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The holiday season is officially here. With Christmas only two weeks away, we want to make sure you have your plans in order.
Since the pandemic began, holidays have been a bit different. With busy grocery stores, social distancing in place and the unimaginable stress of having to make another holiday meal at home, holiday meal kits are the way to go.
Here are some Austin restaurants offering Christmas and Hanukah menus to help make your holiday a little merrier:
Stella San Jac, 5th St. & San Jacinto
Stella San Jac is offering a ready-to-heat meal kit filled with delicious goodies: oven-roasted beef tenderloin, half roasted chicken, potatoes au gratin, mashed sweet potatoes with brûléed marshmallow, Boursin-creamed green beans and a special curated salad with cider vinaigrette. You can finish off your meal with pumpkin or pecan pie and add a bottle of Chardonnay,or Merlot, among other options, for $30.
The Stella San Jac meal kit serves four guests and is $149. The meals come in oven-safe containers so you can heat it up in the comfort of your own home and enjoy your holiday with a little less work. Pickup for Stella San Jac's Christmas meal is available Dec. 22 and 23 between 11 a.m. and 9 pm. You can find more information on the Christmas menu package here.
Ruth's Chris Steak House, 107 W. 6th St.
A celebration feast is in order after the year we've all had, and that's exactly what Ruth's Chris Steak House is offering. Their "Celebration Feast" includes roasted beef tenderloin, salad, garlic mashed potatoes, creamed spinach and personal cheesecakes. This holiday meal is $180 and serves four.
For anyone planning on having a small holiday dinner, the restaurant is also offering a Christmas Eve dinner for two. This meal package excludes the roasted beef tenderloin in favor of your choice of entrée with a side and a shareable dessert for $99. Orders must be placed 24 hours ahead of pickup time.
The celebration feast is available for pickup every day from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. through Dec. 31, and the Christmas Eve dinner for two is available for pickup from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Dec. 24. You can find more information on the Christmas menu packages here.
Aba, 1011 S. Congress Ave.
Craving some Mediterranean food this holiday season? Order your Christmas menu from Aba. The new restaurant is offering a unique holiday meal featuring wild mushroom hummus, grilled chicken kebabs with lemon dill rice, braised short ribs, crispy Brussels sprouts, and roasted carrots with labneh. The restaurant meal also includes dessert: Stracciatella with persimmons and a double chocolate cake.
This Christmas feast costs $48.95 per person and is available for groups of two, four or six. Orders must be placed by Dec. 22 at 3 p.m. and pickup is on Dec. 24 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can place an order for Abas Christmas Eve meal package here.
Along with this Christmas dinner menu, Aba is also offering a special Hanukkah meal for pickup through Dec. 18.
Contigo Catering, 3709 Promontory Point Dr.
This year, Contigo Catering is offering a festive menu that will put all past holiday dinners to shame. It is $628 and serves 10 people. It features charcuterie and cheese to help start off your dinner, four different dips and spreads, four appetizers and three desserts.
Contigo Catering is also offering other packages this year, including a dinner party-themed one for $785, which includes port-braised brisket with fennel and a cinnamon-rubbed whole chicken, and a holiday cocktail menu for $732, which comes with a grazing station as well as tarts and turnovers. Both menus feed 10.
Orders must be placed four days ahead and are available for pickup or delivery. You can place an order for your holiday meal here.
Sala & Betty, 5201 Airport Blvd.
Although Christmastime is beloved for its traditions, switching up your menu might be the right call this year. Sala & Betty is offering three different types of Christmas menus: "The Feast of 7 Fishes" features scalloped oysters; salmon rillettes; citrus shrimp; tomato-poached cod; bay scallops; mussels; crawfish; tomato broth; an orange, beet and kale salad; and a goat cheese pasta. It is $240.
The restaurant is also offering two individual plate offerings: one with short ribs for $35 or the other with turkey for $30; both includes sides and dessert.
Lastly, Sala & Betty is offering a Christmas Eve turkey meal with mashed potatoes, green beans, sweet potatoes, citrus salad, cranberry compote, rolls and dessert. The small order serves four to six people and is $225, while the large meal serves six to eight people and is $325.
Orders must be placed by Dec. 21 and picked up on Dec. 24 between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can place an order for these holiday meals here.
Walton's Fancy & Staple, 609 W. 6th St.
Walton's Fancy & Staple is offering pre-made dishes to make your Christmas dinner a little easier. The deli is offering a thyme-rubbed turkey breast with gravy, mashed potatoes, cornbread stuffing, and macaroni and cheese, as well as pies and cheesecakes to help finish off your dinner. The turkey meal is available for $10 for one serving or $50 for 10. Sides range from $6 to $28.
Orders must be placed by Dec. 18 and picked up between Dec. 21 and Dec. 24. You can place your order with Walton's Fancy & Staple by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 512-391-9966.
