It’s Philippine Independence Day, but do you really need an excuse to make tangy, sweet barbecue pork?

Filipino food isn’t one that many Americans are familiar with, even though Filipino Americans are the second-largest demographic of Asian Americans in the country, according to the U.S. Census.

Filipino food is notable for its convergence of flavors, blending Spanish, Malaysian and Chinese cuisines. Contributed by Be More Pacific.

Nearly 4 million Americans identify as Filipino, which means millions of home cooks throughout the U.S. are making dishes that blend Malaysian, Chinese and Spanish flavors. And because today is Philippine Independence Day, I wanted to share a Filipino recipe from a local restaurant with a little background on the country.

After more than 300 years of Spanish rule, the Philippines started their transition toward independence in 1898, when Spain ceded the islands to the U.S., but after the Philippine-American War in the years that followed, the nation of more than 7,000 islands remained under U.S. rule until 1946, when the Philippines were granted full independence.

That’s one, short version of a long, complicated and often tumultuous history of occupation and colonization, but it helps explain why, since 1964, June 12 has been considered Independence Day in the Philippines. (The original date was July 4 to coincide with the U.S. Independence Day.)

Only Chinese Americans outnumber Filipinos in the U.S., but the Filipino population in Austin isn’t as high as in other areas, such as Houston and California’s Central Valley.

There’s a Filipinos in Austin Facebook group and an Austin Filipino-American Association, but for a taste of Filipino food, you can head to a number of spots, including Tito AdoboMang Dedoy’s and Little Mama’s in Round Rock. For Filipino groceries, you can head to Gammad Oriental Store & Restaurant, Oriental Grocery & Bakery or Filipino Asian Mart in South Austin.

Be More Pacific started as a food truck in 2011 but now operates a brick-and-mortar restaurant at 7858 Shoal Creek Blvd., and their chef, Buddy Melgarejo, who grew up in the Philippines and moved to Houston in 2015, shared his versatile barbecue pork recipe, which has a lemon-, tomato- and soy-based marinade that showcases the convergence of flavors you’ll find in many Filipino dishes.

This pork dish from Be More Pacific uses a marinade that you could use for many cuts of pork. Contributed by Be More Pacific.

Filipino Pork Barbecue

This pork marinade is well-suited for ribs or pork belly, but you could also use it for pork chops. The pork should be marinaded for at least 6 hours and up to overnight, and the cooking time will vary depending on the cut of meat and cooking method. If using wooden skewers to grill the pork belly, pre-soak them for 20 minutes before placing the meat on them. You’ll want to serve this with rice and, if you have time, pickled papaya.

1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup brown sugar
2-3 pounds pork ribs or 1 (2-pound) pork belly, sliced in 1-inch cubes

In a bowl, mix the garlic powder, soy sauce, lemon juice, tomato sauce, salt and pepper together. Pour the marinade over the pork, reserving 1/2 cup for glaze. In a bowl or pan, pour the marinade on the pork, cover and refrigerate overnight or at least 6 hours.

If using pork belly, skewer the pork on a bamboo stick with up to six pieces per stick. Heat the grill. Mix the brown sugar with the remaining marinade.

Grill the ribs or the skewers, basting with the additional marinade as you cook the meat. The grilling time will vary, depending on the cut of meat, but it should be shiny and moist when finished. Serve with hot rice and pickled papaya.

— Buddy Melgarejo, Be More Pacific

Atchara (Pickled Papaya)

2 cups green papaya, grated
1/4 cup rock salt
1 1/2 cup coconut vinegar
1 small bell pepper, sliced
1 small carrot, sliced
1 big thumb-size ginger, strips
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic
Sugar, salt and pepper

Mix papaya and rock salt then squeeze out the juice. Set aside.

In a pot, place vinegar, bell peppers, carrots, ginger, onions and garlic. Bring to a boil until carrots soften, about 5 minutes. Adjust flavor to suit your taste by adding sugar, salt and pepper.

When done, add papaya and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Let it cool then store overnight in the fridge before serving.

— Buddy Melgarejo, Be More Pacific

 

 

Blue Bell announces the return of two bestselling summer ice cream flavors

It’s hardly worth buying peaches and blackberries unless it’s summer, and this is also the only time of year you can get really good blackberry cobbler and peach ice cream.

