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Greeting us at the door wearing a denim apron with a pocket for his thermometer, Robert E. Jones’ level of preparedness would put any Boy Scout to shame. He’s already got saffron threads steeping in cream and white wine on the stove; sourdough muffins baked (from a starter named “Seymour”) and standing by; homemade basil ice cream chilling in the freezer; lobster cooked this very morning from a crate he personally brought from Maine on the airplane two days before; and red snapper — flown in overnight from Galveston — already gutted, gilled, scaled and ready for the grill.
With grocery stores like Whole Foods Market and Sprouts donating produce to Austin food pantries and setting up community gardens, one could assume that the value of produce donations from at-home gardeners is diminishing. But in reality, the demand for fresh produce is on the rise in Austin’s food pantries, and individual growers can give back to the community by donating their home-harvested fruits and vegetables to food pantries — no matter how small their surplus.
Sustainable Food Center brings together more than 45 farmers and ranchers every Saturday at our two farmers’ markets: Downtown (422 Guadalupe St.) and Sunset Valley (3200 Jones Rd.). Walk the aisles on a Saturday morning, and you’ll meet passionate folks selling local oyster mushrooms, pastured eggs and the best heirloom tomatoes around. But behind the bustling faces of these thriving markets is the reality that farmland is dissipating in Central Texas at a dizzying rate. Travis County alone loses the equivalent of six football fields of cropland to development every single day. In a region with a rapidly growing population and a huge demand for local food, this data begs the question: where are our farmers farming?
Raise a glass of viognier to your nose, and you are surrounded by the enchanting scent of a bouquet of orange blossoms, honeysuckle and roses. Take a sip, and the flavors of tangerine, peaches and maybe a touch of mango dance across your tongue. With the body and versatility of chardonnay, yet with softer acidity than some other white grapes, viognier is an easy wine to love.
By Bambi Edlund
Possum Park is a vegan enclave that has coalesced around a shared courtyard of picnic tables and canopied patio dining sets. Made up of four food trucks, a camper trailer and one brick-and-mortar bakery, the density of vegan food options at Possum Park is making this offbeat community an Austin destination.
Giving back to our community is deliciously simple this summer, thanks to the folks at Central Texas Food Bank. The second annual Austin Restaurant Weeks, a city-wide fundraiser for the food bank, returns August 15 through September 2 this year. Many top restaurants and bars in Austin will offer special prix fixe lunches, dinners and drinks, with a portion of the cost from each dish and drink going directly to the food bank to help fight hunger.
Potatoes just might be the most universally loved and utilized member of the produce community. They’re customizable, filling and affordable (the median potato price in the United States was 72 cents per pound in 2018), and it seems there’s no end to the many shapes and textures a spud can take on. Consider, for example, the beloved French fry. You know a side dish is widely accepted when it's sold for 99 cents at fast food restaurants as well as alongside filet mignon at a vastly different price point. Therein lies the beauty and power of the potato. What else can be both an utterly low-brow treat and a high-end, starchy work of art?
No matter if you have been going to Fredericksburg for years or are planning your first visit to Texas Wine Country, here are some new spots that should make your list when exploring the area. As always, Fredericksburg’s historic Main Street features over 150 shops, art galleries, restaurants as well as wine tasting rooms. With so much to see and do, you will need to stay awhile so check out the area’s more than 1,300 unique guesthouses, B&Bs, and hotels.
Insider tip: For the ultimate getaway, book a midweek trip to Fredericksburg where you will find the best value on accommodations, a more relaxed pace while shopping, more space to explore museums, a more personalized experience at wineries and less wait times at restaurants.
Situated on 60 acres and featuring 12 varietals and 60,000 vines in its estate vineyard, Augusta Vin Winery is located just south of downtown Fredericksburg. Its newly completed two-story, timber-framed tasting room boasts panoramic views of the vineyard, while offering indoor seating areas for couples or groups and outdoor patio space to enjoy the Texas Hill Country landscape and award-winning vino.
Explore wines from around the world, including Chile and South Africa, at the newly opened Safari Winery. Owned by a sixth-generation Fredericksburg family, Safari Winery brings wines from different parts of the world to a spacious tasting room filled with handcrafted wood features. Located on Highway 290 East, this winery’s back patio is the perfect spot to relax and enjoy live music.
Located in the rolling hills of Central Texas just 10 minutes east of downtown Fredericksburg, Signor Vineyards is focused on growing premium varietal fruit and the crafting of exceptional, soulful wines. The winery’s tasting room is located inside the Vineyard Estate House, designed and built by famed architect Isaac Maxwell. The grounds of the winery also feature majestic oak trees, manicured gardens and Joanna’s Market featuring snacks, sweets and gifts.
Housed in the historic Fredericksburg Laundry building, Blackchalk Home & Laundry carries some of the most unique home decor and gifts in the Texas Hill Country. Curated with eclectic furniture and home goods from around the world, this store has become a must-see for any visitor to Fredericksburg’s Warehouse District – located just one block south of Main Street.
