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Edible Austin Celebrations will help you plan out your next few months of holiday parties and get you through the gift giving season, with tons of ideas for presents and party tips. Then, bookmark it as a future resource for artisan gifts and event vendors all year long.
SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION
The phrase "We're all in this together" has never rang truer to us than recently. We are here to help support our local businesses and see them succeed, and we know that our readers and those local businesses will be there to support us as well.
So let's all take care of each other. If your garden is growing abundantly this year, consider donating some of those fresh fruits and vegetables to your local food pantry. Also, if you have native plants growing for those butterflies and bees to snack on, consider making or installing a native bee home as well.
We've taken a deeper dive into a grape varietal that withstands the Texas climate and has many local winemakers experimenting with new styles. We're also featuring a great story about a local bread maker whose enthusiasm for reviving an old ingredient has inspired local chefs and artisans, and will hopefully inspire you, too.
Cheers to supporting one another!
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.
Tara Chapman didn’t expect to fall in love with bees. She took her first beekeeping class on a whim, seeking a bit of work-life balance. Instead of just an inspiring hobby, beekeeping quickly became her obsession, and then her job. She went on to launch Two Hives Honey in 2015.
When Tito Beveridge first began producing and selling Tito’s Handmade Vodka in Austin over 20 years ago, a local nonprofit called him up and asked if he could donate a couple of cases of his vodka to their fundraising event.
In the sun-soaked cafés of Lisbon, Portugal, the tables are crowded with plates piled high with fresh seafood and wine glasses filled with aromatic, crisp alvarinho. The popular Vinho Verde, named “green wine” because it is picked early, is ubiquitous on the Portuguese coast. Although the grape is originally from Portugal, it is the Rías Baixas region of Spain that is best known for albariño, with the versatile white grape accounting for over 90 percent of its plantings.
Take a look at what our staff is enjoying this month.
It's going to take all of us working together to get through this. It helps when you live in a community with as much heart as Central Texas.
by Sarah McConnell / photography by Ralph Yznaga
“Can we just make our own?”
Darian Washington didn’t know it at the time, but this simple question posed by her then-11-year-old son, Derrick, had just set the wheels of Oatmeal & Company in motion. Two years later, Washington now brings her own twist to the classic breakfast item, pairing flavors that include blueberry cardamom, lemon lavender and smoked peach bourbon.
Washington’s entrance into the oatmeal industry didn’t come from any particular love of oatmeal but from the desire to provide a delicious, convenient and wholesome breakfast for her son, a self-described “Pop Tart addict.” In hope of enticing Derrick to try something new, she had brought home a sample of banana, espresso and chocolate overnight oats. But he swiftly countered her efforts with his simple request to “just make our own.” Using a blend of warm spices, almond milk, apricots, cranberries and specialty ingredients from the Korean market, Washington and her son concocted their own hazelnut apricot overnight oats. “Wait, Mom, this is really good,” Washington says she remembers Derrick saying. And with that, Oatmeal & Company was born.
About a year after launching the company, Washington moves around the kitchen on a warm March day, lovingly crafting a bowl of blueberry cardamom oatmeal with Derrick close by, and explains how the unexpected business venture came to fruition.
Originally from a small town just north of Pasadena, California, she moved to Austin in 2017 to accept a position in corporate retail and marketing with Whole Foods Market. In January 2019, however, she learned her position was being eliminated. “I went from having one life to having another life,” Washington says.
What she couldn’t see at the time, however, was that while the corporate doors in her life were closing, the doors to Oatmeal & Company — the “cushy side gig” she had started in 2018 — were beginning to open. Washington’s mindset began to change, and she saw the circumstances as an opportunity to expand Oatmeal & Company into something that could fully provide for her and Derrick. She already knew she had a desirable product: After that first fated batch of oatmeal, she had shared their creation with various friends and Whole Foods coworkers and quickly found herself with dozens of requests for her oatmeal products. Before she knew it, people were leaving empty mason jars with flavor requests and offering candies and cookies as payment for her delicious blend of oats.
Now, it was time to make Oatmeal & Company official. “Because why not? Right? You have an opportunity to do something that you think is going to make you happy. You should do it,” Washington says of the decision to fully commit to the company while putting a pot of boiling water on the stove. On those first few tough days when the weight of her circumstances and the new endeavor seemed overwhelming, Derrick was the constant in her life that provided the motivation she needed to keep going. “I learned that you always have to have a ‘why.’ My kid is my ‘why,’” she says with a glance and smile at her son.