These are two of Blue Bell’s most popular summer flavors, which are finally back in stores, company announced on Twitter on Friday and today.

Peaches and homemade vanilla ice cream from Blue Bell. Contributed by Blue Bell.

Starting today, the Brenham-based ice creamery’s peaches and homemade vanilla is on store shelves, joining the previously announced, pie crust-flaked blackberry ice cream.

Southern blackberry cobbler ice cream is a seasonal offering from the Brenham-based Blue Bell. Contributed by Blue Bell.

RELATED: How to ship Blue Bell anywhere in the country

As with the winter seasonal flavors, these summertime flavors will be sold until they sell out. That means, like the peaches and blackberries, they might not last the entire summer, but they are available at retail outlets around the state. You can also order the ice cream over the phone by calling 979-836-7977 to have it shipped anywhere in the U.S.

Craving seafood? Try these wok-roasted mussels with lemongrass, cilantro and garlic toast

Last week, I shared a recipe for dry-fried green beans, a technique the uses a searing-hot pan to cook foods quickly while retaining their texture and color.

It turns out that vegetables aren’t the only thing you can dry-fry. This recipe for dry-fried (or wok-roasted) mussels comes from the Boston restaurant Myers+Chang, which published a cookbook earlier this year.

In their eponymous book, “Myers+Chang at Home” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $32), you’ll find a lemongrass mussel dish that’s a little different from mussels you might find elsewhere.

These wok-roasted mussels are seasoned with lemongrass. Contributed by

Owner Joanne Chang explains the process of “dry-frying” shellfish: Throwing mussels in a really hot, dry pan allows them to pop open and pick up a smoky, roasted-in-the-fire-at-the-beach kind of flavor. “Cooking mussels this way also means their liquid reduces instantly as soon as they open, which concentrates their flavor,” she writes. “Mussel broth is always the best part of mussels, anyway.”

RELATED: Green beans don’t have to be boring: Here’s the umami-rich dry-fried green bean recipe from Wu Chow

Unlike many mussels recipes, which focus on garlic and white wine, this one adds extra layers of flavor with lemongrass, cilantro and fish sauce.

Chang recommends making a meal of these babies by serving them with garlic toast or as an appetizer. Don’t forget the trick for cleaning mussels: Cover them in cold water for about 20 minutes or so; they will spit out any sand that might be inside. Scrub the shells and pull the stringy “beard,” and you’re ready to cook them.

Wok-Roasted Lemongrass Mussels with Garlic Toast

1 stalk lemongrass
6 medium garlic cloves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro stems
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 pounds PEI mussels, cleaned, scrubbed and debearded
1 1/2 cups white wine
4 slices crusty white bread, or 1 small French baguette, split in half
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
2 teaspoons sugar
1 fresh Thai bird chili or jalapeño, sliced
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves (about 1/2 bunch)

Peel and discard the dry, papery outer layers of the lemongrass; trim off the top two-thirds of the stalk, which is also dry and papery, along with the very base, and discard. Coarsely chop the pale, bendable inner core. You should have about 2 tablespoons chopped lemongrass. Mince 3 of the garlic cloves and add to the lemongrass. Add the cilantro stems and finely mince all three ingredients together. Place in a small bowl and stir in the fish sauce, salt and 1/2 teaspoon of the black pepper. It will look like a rough pesto. Set aside. The lemongrass mixture can be made up to a day in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

In a wok or large flat-bottomed saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat for about 30 seconds. Thinly slice 2 of the garlic cloves and add to the oil. Add the lemongrass mixture and cook, stirring, until the garlic starts to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the mussels and wine. Turn the heat up to high, cover the pot, and cook for 5 minutes.

While the mussels are cooking, toast the bread until golden brown and spread with 1 tablespoon of the butter. Split the remaining garlic clove in half and run the cut side over the buttered sides of the bread. Set aside.

Take a peek inside the pot. When the liquid is boiling and the mussels have opened, add the remaining 1 teaspoon black pepper, the lime juice, sugar and chili. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter with a wooden spoon. Cook over high heat for 2 minutes to incorporate the butter. Fold in the cilantro leaves and discard any unopened mussels, since they are not fit to eat. Divide the mussels between two bowls and pour the broth over the mussels. Serve with the garlic toast. Serves 2.

