App-based coffee kiosk, Briggo, opens at airport

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You’re probably almost always running late when heading to the airport. Or maybe it’s just me. Every extra second counts, so standing in line for some scalding hot coffee at kiosk may not be in the cards. Briggo thinks it has come up with a solution. The app-based coffee service allows you to place your coffee order in advance and swing by the kiosk (located near gate 8 at ABIA) and enter a code or flash your digital receipt and pick up your coffee.

The Briggo machine at ABIA. (Matthew Odam/AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

The machine officially lunched today at the Austin airport. I downloaded the app while waiting for my JuiceLand smoothie, ordered a latte with one sugar and soon thereafter received a text alerting me the drink was ready. I swung by the machine, tapped in my code (the interface on the Briggo also showed me my drink was ready, using the username I had entered when downloading the app), grabbed my latte (for which my linked card was charged $3.99) and was off to stand in line to get on my flight with fellow passengers marveling at me like I was George Jetson. Or Astro.

RELATED: The ‘robotic barista’ of Briggo returns to UT campus with on-demand coffee

Your new go-to source for Dallas restaurant recommendations

If you’re heading up I-35 toward the Metroplex sometime in the future, you probably want to start following Michalene Busico on Twitter and Instagram. The Dallas Morning News announced last week that the long-time journalist has stepped into the role as the paper’s restaurant critic.

The lamb shank at FT33 is artfully plated and full of hearty and complex flavors. (Credit: Jeff Gregory)

Busico, who takes the place of Leslie Brenner who left last summer, has worked as food editor at the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and Robb Report. Busico was raised in California by first-generation Italian-Americans and discusses her personal and professional history with food in the story on the DMN website.

Welcome to the Texas food scene, Michalene.

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Galaxy Cafe coming to Steiner Ranch in 2019

Family-friendly neighbor restaurant Galaxy Cafe will plant its flag near Lake Travis early next year, as it plans to open a location at 5145 FM 620 North (at Quinlan Crossing) in Steiner Ranch.

French toast with bananas and strawberries from family-friendly, all-day restaurant Galaxy Cafe. (Ralph Barrera AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Galaxy co-owner Kelly Chappell says the restaurant group’s decision to open in the suburbs was a conscious one based on the changes in the Austin restaurant market and that it adhered to the family-friendly ethos that has guided them since their inception 15 years ago.

“We’re not interested in the competitive environment of the the inner Austin area,” Chappell said. “We know there are plenty of good people in outlying areas that just want to eat a quality meal at a good value. We’ve always wanted a playground and endless parking both of which are difficult to come by downtown.

The restaurant, Galaxy’s fourth in the Austin area, will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and include a playground, private room, designated dog-friendly area and large outdoor dining space.

Cafe Josie serves an all-you-can-eat tasting menu called The Experience for $45

Do you ever end up at dinner and wish you could try a little bit of everything on the menu? West End staple Cafe Josie has done away with selection paralysis with its “The Experience,” an all-you-can-eat tasting menu experience that costs $45. While a la carte dishes are offered during the week, on the weekends, all diners participate in the choose-your-own-adventure dining experience.

Smoked meatloaf with
garlic mashers, tamarind hoisin steak sauce and crispy onions. at Cafe Josie (Credit: Facebook.com/cafejosie)

The dishes are tapas sized, offering about four to six bites per plate. And, if you take a liking to the crispy Brussels sprouts glazed with a tangy Dijon and served with rum-soaked cherries, you can order another plate. Or two. On a recent visit, my dining companion and I selected six dishes and had them set in the middle of the table and ate directly from them. Of course, if you are not comfortable sharing, you can keep to yourself and if your friend’s sweet and spicy Korean fried chicken looks good, you can just order yourself a plate. The populist dishes are straight forward, comforting and don’t try and dazzle you with technique or plating.

