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Food Matters: Beer Week wraps; now, rest your liver

Staff Writer
Austin 360
Black Star Co-op, above, is represented in our Beer Week video series by brewer Jeff Young.

The second annual Austin Beer Week wrapped up Sunday, marking the beginning of detox diets for many local livers. More than 100 events dominated Austin's taps during the nine-day extravaganza, which featured special tappings, meet and greets with brewers, Beer Olympics, anniversary parties and more.

Video journalist Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon and I caught up with some of local brewers to produce a special Austin Beer Week video series. Visit austin360.com/liquid to watch video interviews with co-owner Amy Cartwright of Independence Brewing on the brewery's history, hear brewer Jeff Young of Black Star Co-op share his thoughts on the burgeoning Austin craft beer scene, and watch John "JB" Brack from Austin Homebrew Supply explain how he wants the country to eventually see Austin as a beer destination.

- Emma Janzen

Heart-healthy cooking in class or online

• The American Heart Association, in partnership with the Walmart Foundation, has created an cooking instruction program called "Simple Cooking With Heart" that involves how-to videos online, as well as a series of free cooking classes in November. The first classes are this week at 10 and 11 a.m. today and 11 a.m. Friday at El Buen Samaritano Episcopal Mission, 7000 Woodhue Drive. To register for the classes, which continue through the next few weeks, call 512-338-2410. For recipes and cooking tips, go to heart.org/simplecooking.

• La Condesa, 400 W. Second St., has been hosting a series of fundraiser dinners for the Sustainable Food Center. The next dinner is Nov. 13, and will feature not just a number of notable Austin chefs, but also Andrew Weissman, executive chef of Il Sogno, the Sandbar, and his new restaurant, the Luxury in San Antonio. Tickets ($125) and info at lacondesa.ticketbud.com/sfcchefsseries.

• Bending Branch Winery is raising money for the Boys and Girls Club of Comfort with a night of food, wine and live music on Nov. 10. The event costs $40 per person and starts at 6 p.m. Call 830-995-2948 or email Jen@bendingbranchwinery.com for tickets and information.

• Last month, Twin Liquors co-owner Margaret Jabour was named Texas Businesswoman of the Year by the Women's Chamber of Commerce of Texas at its annual Money and Power Conference. Jabour is the first Austinite to win the honor in more than a decade.

• Josey's, the restaurant inside Lakeway Resort and Spa, 101 Lakeway Drive, is now offering a weekly farm-to-table dinner series. Chef Jeff Axline's menu, available online every Tuesday at lakewayresortandspa.com, will change depending on what he finds at local farmers markets. The dinner costs $25 per person, not including wine, and is open to anyone, not just guests of the resort or spa.

• Ellen Sweets will be speaking about and signing copies of her new book, "Stirring It up with Molly Ivins, A Memoir with Recipes," at 7 p.m. Friday at BookPeople and at 5 p.m. Saturday at the new Savory Spice Shop at the Arboretum.

Restaurant Jezebel in owner's home

It's been more than a year since flames engulfed Parind Vora's famed Restaurant Jezebel downtown. And although Vora, who also runs Restaurant Braise and a catering company, has plans to reopen Jezebel in the still-under-construction Cirrus Logic headquarters at 800 W. Sixth St. sometime next summer, he's offering three special Jezebel dinners before the end of the year. Each will be held at his East Austin home and will feature Vora favorites and new items that might appear on the new Restaurant Jezebel menus, like Cajun-spiced wild boar, lobster Wellington or chipotle-glazed sweet potato risotto. The first dinner ($120 per person) is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Nov. 12, and the other two are slated for Dec. 30 and Dec. 31. Although tax and gratuity are included in the price, wine is not. Vora will provide pairing suggestions. jezebeldining.com

From El Arbol springs The Hightower

It's been about six weeks since El Arbol closed, but executive chef Chad Dolezal and general manager Victor Farnsworth are well on their way to opening a restaurant call The Hightower that will feature "the kind of food we've always wanted to do," Farnsworth says.

Dolezal's forte is Spanish-Italian-influenced food, but "neither of us wants to be in a box" that comes when you label a restaurant one cuisine or another. Farnsworth says they are already developing a menu with most of the entrees costing less than $18 and are hoping to snag a space on East Sixth Street. "The east side is the cutting edge of Austin right now," he says. He hopes to have a neighborhood restaurant with about 80 seats open in the first half of next year.

Mike's Pub out for now

Downtown workers were shocked last week when Mike's Pub, the longtime burger joint tucked in an upstairs space off Seventh Street and Congress Avenue, didn't open as usual for lunch on Monday. The restaurant has been serving everyone from lawyers to construction workers downtown since Mike Lavas first opened it in 1959, says Lavas' grandson and current Mike's Pub owner Chris Lavas. Mike Lavas moved into the location at 108 E. Seventh St. in 1973, but after negotiations about renewing the lease fell through, Chris Lavas is having to look to reopen the restaurant elsewhere. They started clearing out the place last week, but Lavas, who bought the business from his dad, George, in 2001, said that he wants to carry on the legacy that his grandfather started.

"We are closed right now," Lavas said on Thursday. "But I would like to open it back up. There have been tons of people that have expressed how much they would like to see us reopen somewhere." Lavas said that they'll update the website (mikes-pub.com) with details if they find another home for the restaurant. In the meantime, regulars will have to find somewhere else to grab an inexpensive burger (the most expensive item on the menu is a $5.80 double meat, double cheese burger) and catch a few minutes of ESPN on their lunch hour.

Openings, closings and coming soon

• Open: Hoover Alexander, who has been cooking Southern comfort food in his eponymous restaurants for more than a decade, opened his long-awaited (and slightly delayed) trailer, Soular Food Garden, above, last weekend at 1110 E. 12th St., two blocks east of Interstate 35. Hoover's trailer will offer "veggie-centric" versions of many of the dishes available at both locations of Hoover's Home Cooking and is part of a larger effort to work with community gardens in the area and teach customers about healthy eating. hooverscooking.com

• Moved: Joining Soular Food Garden is El Naranjo, Iliana de la Vega's Oaxacan trailer that opened last year in the Rainey Street District. Eventually, the 12th Street Food Garden will be home to six trailers. elnaranjo-restaurant.com

• Open: Trudy's, the fourth Austin-area location of the popular Tex-Mex restaurant, at the corner of U.S. 290 West and Four Star Boulevard, about six miles east of Dripping Springs. 301-4300, trudys.com.

• Chef shuffle: Less than eight months after replacing Zack Northcutt with James Corwell, Haddingtons has parted ways with Corwell and replaced him with Chris "C.T." Turgeon, who was most recently at Foreign and Domestic. Northcutt, meanwhile, has signed on with Mat Clouser at the upcoming Swift's Attic in the old Kyoto space downtown.