— From “Myers+Chang at Home: Recipes from the Beloved Boston Eatery” by Joanne Chang and Karen Akunowicz (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $32)

How to make a perfect summer salad with quinoa, avocado, tomatoes and cucumbers

Now that summer is here, I’m giving my oven a break.

I’m not one of those cooks who doesn’t bake or roast anything from June to September, but I do tend to avoid dishes that require the dry heat of an oven. It’s searing enough outside.

Quinoa is packed with protein and fiber, and it’s a hearty base to this cooling summer salad. Contributed by NLand Surf Park.

When I want to remember the lighter, brighter side of summer, I make a dish like this quinoa and avocado salad from Blue Prairie, the restaurant inside NLand Surf Park east of the airport. With crunchy pepitas, cucumbers and tangy citrus dressing, it was one of the more refreshing dishes I had during these last weeks of spring.

Even if you don’t have a view of the surfers riding waves and a freshly brewed craft beer in your hand, this protein- and fiber-packed salad dotted with tomatoes — and feta, if you like — reminds us that there is an upside to every season.

This quinoa avocado salad has cucumbers and tomatoes, making it a perfect summer salad. Contributed by NLand Surf Park.

RELATED: Good news from the Hill Country: Fredericksburg peaches are ready and plentiful

I say calimocho, you say kalimotxo: Skip the sangria and drink like a real Spaniard

New Whole30 book offers summertime recipes, including this peach and prosciutto salad

Quinoa and Avocado Salad

Feel free to use untoasted pumpkin seeds or pepitas. If you have a toaster oven or don’t mind the heat, roast them on a small sheet tray at 350 degrees for about seven minutes. Cool at room temperature and toss in the salad.

1 1/2 cups quinoa, raw
For the citrus dressing:
1/2 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed
1/4 cup lime juice, freshly squeezed
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons wildflower honey
1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt to taste, between 1/2 and 1 teaspoon
For the salad:
2 ripe avocados, diced
1 large English cucumber, peeled and diced
1 large shallot, minced
1/2 pint ripe grape tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
Salt, to taste

Bring a pot with 6 cups of water to a rolling boil. Once the water is boiling, slowly stir in the quinoa and set a timer for 17 minutes. When the time is up, strain the quinoa and run cold water over the cooked quinoa while still in the strainer to cool.

In a blender, combine all the dressing ingredients except for the oil and salt. Blend until combined. Once mixed, slowly pour the oil in and blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and season with salt.

In a large salad bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, avocado, cucumber, shallot and tomatoes. Give the dressing a stir and pour over the top, using only as much as you’d like. You’ll have extra dressing left over that you can use for other salads. Garnish with the chopped cilantro and pumpkin seeds and season to taste. Serves 4 to 6.

— NLand Surf Park chef Scott Kaplan

Anthony Bourdain loved Austin, but that’s not why we loved him

[cmg_anvato video=4412202 autoplay=”true”]

Anthony Bourdain loved Austin, but he loved a lot of places.

Anthony Bourdain spoke at SXSW Interactive in 2012 and again in 2016. In 2012, he filmed an episode of “No Reservations” during the festival. Ricardo B. Brazziell/American-Statesman

In fact, that’s the gift Bourdain left with this world after his death today at age 61. He was in France, filming for his CNN show, “Parts Unknown.” According to news reports, his friend and chef Eric Ripert found him unresponsive in his hotel room.

It’s an understatement to say that this is heartbreaking news in the food world. This is devastating. Millions of viewers gravitated toward Bourdain’s rigorous thinking, his challenges to the status quo, his endless curiosity about how cultures work, how they intertwine, how they serve the people who carry them on to another generation.

In 2000, Anthony Bourdain launched into the national spotlight with his book, “Kitchen Confidential,” which was inspired by a New Yorker article in 1999. AP Photo/Jim Cooper 2001

He came to fame as a chef in New York City, and people still called him that, though he joked that he hadn’t been in a kitchen so long, he wasn’t sure he could keep up anymore. His real fame — and cultural impact — started in 2000 with a memoir called “Kitchen Confidential.” He wrote with biting wit about the underbelly of the chef world, and the book quickly became a bestseller, launching Bourdain out of the restaurant kitchen and in front of the camera.

