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Michael Barnes

Authentic Mexico, Tour du Vin, Best Hamburgers in Austin

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Eugene Sepulveda and Christann Vasquez at Authentic Mexico benefiting the Hispanic Alliance.

Eugene Sepulveda and Christann Vasquez at Authentic Mexico benefiting the Hispanic Alliance.

FOOD + CHARITY: Besides the divine Mole Coleto con Platano Macho, the talk of the Chiapas-themed Authentic Mexico Gala was the Texas first lady. Honored for her work in education, Cecilia Abbott talked about her special devotion to music, which dovetailed nicely into references to Austin Soundwaves, which provides music education for those who couldn’t otherwise afford it. The host for the evening was the Hispanic Alliance which, besides Soundwaves, also manages Emprendedor U, a program that teaches business skills in Spanish. The current first lady campaigned vigorously for her husband, Gov. Greg Abbott, but she is not seen often at Austin nonprofit events, so this rare glimpse on the Long Center stage was instructive. One of the beauties of this evening each year is the chance to dive into long conversations over dinner. My chat-mate this night was entrepreneur — and trained musician — Dustin Wells, who is dreaming up a business incubator for musical artists.

Beto Marin and Georgie Morell at Tour du Vin, benefiting the Wine & Food Foundation of Texas.

Beto Marin and Georgie Morell at Tour du Vin, benefiting the Wine & Food Foundation of Texas.

FOOD + WINE: This sip-and-sample party was heavy on the wine, light on the bites. Which meant the lines for Tour du Vin, a function of the Food & Wine Foundation of Texas, reversed the usual foot traffic at these events. It also meant that some folks in the roomy expanses of Fair Market simply moved off to the side and talked. That’s actually why I attend these events, so I didn’t mind catching up with folks such as Tribeza publisher George Elliman. With the help of Lauren Smith Ford — back part-time with the stylish publication — Elliman is prepping for Style Week, which kicks off Sept. 24 and includes one event at Fair Market. Tribeza was the first host to make this special events venue on East Fifth street really pop during last year’s Style Week.

Hamburger at Odd Duck. Photo: Laura Skelding.

Hamburger at Odd Duck. Photo: Laura Skelding.

FOOD + CITY: Get a taste of the best hamburgers in Austin. Taken from Matthew Odam‘s mouth-watering story in the American-Statesman. “Summer has just about run its course, so it’s time to let someone else do the grilling. That’s one reason I’m rolling out my list of the Top 15 burgers in Austin — plus a few more. That and, well, who doesn’t love hamburgers? They’re one of my favorite things to eat. You have meat, veggies, carbohydrates and dairy all in one self-contained beauty. What makes a great burger? You need juicy fat, expressive seasoning, crunch, creaminess, tang and balance — and a bun that can stand up to all of it. This list focuses on restaurants that consistently feature a hamburger on the menu, whether that be at lunch or dinner or both.”