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Food Matters: Decorative sugar shaped lemons, more farmers' markets for Williamson County, and more

Staff Writer
Austin 360

Sugary Sweet and sweet to look at, too

Sugar cubes are so square.

No matter if you're sweetening coffee or tea, brown or white cubes of pure sugar get the job done but not with the kind of flair that Elayne Crain envisioned when she started Austin Sugarworks last year. Crain has developed a line of naturally flavored and colored sugars that she can mold into almost any shape. "I started trying to make them in my kitchen, and it took about 20 tries before I got something that was in the right track," Crain says.

Her sugars aren't as hard and gritty as traditional sugar cubes, and many of them add a hint of flavor to whatever you're drinking. The ginger-flavored sugars in the shape of a lion's head are among her best sellers, and the rose-and heart-shaped sugars are popular for tea parties and weddings. (On the other end of the spectrum? Sugars in the shape of guitars.) Orange, lemon and lime sugars work surprisingly well in both coffee and tea. Crain is also creating a line of sugars specifically for absinthe drinkers, who traditionally pour the herbal liquor over a sugar cube.

She sells the sugars ($4 for six) online (austinsugarworks.com and etsy.com ) and at two locations in Bastrop, the Bastrop 1832 Farmers Market on Tuesdays from 2:30 to 6 p.m. and the Bastrop Producers Market, 977 U.S. 71, which is open six days a week.

— Addie Broyles

Williamson County grows more markets

Many farmers' markets in Central Texas are open year round, but the first week of April is traditionally when many of the seasonal markets reopen after a winter of hibernation. (Want to find a market near you? Go to austin360.com/go/farmersmarkets to find a list and map of area markets, including when they are open.)

A new Wednesday afternoon market opens today at the Dell Diamond parking lot on U.S. 79 in Round Rock. Carla Jenkins, who also runs the Cedar Park Farms to Market on Saturday mornings at Lakeline Mall, says the new Round Rock Farms to Market will operate from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays at the Dell Diamond parking lot, off U.S. 79, but this fall, the market will move to a new city plaza under construction downtown. (The Georgetown Farmers Market Association operates a Saturday farmers' market from 8 a.m. to noon in the public parking garage on Badgad Road in downtown Round Rock.)

The new market, which is certified by the Texas Department of Agriculture, will have more than 40 vendors, many of which currently sell at the Cedar Park Farms to Market market that celebrated its first anniversary last weekend. www.RoundRockFarmersMarket.org

— A.B.

Openings, closings and coming soon

Open: TenOak, a Southern-style kitchen and lounge with small plates at $10 or less and a wide selection of small-batch bourbon at 409 Colorado St. in the former Cuba Libre space. www.tenoakaustin.com . Open 4 p.m. to late night Mondays-Fridays and 11 a.m. to late night Saturdays and Sundays.

Fire update: A fire on Sunday damaged the Italian restaurant Sagra (1610 San Antonio St., 535-5988), forcing customers and staff to evacuate. The owners say they hope to reopen the restaurant in the next week or so.

Closed: Not Your Mama's Food Truck, a trailer at 2209 E. Cesar Chavez St.

Closed: Fresh Choice at 9761 Great Hills Trail.

— Mike Sutter

Food and wine briefs

Esquire magazine food and travel correspondent John Mariani will discuss and sign copies of his new book "How Italian Food Conquered the World" at the Backspace pizzeria (507 San Jacinto Blvd.) at 5:30 p.m. April 17. $50, includes a copy of the book plus Backspace food, wine and beer. Reservations at www.thebackspace-austin.com.

VFW Post 2527 (1503 FM 20 in Rockne near Bastrop) will host a chili and barbecue cook-off Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday starting at 11 a.m. Free admission. 512-321-2610.

On Tuesday, the Cooking Channel show "Eat Street" will feature the Austin food trailers Izzoz Tacos and G'raj Mahal.

— M.S.