If you need a breakfast sandwich, a scoop of gelato, a glass of wine and a charcuterie board or toilet paper and aluminum foil, you’ll find it all at a new specialty grocery store and all day cafe on South Lamar in the Lamar Union building.
Artista Rosso opened earlier this month at 1100 S Lamar Blvd. with a full-service grocery market, including paper goods, fresh baked items, grab-and-go meals, olives, cheese, charcuterie, wine and even a bar for gelato, nutella and cannoli.
On the coffee shop side, you’ll find a selection of pour-over coffees, as well as teas. The store also includes a restaurant that will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner with tacos, pasta, sandwiches and other appetizers and entrees.
The grocery store is open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 7 a.m. to midnight on Friday and Saturday and 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday. The restaurant is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday.
On Sept. 8, the store is hosting a grand opening celebration from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. with tastings, live music and a free appetizer with the purchase of a beer or wine, with proceeds from the day benefiting Austin Pets Alive.
Austin has long been considered a grocery store paradise.
The birthplace of Whole Foods and Wheatsville Food Co-op, Austin is also home to Trader Joe’s, Central Markets, a handful of Randalls and dozens of H-E-Bs. We can’t forget Natural Grocers, Aldi, Sprouts, Fresh Plus, 365 by Whole Foods and, the big guy, Walmart.
Suffice to say: We like to shop for food.
Food & Wine magazine published a ranking of U.S. grocery store chains on its website last week, and a reader emailed me to point out that Austin has a bunch of the stores in the top 10.
Although we don’t have the No. 1 store, Wegman’s, which is a regional chain in New York, Austin is home to Central Market, which took second place.
Two years after Whole Foods went public in 1994, lucky Austin, Texas, hit the grocery store jackpot once more. This time, it came courtesy of the state’s best-known supermarket brand, H-E-B. With almost Europe-worthy retail design, an overwhelming amount of fresh produce and exceedingly good prepared foods, there should be Central Markets everywhere — sadly, you’ll have to travel to one of the big cities in Texas and see for yourself.
Lidl, which ranked No. 3 on the list, is scheduled to be built in Kyle, but store officials haven’t said when. Trader Joe’s came in at No. 4, and the Florida-based Publix ranked fifth.
If it’s early August, Austinites are getting excited about Hatch chiles.
The New Mexican chile peppers have been a hit in Central Texas ever since Central Market started bringing them here in the mid-1990s. Whole Foods followed, and now both stores — as well as other grocery retailers, including Wheatsville and Central Market’s parent company, H-E-B — sell literal tons of Hatch peppers and Hatch-flavored foods during this time of year.
They’ve released this month’s Hatch cooking classes, which start on Wednesday with a steakhouse-themed class at 6:30 p.m. On Thursday at 6:30 p.m., you can sign up to learn how to make Hatch tamales, and on Saturday night, the cooking staff will teach a Hatch seafood session starting at 6:30 p.m.
Last weekend, we were among the customers who tried to get there early enough to beat the heat to buy some groceries for the week. Like all the area farmers’ markets, this one has vendors selling everything from meat and seafood to knife sharpening.
Many of the prepared foods vendors offer samples, which is a big appeal for my young shoppers. Just like when we go grocery shopping at the regular store, the kids were with me to help decide what foods to get for the week, and this trip was no different.
We sampled and browsed the dozens of booths for about 45 minutes before it was time to seek cooler temperatures, but we had quite a haul. Here’s a look at the cool stuff we ended up taking home.
It’s safe to say we went on a sampling frenzy. I spent $50 on products I hadn’t tried before, as well as a couple of produce items and kombucha. It was a fun way to spend the morning with my kids and pick up some culinary treats at the same time. We didn’t have to buy so much stuff, but those vendors are working hard out there in the heat.
Plus they are making some really delicious stuff. I could have spent another $50 just on the way back to the car.
When a reader enthusiastically emails you about a product she loves, including an offer to drop off samples, it’s hard to say no.
Austinite Susan Sneller isn’t affiliated with Majestic Garlic, a light garlic spread out of California that is only sold locally at Wheatsville.
What was her motivation for reaching out to the local newspaper? “I’m hoping you’ll create a wave of demand that will shake up grocery stores so they’ll stock it,” she wrote.
Sneller told me that she uses the airy spread as a dip or a marinade or with meat, fish, potatoes and other vegetables. She even puts a little of it in ramen noodles. “It’s very versatile and doesn’t have an unhealthy ingredient in its carton.”
A few days later, she and her son arrived at the Statesman to share three tubs of this surprisingly spicy and intensely flavored spread. We ate it on crackers, and I can see how it would give indigestion to people who aren’t keen on the taste of raw garlic.
It turns out that Majestic Garlic is a commercial version of toum, a Lebanese garlic spread that is similar to aioli, but without an egg yolk. (Austin360Cooks contributor Paul Czarkowski mixes the garlic spread with harissa to make a marinade for chicken.) After digging around, I found out that Trader Joe’s makes a version of it, and that you can make it at home if you have a food processor or high-powered blender.
You can find plenty of recipes on the web, but if you want to watch someone expertly drizzle the oil into the garlic, watch this YouTube video from Kamal Al-Faqih, who demonstrated the dip on his YouTube channel.
Majestic Garlic is made with organic raw garlic and cold-milled flaxseed, as well as safflower oil, sea salt and lemon juice. According to the website: “Majestic Garlic stands alone as a delicious, versatile and nutritious condiment, adding incredible flavor to the most simple of dishes, while harnessing the many health benefits of garlic.”
