The marriage of coffee and alcohol is nowhere near a novel concept, and Italians have long been serving their shots of espresso with an accompanying glass of soda water. But now another trend is sweeping the nation: coffee mocktails. Inventive baristas have been using elements of cocktails (such as soda, bitters, and citrus) to create refreshing, alcohol-free beverages which bring out nuanced characteristics in the coffee they use.Read More
Between rotating Airbnb guests, friends popping into town, and unexpected friends of friends contacting me for recommendations while visiting, I've been meaning to put together a list like this for quite some time. So here it is, just in time for festival season!Read More
My favorite time of year has arrived! While I was enjoying jacket and scarf weather up in Chicago, things were cooling off in Austin too… when we returned it was FALL- highs in the 80s and lows in the 60s (at night). (Not quite jacket and scarf weather, but we take what we can get here in Texas.. )
With restaurant openings in cities across the country and mild weather perfect for al fresco dining, autumn is also ideal weather for eating out. I just wrote up five places across the country you should make a point of visiting this season! Read about them here on Forbes Travel Guide!
If there's one thing Texans do not take lightly, it's their barbecue (followed closely by football). Each year, Texas Monthly throws a raging meatiest and invites their top 50 barbecue joints to participate (while the rest of the country lets out a collective wistful sigh). Don't worry-- I ate all the succulent meats so you didn't have to. And then I reported my research-based findings to Thrillist.
I didn’t have any doubts I’d eat my way through Turkey last fall. but I certainly didn’t expect to encounter quite so many desserts throughout my travels! However, with each new discovery I made, I began to understand the Turkish sweet tooth more and more. In a country where a vast majority of the population is Muslim and, therefore, does not partake in alcohol, it makes sense for sugar to manifest itself in new and delicious forms. Not only that, but dessert is a social ritual, meant to be shared with friends. At any given time of day or night, friends can be found congregating to sip Turkish coffee or tea from dainty glasses, often while sucking sweet smoke from a nargile. And should you care to accompany that highly caffeinated beverage with a roll, pastry, or snack, there is much to choose from-- and it’s not all Turkish delight! Serious Eats recently published this feature I wrote highlighting some popular Turkish desserts… now I just can't wait to go back and try everything else!
This summer, I was invited on a small press trip out to Melvin, TX to visit the Jacoby family ranch, their feed and seed business, and the little cafe they started on the premises originally intended to just feed the local ranchers. The story that built itself on these roots is really quite an inspirational one and I was happy to write about it for the Austin Chronicle this fall, just in time for the opening of Jacoby's Restaurant and Mercantile on Cesar Chavez. Read on for the full story about how one West Texas family quite literally brought the cows to town...
While Austin doesn't quite have the abundance of historic buildings and landmarks to which older cities lay claim, those of us who have been here long enough can at least take pride in reminiscing about the days when Lululemon was Waterloo Records or when Licha's Cantina was home to the Typewriter Museum. While some places come and go, we have plenty of iconic dishes that continue to stand the test of time (and, sorry to break it to you, but Franklin Barbecue is not yet seasoned enough to house one of them). As a testament to Texans' love of smoked meats, liquified cheese, and fried foods, I rounded up 15 of the most iconic dishes around town for Thrillist.
Though my writing primarily circles around food, beverage and travel, you'll occasionally see me cover something outside that realm.. maybe art, design, music, or a profile of someone doing something cool. And when I first heard about Professor Dumpster, I knew I had to meet this guy and interview him. I occasionally blog for Sparefoot, a local startup (voted Best Place to Work in Austin for at least two years in a row!) Considering they deal with storage spaces and Prof D lives in a dumpster, it seemed like the perfect place to tell his story. And his story is really relevant for any foodie with a kitchen gadget collection like myself. It's interesting to think about shedding it all in the name of freedom from… stuff. Read on for the details!
(Oh and, for the record, I did ask him what food he prepares in the trailer, but for now he's just making Turkish coffee and picking veggies from the community garden in his backyard. And a lot of eating out I suppose. I'll have to check back in as the dumpster moves into its final phases to see what kind of kitchen set-up he has going on..)
At the end of July, I went on a three day kayaking adventure through the San Juan Islands with Outdoor Odysseys and winemakers from Boudreaux Cellars (the only winery in the US off the power grid!) I couldn't believe how much we packed into our 6 two-person kayaks-- enough for us all to eat and drink like kings for the entire trip! We enjoyed incredible meals like rockfish tacos with all the fixings, sesame mango snow pea wraps, frittatas and apple crisp made in Dutch ovens, and Greek salad in a pita that was like heaven after several hours of paddling against the tide.
All our dinners were paired with delicious Boudreaux wines, in Leavenworth Washington. The botanical unfiltered chardonnary was a perfect match for the griddlled corn cakes above and a smoky reserve cabernet paired nicely with shrimp etouffe. And the fruity and velvety Jbo's Frangiovese was one of my favorites with everything! The days were saved for exploring the island where we were camping and paddling through the picturesque San Juan Islands-- bald eagles perched on Doug firs, harbor seals lounged at the coast, and dreamy Vancouver island was visible in the distance among the other undulating layers of blue, grey and purple sea, sky, and land.