Anthony Bourdain went to Franklin Barbecue in 2012 when he was shooting the final season of “No Reservations.” Texas Monthly barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn was one of the experts featured in the episode, and Vaughn later wrote a barbecue book under Bourdain’s publishing imprint. Contributed.

If chefs were the new rock stars, then he was Johnny Cash, an outlaw who softened as he aged and became a family man but who never lost his edge. He likely also never lost his feeling of being an outsider. He spoke often in interviews about the grueling realities of filming international television and the difficulties of being recognized everywhere. Fame turned out to be heavier than a chef’s knife, but he kept going, creating new seasons of “No Reservations” on the Travel Channel from 2005 to 2012 until CNN picked him up in 2013.

Since then, he’d been making new episodes of “Parts Unknown,” traveling to unexpected parts of the world — from Koreatown in L.A. to Jerusalem, Detroit and the Mississippi Delta — to uncover culinary cultures that hadn’t yet had their turn in the spotlight. Bourdain was the first travel show host who used food as a launching point to discuss politics and current events in addition to cuisine. In 2006, he turned an episode about Beirut, where he and his crew were stuck for a week due to the war between Lebanon and Israel, into an Emmy-nominated episode about geopolitics.

Anthony Bourdain gets a tattoo from Sleigh Bells’ touring guitarist Jason Boyer while shooting an Austin episode of “No Reservations.” Contributed by The Travel Channel.

He spoke at South by Southwest in 2012, when he was in Austin to shoot an episode of “No Reservations,” and again in 2016, where he was interviewed on stage by one of the founders of Roads and Kingdoms.

Last fall, Bourdain, who was the father of an 11-year-old from a short-lived marriage, became an outspoken advocate in the #MeToo movement, in part because his girlfriend, actress Asia Argento, publicly accused Harvey Weinstein of rape.

The lanky, tattooed Bourdain wasn’t chipper. He always had something acerbic to say about Rachael Ray or Paula Deen, but that was almost always in response to a question from an interviewer. He used his platform instead to heap praise onto the line cooks and street vendors who keep most of the world fed. He was adamant that home economics should be mandatory for everyone.

 

Few food celebrities were more widely loved than Anthony Bourdain, who recorded a radio show with Martha Stewart and his longtime friend Eric Ripert in 2009. AP Photo/Evan Agostini 2009

Bourdain was a more gifted writer than he was a cook, but his years in kitchens gave him something to write about and a perspective that he carried to every corner of the globe. With a cinematic team that could rival any in Hollywood, Bourdain told unforgettable stories that were only tangentially connected to food. He was unapologetic in his mission: He wanted viewers to confront our prejudices and our privilege to better understand and appreciate the marvelous world outside our comfort zone.

His memoirs might have inspired many to enroll in culinary school in an effort to become part of that “rock star chef” world, but his true legacy is inspiring a generation of travelers and cooks to look at the world through his eyes, where beauty, chaos, friendship and something good to eat could be found anywhere.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is 800-273-8255. Chefs with Issues is also a resource if you are struggling and in the food world. Locally, you can call 512-472-4357 to connect with mental health services.

 

 

 

Green beans don’t have to be boring: Here’s the umami-rich dry-fried green bean recipe from Wu Chow

The green beans at Wu Chow might be some of the best in Austin. I grew up eating simmered, canned green beans, but I came to sauteing them in garlic and butter as an adult. That simple preparation is still one of my favorites, but at a recent lunch at Wu Chow, I tried the downtown restaurant’s dry-fried green beans, locally sourced vegetables that are blanched and then cooked over super-high heat in a light stir-fry sauce.

Green beans are well-suited for sauteeing, but it’s best to blanch them first. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

The crisp beans and umami-rich dressing are spot-on, but to make it exactly like the restaurant does, you’ll need two ingredients that might not already be in your pantry: fermented mustard greens and mushroom powder. You can buy both at Asian markets, or with the help of the internet, you could make your own. However, even without those two additions, this method of cooking and the ingredients in the sauce will add a fresh spin to one of summer’s best side dishes.

