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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Texas Monthly BBQ Fest Early Bird tickets sales end Monday

If you wanna be one of the lucky meat-sweaty hundreds at the Long Center the first weekend of November, today’s your final chance to get the biggest bang for your buck. Early Bird tickets for the 9th annual Texas Monthly BBQ Fest end today. The tickets for the November 4 event that showcases many of the magazines Top 50 barbecue spots around Texas cost $80, with VIP tickets (which include a subscription to the magazine, two drink tickets and early admission to beat the crowds) currently 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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The two best places in Austin to watch Brazil vs. Belgium in the World Cup Friday

Brazil and Belgium will battle in the World Cup quarterfinals, and if you like to pair your sporting events with culturally appropriate food and beverage experiences (and maybe watch with some foreign nationals), you will want to take in today’s match with either a bowl of feijoada or a Belgian beer.

Longtime campus-area Brazilian restaurant Sao Paulo’s and Congress Avenue Belgian beer bar Mort Subite will both be showing the match at 1 p.m. Enjoy the game!

Brazil supporter Bruna Bastos, center, celebrates Brazil’s victory over Mexico at a FIFA World Cup Round of 16 knockout stage watch party at Vares in Brickell on Monday, July 2, 2018. (Sam Navarro/Miami Herald/TNS)

 

Best restaurants and pubs for watching England vs. Colombia Tuesday

England continues its quest for its first World Cup title in 52 years today when it takes on Colombia today at 1 p.m. CST in Russia. England are a slight favorite today (60 percent, according to FiveThirtyEight.com) and are in a half of the bracket with a much easier path to glory. If you’re watching the match today in Austin, you’ll want to do so with a cold pint and some fish and chips.

Harry Kane of England applauds fans after the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group G match between England and Belgium at Kaliningrad Stadium on June 28, 2018 in Kaliningrad, Russia. (Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)

Here are my picks for watching the England match today. Don’t forget the vinegar for your chips.

Five restaurants where you can watch Mexico vs. Brazil Monday

El Tri takes on the winningest nation in World Cup history on Monday at 9 a.m. and you know televisions at Mexican restaurants and bars all over Austin will be tuned to the epic knockout-out round tilt. In addition to the restaurants that usually serve breakfast or have 24-hour service, like Las Cazuelas and La Mexicana, several restaurants are rolling out the red (and green and white) carpet for the game.

YEKATERINBURG, RUSSIA – JUNE 27: Mexico fans celebrate after hearing the news of a Korea Republic goal that will send Mexico in Round of 16 during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group F match between Mexico and Sweden. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

Lichas Cantina on East Sixth Street will open at 8:30 a.m.; Takoba on East Seventh Street (which, amidst renovations, reopened just for the World Cup) will open at 7:30 a.m.; and Fresa’s on South First Street opens at 8 a.m. Expect food, drink and wild cheering at them all, as Mexico attempts to make the quarterfinals for just the second time in history.

Fried chicken and rosé picnic at Mattie’s this weekend

What better way to spend a summer afternoon than with a plate of fried chicken and a cold glass of rosé? The fine folks at Mattie’s know what’s up. The pan-Southern restaurant set in a gorgeous historic home is rolling out the blankets (figuratively) for a picnic on Saturday. From 1 to 4 p.m. the restaurant will serve a plate of fried chicken and glass of C.L. Butaud’s 2017 rosé, celebrating the release of the vintage that is a blend of Grenache Noir, Piquepoul Blanc and Rolle sourced from the One Elm Vineyard in New Home, Texas. The first glass comes with the $35, after that, you’re on your own, and can buy the wine by the glass or bottle. Tickets here.

“Texans love rosé. Living in the perfect place between a white and a red wine, rosé is the perfect accompaniment for fried chicken in an outdoor setting … juicy, structured and dry with a chill balances every crispy bite,“ La Corsha Hospitality wine director Paula Rester said.

Mattie’s at Green Pastures. Ralph Barrera AMERICAN-STATESMAN

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Hot Luck’s Kebabathon runs from Thursday-Sunday this week in Austin

How much do you love lamb? Hot Luck is prepared to find out. The food and music festival is hosting a Kebabathon over the next four days. The promotion is a celebration of shaved roasted meat and its global influences co-sponsored by the American Lamb Board..

Kebabalicious.

How does it work? You head to one of the four participating restaurants, purchase a kebab, grab a passport card and get in a stamp in it and then try and collect all four through Sunday. If you compete your passport by visiting all four stops, you get (in addition to a belly full of tasty lamb) a pair of lamb-branded socks or water bottle. Not baaaaa’d. (Sorry.)

The four participating restaurants and their menus below:

  • Frank, 407 Colorado St. Merguez sausage in pita with harissa labneh and red pepper sauce.
  • Scholz Garten, 1607 San Jacinto Blvd. Lamb Frikadelle with Duckefett
  • Kebabalicious, 1311 E. 7th St. Ground spiced lamb with farm-to-table charbroiled zucchini, caramelized red onions, arugula/shredded lettuce mix, heirloom tomatoes, shredded smoked gouda, topped with tzatziki & red sauce. Wrapped up in a za’atar spiced pita.
  • Clay Pit, 1601 Guadalupe St. Seekh Kebab: Prepared with minced lamb, ginger and spices, grilled on skewers in Tandoor.

“Honestly, we consider kebabs, shawarmas and gyros to all be interchangeable – showcasing and educating that Doners from Europe, Kababs from India, Shawarmas from the middle east, gyros from Turkey, souvlakis from Greece are all kebabs,” Hot Luck’s Adi Anand said.

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HOT LUCK 2017