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Food Matters: St. Patrick's Day latkes, Grapefruit and Campari Sorbet

Staff Writer
Austin 360

Try latkes for your Irish celebration

Hanukkah isn't the only occasion to eat latkes. Potatoes are as Irish as Guinness beer and corned beef, so just in time for St. Patrick's Day, Manny's Uptown Kitchen offered up its recipe for loaded potato pancakes.

- Addie Broyles

Loaded Potato Pancakes

4 cups of Idaho potatoes, peeled

1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped

A few sprigs of Italian parsley, finely chopped

1/2 Tbsp. kosher salt

1/4 Tbsp. ground black pepper

1 large egg, beaten

Olive oil for frying

Sour cream, shredded cheese, bacon bits, sliced green onions for topping

Finely shred potatoes with a box grater. Mix with onions and lay out mixture on a clean, dry dishtowel (not terrycloth). Roll up mixture to extract as much moisture as possible.

Add potatoes and onions to a large bowl and mix in the parsley, salt, pepper and egg.

Heat about 1/4 cup olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. When surface of oil shimmers, place about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of potato mix in the hot oil and flatten to about 1/2-inch thick with a spatula. After cake has cooked for about 3 minutes, flip to brown the other side. Because cakes will soak up oil, you'll have to add more as needed.

Remove cakes from the skillet and place on a plate lined with paper towels.

Top with shredded cheese, bacon, sour cream or green onions and serve.

- Manny's Uptown Kitchen

An icy, in-season citrus treat

Looking for a way to use up some of that 15-pound bag of grapefruit you bought at the grocery store recently?

Here's a grapefruit sorbet from Fino pastry chef Erin Echternach that uses another ingredient I can't ever seem to use up - the floral apéritif Campari.

Texas grapefruits are in season for the next six week or so, which means they are some of the best tasting and least expensive fruits in the produce section right now.

You can find more recipes at .

- A.B.

Grapefruit and Campari Sorbet

4 cups fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice

4 cups simple syrup (made by mixing 2 cups sugar and 3 cups water)

Zest of two grapefruits

1 Tbsp. lemon

1 oz. Campari

Honey, for garnish

Sea salt, for garnish

After sugar is dissolved in water, steep zest in syrup for 30-45 seconds. Combine all ingredients and chill well. Transfer liquid to ice-cream maker and churn for sorbet. Garnish with drizzle of honey and pinch of sea salt.

- Fino pastry chef Erin Echternach

Compelling writing and a compelling story

Grant Achatz is a chef with an incredible story. Gabrielle Hamilton is an incredible storyteller who happens to be a chef. Achatz, of Chicago's famed Alinea, and Hamilton, of New York's cozy Prune, published two very different memoirs this month.

In "Life, on the Line: A Chef's Story of Chasing Greatness, Facing Death, and Redefining the Way We Eat," (Gotham, $27.50) Achatz tells the story of how he worked up the ranks of high-end restaurants and culinary school to become the country's foremost molecular gastronomist only to be diagnosed with tongue cancer and lose his sense of taste.

While Achatz was winning the James Beard award for the best chef in the country in 2008, Gabrielle Hamilton was quietly writing her own account of becoming a chef in the cramped office of her 30-seat restaurant in the East Village. "Blood, Bones & Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef" (Random House, $26) doesn't have the story arc of Achatz' heart-wrenching experience with cancer, but Hamilton spins her less-dramatic story into a more compelling read . Hamilton's use of evocative details and ability to capture the fraught emotions of being a headstrong daughter, a driven entrepreneur and a working parent are stirring. Both are talented chefs, but Hamilton will have as much success in her writing career as in her kitchen.

- A.B.

Openings, closings and coming soon

• Open: Luaus, a trailer serving Hawaiian food outside the new Violet Crown Social Club at 1111 E. Sixth St. Owner Nekoa Moss is serving Hawaiian plate-lunch staples such as kalua pig with rice and macaroni salad ($6) and sushi-style Spam rolls called musubi ($2), plus a Big Kahuna burger with grilled pineapple and pulled pork ($5-$5.50). Mainland-style dishes include pulled-pork tacos ($2) and green chile cheese fries ($4). Moss, whose face and island-worthy array of tattoos you might recognize from his time as a bartender for Creekside, the Side Bar or the Mohawk, said he was inspired by a Hawaiian friend to open the trailer, which he bought from a taco vender and refurbished with a higher ceiling, fresh blue paint and a surfboard counter. He's helped by his mother, Gina Moss, and brother Chris Robinson. Hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays.

• Open: Caffé Medici, the third location of the locally owned coffee house, at 200 Congress Ave. .

• Grand opening: Draft Pick, a sports bar and grill from the owner of the Texican Cafes, on Thursday and Friday. 1620 E. Riverside Drive. 444-7425, .

• Closed: The Zen Japanese Food Fast location at 5217 Brodie Lane.

- Mike Sutter

Lucky you: Three spots to get your green on

Thursday is St. Patrick's Day, and bars all over town will mark the day with green beer and sometimes-sudden Irish affiliations. Three of note:

• Fadó (214 W. Fourth St. 457-0172, ) will host a street festival with a beer garden and live music starting at noon. Festival admission is $10-$15. The pub opens at 6 a.m. for Irish breakfast.

• The upscale sports bar Cover 3 (2700 W. Anderson Lane. 374-1121, ) will feature live Irish music on two stages and a special St. Patrick's menu from 2 to 10 p.m. $8-$10, children younger than 13 free.

• North by Northwest Restaurant and Brewery (10010 N. Capital of Texas Highway (Loop 360). 467-6969, ) will offer Irish stew, soda bread, live music and cask-conditioned Irish stout. Music starts at 6 p.m. Free admission.

- M.S.

Restaurant briefs

• Lakeway Resort and Spa (101 Lakeway Drive. 261-6600, ), home of Travis Restaurant and Josey's Grill & Bar, has hired Jeff Axline as executive chef. Axline helped launch Houston's Glass Wall Restaurant and also worked at the Houstonian Hotel.

• Chez Zee (5406 Balcones Drive. 454-2666, ) has hired Ben Nathan as its executive chef. Nathan has worked in New York at Chez Henri and Grill 23, in Boston at the Fireplace and in Austin at the Belmont.

- M.S.