Events: Austin Bat Cave’s Eat Your Words tonight at Home Slice features great chefs, storytelling


The Austin Bat Cave’s annual Eat Your Words fundraiser tonight at Home Slice Pizza features food from some of Austin’s top chefs and stories from the likes of potter Keith Kreeger and yours truly.

The event, which raises money for the non-profit dedicated to inspiring kids ages 6-18 to tap into their creativity through writing, has a cool culinary angle. The chefs, which include Nick Yanes of Juniper, Andrew Wiseheart of Contigo, Kevin Fink of Emmer & Rye and Abby Love of Dai Due, will all prepare their dishes using only the Home Slice pizza ovens.

McGuire Moorman’s June Rodil will pour the wine and guests will hear stories from Kreeger, Dorsey Barger of Hausbar Farms and myself. Andy Langer will emcee the event. Naturally.

Drinks and appetizers are served at 6 p.m. on Home Slice’s back patio, with dinner and stories starting at 7 p.m. Individual tickets start at $100 and can be purchased here.



Closed: Al Fico in East Austin

aklsdjfWell, this is a first. I noted in my recent review of East Austin Italian Al Fico last week that the restaurant didn’t seem to have the demand for lunch business. But I didn’t see this coming.

Al Fico closed suddenly today. A termination of lease is on the locked gates of the restaurant in East Austin operated by Jeff Courington and Kelly Bell, who also operate Vino Vino in Hyde Park.

The letter states that the rent due April 20 had not been received. The landlord presented a default notice on May 4 and the lease termination letter is dated May 10.

“Due to the inability to renegotiate the lease, Al Fico was unfortunately forced to close its doors,” Courrington said in an emailed release. “Al Fico would like to personally thank each and every customer, investor, and team member for the hard work and dedication that lead to a well-built and comfortable place to enjoy authentic Italian food and wine.”

As for how or if the closure of Al Fico will affect Vino Vino in Hyde Park, management said the following:

“At this time Vino Vino plans on carrying on business as usual. We are committed to incorporating the Al Fico staff into our family here as best we can, and will continue to provide excellent food, wine, and service to our community. We thank everyone for their continued support.”

Fresa’s introducing new menu with fire sale on tortas

Fresa's is located in the former Back-In-A-Flash photo store, which also housed Emerald City Press coffee shop, at 915 North Lamar Boulevard. Photos by Addie Broyles
Fresa’s is located in the former Back-In-A-Flash photo store, which also housed Emerald City Press coffee shop, at 915 North Lamar Boulevard. Photos by Addie Broyles

Chef Rene Ortiz’s Fresa’s will introduce a new menu on Monday, as it eyes a summer opening of its second location, at 1703 S. First St. in the former Freddie’s Place.


Additions to the menu include the LaLa Mari taco (adobo shrimp, guacamole, cabbage, pickled red onions, tomatillo salsa) and the
El Sancho taco (chicken pastor, pineapple pico, jicama, cilantro). The El Presidente and El Yosh tacos will no longer be on the menu.

A new bowl, the Power Bol, will have chicken pastor, power greens, roasted cauliflower, sweet potato, pineapple pico), and a new salad (the Jerez Salad – power greens, marinated chickpeas, spicy carrots, pepitas, queso fresco, sherry shallot vinaigrette) will be on the menu.

Makers of some of the best queso in town, Fresa’s will add a new version with chorizo, adobo and queso fresco, and two new guacamoles, one with apple, pineapple and jicama and another with chipotle bacon.

The new menu will also include a seasonal feature. First up, a shrimp tostada that will run through August.

The changes will also see the elimination of the long-standing Classic and Cuban tortas from the menu. Those tortas will sell for $5 through this weekend, as the changes arrive Monday.

The South Austin location will feature indoor and outdoor seating, a to-go window (with dedicated parking spots), an outdoor playscape, an expanded wood-fired grill section of the menu, quesadillas and homemade tortillas from executive pastry and James Beard award semi-finalist Laura Sawicki.



Austin restaurants: Where to eat on Mother’s Day

Chef James Robert (seen here with his mother) will open Fixe for brunch for the first time on Mother's Day.
Chef James Robert (seen here with his mother) will open Fixe for brunch for the first time on Mother’s Day.

