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Food Matters: Appetit for Franklin 'cue, hot foods back on the menu at farmers' markets

Staff Writer
Austin 360

It's good to know that those struggling kids over at Franklin Barbecue will finally get some business now that Bon Appetit's Andrew Knowlton has declared Franklin "the best barbecue in Texas, if not America." It's bad to know that the line, already the province of early risers and clever World War II satires (see it at bit.ly/bunkerq), will probably start forming even earlier for the guaranteed sellout that begins at 11 a.m. Tuesdays through Sundays at 900 E. 11th St.

Knowlton admits "I never considered Texas brisket real barbecue" before visiting Franklin during the Hill Country Wine and Food Festival in March, but Aaron Franklin won him over with barbecue that some say surpasses Kreuz Market and Smitty's in Lockhart. "You can count me as a member of that club," Knowlton said.

No doubt Franklin's good. I called the trailer a Newcomer of the Year before it moved to the old Long Branch Barbecue spot in March. And OK, so I said the brisket "might have risen from the dawn of our courtship with smoke and fire." But still, Knowlton's breathless neophyte's declaration should be taken with a healthy mop sauce of skepticism and all the comparative research you can eat.

— Mike Sutter

Beyond gadgets: Gourmet in La Grange

Five years ago next month, Donella Dopslauf-Cernosek brought the world of gourmet cooking to La Grange when she opened Le Petite Gourmet Shoppe (lepetitegourmetshoppe.com , (979) 968-4000, 134 N. Washington St.) on the main square facing the Fayette County courthouse. Dopslauf-Cernosek, a former extension agent for several counties in the area, doesn't just sell oodles of kitchen gadgets, tools and cookbooks; she also hosts cooking classes in the back of the store with chefs, including Houston's Dorothy Huang and Mike Morphew of Smithville, who once worked as a chef at Buckingham Palace.

What are Dopslauf-Cernosek's bestsellers so far this summer? Zoku Quick Pop Maker, which can make ice pops in less than 10 minutes, and a line of Babycakes products that use the idea of a sandwich press or waffle iron to make cupcakes, doughnuts, cake pops, muffins and even whoopie pies. (You can find more information on these products at zokuhome.com and thebabycakesshop.com .)

— A.B.

Hot foods back on the menu at farmers' markets

The Austin-area farmers' markets are sizzling this summer. Yes, temperatures creep up past 100 by the time the Saturday markets end, but there's quite a bit of literal sizzling going on, too.

Now that the issues with city health officials that vendors were having last year have been solved, you'll find more hot food options than ever at area markets. (You can find a list of markets and farm stands at austin360.com/go/farmersmarkets .)

At the Sustainable Center farmers' markets at Sunset Valley on Saturdays, at the HOPE market on Sundays and at the Triangle on Wednesday afternoons, Elise Avellan cooks up quesadillas using raw cheeses from Dos Lunas, a company started by her dad, Joaquin Avellan. Hot dogs, sausages and bratwursts are always a big seller this time of year, and in addition to all the cased meats available from Salt & Time, Kocurek Family Charcuterie and Dai Due, newcomer the Greener Weiner is grilling up all-beef hotdogs at the Wednesday farmers' market at the Triangle. Martha Pincoffs is also grilling up her Hot Dang veggie burgers at the Sunset Valley market on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

— Addie Broyles

Openings, closings and coming soon

Open: French Quarter Grille, at the former site of Mama Roux, 13000 N. Interstate 35, Suite 600. 832-9090, www.frenchquartergrilleaustin.com .

• Open: Blvd Espresso and Dessert Bar, in the former home of Teuscher Austin at 409 W. Second St. 236-1657.

Open: Rita's Italian Ice, 3267 Bee Cave Road, Suite 126. 347-8000, www.ritasice.com .

• Closed: The Screaming Goat, a taqueria at 900 W. 10th St.

— M.S.