Roof over heads at new Franklin BBQ

As you queue up this morning for the slow march to brisket at the Franklin Barbecue trailer, take comfort in knowing that soon you'll have a roof over your head. Aaron Franklin is moving his business to the former home of Ben's Long Branch BBQ at 900 E. 11th St., possibly as soon as late January. Franklin said he plans to carry over the same menu of brisket, pork ribs, pulled pork and sausage that have turned his year-old trailer into a point of national interest.

Why the move? "When it rains, we're just out there getting soaking wet. It's so labor-intensive to try and keep the food consistent when the fire's getting rained on," Franklin said. "It'll be more comfortable for customers, too."

The Franklin Barbecue trailer at 3421 N. Interstate 35 (653-1187, www.franklinbarbecue.com ) will keep its regular hours until the move: 11 a.m. until the food runs out (usually around 2 p.m.) Wednesdays-Sundays. Once the restaurant opens, the trailer will close, and Franklin plans to be open seven days a week for lunch at first, with dinner hours plus beer and wine in the future.

The restaurant seats about 50, and he plans to add a 25-foot brick barbecue pit for extra capacity.

- Mike Sutter

Fresh tips to listen to from garden, kitchen

Cecilia Nasti has a voice for radio, the hands of a gardener and the palate of a foodie.

For 22 years, you've heard her on KUT 90.5 FM during her "Growing Concerns" segment about gardening. As Nasti's interest in food has evolved, so have her garden beds and her show, which has been relaunched as "Field and Feast" to focus on local food.

The show airs on Saturdays at 11:55 a.m. during "Folkways" and again on Sundays at 11 a.m. during "The Splendid Table."

The show debuted on New Year's Day with an episode about making stock with Carillon chef Josh Watkins. Last weekend, the Statesman's own Renee Studebaker gave tips on growing vegetables in winter and how to make a soup from your harvest.

Nasti says the show will focus on both the political and pleasurable aspects of sustainable food, as well as cover issues like food insecurity. Other shows this month include bread-making with Lauren Hubele of Bona Dea Baking Co. and cheese with John Antonelli of Antonelli's Cheese Shop.

"I am an organic gardener and cook on my mother's side," she says. "And from my father's side, I got my freakishly large hands, which are great for gardening and cooking, but not so much for fine needlework."

See more at www.fieldandfeast.com .

- Addie Broyles

Roasted Fennel and Potato Soup

1-2 Tbsp. butter

3 Tbsp. olive oil

3 small Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, halved and sliced

1/4 cup dry white wine

3 large fennel bulbs, fronds removed and any bruised outer layers peeled away

3 cups chicken stock (homemade is best)

3 Tbsp. shallot, chopped

1/4 cup onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped

1/4 cup cream

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup grated white Cheddar cheese (sharp)

Salt and pepper to taste

Filtered water, if needed to thin soup

Small fennel fronds for garnish

To a hot heavy skillet, add 1 Tbsp. butter and 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Add potatoes, generous pinch of salt and pepper, and stir to coat potato pieces with oil. Cook over medium low heat until potatoes are tender and begin to caramelize. Add more butter or oil if potatoes seem too dry. (Aim for some browned potato bits on bottom of pan, but don't allow to burn.) Pour wine (or a bit of stock) into pan, and stir to loosen brown bits. Then pour mixture into a soup pot.

Meanwhile, lightly salt fennel and toss with remaining olive oil. Spread out in a single layer on baking sheet so that pieces are not overlapping. Roast at 375 for about 15 minutes, or until fennel is brown around edges and tender. Add cooked fennel and stock to pot of potatoes and cook over low heat.

Meanwhile, sautée onion and shallot in remaining olive oil over medium low heat until edges start to brown, then stir in garlic and sautée a few minutes more.

Pour onion garlic mixture into soup pot. Add milk, cream, cheese and continue cooking over medium low heat for about 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Remove from heat and purée in small batches in a processor or simply purée in pot using an immersion blender (my favorite kitchen tool!). Thin soup to your liking by adding water or additional stock. Serve hot, garnished with fresh fennel fronds.

