Update: It seems Ben Crenshaw may have gotten a little ahead of himself. He told folks on Monday that fellow Longhorn Jordan Spieth would be serving Salt Lick BBQ at Augusta National. Not so fast. Spieth clarified Tuesday that he had simply requested Texas barbecue, according to GolfChannel.com:
”I didn’t select Salt Lick. I don’t know where that was spread from,” Spieth said Tuesday. ”Augusta National always makes the meals. So they asked,’ What do you want to have for your meal?’ and I said I’d love to do some Texas barbecue. So they kind of go out and search for a way to make it based on popular places. I’m not sure what it’s exactly going to be. It’s going to be Texas barbecue. I’m pretty excited for it.”
March 22: The Masters at Augusta National has many traditions. Traditions, some would say, unlike any other. One of those cool traditions dating back more than 60 years is the Champions Dinner, where the winner from the previous year hosts a dinner at the august club that is attended by former champions. And to the victor goes the ordering rights. The selections are always an interesting insight into (what are often fairly boring) players’ lives. Goofy Bubba Watson served Caesar salad, grilled chicken and macaroni and cheese in 2013 (likely with a side of warm milk), leading the acerbic Nick Faldo to drop this brilliant tweet on him, while the gutsy and personable Phil Mickelson has served lobster ravioli (2005) and paella (2011).
The dinner was started by Dallas-area native Ben Hogan, and this year the tradition continues with Dallas native and University of Texas alumnus Jordan Spieth. According to the Statesman’s Suzanne Halliburton on Twitter, the #1 golfer in the world will serve Salt Lick barbecue. This news came via Ben Crenshaw during the World Golf Championship – Dell Match Play selection party at the Paramount Theatre last night.
Given Spieth’s tenure in Austin, the pick makes sense (although Franklin Barbecue might make tastier sense). In a culinary sense, I’d rank the choice above Tiger Woods’ 1998 menu of cheeseburgers and milkshakes but below 2000 winner Vijay Singh’s selection of seafood tom kha, chicken panang curry, baked sea scallops with garlic sauce, rack of lamb with yellow kari sauce, baked filet Chilean sea bass with three flavor chili sauce and lychee sorbet.
Jordan Spieth is picking Salt Lick barbecue for his champions dinner at the Masters. That's according to Ben Crenshaw. Good choice!
In my 2014 review of Olamaie, I said the refined Southern restaurant looks like it could be plucked from the grounds of Augusta National. Fitting then that the restaurant from chefs Michael Fojtasek and Grae Nonas would host a viewing party of the final round of The Masters on Sunday, April 10.
The genteel tournament is famous for its Southern food (and the ridiculously low prices), such as pimento cheese sandwiches and egg salad sandwiches. The Olamaie chefs, named Best New Chefs in America by Food & Wine magazine last year, will serve a menu that nods to those traditions, in addition to the restaurant’s famous biscuits and more.
The party runs from noon to 7 p.m. on Sunday, with tickets costing $25. That ticket will get you snacks and one free cocktail, like a mint julep or punch, and the chance to see if University of Texas alumnus Jordan Spieth can repeat as Masters champion. The restaurant will offer a cash bar and have TVs set up on the porch and inside the restaurant. A portion of each ticket will benefit the Butler Park Pitch & Putt Golf Association, a family-owned nine-hole golf course near Lady Bird Lake.
This restaurant has experimented endlessly with quail throughout its existence. The dish has appeared on the menu in several iterations. I’ve had a cowboy comfort food version of the bird with buttermilk biscuits and pinto beans, an ancho-mustard sauce glazed version, and a recent brunch incarnation was pancake-battered, fried and served with maple and hot sauce in egg foam.
The most recent version, currently available at dinner for ($18) includes a creamy egg salad and a savory Japanese-inspired soy caramel, made on one visit with fish and lamb bones and on another with smoked chicken feet. The whole bird is dredged with pumpkin and sesame seeds and fried to a clean, crunchy finish in sunflower seed oil, with pickled jalapeno slapping some puckered tang on the dish.