Offering a little of everything, Fritztown Mercantile has gifts, souvenirs, t-shirts and hats featuring Fredericksburg icons like Enchanted Rock, peaches, history and more. In the heart of Main Street, Fritztown Mercantile has that special something to help you commemorate any trip to town or show off your pride for the Texas Hill Country.
On the West End of Fredericksburg, this fine art gallery features the work of local artist Catherine Massaro. Catherine works in multiple disciplines including oil painting, assemblage, handmade cards, prints, photography, jewelry and also carries her branded organic coffee - Atlas Organic Coffee.
Places To Eat
What started as Ranch Road Roasters has involved to include Caliche Coffee Bar, which is open seven days a week with Fredericksburg’s only locally-roasted coffee and a delicious menu that includes bowls, avocado toast, scones, muffins and breakfast tacos. Enjoy your coffee and bites in a relaxed setting across from the Pioneer Museum on Main Street.
A one-stop-shop for something to satisfy your sweet tooth, Pritzer Sweet Shop makes some of the town’s top treats. Offering cookies, cakes, pies and more, this Main Street spot opened in 2019 and is owned by the family, who previously ran Fredericksburg Bakery, which was famous for its sweet German Pretzels – that recipe is now at Pritzer and the pretzels are the store’s most popular item.
A local favorite, Western Edge Kitchen & Cocktails, serves lunch and dinner seven days a week and offers breakfast on Saturday and Sunday. Enjoy a wonderful selection of wine, cocktails, premium craft beer on tap and amazing live music in a warm and comfortable environment. Located on the West End of Fredericksburg, the menu includes anything from burgers to bacon wrapped quail, flatbread pizzas to crawfish stuffed mushrooms and chicken & waffles to filet mignon.
Things to Do
This 120-acre brewery featuring an authentic-Bavarian style building is hard to miss as you drive in to Fredericksburg from Austin. They are dedicated to creating the purest, easy-drinking beers guided by the historic German purity law of 1516. Altstadt's premium German-style beers are carefully made using only four ingredients - hops, barley, yeast and artesian spring water. The destination features a fine dining restaurant, brewery tours and a beautiful venue perfect for an elegant Texas Hill Country wedding or corporate event.
For a truly unique experience, sign up for a Fischer & Wieser Culinary Adventure Cooking School class. Located on the grounds of the historic and scenic Das Peach Haus, attendees can learn to cook, learn to taste, learn to share and learn to laugh with classes that range from a four-course meal to German food and a deliciously sweet pastry class.
The newest revitalized area of the National Museum of the Pacific War, the Admiral Nimitz Gallery, will have its grand opening on February 22. Focused on the life of Chester W. Nimitz, the Admiral Nimitz Gallery is in the finishing stages of an eight-month renovation that has brought it up to the level of the rest of the world-class National Museum of the Pacific War.
Expect a relaxing time during a stay at the Cabins at Red Rock, which includes six cabins that can house up to 20 people with wide open spaces, starry skies and personal touches. At less than 10 minutes from Main Street and the heart of Texas Wine Country you will feel a world away while still being close to all town has to offer. Four “couples” cabins feature king-sized beds, private showers, equipped kitchenettes, satellite TV and WiFi. Enjoy the beautiful views from the front porch rocking chairs, while two larger cabins can each sleep up to six people.
If you want to visit Fredericksburg with a group of friends, Jenschke Haus offers 3,000 square feet of air conditioned living space, five bedrooms, 3.5 bathrooms, a screened back porch, outdoor shower, fire pit, lighted Bocce ball and a completely private hot tub. This newly remodeled historic home is only a two minute walk from Main Street.
Take advantage of Fredericksburg’s walkable downtown by staying at The Lodge Above Town Creek. Just one block off of Main Street, this property has 16 suites that overlook Town Creek and a patio area that includes a pool and outdoor fireplace. Each suite features a king bed, but some are multi-level with expanded seating areas and kitchenettes. Other features include Jacuzzi tubs and overhead rain showers.
Enjoy all of these great new spots and discover why Fredericksburg has been named the best small town in Texas during a midweek adventure. For more information on a visit to Fredericksburg go to VisitFredericksburgTX.com #advertisingspotlight #sponsored #weloveoursponsors
As COVID-19 continues to affect communities everywhere, local restaurants are partnering with Austin ISD to provide meals to students and caregivers through funding from the City of Austin and the Austin Ed Fund. To date, Henbit, Easy Tiger and three Good Work Austin restaurants, including Colleen’s Kitchen, Contigo and L’oca d’Oro, have prepared nearly 150,000 meals with plans to continue through the end of August. “I think one of the most interesting things during the last three months has been the need to respond very quickly to anything that presents itself as an opportunity,” Ben Edgerton of Contigo says.
Through their partnership with Austin ISD, these restaurants are increasing food access to the community and helping local producers maintain their production levels. The initiative has also allowed restaurants to continue to employ staff or bring back team members who were let go or furloughed as a result of forced closures and reduced business.
