Texas barbecue woos East Coast fans

More than three years after opening the original Hill Country Barbecue Market in New York to rave reviews, Marc Glosserman has brought the concept - a love letter to the food of his extended family in Texas - to the nation's capital.

As a kid growing up in Bethesda, Md., Glosserman frequently visited his grandparents in Lockhart, where his grandfather was mayor in the 1950s.

In 2003, Glosserman returned to Lockhart to attend a cousin's wedding. He was eating at Kreuz Market when that notion of a sense of place, this time as tasted in the brisket, merged with an American-style business idea. He would open a Texas barbecue restaurant, only not in Texas but in Manhattan, where he lives. "I had no background in the restaurant business, other than being a big fan of barbecue and Kreuz Market," he says.

Glosserman recently opened a second Hill Country Barbecue Market, a 300-plus-seat restaurant in Washington that attempts to replicate the atmosphere of a Texas barbecue experience. Hill Country imports post oak wood from Texas, a type used by Kreuz and many other Central Texas barbecue joints, and smokes its briskets for around 12 hours. It also brings in the iconic Big Red soda and Blue Bell ice cream. Its two sausages are purchased directly from Kreuz. Customers order at the counter, where a pitman slices their meat (brisket costs $22 a pound) on a big butcher block and serves it on brown butcher paper, just like at Kreuz.

Despite being close to North Carolina, Glosserman won't serve pulled pork. "We do one thing," he says. "Texas barbecue. It's hard enough getting one style right."

- Jim Shahin, The Washington Post

April 2 citywide bake sale supports relief in Japan

To help raise money for relief efforts in Japan, a group of local businesses, bloggers and food enthusiasts have created Austin Bakes for Japan, a citywide bake sale April 2. Through the group's website (austinbakes.wordpress.com ), you can sign up to bake goods and sell them, find a baker near you who is participating or donate directly to Americares, a nonprofit providing short- and long-term humanitarian relief in Japan, says event co-founder Kathryn Hutchison of AustinGastronomist.com .

- Addie Broyles

Buy a nutrition bar, feed a hungry child

During his keynote speech last week during the South by Southwest Interactive Conference, Toms Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie urged companies to find ways to incorporate philanthropy into their business model. (Mycoskie's company gives away a pair of shoes for every pair sold. "Giving doesn't just feel good, it's a really good business strategy," Mycoskie told SXSW attendees. "When you incorporate giving into your business, your customers become your biggest marketers.")

Two Degrees, a nutrition bar company in California, is using Mycoskie's one-for-one model to help alleviate chronic hunger in impoverished areas of the world. For every box of nine gluten-free Two Degrees nutrition bars it sells ($19.95, sold online at www.twodegreesfood.com), the company will donate medically formulated nutrition packs to malnourished children.

The bars come in three varieties: apple pecan, cherry almond and chocolate peanut. Founders Will Hauser and Lauren Walters recently traveled to Malawi to make their first delivery of more than 10,000 nutrition packs.

- A.B.

Openings, closings and coming soon

• Open: 150 Market, a new farmers' market from 3 to 6 p.m. Thursdays featuring produce, meat, honey and other local goods from area farmers, ranchers and artisans. The market is at 3600 RM 150, on a ranch about four miles west of Kyle. www.150market.com .

• Scheduled to open today : Brick House Tavern + Tap, the fourth Texas location of the sports bar and grill chain, at 11680 Research Blvd. www.brickhousetavernandtap.com .

- A.B., Mike Sutter

Food and wine briefs

• The dates for Austin Restaurant Week have changed to April 10-13 and 17-20, organizers announced this week. The eight-day event, with dozens of restaurants offering three-course dinners for $25 and $35 and lunches for $10 and $15, had been scheduled to begin Sunday . A spokesperson said the change was made to avoid conflicts with the Texas Hill Country Wine and Food Festival, which runs March 31 to April 3, and because of problems with their website at www.restaurantweekaustin.com . Free Android and iPhone apps are available for the event on iTunes and www.market.android.com.

• The Austin Blind Café will offer a three-course vegan/vegetarian dinner in the dark at St. Martin's Evangelical Lutheran Church (606 W. 15th St.) at 6:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. The event, which organizers say is designed to heighten the senses as well as the awareness of challenges facing blind people, will be served by waiters who are blind and will include a question-and-answer session with them and music by Rosh and One Eye Glass Broken. Tickets start at $50, online only at www.brownpapertickets.com/event/154357 .

• Want to learn more about the globalization of Mexican food? Jeffrey Pilcher, a professor of history at the University of Minnesota and author of several books on food and Mexican culture, will give a free lecture at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Long Center for the Performing Arts on how the popularity of Mexican food is spreading around the globe. The talk is part of an ongoing series organized by the Mexican Center of the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies at the University of Texas.

• Learn to roll sushi for a good cause at today's Sushi Roll-a-Thon, sponsored by the Austin Asian American Chamber of Commerce and AAACC Education. Proceeds will benefit victims of the earthquake/tsunami in Japan via the American Red Cross. $55, 6 p.m. at National Instruments, 11500 N. MoPac Blvd. (Loop 1), Building C, Room 1S13. rollathon.eventbrite.com .

• Threadgill's restaurant (6416 N. Lamar Blvd.) will host the first Texas Olive Oil Tasting and Contest from 6 to 11 p.m. Saturday , with Texas and Mexican olive oil makers facing off against oils from Argentina, Italy and Spain. Judges include Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples, restaurateurs Lou Lambert and Rebecca Rather and musician Joel Guzman, who will perform with Sarah Fox at 9:30 p.m. The free event includes tasting stations and a film. www.texasmexicoolivetrail.com .

• Asti Trattoria (403 E. 43rd St.) will host a multicourse dinner with wine at 6 p.m. Sunday to benefit the Be an Artist Program fostering creative expression in schools. $125, including performances by Darden Smith and Sahara Smith. Tickets at www.thebeanartistprogram.eventbrite.com .

• The Hyatt Regency Austin (208 Barton Springs Road) will host the multicourse cooking competition Chef Showdown IV at 6 p.m. March 31, featuring chefs from the Hyatt's Southwest Bistro, Trace at the W Hotel and Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar. $100, including wine pairings from Fall Creek Vineyards. Proceeds benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Reservations at 480-2035.

• Tickets are on sale for the Sustainable Food Center's fourth Farm to Plate fundraiser at Barr Mansion, 10463 Sprinkle Road, on May 12. More than 20 chefs, including Charles Bloemsma of Green Pastures, John Bates of Noble Pig, Jason Donoho of Fino and Asti, David Bull of Congress and Second Bar + Kitchen and Jesse Griffiths of Dai Due, will serve locally sourced food paired with local beer and wine. Tickets ($100 per person, $1,000 for a table of 10) at sustainablefoodcenter.org .

- M.S., A.B.

'Kitchen Nightmares' looking for Austin restaurant

If your ears are turning red already, it's because chef Gordon Ramsay of "Kitchen Nightmares" is thinking about colorful ways to curse you, your restaurant and everything you stand for, all in the name of reality TV.

The Fox TV show is looking for a restaurant in the Austin area that needs the kind of tough-love help only Ramsay can provide.

If you want your restaurant to be considered, you must have dinner service, at least 35 seats, have at least a year under your belt and not be a chain. To recommend a restaurant, even if it's yours, send the following info to KitchenNightmares@theconlincompany.com and kitchennightmares4@gmail.com: contact information (including phone number), restaurant name and specialty, number of seats and why your place needs help. Restaurants can fill out the application at www.theconlincompany.com . Questions? Call 1-866-226-2226.

- M.S.