My favorite part of the trip was not the unbelievable sunsets or the serenades by our guides or the latenight singalongs and jigs around the campfire (though those were all unforgettably awesome!), but the final night when we went out for a bioluminescent paddle. Glowing concentric circles spread around anything that touched the water, whether it was your hand, the paddle, a tossed pebble.. a stunning natural reaction by the plankton in the water! I've never seen anything like it in my life! Our oar marks became psychedelic and I traced rainbows into the surface of the water. Just mesmerizing. But I digress...
I've been researching all the amazing active epicurean adventures there are out there, and I'm making it a mission to go on more of these. I love food and I love the outdoors, so why not bring the two together a little bit more? (says the girl who already brings waaay too much camping with her!)
Check out this piece I wrote for Forbes Travel Guide on some of the delicious adventures you can take this fall or next spring/summer… and who knows? Maybe I'll see you out there!
With more airlines adding nonstop flights between cities in Texas and Mexico, visiting our neighbor to the south has become much more convenient — and cheaper, too. If you’ve found yourself regretfully devoid of vacation plans for what’s left of summer, it’s not too late to book a trip.
I visited Puerto Vallarta in early May, just as the low season had begun. There were moments when I could feel a slight sub-tropical humidity start to creep in, but it was nothing a plunge into the perfect Pacific Ocean couldn’t fix. I couldn’t help but chuckle at the thought that this was considered off-season, with prices set to reflect that designation. You, too, can reap the benefits of Puerto Vallarta’s lovely low season through mid-November. Click here for the full Statesman article!
I'd probably say ice cream is my favorite food group. But, in the brutal heat of Texas, I don't always want something necessarily creamy. Luckily, we do have some other icy options around town, including Taiwanese-styled shaved ice, handcrafted artisanal mocha, and jelly beer. Yep, you heard me. Jelly…beer.
Austin doesn’t have a ton of options when it comes to post-last-call dining. But, out of the places open late or all night long, selections run the gamut from typical booze-soaking fare to less conventional options like gluten-free pancakes, vegan migas, and beet sausages. But let’s be honest -- you're not here to make good decisions. You’re here to to fill your gut with something that sticks to your ribs and tries to mitigate some of the damage you've done. Plus, if you don't recall eating it, it doesn't count, right? Click here for all the dirty details in my Thrillist article on late night eats.
In May, I wrote up the opening of Mezcaleria Tobala for Thrillist. But I was just so darn enchanted with the place, I wanted to write a more in-depth piece about it. Click here for the feature I wrote for Citygram's Connect issue.
This past weekend, I was invited to attend a Whole Foods workshop celebrating the harvest of my favorite fruit-- cherries! Stephanie McClenny of Confituras (the best jam company in town!) led the class. She started off selling her goods at the farmer's market before they made their way around town (including into a delicious jam mimosa at Salt & Time!). Now, her products will be available at the Domain location of Whole Foods too-- though she promises, no matter how big they get, she will never leave the farmer's market, where it all began! Scroll down for three delicious cherry-pickin' recipes!Read More
While there's no doubt that local ingredients are almost always going to be the better, fresher, and smarter choice, there are times when sourcing from afar actually makes the most sense. And, when it comes to sushi, it's almost unavoidable. Tadashi is actually sourcing their fish straight from Japan's Tsukiji Market, and Chef Sun Il is going beyond the typical tuna and standard salmon to introduce Austinites to fish he grew up eating in Korea which they most likely have not had in sashimi form: amberjack, bronzini, grouper, amberjack…
Early this May, I took a trip to Mexico with two close friends-- the first time I'd gone on an all-girls getaway since college! Now I'm hooked and can't wait to travel more with gal pals! And hotels across the country are making it even more enticing to check in with your cronies in tow by offering special incentives and deals for groups. From Atlanta to Maui,
Tis the season for swimming at all costs-- and any dog-owners with a conscience will want to bring their furry friends along with them. And after said aquatic adventure, who wouldn't want a cold beer on a patio somewhere? Luckily, Austin is an extremely dog friendly city, and more places than not are okay with you bringing your four-legged +1 with you.
(Full disclosure: the gorgeous mutt in the photo above is my own!)
Monica Pope decided at a young age that she was going to change the way Houston eats, one dish at a time, and she hasn't stopped since that early declaration. I sat down with her over a cardamom latte at the TOMS Cafe on South Congress to discuss her revolutionary return to real food, the lifestyle she's built around her passionate beliefs, and her hopes for Houston's culinary future. Click here to read the full Forbes Travel Guide article.
Sometimes the most unexpected choices propel us in the right direction. Such is the case for Omar Rios, whose career path has been paves so organically, it's almost amazing that he didn't originally intend for it to lead him where he is now.