Get serious about Valentine's reservations

Only 17 more shopping - and restaurant reservation - days until Valentine's Day. At Ruth's Chris Steak House (107 W. Sixth St. 477-7884), they're opening at 3 p.m. with a six-ounce filet and lobster tail for $39.95. Opal Divine's (www.opaldivines.com for locations) is doing a no-reservations beer dinner for $65 per couple. If your restaurant is doing something special, e-mail me at msutter@statesman.com.

Snack, sip and shop at decor store

There aren't many places in Austin where you can sit with friends, sip on a glass of wine and then buy the chair on which you sat and the glass from which you drank. Three months ago, Aviary Home Decor owners Marco Fiorilo and Shanna Eldridge started selling wine and beer as well as charcuterie and cheese plates in their South Austin furnishings store. Fiorilo says he was inspired by hybrid stores in New York and Buenos Aires that sell food and drinks in addition to clothes or other goods. "We always wanted to be a wine bar," he says. Fiorilo now sells more than 20 old-world wines by the glass and by the bottle, as well as 10 beers. (Bottles of wine start at $20.) "If you're drinking from the glass and you like it, you can buy it," he says. Same with the tables, chairs, plates and napkins.

Daniel Hunt of A Noble Beast Charcuterie makes the duck liver mousse, terrine, duck prosciutto, rabbit confit and sausages that appear on the meat-and-cheese menu. Hunt says he'll soon be expanding his business to include sales directly to customers. (E-mail him at anoblebeast@gmail.com for more information.)

Aviary is open 11 a.m. to midnight Tuesdays through Saturdays and 1 to 10 p.m. Sundays. On Saturdays and Sundays, Fiorilo offers flights of three wines for $10. Bottles of wine are half-price on Wednesdays and $10 off on Fridays.

Food blogger expands culinary horizons

Stephanie McClenny's food blog, the Cosmic Cowgirl (thecosmiccowgirl.wordpress.com), has only been around for a year, but she says it's not only revived her passion for photography, it gives her an excuse to spend even more time cooking. Whether she's cooking tamales with friends or making marmalade from Texas citrus that's in season, she loves being in the kitchen - camera in hand - creating something delicious for her husband, Houston, who has learned that he can't eat anything until it has been photographed.

McClenny is a school nurse by day, but when she's not at school, she's trying new recipes from her favorite food magazines or other food blogs. The blog also challenges her to take on projects like canning that she hadn't attempted before. "I've never taken a cooking class," she says. "I like to figure things out myself … and the blog helps me remember how I did it for the next time."

Texas Ruby Red Grapefruit Marmalade

Honey version:

5 medium-sized Texas `Rio Star' grapefruit, cut in half horizontally

Juice of 4 lemons

61/2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup local honey

Vanilla version:

5 medium-sized Texas `Rio Star' grapefruit, cut in half horizontally

Juice of 4 lemons

8 cups sugar

1 vanilla bean, split open lengthwise, seeds removed, pod reserved to add to pot

Put grapefruit halves in a large soup pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer, uncovered until very soft, about 2 hours, adding more water from a simmering kettle if needed. Drain and set aside until cool enough to handle. Place a cutting board inside a roasting pan and cut grapefruit into large chunks, removing seeds as you go.

Place chunks (rind, pith, flesh and all) in a food processor fitted with the metal blade, and whirl, in batches, until pieces are finely chopped. Add back to large pot with remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Set pot to simmer and stir frequently until mixture reaches jell point, tasting as you go to see if it needs more sugar. Allow mixture to sit off heat for about 5 minutes, and then stir before filling jars. Process in a water bath for 15 minutes. Makes about 11-12 half-pint jars.

- Adapted by Stephanie McClenny from a recipe by Nigella Lawson

Discount tickets on sale for wine and food fest

The 25th Hill Country Wine and Food Festival is coming up in April, and starting this week you can buy tickets to the events, including a discounted ticket ($25) for the Sunday Fair at the Vineyards at the Salt Lick on April 18. Go to www.texaswineandfood.org to buy tickets and find details about other events, including the Culinary Masters, Stars Across Texas and Texas25, a new addition the festival lineup that will highlight Austin food trends such as crêpes and cake balls.

Openings, closings and coming soon

• Open: Moonie's Burger House, the second location of the Cedar Park-based burger restaurant at 13450 U.S. 183 N. at Anderson Lane. 257-9000, www.mooniesburgerhouse.com.

• Open: Tasty Healthy Meals, a company selling and delivering pre-made meals, with gluten-free, vegan and low-carb options, at 706 N. Lamar Blvd. 428-5007, www.tastyhealthymeals.com.

• Open: Your Mom's, a restaurant in the upstairs of the music club Headhunters specializing in burgers, nachos and fries at 720 Red River St. 547-2292, www.eatatyourmoms.com.

• Open: Good Bike Cafe, a coffeeshop serving light breakfast, snacks and sandwiches at 2401 San Gabriel St. 425-0853, www.goodbikecafe.com.

• Coming soon: Downtown Burgers, a trailer serving burgers and fries from 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. at 350 Trinity St. 476-7100, www.downtownburgers.com.

Austin spots in the national media

• The cable network TLC will be filming at Gourdough's on Thursday from 1 to 10 p.m. for an "America Eats" segment, according to a Twitter post from the gourmet doughnut trailer. That comes on the heels of the same show having dropped by Arkie's Grill on East Cesar Chavez Street on Jan. 24.

• In the January issue of Bon Appetit magazine, Progress Coffee at 500 San Marcos St. was named one of the top 10 Best Boutique Coffee Shops in the country.

"Favorite coffee shops don't just serve terrific joe; they also act as a modern-day meeting place. This Eastside spot with Owl Tree coffee and fresh biscuits is the best hangout in town," the magazine said.

Room for another Slice

For pizza lovers who feel cramped at the popular Home Slice Pizza on South Congress Avenue and for those who want a New York-style slice seven days a week, there's good news on the way. Part of the space next door to Home Slice - previously home to Washburn's cleaners - is being transformed into additional pizza space. The operation at 1423 S. Congress Ave., adjacent to the men's clothing store Stag, will be called More Home Slice and will serve slices and take-out exclusively, offering slices all day and not just during the main store's specified slice hours. Additionally, More Home Slice will be open seven days a week. The original location is closed on Tuesdays. A manager at Home Slice said they were shooting for a Tuesday opening. The plan is to sell slices until 11 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 10 p.m. Sundays, the manager said.

Briefly ...

• News from chef-owner Jeff Blank at Hudson's on the Bend: Executive chef Robert Rhoades is leaving the Hill Country home of high-end wild game to work for Eddie V's. Executive sous chef Kelly Casey will replace Rhoades.

• The annual Taste of Austin fundraiser, featuring food from Judges' Hill Restaurant, Carmelo's, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Piranha Killer Sushi, is from 5:30 to 8 p.m. tonight at the Palmer Events Center. The event raises money for scholarships from the Greater Austin Restaurant Association and the Westwood High School marketing club. Tickets cost $25. www.tasteofaustin.org.

• To celebrate its fourth anniversary as well as Australia Day, Boomerang's Gourmet Veggie and Meat Pies, 3110 Guadalupe St., will throw a party from noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday with free sausage rolls, Australian beer, a DJ and a contest to see who can eat a meat pie the fastest. The winner of the contest will get free pies for a year. The event will benefit Meals on Wheels and More.

• Less than a year after opening, La Condesa has been recognized by the Green Restaurant Association as the first Austin restaurant to earn two stars for its sustainability efforts. The restaurant's recycling program, water efficiency and sustainable furnishings and building materials met the organization's requirements for the award.