Variations: Top each bowl of soup with 1 Tbsp. of cooked, crumbled spicy Italian sausage. Or top with a chiffonade of raw baby kale leaves instead of fennel. For vegan soup, omit milk, cheese and butter, and use vegetable stock.

- Renee Studebaker

Sip and Savor with deals at local dining spots

From Sunday through Jan. 30, more than 45 restaurants will offer special deals on lunches, dinners and drinks as part of Sip & Savor Austin, presented by the International Culinary Schools at Art Institute of Austin.

Included in the offerings at www.sipandsavoraustin.com are a free appetizer with a Mexican martini at the Cedar Door, a $35 four-course dinner at El Arbol and high tea at Snack Bar.

- M.S.

OPENINGS, CLOSINGS & COMING SOON

• Open: Santa Catarina, an interior Mexican restaurant in Lakeway from former employees of Fonda San Miguel and Manuel's. 1310 RM 620 S., No. A-4, Lakeway. 300-0946, www.santacatarinarestaurant.com . Open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

• Open: Rosa's Cafe, the first area location of the Texas chain of Mexican fast-food restaurants. 1509 E. Whitestone Blvd., Cedar Park. 259-0505, www.rosascafe.com .

• Closed: Ambrosia Living Foods Cafe, a restaurant specializing in raw preparations on West Sixth Street.

• Closed: Kyoto, a Japanese sushi restaurant on Congress Avenue. A sign on the door simply says, "We thank you very much for your patronage for 27 years."

• Coming soon: Draft Pick, a sports bar from restaurateur Mourad "Mo" Belkacem (Texican Cafe, Texican Sports Cantina) in the new AMLI development at 1618 E. Riverside Drive. Scheduled to open in February with a full bar, more than 30 beers on tap and a menu including burgers, chicken-fried steaks and lasagna. www.draftpickaustin.com .

• Coming soon: BJ's Restaurant and Brewhouse, a second Austin location of the national beer and casual food chain. Scheduled to open in March at the Shops at Arbor Walk at 10515 N. MoPac Blvd. (Loop 1). www.bjsbrewhouse.com .

- M.S.

FOOD AND WINE BRIEFS

• California's Lagunitas Brewing Co. will be the focal point for two local beer dinners. On Tuesday at 7 p.m., Zax Restaurant (312 Barton Springs Road, 481-0100, www.zaxaustin.com ) will pair five courses with Lagunitas beers for $50. On Wednesday, 24 Diner (600 N. Lamar Blvd., 472-5400, www.24diner.com ) will pair Lagunitas with an appetizer and four courses for $55. Call for hours.

• Jo's Hot Coffee Good Food (1300 S. Congress Ave.) will host its Chili Cold Blood Chili Cook-Off on Jan. 22, with chili and music from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Entries accepted through Jan. 20 at Jo's or at www.joscoffee.com .

- M.S.

SHARE peace and a pie at local Martin Luther King JR. events

For the third year, local artist Luanne Stovall is helping spread Martin Luther King Jr.'s message of peace and equality through pie, and this year, she has the City of Austin officially behind her. At 5:30 p.m. on Thursday at City Hall, the Austin City Council will issue a "Peace Through Pie" proclamation. Following the reading, city officials and the public will have the chance to enjoy pies created by local chefs and Travis High School culinary arts students. On Saturday, share pie and fellowship at the Sweet Home Baptist Church, 1725 W. 11th St., in the annual Peace Through Pie social and pie contest. At 1 p.m., home bakers can bring two pies, one to share with guests and another for the judges. A program featuring a reading of King's "I have a dream" speech will take place at the church at 2 p.m. For more information on the other events, including a pie-making class, a pie auction and other opportunities to eat pie and connect with fellow Austinites, go to www.peacethroughpie.org .

- A.B.