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Food Matters: Rollergirls get their drink on; Antonelli's shows its stuff in Montreal

Staff Writer
Austin 360

Rollergirls roll out signature drink

The Kentucky Derby has an official drink, and now the Texas Rollergirls Roller Derby does, too.

Inspired by the whiskey-and-pickle juice drink called the pickle back, Aimee Blase and several other skaters created the Pickle Smack, pickle juice and whiskey with a dash or two of Tabasco. "Whiskey is the drink of choice for Rollergirls," says Blase, who skates under the name Sinnerfold. "Plus, pickle juice has all that salt and natural electrolytes that will replenish us post-bout."

Ahead of the Texas Rollergirls' championship bout Saturday night at the Austin Convention Center, the Rollergirls are hosting a fundraiser from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday at Fado - featuring the Pickle Smack and several other Rollergirl-inspired drinks - to raise money to send the all-star team to Denver later this year for the national competition. For information about the fundraiser or tickets to the final bouts of the season this weekend, go to texasrollergirls.org .

Austinite becomes big cheese at event

Two years after Austin hosted the American Cheese Society annual conference, Austinite Kelly Sheehan of Antonelli's Cheese Shop has been named one of two official cheesemongers of the event, which starts Wednesday in Montreal.

Sheehan, along with Antonelli's co-owner John Antonelli, have been in Montreal since last week so they can help take care of and coordinate more than 1,600 cheeses that have been entered into one of the world's largest cheese competitions. Kendall Antonelli, who has stayed in Austin to help hold down the fort at the shop at 4220 Duval St., says Sheehan was asked to apply for the official cheesemonger position. "It just speaks volumes about the expertise and knowledge she has," Antonelli says.

Kendall Antonelli says she's been ordering lots of cheeses over the past few weeks that she thinks will win awards because the demand will shoot up once the winners are announced this weekend. It's hard enough for them to keep up with demand for the products and classes as it is. The cheese shop has only been open for a year and a half, but the weekly Cheese 101 classes sell out within an hour of being announced in a newsletter at the end of the month. In addition to the wide selection of cheese, beer, wine and charcuterie, they've added picnic baskets rentals and catered cheese plates since opening last year.

Antonelli says they aren't planning to open a second shop any time soon but that they hope to add more storage so they can increase their wholesale business and deliver cheeses to the more than 30 restaurants that buy from them. 531-9610, antonellischeese.com .

Benefits target food community

Austinites really know how to rally behind one of their own. Just as I got word last week that the Benefit for Daniel dinner in July raised more than $65,000 for Carillon assistant food and beverage director Daniel Curtis, who was hurt in an accident over Memorial Day weekend, I learn of another benefit for an injured member of the food community.

Kari Williams, a server at the Chuy's at 10520 N. Lamar Blvd., was hit by a car while waiting at a bus stop last month. She ended up having to have one of her legs amputated. To raise money for Williams, who like most in the food service industry does not have insurance, co-workers at the North Lamar location of Chuy's are donating all their tips and any extra donations that come during lunch and dinner Friday. If you'd just like to make a donation, call the restaurant directly at 836-3218.

Openings, closings and coming soon

• Open: Bud's PoBoys, a trailer from former Shoal Creek Saloon chef Bud George serving po' boys, crawfish etouffée, red beans and rice, gumbo and muffalettas at 6701 Burnet Road. George says after 15 years at the North Lamar Cajun restaurant, he wanted to open something on his own. "I'm trying to go back to the real roots of how they do it in Louisiana," George says, including a roast beef po' boy served on fresh French bread from Phoenicia Bakery. 586-4425, sites.google.com/site/budspoboys .

• Open: Joe's Italian Cuisine, a restaurant at 9070 Research Blvd. serving pizzas, pastas, salads, subs and other entrées, 206-0555.

• Open: Rockin Rolls, a trailer at Sixth and Waller streets serving stuffed dinner rolls. rockinrollsatx.com

• Closed: Streat, the restaurant focusing on global street food at 3211 Red River St.

Dinner series is all about the wine

Ross Burtwell, owner and executive chef of the Cabernet Grill at Cotton Gin Village in Fredericksburg, is hosting a wine dinner with Grape Creek Vineyards at 6:30 p.m. August 11. This is the first of a vintner dinner series to highlight some of the more than 75 Texas wines that appear on Burtwell's all-Texas wine list. The dinner ($59.95, plus tax and tip) will feature Texas Gulf shrimp with smoked pepper crema and quail with jalapeño waffles and cayenne honey glaze. You can make reservations by calling (830) 990-5734, cottonginlodging.com .