So many great food stories from the last week of June and the holiday weekend.
Features reporter Dale Roe has a new series on collectors, and this month, he tracked down Rosemary Clapham, who has between 4,000 and 5,000 cookie cutters. She is an active member of the Cookie Cutter Collectors Club, which held their annual convention in Austin under her presidency in 1984.
Metro columnist Ken Herman tells the great tale of why America might not have chewing gum if not for the Alamo’s most hated Santa Anna, who after the famed battle was exiled from Mexico and landed on Staten Island with a bunch of chicle.
Lala’s (aka The Christmas Bar) is facing a $3,000 fine and nine-day closure after an incident on Halloween night in which the barkeep wouldn’t open the door for TABC agents. John Kelso has the full story about why the bar owners feel like they were in the right by not wanting to open a windowless door at 2 a.m. on All Hallow’s Eve and why the TABC conducts after-hours searches in the first place.
It’s not exactly a food story, but I’ll read anything Michael Barnes writes, and on Sunday, he profiled Marbridge, the residential center and training facility in the small town of Manchaca that has been teaching life skills to people with cognitive challenges since 1953. (If you lived in Austin before 2006, you might have stopped by the facility when it used to run a garden center, which has since closed.) Over the decades, countless restaurants have hired residents or students who have been educated there, and one resident has lived there for 57 years. A really fascinating read.
Anybody wanna go to pub church? Patrick Beach takes us inside a service at Opal Divine’s Penn Field.
People used to drive from all around to visit the Dr Pepper museum and bottling plant, but when the corporate offices cut ties with the local plant in 2012, the city is having to rebrand itself.
A whirlwind of news from Matthew Odam: Josh Watkins has left the Carillon, La Barbecue is moving to GoodLife Food Park, 900 E. Cesar Chavez St., in August, Terry Black’s Barbecue opened on Barton Springs Road, former Aquarelle owner Terry Wilson has plans to open a new restaurant, Sala & Betty, this fall at 5201 Airport Blvd. in the old Stallion Grill location and Juan and a Million reopened after a kitchen fire.
Odam also made good use of a recent trip to Mexico City to give us three stories about food trends there and some of the chefs behind them, as well as a former Austinite who specializes in branding and cookbook design.
This Tina Phan video from the watermelon eating contest at the Luling Watermelon Thump is so awesome that it climbed into the top 5 visited Statesman.com stories last week. Cute kids eating watermelon! The secrets to winning! True stories about what happens when you eat too much watermelon too fast! Here’s a photo gallery from the 61st annual event.