known food trailer park in Austin, but now the mobile food vendors on the 1600 block of South Congress have been given a date by when they’ll have to leave: May 25.

SOCO ATX Development notified vendors last week. The company plans to build a three-story hotel on the lot, according to documents filed with the city. The building will include space for retail and a two-story underground parking garage. 

Alberto Martinez, Austin American-Statesman

Sway is one of the most talked about new restaurants in South Austin, but it’s not exactly on the lower end of the price scale. A couple people could easily rack up a $60 tab before ordering any drinks. So is it worth it?

To help answer that question we spoke with Austin American-Statesman restaurant critic Matthew Odam.

Specner Selvidge for the Texas Tribune

Using wooden tokens, Ellen Ray pays for carrots, parsnips and broccoli at the Austin Sustainable Food Center’s farmers market in Sunset Valley. Ray, a participant in the federally funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, is grateful that the market allows customers to buy its fresh produce with SNAP benefits.

“I was overwhelmingly enthusiastic when I found out they took SNAP,” Ray said, eyeing jam at one stand. “It’s an enabler to do something I already love.”

SNAP, which is operated in Texas by the state’s Health and Human Services Commission, has provided grants and other support to states including Texas to make it easier for farmers markets to accept benefits as currency. Another federally funded program that helps low-income Texans buy groceries, the Texas Women, Infants and Children program, launched a two-year pilot program in December 2011 to allow farmers markets to accept WIC customers.


In the area between downtown and the University of Texas, there are not a lot of food options, writes Austin American-Statesman restaurant critic Matthew Odam. In his latest review, Odam writes about Cherry Street, a restaurant that brings some Italian flavor to the area.

Odam dropped by KUT today and talked about the Cherry Street's appeal to the Capitol lunch crowd and its effort to build an evening service. Listen to what he had to say by clicking the player above. 

Office of the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

Austin Independent School District teachers may tell their students they’re special, but numbers never lie. And the numbers say that they’re (just a bit) above average.

Thankfully, that’s not a bad thing.

This interactive map from the office of Comptroller Susan Combs displays the body mass index rates of over 2 million students in public schools across Texas. The measurements are based on statistics from the Fitnessgram, a program which measures the fitness levels of Texas public school students from grades three to 12. And it's also the target of a bill in the state legislature that would end the program.

Marissa Barnett for KUT News

South Congress could be missing some visitors by the end of this weekend, and not just because the last of Austin’s South by Southwest visitors have fled to the airport: the land between East Milton and East Monroe streets on South Congress Avenue where nearly a dozen food trailers are parked each day could be vacated any day now.  

When KUT News visited the park on Friday, almost every trailer offered a different closing day: “this Sunday,” “by the end of March,” “sometime around April” or “nothing is certain yet.”

The Alamo Drafthouse has a new menu. And critics are not abiding by the theater’s “no talking” rule

After 31 years in operation, east end Tex-Mex restaurant Nuevo Leon has closed. 

Owner Rachel Davila left a note on the door this weekend announcing the closure and thanking customers for their years of business. We called Davila and asked her about why she started the restaurant, the changes she’s seen in the rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, and what she plans for the future.

KUT News: Why are you closing your restaurant?

Rachel Davila: I am retiring and the only way I can retire is to close it and sell it.

Torchy’s Tacos has been keeping Austinites fed since 2004. Back then, they had little more than a trailer and some taco fixings. Now, Torchy’s has opened locations in both Dallas and Houston, and is literally slinging tacos with its famous Taco Cannon.

But despite statewide success, Torchy's is still keeping secrets.

Jenn Hueting/Oceana

According to a new study from ocean conservation advocates Oceana, one-third of the nation’s seafood is mislabeled.

Oceana collected 1,200 seafood samples from 674 retail outlets in 21 states to determine if they were honestly labeled. Mislabeling occurred anywhere from 87 percent (red snapper) to seven percent  (salmon) depending on the kind of fish.

The James Beard Foundation announced its semi-finalists for one of the most prestigious set of culinary awards, and five local chefs made the shortlist

  • Tyson Cole of Uchi and Uchiko (Outstanding Chef)
  • Bryce Gilmore of Barley Swine (Rising Star Chef of the Year and Best Chef: Southwest)
  • Janina O’Leary of TRACE (Rising Star Chef of the Year)
  • Laura Sawicki of La Condesa (Outstanding Pastry Chef)
  • Rene Ortiz of La Condesa (Best Chef: Southwest)

Whole Foods

Whole Foods is recalling two lots of Whole Catch Wild Alaskan Sockeye Salmon because it may be contaminated with Listeria—a bacteria that can lead to fatal infections in young children, elderly people and people with weakened immune systems.

The second lot, with code 7425A2297A printed on the back of the package, on the upper left side, was sold in Texas stores.