Celebrated Austin chef Paul Qui was arrested Saturday morning and charged with assault, as reported by the Statesman. This afternoon Qui released a statement about the arrest and charges.
“On Saturday morning, I asked my friend to call the police to aid in an argument with my girlfriend that had escalated beyond my control. I was arrested and charged with two misdemeanors. I am innocent of the charge of assault,” Qui wrote in an email.
“This situation made me realize that I need to take more time for my health and myself. I will be checking myself into a treatment facility in the coming days and I am appreciative of the support of my family, friends and partners. Thank you for respecting my privacy.”
*Cantine. 1100 S. Lamar Blvd. 512-628-0348, cantineaustin.com. Emmett and Lisa Fox’s Mediterranean-inspired restaurant in the Alamo Drafthouse complex will serve a brunch enhanced with Easter specials like the Spring Strata, a baked egg dish with bread, fontina, leeks, asparagus, spinach and tomato, as well as chocolate-stuffed brioche.
Capital Grille. 117 W. Fourth St. 512-322-2005, thecapitalgrille.com. The swanky steakhouse will serve its dinner menu all day, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The three-course brunch menu includes options like artichoke bisque, filet mignon and flourless chocolate espresso cake. The cost is $49 for adults and $15 for children.
*Carillon. 1900 University Ave. 512-404-3655, thecarillonrestaurant.com. The restaurant at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center serves a wide-ranging brunch that includes ricotta pancakes with strawberry-fig syrup, maple-bacon cornbread, smoked salmon, shrimp cocktail, smoked prime rib and rosemary-roasted leg of lamb. Cost is $65 for adults and $25 for children ages 6-12. Kids younger than 5 eat free. There will also be a kids’ buffet with macaroni and cheese, chicken tenders and more.
Dine. 111 E. Cesar Chavez St. 512-478-2991, dineradissonaustin.com. Chef David Garrido’s restaurant at the Radisson serves a spread offering more than 40 savory and sweet offerings, including grilled salmon, honey glazed ham, brisket carving station, cherry pie, s’mores and more. Brunch, which runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., costs $55 ($25 for children ages 10-16; free for kids younger than 10.)
Dos Chivos. 11620 RM 620. 512-250-1600, doschivos.com. The modern Mexican restaurant in Anderson Mill serves an Easter brunch that includes over-easy eggs with ham, migas with chorizo, menudo and a trio of Mexican popsicles.
Driskill Grill. 604 Brazos St. 512-439-1234, driskillgrill.com. This Austin fine dining classic serves a three-course brunch with a menu that includes savory crepes, steak and lobster Benedict, and foie gras and French toast. Cost is $110, with brunch running from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Eddie V’s. 301 E. Fifth St., 512-472-1860; 9400 Arboretum Blvd., 512-342-2642; eddiev.com. The seafood and steakhouse will serve its dinner menu all day, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The three-course brunch menu includes options like smoked salmon, pan-seared steak and eggs, shrimp and grits and Alaskan king crab omelet. The cost is $49 for adults and $15 for children.
*Freedmen’s Bar. 2402 San Gabriel St. 512-220-0953, freedmensbar.com. The campus-area barbecue restaurant serves a brunch that includes a barbecue Benedict with buttermilk biscuit.
Finn & Porter. 500 E. Fourth St. 512-493-4900, finnandporteraustin.com. The hotel at the downtown Hilton that is closing on April 2 will serve its final Easter brunch. The $45 meal ($20 for kids younger than 10) is a four-course prix fixe affair, with seatings from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and includes roasted corn chowder, pastrami salmon and rib-eye.
Fleming’s. 11600 Century Oaks Terrace, 512-835-9463; 320 E. Second St., 512-457-1500; flemingssteakhouse.com. Both locations of the steakhouse will serve a three-course meal for $39.95 that includes options like eggs Benedict, baked brioche French toast, prime rib and porcini-crusted filet mignon. Service begins at 10 a.m.
Goodall’s Kitchen. 1900 Rio Grande St. 512-495-1800, goodallskitchen.com. The restaurant at the Hotel Ella near the University of Texas will serve a three-course dinner for $65 ($27 for children younger than 12). Menu includes carved prime rib, grilled steelhead trout, deviled eggs and more.
