Austin restaurant earns honor of Best Wine List in North America

Looking for a bottle of 2015 Jean Claude Courtault Chablis Grand Cru to pair with your appetizer of crab toast? Or maybe a bottle of Chappellet’s Pritchard Hill Estate Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon to go with your dry-aged bone-in ribeye? This Clarksville institution has you covered.

Emma Janzen AMERICAN-STATESMAN

One of the deepest, broadest and most exclusive wine lists in Texas has been honored as the Best Medium-Size Wine List in North America by The World of Fine Wine. After several years of advancing up the star rankings, Jeffrey’s earned the distinction this month from the industry publication, which had the following to say about the program led by Master Sommelier and McGuire Moorman Hospitality vice president of operations June Rodil.

The wine list embodies clarity and complexity with defined headlines such as ‘Grower Champagne’, with labels from Robert Barbichon Blanc de Noirs Brut NV, to Jacques Selosse “Millésimé” Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs 2005, and ‘Négociant Champagne’, such as Bollinger “La Grande Année” 2005, and Ruinart Rosé Brut NV. Not overlooking sparkling wines, a few cherry-picked options from Spain and Italy are some of the options available, alongside Oregon’s Soter “Mineral Springs Ranch” Brut Rosé, which is sustainably produced.

Judges of the 2017 awards commented that Jeffrey’s has an, “Elegant choice and layout”, with a “very good spirit selection.”

Legendary East Austin Mexican restaurant adds dinner service

The famed migas at Cisco’s Restaurant (1511 E. Sixth St.) are staying up past their bed time. The legendary restaurant opened in 1950 by Rudy “Cisco” Cisneros has long been known for its breakfast tacos, biscuits and lunch plates, and now its getting in on the nighttime action of East Austin.

Cisco’s Restaurant now serves dinner. Ralph Barrera/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

The restaurant recently introduced a dinner menu, which includes an expanded version of the fajitas it serves as lunch, along with taco salads, crispy tacos and those popular migas. The dinner changes follow the new ownership’s addition of beer, margaritas, Bloody Marys and screwdrivers. Cisco’s is open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

An ownership team that includes Matt Cisneros, grandson of restaurant founder and namesake Rudy “Cisco” Cisneros; Antone’s co-owner Will Bridges; commercial builder and co-owner of historic Hoffbrau Steakhouse, Rick McMinn; and Bryan Schneider purchased the longtime community favorite and regular hangout of politicos from Clovis Cisneros last year.

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Best taco truck in Austin opens Mueller location today

The best migas tacos in Austin (America?) now have another point of distribution. Maritza and Reyna Vazquez opened their third Veracruz All Natural taco truck today.

Migas taco Veracruz All Natural. Contributed

The latest truck is located at 4209 Airport Blvd and is open Tuesday-Sunday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

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Cole and Franklin’s Loro now accepting online to-go orders

If you’ve snooped around the north side of the Loro parking lot and ambled over to the bar counter at the north end of the restaurant, you know that Tyson Cole and Aaron Franklin’s ‘fine-casual’ concept Loro already has dedicated parking spots and pick-up area for to-go orders. Today the restaurant took another step toward making things convenient and efficient for guests by introducing online to-go ordering.

Chicken Karaage with chili aioli and Szechuan salt; Garlic Rice Noodles with pineapple, mint, currants, cashews, and fish sauce; Texas Smoked Sweet Corn with yuzu kosho aioli, lime, and sunburst tomato; Oak Grilled Snap Peas with kimchi emulsion, are menu offerings at Loro. Seen on Tuesday, August 21, 2018 in Austin, TX. AMANDA VOISARD / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

The to-go menu includes daytime items like oak-grilled snap peas; char siew pork belly, Thai green curry pork sausage, smoked prime bavette and more. Since the sliced brisket is only available at dinner, it is not available via to-go service.

To-go ordering is available from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. Guests can order online here and pay online or in person, and enter the dedicated door on the northwest side of the building. Guests can also order ahead by calling 512-916-4858.

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Southern Living names three Austin barbecue spots in its Top 50

Southern Living’s barbecue editor Robert Moss has named the Top 50 Barbecue Joints in the South. Louie Mueller Barbecue of Taylor and Snow’s BBQ of Lexington both cracked the Top 5, coming in at two and five, respectively.

Franklin Barbecue. (Matthew Odam AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Austin’s highest-ranked spot is Franklin Barbecue, which came in at #7. It was followed by Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ at #17 and Micklethwait Craft Meats at #35. Check out the full list and see what other Texas barbecue greats made the cut at SouthernLiving.com.

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Texas Monthly BBQ Fest tickets now on sale

If you wanna be one of the lucky meat-sweaty hundreds at the Long Center the first weekend of November, you best move quickly. Tickets went on sale today for the November 4 event that showcases many of the magazines Top 50 barbecue spots around Texas. General admission costs $80, with VIP tickets (which include a subscription to the magazine, two drink tickets and early admission to beat the crowds) cost $165. More details and links to purchase tickets are available online.

Brad Stockman takes a bite of Stanley’s Famous Pit BBQ pork ribs at the 2011 Texas Monthly BBQ Fest. (Laura Skelding AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

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Talented chef leaves Austin area for new Salado restaurant

Chef Jacob Hilbert seemingly popped up out of nowhere in 2013 when he opened The Hollow restaurant on the square in Georgetown and steered the casual but sophisticated restaurant to a spot in my annual Austin360 Dining Guide.

Garden terrine at Ramble Restaurant. (Contributed)

Using local ingredients and refined European technique, the colorful North Carolina native brought fine dining to an unexpected locale and developed a local following. Hilbert, who ran the restaurant with an assist from his wife and in-laws, shuttered The Hollow in the spring, and there were some rumblings that he may partner with the owners of Jester King Brewery on a venture South of Austin. But, Hilbert surprised diners once again when he recently reappeared in yet another unexpected place, this time an hour north of Austin in Salado.

With the backing of customers he met while at The Hollow, Hilbert helped open Ramble Restaurant and Farmhouse Grill in August. The restaurant sits on three partially wooded acres and features a garden from which Hilbert intends to source much of his herbs and vegetables. The property is also home to a cotton gin Hilbert says they intend to convert to an events space in the future.

North Carolina native chef Jacob Hilbert helped open Ramble Restaurant and Farmhouse Grill in Salado in August. Jay Janner AMERICAN-STATESMAN

As for the menu, diners can expect shades of The Hollow, though Hilbert says it eschews any direct cultural, regional or ethnic ties. Salado has likely never seen many of the types of dishes and ingredients that Hilbert has brought to the table. Sure a simple salad of fresh ricotta and tomatoes, poached shrimp with lemongrass aioli or ribeye with puréed potatoes may not seem too adventurous, but something tells me lamb belly pancetta with hyssop jus, oxtail with kuri squash gnocchi, and a Flemish stew of snapper, oysters, leeks and hen of the woods mushrooms will turn a few heads.

“I feel incredibly lucky to have touched folks enough to inspire them to believe in my cooking and my team,” Hilbert said. “The goals of the restaurant are essentially simple: to create uniquely delicious cuisine informed by the environment we are in. The philosophical underpinnings are truly no more forged than that.”

Ramble is located at 109 Royal St. in Salado and is currently serving dinner Wednesday-Sunday from 5 to 10 p.m. More information at ramblerestaurant.com.

The former Hollow space at 708 S. Austin Ave. in Georgetown will become home to a second location of Round Rock-based Greenhouse Craft Food later this year.