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Food Matters: Hatch chiles bring a welcome heat, Vinny's makes way for South Austin Bar & Grill, Barley Swine coming soon

Staff Writer
Austin 360
Hatch chiles await in the produce areas of Central Market and other Austin-area stores.

At the height of summer, Hatch chiles bring a welcome heat to Central Texas

The only things hotter than the temperatures outside this time of year are the green chiles being trucked in from the small town of Hatch, N.M., by local grocery stores and restaurants. The beloved Hatch chiles are hotter this year than most, says Lee Crenshaw, a longtime produce buyer with Central Market who helped create the Hatch mania that now descends on Central Texas every August.

"Hatch peppers are a variety of Anaheim peppers," but in order to be called Hatch peppers, they have to grow in or near Hatch, N.M., Crenshaw says. "The soil and climate is what gives those peppers distinct characteristics."

This year marks the 15th year of Central Market's Hatch festivities, but now you can find both roasted and unroasted Hatch peppers at dozens of stores around Central Texas, including H-E-B and Whole Foods (the peppers cost $1.29 per pound raw and $2.79 per pound roasted at Central Market and H-E-B, $1.99 per pound raw and $6 per pound roasted at Whole Foods.) Both Whole Foods Market stores in Austin will be hosting free Hatch events from noon to 3 p.m. Aug. 28.

Home cooks have until Thursday to submit their recipe online ( ) into Central Market's annual No-Holds-Barred recipe contest. Two winners, one for both the Westgate and North Lamar stores, will go home with 75 pounds of roasted Hatch chile peppers and a $100 gift card. Marianne Roeder was one of the winners last year with her roasted chile and corn pizza (see recipe below).

Chuy's annual green chile festival, now in its 22nd year, kicks off Aug. 30, runs through Sept. 19 and will feature six new dishes laced with ­­- or in some cases drowning in - Hatch chiles, including chile-spiced grilled tilapia roja, spinach queso blanco with pepper jack cheese and chiles, roasted pork enchiladas with a green chile salsa costeña and Hatch green chile fajita beef tacos. You can also buy the spicy Hatch green chile sauce in the stores ($6.39 for 16 ounces, $11.59 for 32 ounces).

-­ Addie Broyles

Don't know a thing about Hatch?

Check out some of the Hatch-themed cooking classes at the North Lamar Central Market and the Whole Foods Market downtown. Central Market classes include: Hatch quick-fire challenge ($50) at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 30 featuring Parkside chef Shawn Cirkiel and Central Market executive chef Larry Guilbeau, Hatch chile fiesta ($50) at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 2 with Aunt Pearl Burras of Greater Tuna fame and Hotter Than Hatch with cooking instructor Scot Loranc at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 4 ($40). At Whole Foods Market, Indian chef Chaya Rao will teach a Hatch chiles and vegetarian global cuisine class ($45) at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 26.

Roasted Chile and Corn Pizza

For crust:

2 cups unbleached flour

2 cups whole wheat flour

2 tsp. turbinado sugar

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. instant yeast

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces

1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped

2 roasted Hatch chiles, finely diced

1 cup water

For sauce:

1 7 ounce jar tomato paste

1/2 cup red wine

1 Tbsp. chile oil

1 tsp. cumin

salt, to taste


About 14 oz. grated part-skim mozzarella cheese

Chopped onion

Chopped green bell pepper

Chopped tomato

2 roasted Hatch chiles, chopped

Roasted corn, cut off of the cob

About 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

For crust, mix together dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add softened butter and mix thoroughly. Add cilantro and chiles; mix well. Slowly add water until dough forms a smooth, non-sticky ball.

Cover and let rise in a warm place 1-2 hours until doubled. Gently deflate and split into two equal pieces, let rest 10 minutes then roll into circles and place on greased pizza pans. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together tomato paste, wine, chile oil, cumin and salt. Spread a thin layer of sauce on pizza dough; top with mozzarella and desired amounts of toppings. Sprinkle Parmesan on top and bake 30 minutes or until done. Makes two pizzas.

