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From the outside, the ’80s ranch-style home on a cul-de-sac in Southwest Austin looks like any other, but follow a dirt path lined with raised beds of nasturtiums, Swiss chard and Turk’s cap to the backyard. Instead of a lawn, you’ll find a space overflowing with beds of fragrant edible herbs and flowers. Welcome to La Flaca.
For many of us, the holiday season means pie, and lots of it. While pumpkin and pecan pies will likely be on the menu at your holiday feasts this season, buttermilk pie is a favorite here in Texas, as well.
Happy New Year, readers! For our small-but-mighty team at Edible Austin, the arrival of the new year brings a fresh start, new beginnings and hopeful resolutions — sentiments I hope you can all relate to. The print edition of this issue also reflects those exciting notions, as we are debuting a new look for the magazine starting with the January/February issue.
Among the changes, we moved the directory of advertisers out of the issue and onto here, our website! You can easily access more information about our partners, quickly find their contact information and learn how to support them. Our partners are essential because they allow us to bring you this publication free of charge! These local restaurants, businesses and artisans also help us accomplish our mission:
To transform the way Central Texans eat by connecting them to the local food growers, producers and makers, thereby strengthening the local food economy and creating a sustainable local food system. Edible Austin is a locally owned media company and the authority on the local food scene as captured in print and digital and through our community events.
Cheers to fresh starts!
This neighborhood dive bar, new to the East Side, prides itself on good food and a friendly atmosphere. The Cavalier’s laid-back ambience is reflected on two mirrors flanking the bar — posted on them in bold lettering are the house rules, “No Religion” and “No Politics.” And the bar’s motto, “You Be You,” is displayed on the bathroom doors. Owners Chadwick Leger and Rachelle Fox have worked in the Austin food scene for years, and they recently opened The Cavalier to have a spot of their own. The culinary influences of Leger, originally from Louisiana, and Fox, who grew up working at her father’s Caribbean restaurant here in Austin, can be seen throughout the bar. The menu has a Southern touch, but Fox’s Caribbean roots peek through in the dishes. Stop by for a draft zombie cocktail, jerk chicken wings or boudin balls.
2400 Webberville Rd.
Photography by Nathan Beels
Hard to pronounce (it’s more-VED), but easy to drink, mourvèdre has become a favorite of Texas winemakers. Originally from the Catalonia region of Spain, where it is called monastrell, the grape produces deep, spicy red wines and is used as a blending grape in rosé cava. In the Bandol region of France, winemakers use mourvèdre, which can age for decades, to create intense reds as well as light, Provençal rosés.
Jen Holmer El-Azzi lights up when talking about sourdough. “It’s like maaa-gic,” she says slowly and playfully with a big smile — like a good witch casting a spell.
When Jessica McClard created the first Little Free Pantry in 2016, inspired by the Little Free Libraries she would see in her hometown of Fayetteville, Arkansas, she didn’t anticipate how quickly the movement would take off.
In Homer’s The Odyssey, Odysseus and his indomitable wife, Penelope, set the modern standard for using olive trees as interior decor: the foundation of their bed was carved into the roots of a living olive tree that had grown deep into the hillside where they built their home. And while Homer’s olive tree stood as an exquisite symbol of the couple’s deeply rooted love, if you decide to keep an olive tree in your home, I recommend keeping it in a large pot so you can move it around for optimal decor and plant health.
On a gray, windy afternoon 10 days before Christmas and a week after the most spectacular snow in the memory of most Central Texans, I’m heading across the flat ranchland east of the Balcones Fault to Rockdale, Texas. I’m looking for Renda Graham, owner and operator of Bad Girl BBQ, a pink flamingo-adorned food truck open for business most Thursdays and Fridays in the parking lot of Stoney’s Liquor.
We have beautiful products in Central Texas, especially on the seam of the two seasons that coincides with Thanksgiving. Winter squash and lettuces are available, but tomatoes aren’t out of the question, either. Persimmons and apples are easy to find, and, with a little ingenuity, you can arrange for ducks, turkeys, pheasants and doves (think of them as little turkeys.) There’s no need to use words like “bounty” or “cornucopia”—just take a look around and see what’s growing, swimming or flying.
Our Thanksgiving menu reflects what’s available now and here. If you’re a traditionalist, mix a few new dishes in with your old favorites. Either way, I don’t think there’s a better way to celebrate.
Also, Honor the Animal with Hugh Fitzsimmons as he field harvests his bison with compassion and grace. And learn about Brenton Johnson who started a garden in his backyard and now has a thriving CSA.
We are excited to support a local initiative called Citizen Foodie, spearheaded by Brandi Clark, Austin’s dynamic grassroots-community activist (she is chair of the board for Austin CarShare, sustainability officer for the proposed, socially and environmentally-responsible One Earth Bank and Austin Eco Network founder, to name just a few of her endeavors). The Citizen Foodie program, a re-imagining of the post–World War II victory gardens, is inspired in part by L.A.-based eco-artist Fritz Haeg’s international edible-front-yard project embraced by Austin earlier this year. It is currently being developed in conjunction with an impressive slate of local nonprofit food and gardening organizations and businesses. This initiative aims to exponentially increase the amount of private and public land used for organic and sustainable food cultivation in our area, making nutritious, local food more readily available to all.
And, because this is an election season, and because we as individuals can collectively make a big impact on how our food future plays out, please consider the power of your vote and honor its voice. Vote with your fork!
By Amy Crowell
During the severe Texas drought of the 1950s, my grandpa quit farming and went to work for the rural electric cooperative. His parched corn stood crispy in the dust. The cracks in the field were so big that my mom, five at the time, was afraid she’d fall in and never get out. Yet, even though he quit farming on a grand scale, my grandpa never gave up his garden that produced food for his family until the day he died.
By Dan Imhoff
This summer marks the anniversary of our third year of publishing Edible Austin. Three years doesn’t seem like such a very long time, but it certainly feels like much has changed in our local food world. Three summers ago, there were farmers markets in Austin just two days of the week (Wednesday and Saturday). Now you can shop for fresh, locally grown food five days a week—and in many more convenient locations around Austin and Central Texas.
It must be raining somewhere...
Rain is part of the hydrologic cycle of energy that we call "weather." As water evaporates from the surface of our earth, it must just as assuredly fall, somewhere.
And there are pauses in the cycle. There are dry cycles and wet cycles.