Proof & Cooper invited me out to Dripping Springs to check out their fun “picnic-casual” restaurant. I almost declined because I didn’t want to make the 30 minute drive from Austin… (Haha…lazy much?) But then I thought, “why not? I should get to know Texas Hill Country restaurants better.”
Two of my girlfriends came with me, and we made an afternoon of it! I’m so happy I checked this place out, because the fried chicken is next-level awesomeness. I think it’s on par with some of the best fried chicken places in Austin! (I’m lookin’ at you, Tumble 22 and Lucy’s.) Read More
Did you make it through Whole 30 in January? Awesome. Now it’s time to indulge (*wink*), and I’m here to help you. Read on for 30 of my favorite splurge-worthy foods in Austin, Texas! Comment below with anything I left out that you think should have made the list!
Everything is made from scratch (even the frosting and fillings), because if you’re gonna have a cupcake, you should really HAVE A CUPCAKE! These are the best in Austin….they even won Food Network’s Cupcake Wars in 2013.
Layer upon layer of ice cream, cookies, whipped cream, fudge sauce, and toppings make this the Cold Cookie Co’s number 1 seller. You can customize it with any flavor of ice cream, cookies, and toppings you want!
This is one of the few BBQ trucks in Austin that’s both really really good and doesn’t have a 3-hour line. (You should expect to wait 15-30 min, though.) Don’t skimp on the sides! Those jalapeño cheese grits and lemon poppy slaw are amazing.
Lick Honest Ice Creams is one of Austin’s best ice cream shops because they make small batch ice cream using local ingredients. Some of the flavors change with the seasons, but a few of my favorites (that are always around) are Texas Sheet Cake, Caramel Salt Lick, and Goat Cheese, Thyme, and Honey.
These are one of my favorite macarons in the city of Austin, so they’re well worth the indulgence! Pastry chef Soraiya Nagree is constantly creating new flavors in both her north and south Austin shops.
I’m always chatting with my food blogger friends about the “best this-or-that” in Austin, and there seems to be a pretty unanimous agreement that Torchy’s is still king in the queso department. They load it up with guacamole, cotija cheese, cilantro, and their famous diablo sauce.
She looks so innocent, but this little cruller that I found at June’s All Day is one of the most addicting pieces of fried dough I’ve ever tried! The texture isn’t like a normal donut…it’s a lot lighter and fluffier and it just melts in your mouth…
Pulled chicken, buffalo cheddar béchamel, cavatappi pasta, and a bleu cheese crust make this one of theeee most indulgent mac n cheese dishes you can find. Bonus: you can enjoy it at Marker 10’s lakeside patio with a view of the South Congress bridge.
It won a GABF gold medal for Large Brewpub of the Yeartwo years in a row! If you’re gonna indulge in the pizza + beer combo anywhere in Austin, this is the place to do it! Nate and I love this place so much that we had our wedding rehearsal dinner here.
Chi’lantro started as a food truck and now they have FIVE locations….Austin loves ’em! The Original Kimchi Fries are your choice of protein (spicy pork, spicy chicken, soy-glazed chicken, tofu, or ribeye beef), caramelized kimchi, cheddar + monterey jack, onions, cilantro, magic sauce, sesame seeds, sriracha on a crispy bed of french fries
This little donut shop opened in 2016 and kinda took Austin by storm!! We’re obsessed! The basics, like maple bacon, double berry, and cinnadough, are fantastic and always around. The seasonal ones are fun to try if you’re craving seconds. (Trust me, you will be.)
This is a bit of a tease, because it hasn’t opened yet (as of Feb 2018), but Bird Bird Biscuit (from the Thunderbird coffee team) will be opening in spring of 2018. These biscuit sandwiches are NO JOKE.
This is an old school Austin bakery and restaurant that has been serving up some of the best bread-heavy breakfasts since 1981. Their french toast is thick, eggy, sweet, and dusted in a fine layer of powdered sugar.
This is, hands down, some of the best homemade Italian food you’ll find in Austin. If you’re going to splurge on a carb-heavy Italian meal, Andiamo is the place to do it!
28. The congress Burger at Second Bar and Kitchen
One of my favorite burgers in Austin, and completely customizable! It starts with ground brisket + chuck, shallot confit, gruyere, greens, tomatoes, and horseradish pickles. Then, you can choose to add foie gras, egg, avocado, or crispy pork belly. You can’t go wrong with any of those!
This is one of the tastiest grilled cheese sandwiches you’ll find in Austin! Burro Cheese Kitchen starts with Easy Tiger sourdough bread, then melts aged cheddar, gouda, caramelized onions, pepperonis, and spicy maple bacon sauce. Yup, you heard me! Spicy maple bacon.
For 2018, I’m doing a different goal every month. Here’s why: because I’ve never been able to keep the same New Year’s resolution for 12 months straight…haha! And this just seems like more fun to me, so I’m flowing with it!
