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The Pastry Queen Opens the Pink Pig in Fredericksburg


Rebecca Rather is opening the Pink Pig in Fredericksburg.

Rebecca Rather, also known as the Pastry Queen from her bestselling cookbooks, is opening the Pink Pig in Fredericksburg today. (The name stems from her pink pig shortbread cookies as well as a lifetime love of pet pigs.)

Rather’s pastries will be part of the menu.

Visitors can expect Southern favorites like the Fried Oyster Nachos, Stuffed Mac ‘N Cheese Chile Rellenos, Duck Fat Popcorn, Indian Fry Bread, Bacon and Cheddar Scones, and the from-scratch baked goods that are Rather’s signature. Breakfast will be counter service, with lunch and dinner a sit-down affair. A continuously changing chalkboard will feature seasonal food and drink specials.

Patrons can also expect dishes featured in all three of Rather’s cookbooks, including “Pastry Queen Parties” and “The Pastry Queen Christmas.” She plans to source as many of her ingredients as possible from the area.

Just pig out.

“I’m having a lot of fun drawing upon my years of cooking—it’ll be a mix of Southern, Mexican and Texan cuisines. And since we’re in the middle of the Fredericksburg wineries, we’ll be serving cheese plates, wine and to-go picnic baskets for al fresco picnics,” says Rather.

The Pink Pig is housed in a rustic 19th century log structure, complete with a back patio overlooking the Hill Country landscape. Outdoor fireplaces, leather loveseats, and a 20-foot wine bar will seat as many as 80 guests where they can relax under the Texas sky. Inside, the vintage display cases anchor the interior, accented by rustic seating for 50 and plenty of Rather’s pig paraphernalia on display.

The Pink Pig will be open Wednesday for breakfast and lunch from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday-Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. The restaurant is located at 6266 U.S. 290 (just past Wildseed Farms) in Fredericksburg. For further information, call (830) 990-8800 or visit www.pinkpigtexas.com.

The Hill Country as seen from the Pink Pig’s patio.

 

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Texas Food and Wine — What a Sensational Pair


Chef Kelly Casey (with pastry bag) of Hudson's on the Bend in Austin plates her dinners.

It wasn’t about the prosciutto-wrapped quail, so juicy and tender with each bite. It wasn’t about the cocoa powder and raspberry flavors that mingled so beautifully in each sip of the Inwood Estates Tempranillo-Cabernet blend.

It was, however, about how the lush red fruit flavors of the 2007 Fall Creek Meritus joined with slices of Texas beef tenderloin marinated in coffee and chipotle to reach new  gustatory heights.

That was the point of the first Edible Texas Wine-Food Match, held Friday at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center in Austin.

Five chefs, narrowed down from a field of more than 35, were competing to see who could make the most successful pairings of Texas ingredients with Texas wines.

It was clear to both the celebrity judges’ panel and to the audience who did that best: David Garrido of Garrido’s in Austin.

Susan Auler (left) of Fall Creek Vineyards and celebrity chef Jacques Pépin enjoy the Edible Texas Wine-Food Match.

The chef, who once worked for Bruce Auden at the original Biga, took home the $5,000 grand prize as well as the People’s Choice Award. The centerpiece of his meal was the already-mentioned beef tenderloin with the Meritus,  but he also presented a crispy oyster with habanero-honey aïoli partnered with the Fall Creek Vineyards Chenin Blanc 2010 and a pastel de calabaza, or zucchini cake, with lemon crema and spicy caramelized pecans served with the Sister Creek Muscat Canelli 2010.

Patrick James “P.J.” Edwards of San Antonio’s Bin 555 won a second place commendation from the judges for his meal, which started with a crudo of Gulf Coast group with cured Poteet strawberries and Becker Vineyards Provençal Rosé 2009. It was followed by roasted lamb loin with herb-glazed turnips and porcini-raspberry soil, which was presented with the Becker Vineyards Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2009. A Grapefruit “Dreamsicle” with vanilla semifreddo and the Becker Vineyards Clementine 2010 rounded out his meal.

Organizer Marla Camp

Other chefs in the competition included Peter Smith of the JW Marriott in San Antonio as well as Kelly Casey of Hudson’s on the Bend in Austin and Josh Raymer of Navajo Grill in Fredericksburg. Each presented small plate versions of his or her entire menu to the crowd.

Chef Josh Raymer of Navajo Grill's Prosciutto-Wrapped Quail alongisde a Fredericksburg Market Salad with Pickled Peaches.

