A comptroller's cravings lead to start of meal delivery venture

Long days as a comptroller for a title company and a software firm drove Ben Mendoza to start Brown Bag, a service that cooks and delivers healthy meals around Austin. "I was tired, after six years of doing startups, of having to come home to a bowl of cereal," he said. "Why is it that you can get a burger for a dollar at McDonald's, and you can't get something healthy for less than eight or 10 dollars?" In January, high-school friends Mendoza, who's 29, and chef Rameses Tapiero, 30, began selling meals such as pasta with pork and vodka sauce, green chile stew and a beef blanquette stew with a side of corn for $7 apiece, with deliveries from their Burnet Road kitchen arranged exclusively through www.brownbagdelivers.com . Delivery is free in Austin with a minimum order of five dishes, and tax is included. There are two ordering options: a chef's grab-bag, in which Tapiero puts the menu together for the days you specify, or an open-choice menu. There's no breakfast for now. "Everybody loves Torchy's Tacos, and there's no competing with that," he said.

- Mike Sutter

Dinner (not breakfast) with a Hepburn theme

Food is an essential part of both the movie-going experience and many movies themselves. "Food is just another way to appreciate a movie," says cinephile and filmmaker Ron Deutsch, who writes about food and film online at chef-du-cinema.blogspot.com. In cooking classes at Central Market, Deutsch brings his in-depth blog to life by pairing menus with some of his favorite films.

In a class at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday ($45, tickets online at centralmarket.com), Deutsch is celebrating the iconic Audrey Hepburn with dinner and a screening of "Charade," the 1963 suspense film starring Hepburn and Cary Grant. Before the movie, Deutsch will demonstrate several of the actress's favorite dishes, including her spaghetti pomodoro, the recipe for which he got from Hepburn's son Sean Hepburn Ferrer. (A portion of the class proceeds will benefit the Audrey Hepburn Children's Fund.) Deutsch's next film and food class will be April 9 and will pair Cuban food with "Buena Vista Social Club."

- Addie Broyles

Audrey's Pasta Pomodoro

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 small onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2 stalks of celery, sliced

2 medium carrots, sliced

2 28-oz. cans Italian pre-peeled tomatoes

1 bunch fresh basil leaves

1 lb. spaghetti

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste

fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated

Add olive oil to medium-sized pot and heat. Add onion, garlic, celery and carrot; sweat vegetables for about 5 minutes. Then add the two cans of tomatoes and half the bunch of basil leaves, whole. Bring to boil, then reduce to low and simmer for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally to break up tomatoes. Salt and pepper, to taste.

Turn off and let rest at least 15 minutes, which gives you enough time to cook the pasta. As Hepburn notes, "cooked barely al dente (still a tiny bit of snap at the core)."

To serve, dish pasta either in large platter for family style or individual plates. Top "with lots of fresh parmesan cheese (must be Reggiano)," according to Hepburn, and the remaining half-bunch of basil leaves, "well-washed and cut with scissors in a cup or glass to prevent bruising or blackening." Drizzle with a little high quality olive oil, if desired. Serves 6 to 8.

- Adapted from 'Audrey Hepburn, An Elegant Spirit: A Son Remembers,' by Sean Hepburn Ferrer

Encouragement in form of a Girl Scout cookie

It's Girl Scout cookie time, and this year, the organization has a new cookie: the Shout-Out. These Belgian-style caramelized cookies are imprinted with empowering words, including "lead," "believe," "change" and "create," that are as much a reminder to the customers as the scouts of the Girl Scouts' mission. Through Feb. 25, more than 21,000 Central Texas Girl Scouts likely will sell more than 2 million boxes, and each troop gets to decide how to put the proceeds to use. If you don't come across a scout selling cookies at the local pharmacy or in your office, visit www.gsctx.org to find out where you can buy one of the eight cookie varieties, which cost $3.50 per box.

- A.B.

Openings, closings and coming soon

• Open: Bits and Druthers , a British-style fish-and-chips and ice cream trailer at the East Side Drive In trailer court at 1001 E. Sixth St. Open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays. A sturdy paper bouquet of fries and fish with a side of slaw is $9. Fish and chips by themselves are $5 for a small, $7 large. Ice cream is $3. 361-850-0645, www.facebook.com/BitsAndDruthers .

• Open: Coreanos , a truck doing a fusion of Korean barbecue and Mexican food, such as burritos with short ribs and kimchee. Locations vary. Schedule at www.coreanostx.com .

• Open: Doc Munchies , a trailer serving what it calls 'Minnesota-style mini-dougnhuts' for $3.50 a bag at East Sixth and Red River streets from 9 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. on weekends. Updates at twitter.com/DocMunchies .

• Scheduled to open Thursday : The first Austin franchise of the national Marco's Pizza chain, sharing a building (5020 Burnet Road, 454-4444, www.marcos.com ) and an opening date with a Subway sandwich shop and a frozen-yogurt shop called Swirly Birds, all three locally owned by Pam and Steve Fuquay. The chain already has shops in Leander and Cedar Park, and a company press release said Marco's is planning 30 Central Texas locations, with 20 of those in the Austin area.

- M.S.

Food and wine briefs

• From 5:30 to 8 p.m. Thursday , Taste of Austin will bring together several dozen restaurants and food companies for stroll-around tastings at the Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Road. $25-$35. www.tasteofaustin.org .

• Jack Allen's Kitchen (7720 Texas 71 W.) will host a five-course dinner featuring wines from King Estate at 7 p.m. Tuesday . $65. 745-4713, www.jackallenskitchen.com .

• The Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association is hosting its annual conference on organic production Friday through Sunday at the Civic and Convention Center in Killeen. This year's conference will focus on how farmers, ranchers and retailers can work together to bring organic and sustainably raised products to market. www.tofga.org/tcoops .

• After winning the regional finals of the 42Below World Cup 'Carnival of the Cocktail' competition at the Lustre Pearl on Sunday, David Alan of TipsyTexan.com and Nate Wales of La Condesa are headed to New York to vie for a spot on the national team, which competes for the world title in New Zealand in March. For recipes for the winning drinks, go to www.austin360.com/liquid .