Food

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Time to crack open your recipe books, food entrepreneurs. A bill signed into law by Governor Perry overhauls regulation of so-called “cottage food businesses” to allow people to sell more products directly to consumers from more places: not just from their homes, but also at farmers markets, festivals, fairs and other events. The law takes effect September 1. 

There are a few qualifications to the law, along with a list of banned foods, so here's an easy to digest breakdown of House Bill 910.

courtesy Qui Restaurant/Parallel Architecture

It’s been more than a year since Austinite Paul Qui cooked up a win on Bravo TV’s Top Chef. It was especially sweet because the season was shot in Texas, including here in Austin. Paul Qui took home $125,000, and he could have followed the path of some of his predecessors by opening a restaurant in New York City or something like that, but instead he doubled down on his East Side King food stands in Austin. 

Expert bartender David Alan was born and raised in Austin and remembers the years when bar patrons were perfectly comfortable with their margaritas and Lone Stars. Alan watched the city's drinking scene flourish over the past few years as craft cocktail bars opened and new distilleries took root.

Now, he's got a book to document the best of the best. Tipsy Texan: Spirits and Cocktails from the Lone Star State hit bookshelves Tuesday, and Alan came to KUT to talk about spirits of the Capitol City.

flickr.com/kevinliuzzo

Update: Dennis Mick with the Mueller Neighborhood Association says 119 Mueller and East Austin residents dined at Kerbey Lane last night "to encourage management to consider a location in the Mueller community."

Original post (June 11): How’s this for a chant: What do we want? Migas! When do we want ‘em? Now!

Dozens of residents of the Mueller neighborhood will stage an “eat-in” at the original Kerbey Lane Cafe tonight. Except the purpose isn’t to protest – instead, it’s designed to show residents’ hopes for a Kerbey Lane in their burgeoning Austin neighborhood.

flickr.com/USDAGov

A new report spotlights the success and shortfalls of summer lunch programs for Texas students.

The Food Research and Action Center found that the number of lunch programs across the state grew by 17 percent last year. However, these programs only reach about 11 percent of low-income children receiving school lunches.

Matthew Odam, Austin American-Statesman

The food trailer park on South Congress just closed down, and a lot of people were upset about it. But there is still a big food-truck scene here in Austin with a wide range of cuisines; you just have to know where to look.

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A federal district judge has overturned a federal emergency rule that would shorten the red snapper fishing season to as few as 12 days in Texas – down from a projected 22 days.

Environment Texas Director Luke Metzger says that he is disappointed in the ruling. The federal decision that would have shortened the season was put in place to stop the overfishing of red snapper in the Gulf of Mexico.

Courtesy Austin Food For Life

Austin's food scene is booming, but how are its workers faring?

The city has long had HAAM (Health Alliance for Austin Musicians) as a stopgap for musicians without health care. As Austin’s food scene rises to national prominence, Karla Loeb and her partner Brian Stubbs have seen a similar need for the city's chefs, busboys, servers and even farmers.

Joy Diaz, KUT News

The co-founder of one of the oldest restaurants in Austin died over the weekend. Janie Martinez helped her husband open Matt’s El Rancho in 1952.

Martinez died Saturday at the age of 90. Her death comes almost a year after the Tex-Mex restaurant celebrated its 60th anniversary. Matt himself died in 2003.

Long Live Tequila!

May 31, 2013
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Mexican culture is celebrated all over Austin, but none of it perhaps quite as exuberantly as tequila. To learn more about the popular spirit, we talked to Austin food writer Lucinda Hutson, whose new book ¡Viva Tequila! hit book stores this month. 

Austin History Center; J133, Hubert Jones Glass Plate Collection

A new exhibit at the Austin History Center is especially close to local hearts – and stomachs.

How to Prepare a Possum” is an exhibit that explores 19th century cuisine, and how early Austinites brought Texas heat to the kitchen. But before I could explore any further, I had to ask: What’s with name?

courtesy Citywide 86'd

There has been a cooking competition going on right under our noses in Austin, with some of the city’s best line cooks and sous-chefs.

We spoke with CultureMap food editor Jessica Dupuy about the culinary elimination event Citywide 86’d.

The news of Hostess' return to Emporia, Kan., sparked an ecstatic response in this beleaguered town — even though there will be only half as many jobs.

The new company, formed when investors bought Hostess' snack cake business, has hired longtime snack cake production veterans Pat Chambers and her husband, Bob, to help get the bakery here running again. Pat lost her job at the Hostess plant when it closed last November. Now, she sits beaming on her front porch, wearing a dirty Hostess work shirt.

Ashley Landis, Austin American-Statesman

Neighborhood restaurants, those located in residential areas, are often welcome members of a community. Sometimes they trigger concern over issues such as traffic, as was the case with Épicerie Cafe & Grocery in the Rosedale neighborhood. 

But now that the has restaurant been open for several months, Austin American-Statesman restaurant critic Matthew Odam has had a chance to taste the menu, which is the subject of his latest review.  Odam joined me to talk about Épicerie and share some of his other favorite neighborhood restaurants. Listen to our conversation by clicking the player above. 

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.

flickr.com/lidocaineus

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.

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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.

TastyTouring/Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/tastytouring/4715459338/

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. 

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