The Austin ISD meal delivery program provides two meals per day to students at more than 80 locations with additional meals for caregivers. Meals can be picked up five days a week with extra meals distributed on Fridays that are designed to last through the weekend. “One thing that’s unique about the program is while we deliver meals five days a week to schools, we’re delivering an entire week’s worth of breakfast and lunches. So, each restaurant is preparing seven unique breakfasts and seven unique lunches that are then packaged together,” Ashley Colleen Fric of Colleen’s Kitchen says.
On average, Austin ISD serves nearly 14,000 student meals per day. Now, through the Austin ISD Crisis Support Fund – an initiative established by Austin ISD and the Austin Ed Fund – approximately 28,000 meals are distributed each week to caregivers as well as students.
More information about Austin ISD meal sites, dates and times, can be found at austinisd.org/covid19/meals.
Story by Sarah McConnell
In keeping with a literary theme, this spring issue features some favorite local authors in our new Edible LIt department.
Sarah Bird writes about, well, books and Homesick Texan blogger Lisa Fain interviews author Carol Dawson about her book House of Plenty: The Rise, Fall and Revival of Luby's Cafeterias, with an excerpt included.
Austin boasts more than 30 community gardens dotted around the city. Some have been around for decades, such as Sunshine Community Gardens and Deep Eddy Organic Community Gardens, and some have blossomed over the last decade with more than two-thirds sprouting since 2004. Much of that growth can be credited to the work of the Sustainable Food Center (SFC) and the Coalition of Austin Community Gardens, as well as increased attention from the City of Austin through the Sustainable Urban Agriculture department. Find a community garden in your area!
There are two things on my mind as I write this note. The first is how grateful I am to our editorial staff. From the gentle and strong guidance of editor Kim Lane, who works closely with our writers to best craft the stories we feel will inform, entertain—and hopefully enlighten and provoke action—to our diligent copy-editing, proofreading and fact-checking team who have been poring over these pages for the past few weeks, finding countless things to fix.
Without them, you would be puzzling over why a recipe serving a dozen people would call for 11 pounds of chèvre (it's one pound) and what the heck a barspoon measure is (it's roughly equivalent to one teaspoon or one eighth ounce). And worse.
Welcome to our inaugural edition of Edible Austin COOKS! We hope you enjoy reading it with as much pleasure as we had in its creation. We’d like to thank our contributors as well as our story subjects for their hard work and talents shared. You can find full bios and contact information for our contributors, plus many additional recipes and resources online at edibleaustin.com. And please support our advertisers, who make this all possible. — Marla Camp, publisher
Welcome to our second annual edition of Edible Austin COOKS! We hope you enjoy reading it with as much pleasure as we had in its creation. We’d like to thank our contributors as well as our story subjects for their hard work and talents shared. You can find full bios and contact information for our contributors, plus many additional recipes and resources online at edibleaustin.com. And please support our advertisers, who make this all possible.
By Christine Whalen
Last February, I traveled to Peru with my husband’s family to visit close friends, Jorge and Pierina—Peruvian locals who’d offered to help us navigate the country and its cuisine. From the hearty potatoes and corn in the mountains to the tropical fruit in Lima and the Amazon, the food was incredibly fresh, varied and abundant. We spent several days around chilly Cusco—the historic Inca capital about 11,000 feet above sea level—and stayed warm by drinking hot herbal infusions and eating quinoa soup and choclo, a giant-kerneled corn served with slabs of queso fresco that’s sold on the street.
Welcome to our third annual edition of Edible Austin COOKS! This year's issue is packed with recipes and tips for the home cook. Take a glimpse into the kitchens of local chefs and celebrities. Get a lesson on potato gnocchi and the mother sauces. And great some great ideas for holiday parties and gatherings.
By Amy Crowell
When Europeans first came to Texas, the Tonkawas were the major Native American group that resided in our area. They hunted many things such as buffalo, deer, rabbit and turkey, and in lean times, skunk, opossum and a variety of bugs. They relied on foraged plants throughout the year, though, and migrated from river bottoms to high ground to take advantage of seasonal harvests from berry or fruit patches.
Gift Guide: It's hard to think of the perfect holiday gift for everyone in your life. Edible Austin wants to help! Take a break, grab a cup of luxurious hot chocolate and peruse our list of local gifts that we'd personally love to unwrap this season (hint hint)
The newly opened Coterie Market has some uniquely stunning Austin-made pieces from artisans like Son of a Sailor and Fail.
For Her: If you're going to splurge, we quite like the beautiful brass Isis Two Tiered Necklace for $140 by Fail.
For Him: Canoe is sprucing up the classic Opinel knife–check out the Arrow Opinel No. 6 Pocket Knife for $38.
Their other holiday offerings are here, but use this online order form.
Thank you for your interest in Edible Austin. One of our Account Representatives will be in touch with you soon with more information.