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Food Matters: PersonalWine.Com, Thanksgiving dinners, Royer's Round Top Cafe and more

Staff Writer
Austin 360

Say it with wine from Austin company

At least once a week, someone proposes on the label of a bottle of wine, says Alex Andrawes, founder of Austin-based PersonalWine.com, a site that allows people to order customized wine labels. If it's not a proposal, it's a birthday wish, congratulations or thank-you note sent on a bottle of wine shipped from Andrawes' East Austin office. But he's not just selling any wines he can get his hands on. Ever since the 33-year-old started the company in 2001, he's been buying from winemakers around the world directly, using his palate to find sophisticated, yet accessible wines that no one would be embarrassed to give their boss, fiancée or mother-in-law. Bottles start at about $20, which includes a label that you can either upload, design on the Web site or have one of Andrawes' in-house artists create for you. Etching is also available on any bottle in stock. Andrawes also runs Wines.com, a discount retail site with a discussion forum.

- Addie Broyles

More options for eating out on Thanksgiving

To supplement last week's Food Matters column, here are a few more Austin restaurants offering special meals on Thanksgiving Day. Many of these are accepting reservations, so call ahead. You'll find more entries in the Austin360 magazine in Thursday's American-Statesman and at austin360.com/forklore.

• The Bakehouse Restaurant (5404 Manchaca Road. 443-5167, www.austinbakehouse.com): An all-you-can-eat dinner with table service. Turkey, ham, squash casserole, yams, fresh breads, pumpkin pie and more. $14.95. 10:30 a.m. to midnight.

• Hyde Park Bar & Grill (4260 Duval St. 458-3168; 4521 West Gate Blvd. 899-2700; www.hydeparkbarandgrill.com): A Thanksgiving dinner special includes turkey, herbed cornbread dressing, green beans, cranberry relish, mashed potatoes, soup or salad, and a soft drink. $16.95, $10.95 children 10 and younger. Vegetarian $12.95. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

• Threadgill's (6416 N. Lamar Blvd. 451-5440; 301 W. Riverside Drive. 472-9304, www.threadgills.com): Thanksgiving standards plus many of Threadgill's chicken-fried favorites and innovative vegetable sides. À la carte pricing. 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.

- Mike Sutter

• On Thanksgiving Day, the ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot benefiting Caritas will get under way at 9:30 a.m. at Waterloo Park at 12th and Trinity streets. Events include a five-mile run, a one-mile walk and the Stepping Stone School Kids K. Registration $8-$25 at www.thundercloud.com.

• Bud Royer, founder of Royer's Round Top Cafe, got a visit from Bill Geist of CBS' "Sunday Morning" a few weeks ago, and the segment will air on Sunday on KEYE-TV at 8:30 a.m. Royer says Geist and his crew spent two days at the colorful restaurant in the small town just east of Austin, which earlier this year started a "Pie for Life" campaign.

• The South Austin Trailer Park & Eatery at 1311 S. First St., including Torchy's Tacos as well as newcomers Holy Cacao and Man Bites Dog, is hosting free re-launch party from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Thursday. Learn about Holy Cacao's 12 new seasonal cake ball flavors while sipping on complimentary "Liquid S'mores" cocktails and listening to DJ Chicken George. Ten percent of sales will go to families affected by the Fort Hood tragedy.

- Amira Jensen, M.S., A.B.

Chocolate you drink for taste of trip to Spain

Drinking chocolate is one of Spain's gastronomic gems. The indulgent drink is more like pudding than what Americans consider hot chocolate and is widely consumed in Spain, often at breakfast with pastries or churros, or fried sticks of dough similar to doughnuts. Valor, a chocolate company based in southern Spain, has released Taza to Go, a drinking chocolate with the same consistency and flavor found in thousands of chocolaterias in Spain, that you can heat up in the microwave at home. At 5 grams of fat and 200 calories per 3/4 cup, the drink has half the fat of a chocolate bar and about the same number of calories. You also can serve it on top of ice cream or as a fondue dip with fruit, graham crackers or marshmallows. Available at Cost Plus World Market (13.52 ounces for $3.99, 30 ounces for $10.00) or online at www.valorchocolate.com or www.tienda.com.

- A.B.

Mexican food and its origins explored in Long Center series

The University of Texas' Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies and the Blanton Museum of Art are hosting "Foodways of Mexico: Past, Present, and Future," a series of talks on Mexico's rich culinary history. Writer Claudia Alarcón will explore the pre-Hispanic origins of the tamal and its role in Mexican culture from 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the AT&T Education Room at the Long Center, 701 W. Riverside Drive. In February, Rachel Laudan will discuss the impact of migrant communities on Mexican cuisine, and famed cookbook author Diana Kennedy is slated to speak in April on the unknown gastronomy of Mexico. All the talks are free and will be followed by receptions. Information at 232-2423.

- A.B.

What's in season

Broccoli, cauliflower, Romanesco, red and green cabbage, bok choy, regular and daikon radishes, turnips, mustard greens, collards, sweet and hot peppers, fennel, tangerines, shelled peas (cream, purple hull and black-eyed) and butter beans, green beans, basil, opo Asian squash, ripe and green 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, chrysanthemum and dandelion greens and tatsoi.

Information is from the Sustainable Food Center, www.sustainablefoodcenter.org.