The dry-fried green beans from Wu Chow. LAURA SKELDING/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Dry-Fried Green Beans

1 pound green beans

3 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

2 tablespoons rice wine

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

1 teaspoon mushroom powder

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup fermented mustard greens, chopped

1/2 cup green onion, chopped

Place a large pot with 4 cups of water over high heat and bring to a boil. Rinse the green beans and cut the beans into 2-inch lengths. Once the water is boiling, add the green beans and blanch them for 2 minutes. Once blanched, remove from boiling water and cover beans with ice.

In a small bowl, stir together 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, rice wine, black pepper, garlic, mushroom powder, sugar and salt until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.

After the beans have cooled, remove beans from ice bath and dry well. Heat a wok or large skillet over high heat until a bead of water sizzles and evaporates on contact. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and swirl to coat the bottom. Add the green beans, mustard greens, green onions and stir-fry sauce, keeping the beans constantly moving, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the outsides begin to blister and the beans are wilted. Turn off the heat, transfer to a plate and serve hot.

— From Wu Chow

I’m unboxing my Instant Pot today and I still have so many questions

I finally ordered an Instant Pot.

I’m unboxing my new Instant Pot on my Facebook livestream today at noon. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

I’m only about two years behind the Instant Pot trend — which officially began, IMHO, in July 2016 when Instant Pot sold 200,000-plus units on Amazon Prime day — but I figured there’s no better time to start learning how to cook with it during the summer, when no one wants to turn on their oven.

With dreams of 15-minute chicken noodle soup and 40-minute from scratch hummus, I ordered the bestselling multi-cooker last week, but I’ve kept it in the box so I could unbox it in my weekly livestream on the Austin360 Facebook page. I also got a box of accessories, which I’ll also dig into on the video today at noon. (Go to Facebook.com/Austin360 to watch.)

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Three of dozens of Instant Pot cookbooks that have come out this year. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

But as I’m warming up to the idea that I can cook everything from cakes to hard-cooked eggs in an electric device with far more buttons than I’m used to operating, I realized that I still have a lot of questions.

Like, many, many questions, including:

  • Will the steam from the pressure cooker heat up my kitchen, thus defeating the purpose of not turning on my oven?
  • Which of the approximately 12,000 Facebook groups should I join?
  • Are people going to judge me because I’m a total IP noob?
  • How many dishes am I going to have to make until I feel someone proficient on it?
  • Are my kids going to eat it? (That’s always a question not far from my mind.)
  • Am I really going to cook more beans if I can cook them faster?
  • What am I going to do with all of those beans?
  • What happens if I try to cook without an official Instant Pot recipe?
  • What if all these Instant Pot cookbook recipes don’t really look that appealing?
  • I feel overwhelmed by just how new this cooking device feels. Is that normal?
  • Lastly, do readers really care?

As I’ve been marking my 10th food writer anniversary, I’ve been thinking more about more about the kinds of food stories that readers want to read, which stories they want to click on, which recipes they cut out and actually use. Enough people have talked to me about their love of the Instant Pot to make me realize that this isn’t a flash-in-the-pan trend, but it still feels somewhat niche, especially when you’re trying to write for many different demographics of cooks, some who have all the time and energy and money to make fancy food and others who are budgeting all of those things and prefer more simple meals.

I’ll be trying to cook the spectrum of those foods in the Instant Pot this summer, and I hope you have fun following along with me. If you have tips, recipes, suggestions, feedback, please send them to abroyles@statesman.com or leave a comment online. You can also join me in the livestream today to ask your own questions or satisfy your own curiosity about this newfangled appliance that has taken the food world by storm.

 

 

 

 

New Whole30 book offers summertime recipes, including this peach and prosciutto salad

The Whole30 might be a popular January effort to kickstart the year by eating sugar- and grain-free, but for many people, Whole30 is a year-round way of life.

Michelle Smith’s new book is called “The Whole Smiths Good Food Cookbook.” Contributed by Michelle Smith

One of those cooks is Michelle Smith, who has a new cookbook called “The Whole Smiths Good Food Cookbook,” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30), which is officially endorsed by the Whole30 brand led by Melissa Hartwig in Dallas.

Smith is a mother of two and recipe developer for her own website, thewholesmiths.com, and the official Whole30 blog, so many of the dishes are family friendly and can be adapted for paleo, vegan, dairy free or nut free homes.

She’ll be in Austin this week for an event at BookPeople. You can catch her there at 7 p.m. Thursday.

