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Food Matters: Texas Medicinals, Good Seed Burgers, Dia de Los Muertos events

Staff Writer
Austin 360

Community-supported herbalism

All kinds of food businesses have adopted the community-supported agriculture business model, where customers pay a certain amount each week or each month for an unspecified order of vegetables, fruits, charcuterie, bread, etc.

Now, Texas Medicinals, the Austin-based herbal company founded by Ginger Webb, is offering a CSH, or community-supported herbalism subscription, featuring medicinal teas, tinctures and body-care products made from plants. Each CSH shipment, which costs $25 per month, includes three products, usually a loose-leaf tea, an elixir or tincture, and a salve, oil or liniment for the skin. Customers can swap for another product if they don't need or want one of that month's offerings.

Webb uses centuries-old techniques to create products made with plants that grow naturally in the area. "It's medicine anybody can make, all you need to do is learn how to do it," she says. "It's not rocket science. You can use culinary herbs in your garden, like rosemary and oregano, for instance, that have antimicrobial properties to make a tea that would do a lot for a cold."

Webb often forages for the plants she needs. "One of my best pain relievers is a weed that grows in between the rows of vegetables at Johnson's Backyard Garden farm," she says. "I pick the weeds and can give the tincture back to the farmers."

Webb also teaches classes to show people how to make products like hers. She has a running apprenticeship program for girls ages 9 to 15 called Little Green Witches that uses the craft of herbalism to teach other life, business and social skills. The products that the participants make, including tinctures, balms and teas, are available from the Little Green Witches CSH, which also costs $25 a month.

In this month's community-supported herbalism shipment, customers are getting an allergy relief or Mexican mint marigold tincture, a salve made from the herb comfrey and a lemony tea that can relieve cold and flu symptoms.

To find a list of upcoming classes, including one on how you can be an herbalist even if you only have access to a grocery store, to buy products or to sign up for one of the CSH programs, go to TexasMedicinals.com.

From trailer to freezer, vegan burgers

With so many food trailers in Austin, it's inevitable that some of them will close, but with luck, shuttering one operation can lead to opening another. Oliver Ponce opened Good Seed Organics food trailer on Oltorf Street in South Austin in 2009 but closed it after about a year. After consulting with burger bar Hopdoddy, the former Casa De Luz manager who studied macrobiotics at the Natural Epicurean decided to take the most popular item on the menu and open Good Seed Burgers, a line of vegan burgers and breakfast patties made with sprouted hemp, chia, millet, lentil and pumpkin seeds. "When one door closes, another door opens," he says.

You can find the patties at the Barton Creek Farmers' Market, as well as Thom's Market and Hyde Park Market and on the menus at Red's Porch and Native Nom Nom. In a few weeks, customers will also be able to find the gluten- and nut-free burgers at Wheatsville Co-op and the Whip-In. goodseedburger.com/find-us.htm.

Openings, closings and coming soon

• Open: Fricano's Deli, the second location of the popular UT-area sandwich shop at 2405 Nueces St. 482-3322, fricanosdeli.com.

• Open: Old School Bar and Grill, 401 E. Sixth St., Dan Parrott's second brick-and-mortar extension of his popular Old School BBQ and Grill trailer, which is housed in a school bus. Live music upstairs in the music venue, called Trinity Hall, starts Thursday. 722-6351, osgaustin.com.

• Open: La Boîte, the second location of the cafe-in-a-shipping-container at 10th Street and Congress Avenue. laboitecafe.com.

• Open: PhoNatic, a Vietnamese restaurant at 2525 W. Anderson Lane. 458-8889, pho-natic.com.

• Open: Cici's Pizza, the eighth Austin-area location of the national pizza chain at 2525 W. Anderson Lane, cicispizza.com.

• Opening Wednesday: Stack Burger Bar, a burger bar from Tre Dotson, Octavio Benavides, and Mike Yassine, featuring homemade condiments, cocktails and a variety of burgers, including some made with ahi tuna and crab, at 208 W. Fourth St, 457-8225. stackburgerbar.com.

• Opening Wednesday: Estancia Churrascaria at the Arboretum, 10000 Research Blvd. the second location of the locally owned Brazilian steakhouse. 345-5600, estanciachurrascaria.com.

• Opening Friday: Gourmands Neighborhood Pub, a gastropub at 2316 Webberville Road that features a selection of wine, spirits and craft beers. 610-2031, LoveThySandwich.com.

• Renamed: All-In-One Bakeshop has changed its named to Make It Sweet. MakeItSweet.com.

Drink to Los muertos, a week early

• Día de Los Muertos isn't until next week, but both locations of Manuel's are selling Day of the Dead cocktails benefiting the Mexic-Arte museum and have set up traditional altars honoring the dead, including Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who passed away earlier this month. The restaurant even created a cocktail in his honor - The Jobs, made with Makers Mark, Cointreau, apple cider, an apple slice and a splash of lemon. The altars and specialty cocktails will run through Nov. 2. manuels.com.

• The Green Corn Project's annual fall festival fundraiser is from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday at Boggy Creek Farm, 3414 Lyons Road. The event features live music, cooking demos and food from more than 25 restaurants. You can buy tickets ($35 in advance, $40 at the gate, children younger than 12 free) at Boggy Creek Farm, Natural Gardener, The Great Outdoors, Monkey Nest Coffee, Wheatsville Co-op or online at greencornproject.org.

• Becker Vineyards in Stonewall is hosting a Monster Masquerade costume party from 5 to 9 p.m. on Sunday . The adults-only event benefitting the Good Samaritan Center in Fredericksburg will feature live music, heavy hors d'oeuvres, and spookiest cake and costume contests. For more information or to reserve a spot, email info@beckervineyards.com or call 830-644-2681.

• Author and Internet sensation Lisa Lillien will be in Austin today for an event for her new book, "Hungry Girl Supermarket Survival" at 6 p.m. at the H-E-B at 5800 Slaughter Lane. Lillien, whose Hungry Girl newsletter has more than a million subscribers, will be signing copies of her book and talking about the book and her "Hungry Girl" TV show that airs on the Food Network every Sunday at 9 a.m.

• Every Thursday night, Freda's Seafood Grille hosts salsa dancing in the restaurant at 10903 Pecan Park Blvd., with free lessons starting at 8 p.m. On the last Thursday of the month, the restaurant hosts a wine dinner that costs $55 per person, including wines. On the menu for this week's dinner? Cold water lobster, filet mignon and strawberry swirl cheesecake. 506-8700, fredasseafoodgrille.com

• The Good Food Awards, a national competition to highlight the country's best artisanal products, won't be handed out until early next year, but organizers are taking the show on the road with events in various cities. On Saturday , Hudson's on the Bend is hosting a Good Food Awards dinner to showcase winners from this year's contest, including the Austin-based Confituras, and drum up support for next year. Earlier in the day, several local entrepreneurs are giving a free talk at Whole Foods Market on getting your small food business started. Tickets for the dinner ($200) and info on both events available at goodfoodawards.org.