In January, I decided to meditate every single day. I got interested in meditating after reading Jen Sincero’s book You Are A Badass and listening to The Lively Show podcast. Both of these sources talk about the INCREDIBLE results you achieve from taking a few moments each day to quiet your mind and listen to your intuition. It just takes 5 minutes a ay, so I figured I didn’t have much to lose… Read More
TLC is a new regional Texas comfort food restaurant in south Austin, and I’m really excited it’s here! I went to try it out with my friends Rachel and Mark on Sunday for lunch, and here’s what you should know: Read More
I have to mention something real fast before I move on to the book review: I was invited in to TLC Austin for a restaurant tasting yesterday, and I’m SO excited about this new place! There aren’t a lot of Austin restaurants that are specifically designed for large groups. When someone asks me for a recommendation for a casual restaurant for 20 people, I usually send them to Pinthouse Pizza or Banger’s…. But if you’re not in the mood for pizza, or you don’t want to deal with Rainey street parking, there aren’t a lot of great options. TLC is a “southern Texas comfort” restaurant, and it’s a big indoor space with TONS of giant picnic tables and lots of natural light. It’s a family-friendly place with an entire room devoted to the kids, complete with a chalkboard wall and arcade games. The food is wonderful, and the bar has an expansive selection of draft beer and draft cocktails.
Phew, that was a long little side note, but I’m too excited about it not to share! I feel that TLC is going to fill a gap in the Austin dining scene. We’ve needed more group dining experiences for a while!
Moving along to my January Reads… I finished 7 books this month, and I started (and then put down) a couple others. I am finally getting to the point in my reading journey where I’m telling myself it’s ok to stop a book halfway if I’m not enjoying it.
Here’s the thing: for most of my high school/college/grad school years I wasn’t reading any “fun” books. When I finally got back into the groove of reading in 2016, I forced myself to finish books, even if I didn’t love them. I’m goal-oriented, sometimes to a fault… I knew if I set a goal as a number of books to read, I’d start reading.
I’m afraid I became too concerned with reading a certain number of books each month rather than paying attention to whether I was loving the experience of that particular book. And that’s the whole point of reading, right?
So I failed to finish 3 books this month, and I have no intention of ever going back to read them. They just weren’t for me!
I did read 7 GREAT ones, though! I’m sharing those with you today. 5 fiction, 1 memoir, and 1 food book. Here they are:
Oh my goodness….everyone needs to read this book!! (It’s YA fiction, so it’s very quick read.) Wonder follows a year in the life of August Pullman, a 5th grader who was born with severe facial defects. This is his first year to attend school after being homeschooled for his entire life, and Y’ALL! I cried so many times while reading this! It pulled at my heartstrings.
It’s been made into a movie, and I’ve heard great things about it but not seen it yet. Have you?
I read this book because….hello!? Richard Branson has one of the craziest and most inspiring business stories I’ve ever heard! I’ve heard many of his interviews, but I wanted to read his entire account of his life. If you’re looking for an inspiring bio to whip your butt into shape, read this!!
Here’s the thing: Losing My Virginity could have been about half as long. Toward the end I was aaaalmost thinking of stopping early, but my type-A personality wouldn’t let me get 90% of the way through without finishing it. Haha.
Richard Branson’s story is absolutely inspiring, and I enjoyed reading about it….but I’m going to wait a few months before I’m ready to read his latest release, Finding My Virignity (Oct 2017) because he’s a very chatty man and his books are long!
I decided that I want to read more historical fiction in 2018…it’s just a genre I really enjoy! I started with something quick and easy. Orphan Train was published in 2013, and I remember thinking about reading it back then, but I just wasn’t reading very much at that point in my life.
So I finally picked it up this January. It follows a young girl in the 1920s who immigrates to NYC with her family, only to shortly experience a fire in their apartment. As the only survivor, she is orphaned and placed on the “orphan train,” a group of thousands of children who were shipped out to be adopted by families in the midewestern United States.
This story line drew me in, and I finished the book in one sitting! This would be a fun vacation read, because it’s engaging from the very beginning, emotional, and easy to read.
Here’s another fun one I read in an attempt to consume more historical fiction! A Fall of Marigolds follows two stories that are 90 years apart: a young nurse who witnesses the man she loves fall to his death in the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in 1911, and a widow who has lost her husband in the collapse of the World Trade Towers of September 11.
The scarf that ties these two stories together might be a little far-fetched, but the question this book asks intrigued me: if you learn a new truth about someone after they’ve died, does that alter the reality of who you thought you knew before?
I read this for book club this month! It wasn’t my turn to pick a book, but I’m glad that Jess picked this 1987 novel because I’ve been meaning to read it for a while. (Book club got delayed, so we still haven’t discussed it….I’m looking forward to that next week!)
I just realized, but this was the third novel I read in January that weaves together past and present story lines. Fried Green Tomatoes takes place in Whistle Stop, Alabama alternating between 1920s and 1980. It’s a classic book that has also been adapted to a film, so I’m sure you’ve heard of this one already. It’s funny, sad, endearing, and probably a very good representation of what it was like to live in Alabama in that era. The dehumanizing effect of racism are horrible to read about.
LOVED this one! It would totally be a great vacation/beach read! It’s my first one by this author, but I’ll be reading more.
Hannah is a 29-year-old without much direction to her life. One night, shortly after moving back home to LA, she’s faced with the decision to leave the bar and spend the night with her ex-boyfriend from high school, or just go back home to her place.
Each chapter of the book alternates plot lines: one where she went home with him, and the next where she didn’t. Maybe In Another Life plays with the idea of “what if I hadn’t made that one decision? Would everything in my life be different?”
I can’t recommend this book enough! I read it cover-to-cover, but it’s also sitting on my cookbook shelf in the kitchen for easy access. He has all sorts of tips and tricks about learning about wine, appreciating a good bottle, learning how to order wine at a restaurants, and buying/aging/serving/storing wine at home. And he’s hilarious and super down-to-earth, too!
Your turn! Any books you’d like to recommend to me? I’m specifically looking for more foodie memories and historical fiction novels.