- Marianne Roeder

Vinny's makes way for South Austin Bar & Grill

The iconic dog-bone sign on Barton Springs Road has carried a few names over the years: Holiday House, then Vinny's Ten-O-Three Cafe and now South Austin Bar & Grill. The new sign went up in two stages Aug. 9, with Vinny's owner Tony Villegas riding the lift himself, working with sign designers Thomas Hobbs and Claire Klassen, the husband-and-wife team behind Evolution Graphics. Villegas has owned Vinny's at 1003 Barton Springs Road since 1995, building a clientele with spaghetti and meatballs and chicken Sophia. Both of those dishes will carry over to South Austin Bar & Grill, but there's a new mission and menu to appeal to an Austin forever on the prowl for something hip, something that combines the hippie vibe of old Austin with the contemporary flair new Austin demands, Villegas said. To that end, the reimagined restaurant has a fresh coat of paint and interior design flourishes, new taps with 10 beers on draft, a cocktail menu with freshly muddled fruit and a menu that incorporates Italian, Latin and comfort-food dishes: pork chops with agave nectar glaze, tacos with smoked brisket, short-rib osso buco. Villegas, who also owns the El Mercado restaurants in Austin, said the market for Italian food has never quite recovered from the ascendancy of low-carb dieting. Besides, he said from the lift as he helped install the north side of the South Austin Bar & Grill sign, "I had forgotten how much fun this is" starting a new operation.

- Mike Sutter

Hog heaven for lovers of beer and food

The chef behind Odd Duck Farm to Trailer plans to open a second venue this year. Bryce Gilmore, whose trailer at 1219 S. Lamar Blvd. has drawn fans including TV's Anthony Bourdain, is planning a brick-and-mortar restaurant called Barley Swine at 2024 S. Lamar Blvd., the former location of Pie Slice Bakery, which closed this year. "It's going to be basically a gastropub, focusing on beer paired with really good food," he said. The food will be similar to Odd Duck, an expanded version of small dishes using local meat and produce, said Gilmore, who plans to keep the trailer open even when Barley Swine opens, possibly in mid-October. Gilmore said business at Odd Duck has been good since Bourdain's "No Reservations" show on the Travel Channel last month featured his grilled quail and Brussels sprouts with rabbit belly.

- M.S.

Openings, closings and coming soon

• Open: Along Came a Slider, a trailer serving miniburgers with twists that include fried guacamole, waffle-battered chicken with jalapeño syrup and a black-bean patty with tobacco onions. 2324 E. Cesar Chavez St. 522-8284, .

• Open: Le Paris Creperie, a crêpe trailer on the lot with Izzoz Tacos at 1207 S. First St. Open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays. 970-4342.

- Matthew Odam, M.S.

Food & wine briefs

• Chipotle restaurants in Austin are offering free food as part of a "tax-free weekend" promotion. Dine at an Austin Chipotle Mexican Grill today and save the receipt and the restaurants will redeem that receipt for a free burrito, salad, bowl or order of tacos Friday through Sunday . They'll also honor receipts from Aug. 17. Locations at .

• For the second year, baker and social media guru Jennie Chen is hosting a Cupcake Smackdown to celebrate one of our favorite desserts. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday , eat cupcakes from local bakeries, launch a cupcake from a cupcake cannon and help attempt to break two world records (the most jaffa cakes eaten in one minute and the most people simultaneously frosting a cupcake) at the free event, which is taking place at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts and the Westin near the Domain in North Austin. Donations benefiting Mobile Loaves and Fishes, Keep Austin Dog Friendly and Lights, Camera, Help will be accepted. .

• Fall Creek Vineyards wants you to get your feet dirty at the 21st annual Grape Stomp and Harvest Festival at the vineyard in Tow. From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the next two Saturdays , you can channel your inner Lucille Ball and stomp some grapes, tour the winery, take a wine class ($20) from Jane Nickles and enjoy lunches ($22) prepared by notable area chefs. Call lunch or wine class reservations. .

• Pitmasters will square off on Friday and Saturday at the 33rd annual Taylor International Barbeque cookoff at Murphy Park in Taylor. Admission to the cookoff and arts and crafts show is $6 on Saturday and does not include the price of barbecue.

• The Austin Museum of Art at Laguna Gloria will host La Piazza Italiana from 4 to 9 p.m. Sunday at the museum, 3809 W. 35th St. The museum fundraiser will feature Italian cars, food, wine, crafts and live music. Admission for adults is $10, cash only. Children younger than 12 get in free. See for details.

• Artist Jason Middlebrook is collecting family recipes for a new exhibit at Arthouse, 700 Congress Ave., set to reopen in October. Send family recipes and stories to, and some of the recipes will also be featured in a communal potluck dinner held at Arthouse Nov. 20. Deadline for submissions is Friday.

• Food trailers are once again gaining Austin national media attention. On Sunday night at 9 p.m. and 1 a.m. Monday on the Cooking Channel, learn how Austin's quirky food truck scene compares to others around the country during a special called "Food Truck Revolution."

- A.B., M.S.