The Experience is less about value than it is about options and variety. We were able to move from an umami packed farro risotto rich with parmesan and aged balsamic to a bright Texas peach salad with candied pecans and a smoky Asian-influenced meatloaf (with little binding, its texture more closely resembled a crispy burger patty) Our six dishes averaged out to $15 a plate, which is more than you’d probably normally pay for a dish the size of which is served as part of the tasting menu. If we had been hungry enough to finish eight plates, the value proposition starts to look more appealing. But the dining experience, which kind of resembled a mannered tasting session with a commendable catering outfit or a dinner party at an excitable and creative friend’s home, is a unique one that allows for an exploratory take on dining that you rarely find at this level.

Located at 1200 W. Sixth St. (just behind Clark’s Oyster Bar), the 21-year-old Cafe Josie is open Monday-Saturday for dinner and Sunday for brunch (where a $25 brunch experience is available). The dinner experience is offered for $10 off during happy hour, Monday-Friday from 5 to 6 p.m. And, though it should go without saying, no, you can’t take food to go.

Austin chefs competing on ‘Sugar Rush,’ new Netflix cooking challenge show

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Austin chefs Amir Hajimaleki and Dennis Van of District Kitchen + Cocktails and Oasthouse Kitchen + Bar  are competing on the newly released Netflix competition show “Sugar Rush”.

Screengrab from “Sugar Rush” on Netflix.

The show, which was released by the online streaming giant today, features the chefs battling in a series of pastry-related competitions. We won’t give away the ending, but you can stream the whole eight-episode series online now.

Community Pizza and Beer Garden now open in Wimberley

When a town only has about 3,000 residents, a new restaurant opening is pretty big news. When the restaurant is as good as Community Pizza and Beer Garden, the latest addition to Wimberley’s dining scene, it’s pretty great news, as well.

A pizza from Community Pizza and Beer Garden. (Matthew Odam AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

The husband-and-wife team of Michael and Morgan Mekuly opened the restaurant and bar about eight weeks ago in the Lumberyard Office and Retail Space at 111 Old Kyle Road, just steps from the main town square.

The restaurant from the two longtime service industry veterans and Austin transplants specializes in pizza pies with puffed edges and supple centers (more Neapolitan than New York style) with exciting flavor combinations like salami, goat ricotta, serrano peppers and fontina cheese ($13); and roasted mushroom, curly kale and caramelized onions ($12). In addition to the pies, the restaurant also serves almost a half-dozen salads and appetizers like meatballs and spinach dip.

The bar, a clean space backed by subway tiles, serves craft cocktails and an impressive rotating roster of local and imported beers, with offerings from Real Ale Brewing Company, Live Oak Brewing Company, Austin Beerworks and more.

The relaxed, family-friendly restaurant, which features indoor and plenty of outdoor seating as well as a children’s playscape, is open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday.

Community joins a dining community that includes stalwarts Leaning Pear and Linda’s Fine Foods and adds to the draw of the town self-described as a little peace of heaven on the Blanco River.

The bar at Community Pizza and Beer Garden. (Matthew Odam AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Sample queso from some of Austin’s top restaurants at Quesoff in August

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The cheesiest day in Austin will take place on August 25, as the eighth annual Quesoff returns to the Mohawk on Red River Street. It is actually only the seventh iteration of the event, as last year’s was rained out.

More than 30 teams will compete for the prestigious Quesoff title on August 25. Contributed by Jessica Alexander

For those not in the know: Quesoff features an astonishing amount of quesos from dozens of amateur and professional teams. And over the years, many amateurs have gone chip to chip with the pros. I’ve judged several competitions and will return to judge again this year.

How it works? You donate $2 or two canned goods, which go to the Central Texas Food Bank, and pay $5 for a bag of chips and a chance to taste all the competitors’ quesos, as they do battle in four categories — meaty, spicy, veggie and wild card. If queso and August sound like a bad fit, they’re not. Each year hundreds of people line up to get in, proving that queso really is the unofficial food of Austin.

This year’s competitors include Dai Due, Micklethawait Craft Meats, multiple winner Frank, Austin Daily Press, past winners Cheesus and many more. There are still a few spots open for competitors. Email queso@mohawkaustin.com to enter.

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