If you’re not making brunch (or breakfast or dinner) for mom, you better be taking her out somewhere to eat this Mother’s Day. Many restaurants that serve brunch are featuring specials on the upcoming holiday. I’ve listed quite a few here, but if you don’t see one of your favorites on the list, drop me an email at or call me at 512-912-5986.

* = Critic’s picks

Guide on the go

Take my 2015 Dining Guide — a list of my top 25 restaurants, 50 critic’s picks and various all-stars — with you by bookmarking on your smartphone or tablet.

Andiamo Ristorante. 2521 Rutland Drive. 512-719- 3377, The Italian restaurant in North Austin will serve its first-ever brunch. A four-course prix fixe menu that includes orecchiette with ground sausage, homemade meatballs and tiramisu will cost $38. A la carte options will also be available at the brunch that runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

*Apis. 23526 Texas 71, Spicewood. 512-436- 8918, This Top 10 restaurant on the edge of the Hill Country will serve a three-course meal for $60 ($35 for children 6 and younger). The selections include charred Spanish octopus, aged duck and ember-roasted pineapple.

Capital Grille. 117 W. Fourth St. 512-322-2005, The downtown steakhouse serves a three-course meal, with options like filet mignon and artichoke bisque, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Cost is $49 for adults and $15 for children.

*Carillon. 1900 University Ave. 512-404- 3655, The fine dining restaurant on the University of Texas campus will serve brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and the offerings include eggs Benedict with smoked salmon and vodka hollandaise, berry pancakes with coconut chocolate syrup and citrus creme fraiche, a cold seafood bar, a carving station and wagyu beef and black truffle ravioli. Cost is $65 ($25 for kids 6 to 12, and free for those 5 and younger).

Central Standard. 1603. S. Congress Ave. 512-942-0823, The upscale restaurant at the South Congress Hotel will serve a $45 brunch that will include the choice of a selection of pastries like mocha pound cake, Gulf oyster soup, prime rib roast and shrimp and grits. Brunch runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Dine. 111 E. Cesar Chavez St. 512-478-2991, Chef David Garrido’s restaurant at the Radisson downtown will serve a buffet featuring more than 40 items, including grilled salmon and honey-glazed ham, poached shrimp, pastries and more. The buffet costs $45 ($25 for kids 10-16 and free for those younger than 10) and will be served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Fixe. 500 W. Fifth St. 512-888-9133, This Mother’s Day will mark the first time the Southern restaurant downtown has served brunch. Service, which runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., will include the complete dinner menu, which includes several variations of grits, and specials like soft scrambled egg with Carolina gold rice, quail and waffle, and shrimp cocktail.

Goodall’s Kitchen. 1900 Rio Grande St. 512-495-1800, The hotel near Judge’s Hill serves a three-course brunch for $44 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The menu includes cast-iron frittata, ricotta pancakes, grilled flank steak and French toast.

Hotel Granduca. 320 S. Loop 360. 512-306-6400, The luxury hotel in the Westlake area will serve brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The spread, which costs $72 for adults and $35 for children 6-12, includes charcuterie, omelettes, chilled seafood, house-made pastas and lamb three ways.

*Jobell Cafe & Bistro. 16920 RM 12, Wimberley. 512-847-5700, Head about 30 miles south of Austin to picturesque Wimberley for brunch at this cafe on the edge of town that will serve an a la carte menu that includes crepes, pastries and an assortment of takes on eggs Benedict.

The League. 10526 W. Parmer Lane. 512-366-5627. 1310 RM 620 S. 512-263-3279. The comfort food specialists will serve a special brunch buffet (in addition to a la carte options like blueberry muffin French toast) that costs $26.99 for adults and $9.99 for children. The options include shrimp with white cheddar grits, green bean casserole, and pork tenderloin with mango-chili sauce.

*Lonesome Dove. 419 Colorado St. 512-271-2474, Tim Love’s game-centric steakhouse will serve a three-course brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p..m., with a menu that includes hamachi tostada, elk-pork fettine Benedict and a chocolate shortbread and foie gras ice cream sandwich. Cost is $56.

*Mongers. 2401 E. Cesar Chavez St. 512-215-8972, The seafood market and restaurant will serve brunch from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with specials like lobster Benedict and a pineapple-basil mimosa.