*Greenhouse Craft Food. 1400 E. Old Settlers Blvd., Round Rock. 512-366-5567, greenhousecraftfood.com. The farm-to-table casual restaurant in Round Rock serves an Easter brunch buffet for $17.50 ($6.50 for kids younger than 12). It includes roast beef with mushroom demi and horseradish cream, ham with apricot mustard, veggie frittata, a kids’ waffle station and more.
*Jacoby’s Restaurant & Mercantile. 3235 E. Cesar Chavez St. 512-366-5808, jacobysaustin.com. The charming rustic restaurant that sits above the Colorado River serves a Southern Easter brunch for $45, with a menu from new executive chef Albert Gonzalez (formerly of Apothecary). Cost is $20 for children ages 5-12 and free for children younger than 5.
Juliet. 1500 Barton Springs Road. 512-479-1800, juliet-austin.com. The handsome Italian restaurant with the expansive patio serves a brunch that includes eggs Florentine and bread pudding French toast.
Knotty Deck & Bar and Treehouse Kitchen. 9721 Arboretum Blvd. 512-343-2626, marriott.com/hotels/travel/aussh-renaissance-austin-hotel. The Southern restaurant at the Arboretum Marriott serves brunch from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with a menu that includes bacon-cheddar biscuits, brisket hash and doughnuts.
Liberty Kitchen. 507 Pressler St. 512-840-1330, libertykitchenatx.com. The Houston-based seafood-centric restaurant serves a brunch that includes dishes like lobster and bacon quiche ($22.75) and pineapple-glazed ham with fried potato cake ($23.50).
Oasthouse Gastropub. 8300 N. RM 620. 737-222-5779, oasthouseaustin.com. The refined European-inspired pub serves Easter brunch starting at 9:30 a.m., with a menu that includes honey biscuits and carnitas poutine.
*Prelog’s. 360 Nueces St. 512-350-2895, prelogs.com. The European-inspired restaurant downtown serves brunch for $39. The meal includes eggs Benedict, petite tender steaks, quiches and sweets, with bottomless alcoholic brunch beverages like mimosas for an extra $20.
Revival Public House. 340. E. Second St. 512-469-0000, revivalpublichouse.com. The Southern restaurant downtown serves a la carte entrees like beef tenderloin Benedict and a buffet of sides, salads and more for $27.95 per adult (includes a mimosa) and $12.95 for children 12 and younger.
Russian House. 307 E. Fifth St. 512-428-5442, russianhouseofaustin.com. The Russian restaurant downtown serves a brunch buffet (including unlimited mimosas) that includes mushroom soup, pork stroganoff, a blini station and more. Cost is $32 per person and $12.50 for children.
Searsucker. 415 Colorado St. 512-394-8000, searsucker.com/austin. The Warehouse District New American restaurant will include a braised rabbit leg salad with carrot-top pesto as part of its Easter brunch.
Sullivan’s. 300 Colorado St. 512-495-6504, sullivanssteakhouse.com/Austin. The Warehouse District steakhouse serves a three-course brunch for $39, with a menu that includes shrimp and lobster bisque, hand-carved prime rib and bananas Foster.
TNT – Tacos and Tequila. 507 Pressler St. 512-436-8226, tacosandtequilatnt.com. The casual modern Mexican restaurant just west of Lamar Boulevard serves a $22 brunch with a menu that includes a carving station, grilled fish, omelet and huevos rancheros bar and more. Service runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tony C’s. 10526 W. Parmer Lane. 512-255-9463, tonycs.com. The Avery Ranch location of this Italian restaurant serves an Easter buffet that includes carved round of beef, baked strata and cinnamon knots.
Trace at the W Hotel Austin. 200 Lavaca St. 512-542-3660, traceaustin.com. The swanky restaurant at the W Hotel serves a three-course prix fixe menu that includes Parker house rolls with smoked brisket, smoked salmon Benedict and seared grouper. The meal, served from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., costs $55.
