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In the news: Vaporized alcohol, new Trader Joe’s

Addie Broyles

Austin’s second Trader Joe’s opened last week, and business reporter Claudia Grisales wrote this excellent piece about how Austin has become the epicenter for quickly growing natural grocery sector, which includes chains Sprouts, Natural Grocers and the California-based grocer that tends to make shoppers go a little nutty.

On my trip to Missouri last week, my family picked 17 pounds of blueberries, which I’ll be writing about in next week’s food section, but in today’s section, features intern Christine Ayala tells us about the only pick-your-own farm in Central Texas that is open right now, a blackberry farm in Webberville, just east of Austin. (Sweet Berry Farm in Marble Falls, which specializes in strawberries, but has closed for the season.)

About a month ago, we started compiling a Food Extra section that appears in the digital version of the newspaper every week. It’s four extra pages of food stories, and this week, we have Brazilian recipes for the World Cup, tips on preparing steaks, how to grill a boneless leg of lamb and how to make a nutty, seedy gluten-free bread that just might change your life.

Leading up to his travel story about eating in Mexico City, restaurant writer Matthew Odam tells us about two chefs in Mexico City who are leading the city’s quest for culinary authenticity.

Arianna Auber profiles the newest spirit distiller in Central Texas, Banner Distilling, which produces an organic vodka and and a wheat-based whiskey in Manor.

This week’s Throwback Thursday from the Statesman’s archives is a photo of a cute kid eating watermelon at the Luling Watermelon Thump in 1980, which takes place this week.

Love Whataburger? H-E-B has signed on to carry even more of the restaurant’s signature products, including breakfast sausage and honey butter.

In his most recent Digital Savant column, Omar Gallaga (and mega Whataburger fan) tells us about a local company called Vapshot that sells a machine that vaporizes alcohol. How it works:

Vapshot is what you might call vaporware: it is literally vapor made from alcohol and dispensed in plastic bottles. Once filled, the bottles are opened with a champagne-bottle-like pop. The vapor can be sucked through a straw, giving customers the same result as doing shots at a bar, but with faster effect (about 30 seconds) and a shorter inebriation time (about 15 minutes, says CEO Victor Wong).

I always love finding out which bar, restaurant or resort sells the most alcohol each month, and Gary Dinges reports that a somewhat surprising seller — Omni Barton Creek Resort and Spa — sold the most in April. Top Golf and the W Hotel, a more obvious choices, were second and third, respectively.

Speaking of drinking, our teetotaler columnist Ken Herman attended part of this year’s Republic of Texas Rally out at the Travis County Exposition Center and was not happy to see the drunken behavior displayed at a county-owned facility.

Think Whole Foods prices are high? In California, a court found that Whole Foods customers were charged more than the advertised prices on a number of products, and as a result, the Austin-based store will pay $800,000 in penalties.

Yesterday, Austin’s Capital Metro board voted to approve a proposal to develop a 10-acre tract of land just east of downtown and I-35 in East Austin. (That’s the big empty space along the MetroRail line along East Fifth Street.) Endeavor won the contract to develop the space, and the proposal includes a 60,000 square-foot grocery store. No word yet on which grocery might fill that space. H-E-B seems like an obvious choice, but maybe the chain will decide that part of the city needs a Central Market. Which store do you think should open there?