*El Naranjo. 85 Rainey St. 512-474-2776, Chef Illiana de la Vega serves her regular brunch, along with some Mother’s Day specials like a mango margarita and omelette filled with cheese and corn and served with creamy poblano chili sauce.

No Va. 87 Rainey St. 512-382-5651, The Rainey Street restaurant is getting a late start to the holiday, serving from 3 to 9 p.m. from a menu that includes an Antonelli’s cheese board and strawberry shortcake. The restaurant will also give all mom’s $20 gift cards to use at a later date.

*Olive & June. 3411 Glenview Ave. 512-467- 9898, The Italian restaurant with the feel of a modernist treehouse will serve a four-course brunch for $42, with dishes like poached duck egg, roasted hake and porchetta.

*Prelog’s. 360 Nueces St. 512-350-2895, The buffet from Austrian chef Florian Prelog costs $39 and includes prosciutto and melon, omelettes, roast beef and more. Bottomless boozy brunch drinks cost an additional $20 at the brunch that runs from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Revival Public House. 340 E. Second St. 512-469-0000, The downtown restaurant serves a buffet of salads, smoked salmon and more to supplement entrees like crab Florentine quiche and green chili chicken enchiladas. The cost is $27.95 for adults (with a complimentary mimosa) and $12.95 for children 12 and younger.

Russian House. 307 E. Fifth St. 512-428- 5442, The downtown restaurant will serve Russian classics at its unlimited buffet (which includes mimosas) for $32 (and $12.50 for children). Brunch runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Searsucker. 415 Colorado St. 512-394-8000, Specials for the holiday include strawberry crepes with Grand Marnier syrup and grilled filet Benedict.

Sullivan’s Steakhouse. 300 Colorado St. 512-495-6504, The downtown steakhouse runs brunch from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The $39 three-course meal includes selections like shrimp and lobster bisque, prime rib and Bananas Foster.

TNT/Tacos and Tequila. 507 Pressler St. 512-436-8226, The Tex-Mex restaurant celebrates Mother’s Day all weekend with a special brunch buffet on Saturday and Sunday. Selections include a carving station, street taco bar, grilled fish and Belgian waffles. Cost is $22 ($7 for children 6 to 11 and free for those under 6) and includes a boozy brunch cocktail.

Tony C’s. 12800 Hill Country Blvd. 512-263-3473. 10526 W. Parmer Lane. 512-255-9463. The brunch buffet that includes mini Italian breakfast sandwiches, fittata, and sausage and peppers costs $22.99 for adults and $9.99 for children.

Trace. 200 Lavaca St. 512-542-3660, The restaurant at the W Hotel downtown serve a three-course brunch for $55 from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Offerings include shrimp bisque, bourbon-braised short ribs and chocolate brownie with hazelnut streusel.

Now open: Hanabi at Gateway

Crush On You Roll at original Hanabi on (Deborah Canon AMERICAN-STATESMAN)
Crush On You Roll at original Hanabi on (Deborah Canon AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Hanabi Japanese Cuisine opened at 9503 Research Blvd. Ste 500 in the Gateway Shopping Centers next to Aaron Brothers. Like the original location on Burnet Road, the new Hanabi serves sashimi sushi, rolls, noodle bowls, teriyaki-style entrees and more. Hanabi is open daily for lunch and dinner.





Free ThunderCloud subs for moms on Mother’s Day


Austin’s 41-year-old sandwich institution is hooking up moms on Mother’s Day. Buy a sub at any of ThunderCloud location on Sunday and get one sub of equal or lesser value for free. There are no details on how the Austin-born sandwich makers will determine the veracity of the claim of motherhood.




Aaron Franklin lends his voice to East Austin College Prep’s Dream Big initiative


East Austin College Prep is celebrating its inaugural graduating class this year. As the EACP’s students head off to college, the school founded seven years ago by Southwest Key Programs, is raising money to help the teens pay for tuition. One of East Austin’s most famous faces, Aaron Franklin, lent his support for the campaign in the video below, in which he discusses chasing, with 28 cents in his pocket, his home to dream to open Franklin Barbecue. To find out more about East Austin College Prep, visit