Listen to Austin 360 Radio

Amy's celebrates 25 years with free ice cream

Plus: Goodbye Mooyah, hello Geaux Burger; Garlic Breath in Round Rock; fruit snacks from Today's Farm; making jerky with Larry Burrier

Staff Writer
Austin 360

Today's scoop? It'll be busy at Amy's

To celebrate 25 years in Austin, Amy's Ice Creams is giving away ice cream at all its Central Texas stores (except at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport) from 2 to 6 p.m. today. Owner Amy Simmons says it's a way to thank customers who have supported them for the past quarter-century. Simmons is also throwing a big 25th anniversary party this weekend for the hundreds of people who have worked at her stores through the years. E-mail amys25reunion@gmail.com for more information.

- Addie Broyles

Freeze-dried fruits go mainstream

Freeze-dried foods used to be relegated to novelty shops that sold "space food." But a Georgetown company called Today's Farm is now selling four varieties of freeze-dried fruit. Several years ago, Rusty Justus set out to create a healthy, nonperishable snack that he could take mountain climbing and backpacking, and now his company is selling freeze-dried apple cinnamon, pineapple, peach and strawberry snacks. Today's Farm fruit snacks ($1.99 to $2.50), which contain roughly the same level of nutrients as regular fruit and no preservatives, are now available at Sprouts Farmers' Markets, Whole Foods Market downtown and the West Lake Hills and Georgetown H-E-B stores. You can also buy them online at www.justusfoods.com.

- A.B.

Les Dames starts the bidding

The Austin chapter of Les Dames d'Escoffier - an international nonprofit service organization of culinary professionals - is always coming up with creative ways to raise money for its community service projects and scholarships. Their "Food Fight" fall fundraiser, an online charity auction, starts today and runs through Nov. 20. You can bid online for items and services such as a VIP night at Stubb's, a catered party at your house on Oscar night, a weekend at the Gage Hotel in Marathon and even a tour of the Rogue Creamery in Oregon. www.ldeiaustin.org

- A.B.

Food and restaurant briefs

• Austin Java is hosting monthly coffee tastings at its coffeeshop at 12th Street and Lamar Boulevard to help people explore the various coffee growing regions of the world. At 7:30 p.m. today, find out about coffees from Tanzania and enjoy free coffee and appetizers. www.austinjava.com

• Night to Remember, a fundraiser for the Texas Wine and Food Foundation, will feature a four-course dinner plus hors d'oeuvres and wine pairings from chef Jonathan Gelman, winemaker Adam Lee and wine expert Ross Outon at the Driskill Hotel at 6:30 p.m. Thursday . $100. Reservations at 249-6300.

Max's Wine Dive at 207 San Jacinto Blvd. will host two events this weekend to raise funds for the Capital Area Food Bank. On Friday at 7 p.m., a wine dinner will pair multiple courses of food - including a lobster crêpe, foie gras, scallop, rabbit cassoulet, short ribs and poached pears - with wine for $80. On Saturday, two tasting sessions (2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 10 p.m.) will include chances to sample more than 100 wines for $40 per session. A combination ticket for the dinner and one tasting session is $110. Tickets at 904-0111 or www.austincellarclassic.com.

• Food Network star Rachael Ray will feature chef James Holmes and his Austin restaurant Olivia on "Rachael's Vacation" on the Food Network at 10 p.m. Friday .

• Travis Poling will sign copies of his new book "Beer Across Texas" at the Draught House (4112 Medical Parkway) from 1 to 10 p.m. Saturday as the Draught House celebrates its 41st anniversary.

• The Italian restaurant Sagra will host a free dinner featuring dishes made with fennel starting at 4 p.m. Sunday . The menu includes a mixed-greens salad with orange and fennel, a fennel gratinati with cheese and potatoes a seafood stew called brodetto. First-come, first-served. Dessert is $5, and drinks will be available for sale. 1610 San Antonio St. 535-5988, www.sagraaustin.com.

• Elevation Burger, the Arboretum restaurant specializing in grass-fed beef and fries cooked in olive oil, will donate 10 percent of its proceeds through Sunday, to the Junior League of Austin Fit program to supplement meals for schoolchildren. 9828 Great Hills Trail. 608-4054, www.elevationburger.com.

• Learn how to spatchcock a turkey at 2 p.m. on Sunday during a free demonstration with Mick Vann at It's About Thyme, 11726 Manchaca Road in Dripping Springs. Vann will explain how to splay out and season a turkey so it cooks in less time and tastes better than it does when cooked traditionally. www.itsaboutthyme.com.

• Music and wine personality Kermit Lynch will discuss wine and his new CD "Man's Temptation" at Vino Vino (4119 Guadalupe St.) at 5 p.m. Monday . $20. 465-9282.

• Roy's of Austin, the Hawaiian-influenced seafood restaurant at 340 E. Second St., is hosting a five-course dinner with Moët & Chandon champagnes from 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday . $75. 391-1500, www.roysrestaurant.com.

- Mike Sutter, A.B.

What's in season

Broccoli, cauliflower, red and green cabbage, bok choy, radishes, turnips, mustard greens, collards, sweet and hot peppers, pears, persimmons, shelled peas (cream, purple hull and black-eyed) and butter beans, green beans, basil, zucchini, yellow squash, opo Asian squash, tomatoes, okra, squash blossoms, eggplant, arugula, year-round lettuce, mixed Asian greens, chard, kale, baby beets, green garlic, green onions, cucumbers, shallots, sweet potatoes, pumpkins and butternut, spaghetti and acorn squash, spinach and tatsoi .

Information about local produce that is in season is from the Sustainable Food Center, www.sustainablefoodcenter.org.

Openings & closings

• Open: Garlic Breath Pizza Company, a take-out and delivery pizza shop with free delivery in Round Rock and more than 40 toppings, including such unusual options as Spam, sauerkraut and Doritos. 1711 N. Mays St., Round Rock. 255-5500.

• Open: Geaux Burger, a hamburger shop that until last week was Austin's only Mooyah Burgers franchise. Owner Kyle McNabb said he ended his Mooyah affiliation to add what he calls a 'sports package,' with TVs and beer. The menu has grown to include grilled chicken sandwiches and different sauces, including honey-mustard and buffalo. In addition to using fresh beef, Geaux Burger has contracted with Sweetish Hill for custom-baked buns, McNabb said. 9070 Research Blvd., No. 303. 380-0990.

• Closed: Baby Greens, all three locations of the locally owned salad shop. On her blog, owner Sharon Mays said, "I haven't given up on Baby Greens. This is only the end of this chapter. One never knows what the future may bring."

- M.S., A.B.

On DVD, preserving traditional jerky-making method

Larry Burrier of Lockhart has worked stints as a bull rider, pilot and electrician, but he's been a jerky-maker almost all of his life. His great-great grandfather, a trail boss on the Chisholm Trail, passed along family recipes and techniques for making the kind of jerky that people used to make as a way to preserve meat, not the salt-overloaded kinds sold at convenience stores for several dollars an ounce. A few years ago, Burrier printed a book, "The Texas Link to Jerky Making," with recipes not just for jerky but for ways to use jerky in other dishes. Now he has released a companion DVD ($17.99) in which he shows step-by-step how to turn raw chicken, turkey, beef, pork, fish and wild game into flavorful dried meat. You can order the book and DVD online, as well as another book on sausage making, at www.thetexaslink.com.

- A.B.