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La Dolce Vita, staff at new Austonian restaurants, Oktoberfest and more

Staff Writer
Austin 360
Chef David Bull has been at the Stoneleigh Hotel in Dallas but will soon be at the Austonian.

The German-Texan Heritage Society will host an Oktoberfest celebration Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. at the German Free School, 507 E. 10th St., with German beer and Riesling, food, live music and kids' activities. $5; free for children younger than 12.

Free cupcakes are reason enough to celebrate Sugar Mama's Bakeshop's second birthday, especially after a burglary at the store last month. The party, from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday, includes live music, face painting and a cupcake cannon. 1905 S. First St. 448-3727, .

Cafe Josie will host a Wine Me Dine Me dinner at 6 p.m. Tuesday with five courses paired with Argyle wines from Oregon. $75, reservations only. 1200-B W. Sixth St. 322-9226, .

The Fredericksburg Food and Wine Fest will happen Oct. 23 from noon to 7 p.m. at the Fredericksburg Marktplatz, 126 W. Main St. The festival will include more than 20 Texas wineries, food, live music and cooking demonstrations. $20; $5 younger than 21; free for children younger than 12. 830-997-8515, .

— Mike Sutter.

Taste the Sweet Life for Austin art museum

The Austin Museum of Art-Laguna Gloria will host La Dolce Vita from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday. The tasting event includes food from more than 50 restaurants, plus wine and spirits. $125; additional $25 for scotch-and-cigar lounge. 3809 W. 35th St. Tickets at, 495-9224, ext. 223. Here's a preview of five sample-size dishes from restaurants at the event:

East Side Show Room: Lamb rillettes with preserved lemon.

El Arbol: Mini lomito with roasted prime rib-eye with chimichurri.

Jasper's: Pepper-crusted pork loin, grilled scallion and fingerling potato salad.

Siena Ristorante Toscana: Rabbit confit with fig, mustard conserva and toasted pistachio.

The Carillon: Butternut squash lobster bisque.

— M.S.

Fresh from the farm, prepared by chefs

A few years ago, Darryl Estrine began a photo journey, capturing images of farmers and artisans hard at work in the Hudson River Valley. Then, after witnessing the strong work ethic and passion of the farmers, in 2008 Estrine decided to pen a cookbook in their honor.

"Harvest to Heat: Cooking with America's Best Chefs, Farmers, and Artisans" ($40, Taunton Press) is a compilation of recipes from chefs across the country who utilize various farms across the country for their freshest ingredients and meat. Chefs such as Thomas Keller, John Besh, Charlie Trotter, and Uchi's own Tyson Cole contributed recipes to the book.

"The whole book is about sustainability and supporting our farmers," Cole said. "The recipes are from some incredible chefs from around the country. It's very flattering to be included with people you consider icons."

In designing the cookbook, Estrine said he wanted to design his recipes for the "at home cooks." He hopes that the cookbook serves as a spotlight on the unique relationship between farmers and chefs. "We didn't want to make a book that would sit on the coffee table," Estrine said. "We want people to stain the pages of it."

— Layne Lynch

Savory Oats with Fig Chutney

1 cup steel-cut or stone-cut oats

Coarse salt

1 cup dried figs, roughly chopped

1 cup sugar

1 cup dry white wine

2 Tbsp. Chardonnay vinegar or white-wine vinegar

1 cup fresh figs, roughly chopped

1 apple, peeled and chopped

1 Tbsp. yellow mustard seeds

1 Tbsp. dried mustard

Freshly ground black pepper

12 small fresh mint leaves, for garnish

Rinse the oats and put them in a medium saucepan; add 2 cups water and a pinch of salt. Bring the oats to a simmer over high heat and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the oats thicken. Remove the pan from the stove, cover, and let rest for 5 minutes.

Put the dried figs in a medium saucepan and just cover with water. Add the sugar, wine and vinegar. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer very gently for 15 minutes. Add the fresh figs, apples, mustard seeds and dried mustard; continue simmering for 15 to 20 minutes, until most of the water is absorbed.

To serve, transfer the oats to a bowl, mix in the fig chutney, sprinkle with pepper and garnish with small mint leaves. Alternatively, serve at the table with fig chutney on the side. Serves 4.

— Adapted from ‘Harvest to Heat: Cooking with America's Best Chefs, Farmers, and Artisans'

Austonian restaurants drop names to be with bull in the kitchens

The two main restaurants at the Austonian condominium development downtown — Congress and Second Bar + Kitchen — have announced some of the talent that will be joining executive chef David Bull in the kitchens as the projects head toward a mid-November opening. Bull, who lives near Austin and who has been cooking at the Stoneleigh Hotel in Dallas, has named Rebecca Meeker as his chef de cuisine at the upscale Congress. Meeker worked with Bull when he was at the Driskill Grill and has helped to open Joel Robuchon restaurants in New York City and Taiwan. At Second Bar + Kitchen, a more casual but progressive bistro, Ethan Holmes (Snap Kitchen, Taverna) will act as Bull's chef de cuisine.

Other team members at the restaurants include:

Jason Stude (Whole Foods), sous chef.

Plinio Sandalio (Textile and Gravitas in Houston), pastry chef.

June Rodil (Uchi, Texas sommelier of the year), beverage director.

Adam Bryan (East Side Show Room), bar manager.

William "Bad Billy" Hankey (the Good Knight), lead barman.

— M.S.

Sample Recipe hits from New York Times archive

In 1961, New York Times writer Craig Claiborne compiled a collection of nearly 1,500 recipes originally published by the newspaper into an extensive cookbook. Now, almost 50 years later, New York Times writer Amanda Hesser is releasing a new recipe archive cookbook on behalf of the publication.

In honor of the upcoming release of "The Essential New York Times Cookbook: Classic Recipes for a New Century," (W. W. Norton & Co., $40), Farmhouse Delivery will be hosting a picnic style, potluck tasting at the Rain Lily Farm from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday. More than two dozen Austin chefs will be preparing dishes from 18 chapters of the cookbook.

Hesser, in town for the Texas Book Festival, will be in attendance at the tasting to discuss the inspiration and work behind the cookbook. In making the book, she trolled 150 years of recipe archives and found 1,000 reader-loved recipes to put in the cookbook.

"It has recipes from the 1800s to the present. The book gives people a real sense of America's culinary history," said Elizabeth Winslow, co-owner of Farmhouse Delivery.

Tickets for the tasting are $35 and can be purchased at Proceeds from the dinner will benefit the Sustainable Food Center.

Hesser will be speaking about the "The Essential New York Times Cookbook" Saturday at 11 a.m. in the Cooking Tent at the Texas Book Festival. The moderator will be Corby Kummer, editor and food writer for Atlantic Monthly.