It's been awhile since my last post - we've been adventuring! It occurred to me a few weeks ago that with all of our upcoming travels and even our weekends spent in town, I should capture all of our favorite hot spots. Since Chris and I are avid believers in supporting local businesses this seemed like something we'd be pretty great at talking about! So I'm starting a new mini series called the A-list. See what I did there?
Today I'm focusing on Austin simply because it's home and we've been meeting a lot of new Austinites in search of great places to eat and shop. Plus, it's festival season and #ACL is this weekend so here's some local tips for all the tourists out there. Part I is all about local bites. Bon appétit!
Part I: Food
If you know me, you know that Grove Wine Bar has been my favorite spot in Austin since before we became locals! You can't go wrong with their enormous lit up tree and a flight of wine on a summer OR fall night. They just opened a downtown location too - but I always enjoy the Westlake location because it's just far enough removed from the hustle and bustle of downtown. As far as food goes, we love their bruschetta, crab cakes, their crispy brussel sprouts and their BBQ pizza. It's essentially light italian - great wine bar and I'm forever a regular.
Rebel Pizza Bar
Rebel is the new spot above Suzy's at the corner of Shoal Creek and N. Anderson Ln. I have to say I'm a teensy bit biased because my cousin Justen Foss curated and created the art within the building and my other cousin works there (it's kind of a family affair), and we adore the owners - however, their marinara is worth talking about! Delectably spicy, acidic and sweet all at the same time. The Notorious XXL meatball topped with their house marinara, herbs and house ricotta is our favorite appetizer. For salad, we recommend the Goodfella - your typical italian salad with field greens, meats and cheeses and a fresh homemade vinaigrette. And of course for pizza, you can't go wrong with the Get Up Stand Up - we get it every time! Apart from the food the best parts about Rebel are menu item names, the craft brews and the amazing outdoor space fully equipped with bocce ball and a nice view.
Clark's is one of those spots you automatically fall in love with. It's small and intimate, crisp and clean and the food is incredible. The decor is southern - but with a northeastern coastal vibe...if that combo is even a thing. Pure white tiles, a yellow awning at the entrance, a kelly green bar, and pops of color in the prettiest shades of blue. Located in Clarksville (my home turf, and favorite part of Austin), they're known for their oysters and their burgers. Even better, they have one of THE best happy hours in the city: 50 cents off oysters, 1/2 priced burgers, $5 martinis and draft beer. If you can get there around 5 - 6 PM on a weekday you can get a burger and fries, a martini or beer and maybe even some oysters for under $20!
It seems like I'm always hearing about Dripping Springs and how it's so up and coming. So of course Chris and I decided to jump in our convertible and drive into the hill country for an in-town adventure. Here's what I can tell you: Aside from the gorgeous country roads and open space there's a tiny little spot on the side of 290 cooking up some great pies (and by that I mean pizza) along with the best smoked pastrami I've ever had. I'm from the midwest peeps, that's a pretty big deal! Pieous had me at the cute little red building surrounded by trees. Upon entering you're welcomed into a clean, white, open room with large tables, chalkboard walls and an adorable bar facing their giant pizza oven. There's always a line - be prepared, it's worth it. You can drink while you wait, order your food and your food arrives shortly after you've made your way to your seats. This has become pretty standard in Austin so I've become accustomed to a good glass of pinot noir or a dark beer while I wait. I know it's a pizza place, but the reason I'm listing this spot is the pastrami and their giant chocolate chip cookie. When Pieous opened, they took over the old Cartwright BBQ building and the smoker was left behind. Thus, Pieous' smoked pastrami was born. Paired with homemade sourdough bread, pickles and pickled onions - it's the perfect menu item. We left with a cookie to go. This cookie is the size of a plate ya'll. To be honest, it lasted Chris and I two whole days! I'd say this is one of my favorite spots around the Austin area. Make your way there - especially now that the weather is cooling down - they have a great patio!
I know Caffe Medici is primarily a coffee shop but I felt it would be a disservice not to mention them. If you talk to me on a regular basis you know Medici is my local haunt. They have several locations now (SoCo, downtown, SoLa) but my favorite is right on West Lynn in Clarksville...of course. Medici is one of those spots that accommodate both work and play. I love going there for media + marketing meetings for my full time job or afternoon breaks from a long day at work, and enjoy nothing more than Saturday mornings post-run with Chris or as a great start to a shopping day with my MIL, Lori. Medici serves up kombucha, italian sodas, Taco Deli breakfast tacos and all kinds of pastries and bagels but their money maker is their caffe. My favorite items are the almond milk latte (theirs is the creamiest and tastiest in Austin without a doubt), their nonfat cappuccino, and their red eye. Not checking out Caffe Medici is a total injustice to your wellbeing so take my advice and go. now.
I really could go on and on about all the best places to eat in Austin but these are my faves and this post is getting entirely too long. If you've read this far myself and the Austin foodie community thank you.
Stay tuned for the next A-list Part II: Shopping Local.