Visconti Ristorante. 320 S. Loop 360. 512-306-6400, granducaaustin.com. The Italian restaurant at the Hotel Granduca in West Lake Hills serves a grand brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The meal includes a charcuterie display, eggs and omelets cooked to order, chilled seafood towers and crudo, French toast, steak Florentine and much more. Cost is $72 for adults and $29 for children ages 6-12.
When you watch a documentary about a subject who committed suicide, the film usually has an energy that propels the story to its unfortunate conclusion. But “Insatiable: The Homaro Cantu Story” doesn’t move with that same thrust. It ambles, moving back and forth in time to piece together the parts between the beginning and end of the great Chicago chef’s life. And while the impending doom doesn’t send many portentous alarms throughout the movie, a darkness lingers over the story of a man who rose from punishing lows to brilliant heights.
The film, which made its world premiere at South by Southwest, opens with tight shots of molecular gastronomy wizardry from the chef and talking heads placing Cantu not just in the context of the culinary world, but the world at large. People talk about how he wanted to improve people’s lives, revolutionize the food system and change the world. Heady ideas for a man born into poverty and abuse.
The film shows the former Moto (and Ing) chef at the precipice of his greatest success in 2004 before jumping back in time to give some understanding of where the chef came from and his motivations for improving the world. Through archival photos and some minor recreations, director Brett Schwartz tells the story of a troubled young man abused and abandoned by his mother, only to land in the home of a mercurial alcoholic father. The neglect at home pushed Cantu to find his own path, and, though he was an indifferent student, he discovered an aptitude for shop and woodwork classes and his teenage jobs in the food world.
Those twin passions would wed to inform his innovative style of cooking. The chef, who earned a Michelin star for his flagship restaurant, always used his impoverished and traumatic upbringing at motivation. Having come from nothing, he always felt he had nothing to lose, and he proved an indefatigable and hungry student in the culinary world.
The movie has a very handmade quality, using shaky archival video and a few too many shots of messages on computer screens to tell its story, and some sloppy editing takes some of the tension out of the narrative, as we bounce from his past to the almost present. But the amateurism lends an intimacy to the film and makes it feel like a patchwork put together after the chef’s death to make sense of what went wrong.
The specifics of those details can be vague at times, but what is clear is that Cantu, who spent four years learning at the foot of Chicago legend Charlie Trotter, was a man of singular vision and one who wanted to bring a change to the food world. We see him discuss his desire to make organic food accessible to poor communities, while he also attempts to revolutionize fast food by cutting calories through the use of miracle berries,but the details of his vision aren’t always that clear.
It makes sense that a film about a man who took on myriad projects and seemed to prioritize dreams over details would feel weighted with disparate information and lack some narrative cohesion. By the time his death arrives suddenly at the end of the film, the audience may not quite understand the depth of the troubles that led Cantu to such a decision, but the weight of his loss is obvious.
If you’ve driven by the corner of Lamar Boulevard and Riverside Drive, you’ve noticed the long-standing Taco Cabana is no more. Well, one of its walls still exists. That’s because parent company Fiesta Restaurant Group is going to open a location of its Pollo Tropical on the property.
Construction should begin soon on the new building, as it’s slated to open at the end of July. The fast-casual restaurant serves Caribbean-inspired dishes like roasted chicken, grilled shrimp wraps and sweet Caribbean ribs. Check out the menu here. The restaurant at 211 S. Lamar Blvd. will be the first Austin-area location for the restaurant that has multiple locations in and around Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth, as well as other states across the country.
The property is co-owned by Texas Longhorn legend Huston Street. The Austin native currently pitches for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Street had originally planned a residential complex on the site, but decided he didn’t want to rush into development right now.
“I see the property as extremely cool and want to do the city justice by developing something that long term will result in not only the highest and best use for my financial desires, but also to create a really cool space for the city,” Street said in an email.
The Westlake High School graduate and former all-American relief pitcher is still deciding what to eventually do with the land and will marry that “with what the city desires and is willing to allow.”
“I’m 32 years-old and desire to be heavily involved in real-estate, exclusively in Austin, for the remainder of my life after baseball, and slow and steady is the pace for this project,” Street said.