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Fire damages legendary Franklin Barbecue in Austin

Published: Saturday, August 26, 2017 @ 10:01 AM
Updated: Saturday, August 26, 2017 @ 11:37 AM

Six years after opening Franklin Barbecue in East Austin, Aaron Franklin says that he does not plan on selling the business to franchisers, even though both the size of the building and food production are at maximum capacity.

The renowned Franklin Barbecue suffered heavy fire damage overnight, the Austin Fire Department said early Saturday.

The fire started in the pit room adjacent to to the main dining room at Franklin, owned by James Beard Award-winning pitmaster Aaron Franklin and known for long lines and world-class brisket.

The room that houses the pits suffered “heavy damage” but firefighters were able to contain the fire, resulting only in smoke damage to the dining room and public portion of the restaurant.

Owner Aaron Franklin hopes to reopen the restaurant in a few weeks.

Officials say the cause of the fire was accidental.

BEST RESTAURANTS IN AUSTIN: See where Franklin rates in our Austin360 dining guide

Firefighters work at a fire at Franklin Barbecue on Saturday August 26, 2017.(Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman)
Firefighters work at a fire at Franklin Barbecue on Saturday August 26, 2017. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN(Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman)

Starbucks celebrates spring with limited-time cherry blossom frappuccino

Published: Wednesday, March 16, 2016 @ 9:25 AM
Updated: Wednesday, March 16, 2016 @ 9:45 AM

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To celebrate spring, Starbucks is offering a new blended beverage Wednesday through Sunday. 

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Starbucks describes the Cherry Blossom frappuccino as "a blend of sweet strawberries and cream with white chocolate sauce and matcha drizzle, topped with whipped cream and a sprinkle of matcha." Matcha is a powdered form of green tea. 

The drink, inspired by the Japanese sakura tradition, has been offered in Japan since 2010. It will be available in the U.S. until Sunday, the official first day of spring. 

Starbucks' press release explains the drink's connection to Japanese culture:

"In Japan, cherry blossoms are the national flower and a symbol of renewal and simplicity. Families, friends and colleagues gather under sakura trees and enjoy picnics and parties under the delicate pink blooms, a tradition that dates back at least a thousand years. It is also time for new beginnings, marking both the coming of spring and the start of a new school year. Sakura festivals around the world honor the return of the cherry blossoms and celebrate Japanese culture."

Themed frappuccinos have become more common at Starbucks within the last year. The company offered a vampire-inspired frappuccino for Halloweeen last October and a birthday cake-themed frappuccino to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the popular drink. 

Hungry? These are the best restaurants in America this year

Published: Friday, October 16, 2015 @ 12:47 AM
Updated: Friday, October 16, 2015 @ 12:47 AM


            Mashama Bailey’s take on Country Captain, served atop a slab of sourdough bread soaked in pan juices from the roast chicken, at the Grey in Savannah, Ga., July 7, 2015. In a building that once held a segregated bus station, chef Mashama Bailey is redefining African-American cooking in the South. (Dylan Wilson/The New York Times)
            DYLAN WILSON
Mashama Bailey’s take on Country Captain, served atop a slab of sourdough bread soaked in pan juices from the roast chicken, at the Grey in Savannah, Ga., July 7, 2015. In a building that once held a segregated bus station, chef Mashama Bailey is redefining African-American cooking in the South. (Dylan Wilson/The New York Times)(DYLAN WILSON)

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Some say good food is essential to a happy life.

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For those seeking an extra succulent meal, Food & Wine Magazine has released their Restaurants of the Year list, and Esquire Magazine released their Best New Restaurants list.

Here are the eateries that made the cut:

Esquire's Best New Restaurants

Shaya, New Orleans

Townsman, Boston

The Progress, San Francisco

Muscadine, Portland, OR

The Grey, Savannah

Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen, Morristown, N.J.

B.S. Taqueria and Broken Spanish, Los Angeles

Momotaro, Chicago

Dolo Restaurant and Bar, Chicago

The Duck Inn, Chicago

Little Park, New York

Shuko, New York

Santina, New York

Mountain Bird, New York

Food & Wine Restaurants of the Year

The Grey, Savannah

Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis

Cosme, New York City

The Progress, San Francisco

Petit Trois, Los Angeles

Food & Wine restaurant editor Kate Krader selected the five restaurants as winners for 2015. She evaluated the businesses’ energy, originality and style.

New app splits dinner bills based on wage inequality

Published: Friday, February 26, 2016 @ 2:52 AM
Updated: Friday, February 26, 2016 @ 3:13 AM

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There's an app on the way that helps you split up the dinner bill with some adjustments for race and gender income inequalities. 

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The app, called Equipay, is essentially a satirical statement about income gaps in the U.S. For instance, when using the app, women would only pay 78 cents for every $1 men pay of the bill.

If a person disagrees with their share of the bill, they can click "protest" on the app, at which point it will provide the user with statistics about the wage gap. 

The app started as a joke for Cultivated Wit's Comedy Hack Day, but now the comedians behind it say they do plan to release an app along with a commercial.

Where is America's No. 1 ramen restaurant?

Published: Thursday, March 31, 2016 @ 12:52 PM
Updated: Thursday, March 31, 2016 @ 12:58 PM


            The #1 Original at Ramen Tatsu-Ya. Photo by Jay Janner / American-Statesman
The #1 Original at Ramen Tatsu-Ya. Photo by Jay Janner / American-Statesman

In Time Out’s list of best ramen restaurants, only two states get multiple shout-outs (New York has two restaurants on the list, and California has four). But it's Texas’ lone star ramen place right here in the 512 - Ramen Tatsu-ya - that has been named America's No. 1 ramen restaurant.

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Two ex-DJs opened Ramen Tatsu-ya in September 2012, and the restaurant immediately began drawing long lines. Its local fan base pushed the restaurant to extend its hours and add veggie options all day in February. Since the restaurant started serving food in 2012, the founders opened another location

Time Out cites Ramen Tatsu-ya’s thick, creamy broth as its main ticket to success:

"Former DJs Tatsu Aikawa and Takuya Matsumoto craft a tonkotsu that requires three days’ worth of cook time, resulting in a luscious pork bone elixir that clings to each angel-hair-thin noodle (like many of the nation’s top ramen joints, the custom strands come from revered producer Sun Noodle). Meltingly tender chashu (thin-sliced pork), snappy woodear mushrooms and a marinated egg finish each carefully composed bowl."

When Ramen Tatsu-Ya first opened, Austin food and restaurant critic Matthew Odam gave it a glowing review. The specialty thick tonkotsu automatically comes paired with thinner noodles, balancing the bowl’s ingredients.

The restaurant’s menu lists some rules, including “Chopsticks only,” “Slurp loudly and shamelessly,” and most importantly, “Never share your ramen.”