This peach and prosciutto salad is a mix of savory and sweet, with some crunch from Marcona almonds. Contributed by Michelle Smith.

In the book, Smith includes a peach and prosciutto salad that’s great for summer.

Peach and Prosciutto Salad

What’s not to love about this salad? Fresh peaches? Check. Prosciutto? Check. Combined with some blue cheese? Trust me, you’re in for a treat.

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 cups packed baby spinach
2 cups packed watercress
1/2 cup Marcona almonds
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
8 slices prosciutto, halved
2 peaches, sliced

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vinegar, honey, and salt until emulsified.

In a large bowl, toss together the spinach, watercress, almonds, blueberries, and blue cheese. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Garnish the salad with the prosciutto and peach slices and serve. Serves 4.

— From “The Whole Smiths Good Food Cookbook,” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $30) by Michelle Smith

I say calimocho, you say kalimotxo: Skip the sangria and drink like a real Spaniard

My favorite summer drink is probably going to sound, well, gross.

Calimochos are a beloved summer drink, especially if you’ve spent any time in Spain, where the drink originates. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman

At least that’s the response every time I tell someone about calimocho, the Spanish drink that rivals sangria in popularity there. But their opinions change as soon as I serve them one.

When I was living in Spain in college, I was surprised to find this mixture of red wine, Coke, lemon juice and ice was seemingly as popular in southern Spain as the well-known sangria. I don’t love chewing on pieces of fruit that have been soaked in wine — and sangria often has a lot of added sugar that makes the drink almost too sweet to enjoy.

In Spain, people sometimes drink calimochos from the iconic porron, a drinking vessel that has a long spout. Contributed by Wikipedia.

Calimochos, though sweet, are more balanced and lighter to drink on these hot summer days. They originated in the northern part of Spain in the 1970s, where the Basques spell the name, kalimotxo.

The drink is quite literally a wine cooler, and though the combination of wine and Coke sounds odd, the tangy tanins of both are surprisingly complementary. The tartness of the lime and the cool water that melts off the ice cubes combine for a refreshing, lightly boozy cocktail that you can sip on while grilling, tubing, camping or curled up on the couch watching “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

To make one — or a whole batch — mix together about half cola and half wine, and you can use any red wine you like. I’m sure there are some kinds that work better than others, but calimochos are a blue collar, utilitarian drink, so the cheaper, the better. A fresh, effervescent Coke can brighten even week-old wine that’s been sitting in your fridge. I insist on adding lemon, but according to the Wikipedia page, there are countless variations with added liqueurs and zest.

Just don’t forget the ice. And a seat in the shade.

Electrical fire destroys majority of Joe’s Organics’ farm in East Austin

Last night’s storms left thousands of Austinites without power this morning, but an electrical fire yesterday afternoon has nearly wiped out one local farm.

Dozens of local restaurants use the microgreens from Joe’s Organics on their dishes, but many farmers market shoppers buy from them, too. An electrical fire on Sunday nearly wiped out the farm, including greenhouses and its seed bank. Contributed by Joe’s Organics.

Joe’s Organics, which opened in 2012 as a composting facility and in 2015 expanded to include produce and microgreens, is a familiar name to area chefs and farmers’ market shoppers.

The remnants of a fire on Sunday at Joe’s Organics. Contributed by Joe’s Organics.

An electrical issue on Sunday at the farm, 7204 Shelton Road in East Austin, sparked a fire that destroyed the farm’s inventory, as well as its seed bank, shed, greenhouse, tools, watering and farmers’ market booth equipment. In a post on Instagram, owner Joe Diffie said it only took the Austin Fire Department five minutes to show up, and firefighters were able to prevent any further damage or injuries. He estimated the loss at $40,000.

UPDATE: The farm now has a GoFundMe fundraising page set up to recoup some of the losses. You can contribute here.

Seeds and seedlings were destroyed in Sunday’s fire at Joe’s Organics in East Austin. Contributed by Joe’s Organics.

“We down but not out. Still have our shipping container to grow in and the drive to rebuild,” he wrote online. “Probably gonna do a crowdfunding thing this week to help get the farm over this hurdle, so plz don’t forget your friendly neighborhood food recycler in the coming days.”

Joe’s Organics estimated the loss at $40,000. Contributed by Joe’s Organics.