February may have been a tad skimpy, but March packs a punch with plenty of culinary events.
For starters, Central Market is making my dreams come true (I have pretty simple dreams, I suppose) with Bacon Fest through March 17. The store (4821 Broadway, 368-8600) will be peppered in bacon-filled goodness, maybe even some peppered bacon. Find your bacon bliss with more than 35 varieties available to choose from – including duck.
In brunch news, Barbaro is filling bellies with giant pancakes on Saturdays now from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (2720 McCullough, 320-2261). I'm hearing good things out of the biscuits and gravy and they also have late-night lasagna making a daytime cameo. Brunch is also being served over at SoBro Pizza Co. (1915 Broadway, Suite 100) on Sundays from noon to 3 p.m. where pesto, pancetta and egg meet to create a harmonious pie.
The Corona Paella Challenge is back at the Pearl on March 15; get those tickets ASAP as it tends to sell out. But the celebration starts early at Gaucho Gourmet (935 Isom Road, 277-7930), which hosts its third annual Viva Paella cooking and tasting. Members of the Chef Cooperative will team up to create three different paellas from start to finish. Take in the show, taste Spanish chorizo and sample beers out of Southerleigh Fine Food & Brewery. Tickets are $15 through Friday, March 13, going up to $20 at the door.
This weekend is the debut of the Dignowity Hill Farmers Market at Dignowity Park (701 Nolan), which will be held every second and fourth Sunday of the month starting in April from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Vendors include Cisneros Farms, Chuck Hernandez of Mercado O'liva and Arugula Catering, Urban Spice Farm and Amaya's Tacos. The event will feature community groups such as SA Fit City/Mayor's Fitness Council, the Texas AgriLife Extension, the Eastside Sprout Community Garden and the Martinez Street Women's Center. The groups will team up to provide fitness classes, health screenings, gardening information and nutrition tips.
Taylor Becken, of C'est La Vie Baking Company (8055 West Ave., Suite 107, 259-8359), has launched the Castle Hills Farm to Market (2211 N.W. Military Hwy., 259-8359) on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. with more than 25 vendors including Johnson's Backyard Garden of Austin, Theory Coffee and Youngblood Honey. And because locally-sourced produce and products are so hot right now, the Pearl Farmers Market will launch a Sunday counterpart to its popular Saturday offering from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., starting March 22.
Finally, don't forget that the CIA Bakery Café will return as a student-led pop-up March 12 through April 16, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. The shop will be held in the Student Service Center, 312 Pearl Pkwy., with returning favorites and a few new treats.