The local ingredients included a number of treasures worth seeking out at farmers markets as well as grocery stores: Pure Luck cheeses, Round Rock Honey, quail from Diamond H and Texas Quail farms, Shiner Bock, Broken Arrow Ranch Venison, Bluebonnet Hydroponics lettuces, and Texas olive oil. Alongside Casey’s blue cheese cheesecake were figs from her own trees.

Other Texas wines poured included Messina Hof’s Riesling and Riesling “Angel,” Perrisos Viognier and Petite Sirah, Stone House Scheming Beagle Port, and Flat Creek Muscato, Estate Syrah and Port.

Kelly Casey's Hopelessly Blue Cheesecake with her homegrown figs.

The judges included celebrity chefs Jacques Pépin and John Besh as well as Mozzarella Company found Paula Lambert, François Dionot of L’Academie de Cuisine and Michael Bauer of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Proceeds from the evening, planned by Marla camp of Edible Austin and Terry Thompson-Anderson of the Texas Food and Wine Gourmet, will benefit the not-for-profit Texas Center for Wine and Culinary Arts, which is being planned for Fredericksburg. The goal is to raise all of the money needed to operate the center before it opens in October 2013.

 

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Feel Right at Home at Radicke’s Bluebonnet Grill


Jalapeno Chicken Fried Steak

The bluebonnets are spectacular this spring, and so is the jalapeño chicken-fried chicken at Radicke’s Bluebonnet Grill. Why this dish hasn’t been copied at any number of other Texas restaurants, I’ll never know. It’s your traditional chicken-fried treat, with plenty of crisp breading outside and juicy meat inside. But then the kick of jalapeño is added, lightly permeating each bite so that your taste buds coax the rest of your mouth into a smile. (A grilled version is also available. But what’s the fun in that?)

Food: 3.5
Service: 3.5
Value: 3.5

Rating scale:
5: Extraordinary
4: Excellent
3: Good
2: Fair
1: Poor

There was a touch of uncooked flour flavor to the cream gravy, on the side, but it was perfectly adequate for those who like it.

The Bluebonnet Grill has long been a fixture on W.W. White, and I think it’s because of the way the folks there make you feel at home. One way is by offering myriad side dishes, which range from beans to macaroni and cheese. Having all those choices reminds me of when I was growing up, when there was always more to a meal than just meat.

The soups are also old-fashioned and comforting. The one we sampled as was made with ham, and it came as a pleasant surprise, smoky and rich, with plenty of meat to match the vegetables.

The one letdown was the Beefy Bluebonnet Special, a blackened roast beef sandwich with grilled onions and peppers that was just too dry to enjoy. Perhaps a cup of au jus would help resuscitate it.

One visit was not enough to taste everything that tempted me, including the Buckaroo Burger, an open-faced bean burger that includes onions and chile sauce in addition to refrieds, cheddar and picante sauce. The daily specials are also worth investigating as the Bluebonnet promises handmade chicken and dumplings once a week.

Beefy Bluebonnet Special

Peach Cobbler

Radike's Bluebonnet Grill Exterior

Radicke’s Bluebonnet Grill
237 N. W.W. White Road
210-337-4007
Breakfast and lunch Monday-Friday.

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Hofbräu to Offer a Taste of Texas


The concept for the Hofbräu has been kicking around inside Beaux Roby’s head for years. In a few weeks, the plan moves from dreams and designs to reality when the restaurant opens at 7310 Jones Maltsburger Road, across from the Quarry.

Though the name is German, the feel of the place is meant to be more “upscale rustic,” says Roby, who is also president of 1776, Ltd., the parent company of Mama’s Café. The two ventures are not related.

Think of the Hofbräu as a place to savor oak-grilled steaks, a chicken-fried rib-eye with jalapeño cream gravy, bacon-wrapped jalapeños with a bite of chicken breast, icy margaritas, a select wine list and, in keeping with the name, 24 beers on tap.

“Everything inside is Texas,” Roby says.

Beaux Roby

Calf fries fans won’t have to wait for a Night in Old San Antonio each April to enjoy this treat. Roby plans on offering them every Wednesday and is tossing around a few slogans to promote the special. “Have a ball at the Hofbräu” is one, he says with a laugh.

The location has hosted a number of restaurants and bars in the past, from the Laboratory to a Panchito’s, but nothing felt quite right to customers. Roby hopes he has addressed that by installing a fireplace and exposing some of the original brick from the building, which dates back to the 1920s. It’s meant to make the space more intimate and inviting, in the style of a Texas game ranch or lodge.

Roby is also working on the patio, which will be turned into a beer garden with live music Thursday-Saturday after the dining hours.

Though an opening date is not set, Roby hopes the Hofbräu will be ready by the end of the month.

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