You can find the full menu options here.
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Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced a record-setting second quarter during an earnings call broadcasted from the Giga Texas construction site in Southeast Travis County on Monday.
The electric carmaker reported more than $1 billion in quarterly net income and the production of more than 200,000 vehicles for the first time despite challenges such as a global semiconductor shortage.
"It … seems that public sentiment towards electric vehicles is at an inflection point, and at this point, I think, almost everyone agrees electric vehicles are the only way forward," Musk said.
Exterior shots taken just a while ago of Giga Texas (while @elonmusk is reportedly at the Gigafactory!) during today's earnings call!
Hope @peterdog15 got to catch the technoking in his video! #fastestinhistory #Tesla pic.twitter.com/WqeDlb5wU3
— Austin Tesla Club (@AustinTeslaClub) July 26, 2021
Despite rising consumer demand and adequate factory capacity, Tesla faces what Musk described as a "quite serious" global semiconductor shortage, which will determine the company's growth rate for the rest of the year.
With increased revenue and production, Tesla is investing in new factories, Chief Financial Officer Zachary Kirkhorn said. These include Giga Texas, the $1.1 billion manufacturing plant that broke ground last summer and is slated to open later this year.
The Giga Texas factory in Southeast Travis County has rapidly increased in size since ground broke last August. (Tesla)
Musk commended the construction team for "incredible progress," transforming what was basically a vacant site into "a mostly complete large factory a year later."
I was at Giga Texas yesterday. Team is making excellent progress. Building will be almost a mile long when complete.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 25, 2021
Giga Texas will produce the highly anticipated Cybertruck, along with other models, but Musk said scaling its production will be difficult, especially given the supply chain delays caused by the pandemic. "It's going to move as fast as the slowest of its up to 10,000 unique parts," he said.
In other news, Musk said Monday's earnings call would likely be his last regular appearance, only jumping on future quarterly calls when big announcements warrant it.
Tesla Solar recently made news when it announced plans to build the nation's most sustainable residential community in Southeast Austin earlier this month. The newly built homes will feature Tesla solar roof tiles and Powerwall battery storage as well as electric vehicle charging stations.
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The city of Austin released a shortlist of seven candidates for the police chief position left vacant when Brian Manley retired in March.
City Manager Spencer Cronk hopes to announce an appointment by the end of August, which will require City Council approval.
The finalists, chosen from a field of 46 applicants, include:
- APD Interim Chief Joseph Chacon, who previously served as an assistant chief in the department for almost five years
- Anne Kirkpatrick, former police chief in Oakland, California, who was fired last year after a federal monitor criticized her handling of a fatal 2018 police shooting of a homeless man
- Dallas Police Department Assistant Chief Avery L. Moore, who is a 30-year veteran of the department
- Atlanta Police Department Deputy Chief Celeste Murphy, who manages the department's community services division
- Dekalb County Police Chief Mirtha V. Ramos, who previously served as division chief in the Miami-Dade Police Department
- Wichita Police Department Chief Gordon Ramsay, who is a former president of the Minnesota Police Chief's Association as well as one of the first police chiefs of a major U.S. City to call George Floyd's death a murder, as reported by the Wichita Eagle
- Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Emada E. Tingirides, who is also commanding officer of the department's newly formed Community Safety Partnership Bureau, which serves L.A.'s underserved communities
City staff will interview the finalists in the coming weeks, with several community input opportunities to come, according to a Monday press release.
The city conducted a public survey in March and hosted community input meetings in April to learn more about what residents are looking for in their next police chief, which helped shape the selection criteria for the position.
"They want to see the Chief be reform-minded and transparent and have a track record of fostering community involvement and accountability," Cronk said in the release. "The candidates selected show these characteristics in various ways."
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Days after Austin began once again recommending masks in public spaces, Austin ISD announced Monday that kindergarten through sixth-grade classes will have virtual options this fall.
The district will discuss the move in a special board meeting Monday evening starting at 5 p.m., while full details will be released Friday.
Teachers will not have to fret about the new option—no educators will have to juggle both virtual and in-person learning. Instead, certain teachers will specialize in virtual education, according to a press release.
The news comes after a recent spike in COVID cases in Travis County and across the nation. Children typically suffer fewer symptoms of COVID when contracted, but they are now catching the virus more often than their older counterparts without a vaccine available to them and as the more contagious Delta variant is quickly being spread.
While local health officials are recommending everyone wear masks, public school districts are unable to mandate masks due to an executive order issued by Gov. Greg Abbott in May.
Parents have expressed concern about classrooms with masks unenforceable and children under the age of 12 ineligible for a vaccine. Some have even said they would look for alternative schooling if AISD did not offer a virtual option for students.
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