If you want to find Majestic Garlic’s toum, head over to Wheatsville, which is the only place to find it locally. (Sneller says the company will ship the product to Texas when the weather isn’t so hot. They also make Majestic Hummus, a raw and sprouted hummus made with raw garbanzo beans.)
Majestic Garlic sells cayenne and basil garlic spreads, but here is how to make a version of plain toum at home.
1 cup garlic, peeled
4 cups canola oil
1/2 cup lemon juice, divided
Place the garlic in a food processor or high-powered blender. Pulse the garlic to finely chop and then start to drizzle the oil slowly, using a thread-like stream. After every 1/2 cup of oil, add about 2 teaspoons of lemon juice, alternating until both are used. It will take several minutes to fully add the oil, and the slower you add it, the better chance that the sauce won’t break.
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.
The one-pound packages will be sold at both H-E-B and Central Market, and the price varies by store. Whataburger’s sausage is already on store shelves.
“Whether fans are topping mac and cheese or adding crumbles to baked potatoes, we’re proud to introduce Whataburger’s Hickory Smoked Bacon and make it easier than ever for fans to cook up their favorites from home,” Whataburger Vice President of Retail Mike Sobel said in a release. “H-E-B has been a great partner to us and we look forward to hearing about all the unique pairings our customers create with the newest addition to our grocery lineup.”
At the Taste of Mexico event earlier this month, I tried a handful of new local food products that you’ll hopefully be seeing on store shelves soon.
Serving a delicious trio of aguas frescas was Alegria, which makes the refreshing drink in hibiscus, cucumber-mint and melon. The drink is currently sold at some neighborhood corner markets, like the Rosedale Market, but with less sugar and more flavor than other aguas frescas on the market right now, you’ll see this product more widely available this summer.
The same is true of Pancho Bigotes Salsas, a creamy salsa company out of San Antonio, with makes a spicy, rich salsa verde with serrano, garlic and cilantro. The company also makes a “chimi hot” version with fresh chiles de arbol and no cilantro, but they are both welcome additions to chips, tacos, scrambled eggs and sandwiches. (I bought a jar at the event it was so good.) Most creamy salsas you can buy in grocery stores now are on the sweet side, but this one isn’t, thanks to the vinegar, spices and egg. With any luck you’ll find this good-on-everything sauce in supermarkets soon, but for now, you’ll have to buy them online.
I discovered Sweet Tsopelik on the rooftop of Mexi-Arte’s popular annual party. This local Mexican candy company uses traditional ingredients, such as peanuts, coconut and amaranth, to makes treats like alegrias, a crispy snack made with amaranth, agave nectar, pecans, pumpkin seeds, raisins and lime juice. The company, which sells at the HOPE Farmers market from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays, also produces tamarindos, palanquetas and mazapanes.
El Norteño Foods makes a line of beef jerky that’s worth checking out, especially if you like the popular Mexican-style jerky called cecina or are looking for a spicy jerky that’s low in sugar. The jerky comes in several flavors, including mango habanero, and they all include a little packet of hot sauce. The meat sticks, which come in lime and habanero flavors, don’t have the hot sauce, but they well-spiced on their own. Find these at convenience stores throughout Central Texas and some H-E-Bs.
We’ve been watching meal kits evolve in the past few years, with many grocery stores, including Walmart and H-E-B, opting to make their own meal kits.
Albertsons took a different strategy last year by acquiring Plated, one of the largest meal kit delivery services on the market, for roughly $300 million. It’s no surprised that we’re starting to see Plated meal kits being sold in many chains owned by Albertsons, including Randalls, Safeway, Vons and Tom Thumb.
The company announced this week that the kits, designed by head Plated chef Elana Karp, are already available at four Austin-area locations, with more stores being added each week. The local Randalls stores that currently sell the Plated meal kits include 9911 Brodie Lane, 1400 Cypress Creek Road, Lakeline & Crystal Falls Parkway in Leander and 5721 Williams Drive in Georgetown. All of the local Randalls stores will carry Plated meal kits by July, the company said in a press release. Randalls offers delivery and curbside pick-up, too.
The ingredients are pre-measured and serve about two people. Of the more than 2,200 meal kits in Plated’s database, the current meal kit options include:
Crunchy Chicken Milanese with Honey Mustard and Arugula
Roasted Chicken au Jus with Orzo and Peas
Beef Noodle Bowls with Dinosaur Kale and Mushrooms
Steak Frites with Creamy Shallot Sauce and Sautéed Spinach
Fresh Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce and Burrata
Pine Nut–Crusted Salmon with Creamy Tomato Farro and Roasted Green Beans
The kits cost between $14.98 to $18.98 in the stores, and you can also still order Plated meal kits via subscription model on the website.
The newest 365 by Whole Foods grocery store opened this week in Long Beach, Calif.
I haven’t been to this newest location, but I can imagine it’s similar to the one in Cedar Park and the other 365 stores around the country — a lower priced and slightly less foodie version of the main Whole Foods stores. All of the 365 stores have in-store dining and drinking options, and that’s where this Long Beach store is already running into trouble.
The name of the store’s restaurant, which serves “Asian bowls for your soul,” is Yellow Fever, the name of the virus that killed 45,000 people in 2013, according to World Health Organization. It’s also widely used slang for having a fetish or obsession with Asian culture and people.
@365byWholeFoods Yellow Fever? Tear that sign down today! Whoever said "it's a fun name" was a total moron. You guys might want the board to start firing. I'm in LA and it's tainted them its so bad. idiotic. Simply put – idiotic.
Setting aside any racially insensitive aspects to this particular naming choice, I mean, yeah I guess but you're still a food place that shares its name with a viral infection that causes among other things nausea, vomiting, bleeding, and wait for it …*loss of appetite*. 🤦