When a dream like this takes shape in her mind, Washington says she visualizes herself as an archer with a quiver full of arrows. “I take an arrow out of my quiver, put it in my bow, tie that note to the end of the arrow and then I aim. I pull back, I let go and I imagine it flying through the universe with this note flailing behind it,” she says, arms extended as if holding an imaginary quiver. If the dream hasn’t come to fruition yet, Washington says, that just means the arrow is still flying.
Within the span of one short year, Oatmeal & Company’s flavors have expanded to include strawberry basil and bananas foster. According to Washington, the fun part is finding the perfect combination of flavors and textures that yields the right balance. For example, in the blueberry cardamom, the warmth of the cardamom brings out the sweetness of the blueberry while balancing its tanginess. In the smoked peach bourbon, smooth peaches enhance the subtle smokiness and temper the power of the bourbon. When asked about her favorite flavor, Washington says she is partial to both the blueberry cardamom and the strawberry basil, but especially blueberry cardamom because it’s the “collective favorite” she shares with Derrick.
As Washington puts the finishing touches on the bowl of oatmeal on the counter, she delicately adds blueberries, cardamom, cinnamon and a touch of sugar to the bowl of steamed oats before stirring the ingredients together to create a soft shade of lavender. The result is a creation that is both beautiful and delicious. While Washington cooks, Derrick stands by her in the kitchen, ready to help however she may need, chiming in to add his own details to the story. The tight bond between the two is evident, and it’s clear that, for this mother-son duo, it’s not just about making oatmeal; it’s about the process of creating and experimenting together.
Though Washington’s products aren’t in grocery stores yet, they can be found online and at a number of farmers markets in the Austin area, including SFC Farmers’ Market—Downtown, Texas Farmers Market at Lakeline Mall and Gruene Market, among others. Washington says her business goal is to see her oatmeal distributed in grocery stores across the country. Her personal goals, however, are closer to home.
“My ultimate goal is to be a grandma,” she says with a laugh. The unseen factor in Oatmeal & Company’s success is the enthusiasm, encouragement and constant support Derrick provides his mom. As they pose for a picture, the precocious 13-year-old grins up at his mom and wraps an arm protectively around her. Whatever the future holds, they’re in it together.
You can find Oatmeal & Company at local farmers' markets and order online at oatmealandcompany.com
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8th Street Market / Wander 'n' Calf
Antonelli's Cheese Shop
Arnosky Family Farms
Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts
Austin Bouldering Project
Austin Central Library
Austin City Hall
Austin Dental Spa
Austin Homebrew Supply
Austin Label Company
Austin Visitor Center
The Austin Wine Merchant
Barton Creek Farmers Market
Barton Springs Nursery
Bastrop 1832 Farmers Market
Bending Branch Winery
Bent Oak Winery
Black's BBQ (Guadalupe)
Blanco Pharmacy & Wellness
Blanco Chamber of Commerce
Blanton Museum of Art
Blue Top Brand
The Bob Bullock Museum
Boggy Creek Farm Stand
Breed & Co. (3663 Bee Cave Rd.)
Better Half Coffee & Cocktails
Buenos Aires Cafe
Callahan’s General Store
Cannon + Belle
Catering with a Twist
Cedar Park Farmers Market
Central Texas Food Bank
Civil Goat Coffee
Clear Point Wellness
Confituras Little Kitchen
Daytripper World Headquarters
Der Küchen Laden (Fredericksburg)
Driftwood Estate Vineyards
Dripping Springs Farmers Market
Dripping Springs Visitors Center
East Side Pies (5312 Airport Boulevard)
East Side Pies (1401 Rosewood Avenue)
East Side Pies (1809 E. Anderson Lane)
Faradays Kitchen Store
Farm to Market Grocery
Farmstead at Driftwood
Fischer and Wieser
Fonda San Miguel
For Goodness Sake Natural Food Store (New Braunfels)
Fredericksburg Farmers Market (in season)
Fredericksburg Visitor's Center
Georgetown Public Library
Georgetown Visitor's Center
Gillen's Candies + Wine
Grape Creek Vineyards
The Great Outdoors Nursery
Hays City Store
The Herb Bar
Hideaway Kitchen & Bar
Hill Country Distillers
Hilton Austin, Cannon + Belle
HOPE Farmers Market
Hops & Grain
Hotel Van Zandt
Huckleberry's Home Decor
Jack Allen's Kitchen (360, Oak Hill, Round Rock)
Jester King Brewery
Jobell Cafe & Bistro
Johnson City Visitor's Center
Julia's Garden Montessori School
Kerbey Lane Cafe
Kerville Visitors Center
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Lady Bird Lane Cafe
Lake Austin Spa
Last Stand Brewery
Le Creuset (Round Rock Outlets)
The Leaning Pear Café & Eatery (Wimberley)
Lick Honest Ice Creams
Linda's Fine Foods
Live Oak Brewing Co.
