Two cocktail events are happening in Austin this week. First, small-batch producer Ilegal Mezcal is bringing its Guatemala bar Café No Sé (not to be confused with the South Congress hotel restaurant of the same name) into the city for a one-night pop-up. On deck will be mezcals, mezcal cocktails, a musical performance by indie rock band SUSU, and tattoos. It takes place at downtown bar El Cockfight (formerly HandleBar) on Thursday, September 21. This event is part of the company’s tour throughout America this year.
And then, Texas Tiki Week — where participating bars will offer tropical cocktails — is happening again from Thursday, September 21 through Sunday, September 24. There’s a big kickoff party at downtown sibling bars the Roosevelt Room and the Eleanor, which will feature tiki bars from across the country: Phoenix’s UnderTow, Seattle’s Navy Strength, Brooklyn’s Sunken Harbor Club, and Anaheim’s Strong Water. There are several ticket tiers with accompanying time slots.
Other events include Houston bar Lei Low popping up at downtown bar Half Step on Friday, September 22 starting at 7 p.m., and a tiki cruise by Austin bar Tiki Tatsu-ya and Dallas bar Swizzle on Sunday, September 24, among others. Buy tickets online.
More national publications highlight Austin’s dining scene
It’s truly the month of national publications recognizing Austin restaurants. The New York Times released its list of the most exciting restaurants in the country of the year, and Austin restaurants, the very casual Malaysian campus gas station cafe Wee’s Cozy Kitchen and Cherrywood Mexican seafood restaurant Este made the cut. Este was also named as one of Bon Appetit’s best new restaurants last week.
Making it safer to drink in Austin
The City of Austin is working on giving out alcohol test trips to downtown Austin bars so that people can check to see if their drinks were spiked, as reported by KXAN, specifically aimed at bars on Sixth and Rainey streets.
While executive chef Thomas Malz joined Zilker hotel restaurant Carpenters Hall in 2022, his first lunch and dinner menu will be available at the restaurant starting this week. It stays in the New Texan way, with newer dishes such as larger-format items like the cochon de lait, a big rib roast, roasted Gulf oysters, and a wagyu tartare.
Fredericksburg winery Becker Vineyards added a new estate chef recently, Jean-Claude Balek, who had worked in San Francisco and will offer Hill Country cuisine with French flourishes.
Tracking other food events
The next Nixta Taqueria collaboration event as the restaurant goes through reopening issues is with East Austin pizza/wine restaurant Bufalina. The result is a duck carnitas pie with parmesan cream, mozzarella, Calabrian chile, basil from Nixta’s garden, and salsa macha. All funds from the pizza will be given to Nixta’s reopening fund and it’s available through Sunday, September 24. But yes! The physical Nixta restaurant reopened with limited capacity right now.
South Austin luxury hotel the Loren at Lady Bird Lake is hosting a guest chef dinner series this fall. The first is with San Antonio chef Jason Dady on Thursday, September 21. It takes place at Loren’s restaurant Nido. Reservations must be booked online for each dinner.
Also in Becker news, the Hill Country winery is also hosting a guest chef series, focusing on Texas chefs. The first is with San Antonio chefs John Russ and Elise Russ on Sunday, September 24 at noon. Tickets are $160.