Lone Star Farmers Market
Long Center for the Performing Arts
Lost Draw Cellars
Make It Sweet
McIntire's Garden Center(Georgetown)
MezzeMe Mediterranean Kitchen
Milk + Honey
Mueller Farmers' Market
New Braunfels Farm to Market
Newsom Vineyards Tasting Room
Old 300 BBQ
Onion Creek Kitchens
Otto's German Bistro (Fredericksburg)
Pasta & Co
Peach Basket (Fredericksburg)
The Peach Tree
Pecan Street Brewing
Peoples Pharmacy (North-Lakeline–13860 US 183 N, Ste C (at 620)
Peoples Pharmacy (Central–4018 North Lamar)
Peoples Pharmacy (South–3811 South Lamar)
Peoples Pharmacy (4201 Westbank Drive)
Pink Avocado Catering
Pint & Plow
Redbud Cafe (Blanco)
River Valley Farmer's Market
Royal Blue Grocery (all locations)
Sacred Moon Herbs
Sala & Betty
Salado Olive Oil Co.
Salt & Time Butcher Shop & Salumeria
Salt Traders Coastal Cooking
Scott & Co. Salon
The Secret Garden
SFC Farmers' Market Downtown
SFC Farmers' Market Sunset Valley
Shoal Creek Nursery
Skull & Cakebones
Slavonk & Hortus Terraria
Sol'stice Garden Expressions
Sour Duck Market
South Congress Hotel
Spec's Wine, Spirits, and Finer Foods
Springdale Farm Stand
Stanzeski's Cheese, Wine & Charcuterie
Still Austin Whiskey Company
Sur la Table
Texas Coffee Traders
Texas Hill Country Olive Oil Co.
Texas Hills Vineyard
Texas Keeper Cider
The Escape Fine Crafts & Gifts
The Line Hotel
Treaty Oak Distilling Co
Twin Liquors (Locations: Bee Caves Rd; 2244 & 360, Hancock, Galleria, Escarpment, Mueller, Round Rock)
Twisted X Brewing Co
United Airlines Lounge at Austin–Bergstrom International Airline
Via 313 (Oak Hill and North Campus locations)
Wahoo's Seafood Co.
Wedding Oak Winery
Wells Branch Library
Wheatsville Food Co-op (Guadalupe and South Lamar locations)
White Hat Rum
Whole Foods Market (North Lamar, Research Blvd, Hill Country Blvd, W William Cannon Dr., Domain)
William Chris Vineyards
Williams-Sonoma (Great Hills Trail location)
Wilson AC & Appliance
Wimberly Chamber of Commerce
Wimberly Valley Wine
Wiseman Family Practice (Bee Cave, Cedar Park, and Medical Arts locations)
Yee Haw Ranch & Bingham Vineyards
YMCA (Buda, East, Northwest, South, Townlake)
Zax Restaurant & Bar
By Amy Crowell
Celebrating Home Cooks
It’s not hard to conjure up visions of warm, steamy kitchens full of mouth-watering aromas around the holidays. It’s a time that many of us take to focus on family and friends coming together around food. Bringing this sensibility to our daily workaday lives is more challenging.
"Eating is an agricultural act"
- from “The Pleasures of Eating” from What Are People For? by Wendell Berry
From the bottom of my heart, I cannot be more grateful that Wendell Berry and Wes Jackson are coming to town to lend their presence to our Fifth Annual Edible Austin Eat Drink Local Week on Sunday, December 4.
By Rachel Cooper
Photography by Logan Cooper
If, like me, you were a kid who reveled in the glamour and glory of a serious dress-up session, you probably owned a feather boa. Perhaps it was in a serene, stately white or maybe an eye-catching pink, but it was made to mimic the classiness of the original chic accessory: the ostrich feather. Around the turn of the last century, adding an ostrich feather to your ensemble was the absolute height of fashion—picture doe-eyed starlets and dancers at the Moulin Rouge.
By Terry Thompson-Anderson
As the Texas wine industry continues to expand, the wines keep getting better and better. It seems that increased competition within the industry is, indeed, raising the bar of excellence for Texas wines. And Texas winemakers are finally realizing that they must concentrate on growing varietals—like those from the Mediterranean—that thrive best in our Texas terroir. In fact, Dr. Russell Kane, author of the Vintage Texas wine blog and the recently published book, The Wineslinger Chronicles, actually proclaims our state as the “Texas Mediterranean.”