Gretchen O’Neil’s love affair with flowers began as a child, enamored by the confetti-colored tulips that sprawled across her grandfather’s yard. Flower growing became more than just a family pastime for O’Neil in 2002, when she started working on a small farm in the mountains of Vermont. After moving to Austin in 2003, it took the native New Englander about five years to acclimate to the sweltering heat before she could even begin to consider growing cut flowers in the Central Texas climate.
Organic farming is undoubtedly a labor of love, and we’re lucky to live in a region where this love exists in abundance, in comparison to other parts of the country. Austinites have embraced the fact that local, organic fruits and vegetables, and grass-fed, pastured-raised meat, eggs, and dairy purchased from any of the city’s numerous farmers’ markets are superior to many of the products found on supermarket shelves.
Hot Luck founder Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue, along with partners James Moody of The Mohawk and Michael Thelin of Feast Portland, just wrapped up a successful four-day food and music festival that featured more than 50 celebrated chefs from around the country, over half of whom reside right here in Austin.
Located within Zilker Park’s 358 acres is Barton Springs Pool, a three-acre, underground fed spring that has been referred to as the “Heart and Soul” and “Crown Jewel” of Austin. If you’ve been there, you understand why. In 1947, Barton Springs Bathhouse opened its doors for the first time, welcoming swimmers from all walks of life who sought fun, relaxation, and healing in the water beyond its walls.
Mattie’s Southern charm is evident before you even walk through its doors. Upon entering the gates surrounding the Green Pastures estate, located off South First Street, I was immediately taken aback by the impressive 120-year-old Victorian home with wrap-around veranda and giant Live Oak trees, under which peacocks freely roam. Yes, you read that right: peacocks.
We now know that we are what we eat, literally. The nutrients in our food provide the foundation for the structure, function, and integrity of every cell in our body.
Today’s students within Austin Independent School District (AISD) are more sweet potato quesadilla with carrot and tomato escabeche than they are frozen chicken nuggets and tater tots of my school lunch past. Think more farmers’ market and less corner bodega, with a staff that includes a buyer, dietitian, and professional chef.
The city of Austin is home to more than 300 parks, but there’s always room for more, especially when we’re talking about accessible green space in the highly urbanized and rapidly growing downtown area. Waller Creek is a one and a half mile riparian ecosystem that begins at Waterloo Park and travels south along the eastern edge of downtown Austin to converge with Lady Bird Lake.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a more dog-friendly place than Austin, since humanity’s best friends are allowed in the majority of our city’s outdoor spaces. In a place that frequently makes it onto Top 10 lists for dog-friendliness, Austin has no shortage of dog parks, off-leash hiking trails and swimming holes where both you and your pup can cool off. Our Capital City is also home to more than 35 pet photographers, a doggie yoga studio, and Yard Bar–a restaurant/bar and dog park rolled into one.
On March 2 starting at 6 p.m., Amplify Austin Day will be in full swing with a goal of raising $9 million in 24 hours. Last year $8.5 million was raised, with 40 percent of donations attributed to first-time donors and 31 percent of site users being millennials.
Over the past five years, the East Austin neighborhood of East Cesar Chavez has been developing at a rapid pace that shows no signs of slowing. Following the recent openings of highly anticipated restaurants such as Grizzelda’s, Tillery Kitchen and Bar, and Kemuri Tatsu-ya comes Pitchfork Pretty, scheduled to open in late March 2017. The name conjures up an image of intentional juxtaposition. “Pitchfork” pays homage to the farmer, while “Pretty” represents the restaurant’s role in taking the raw, rustic elements of the farm and transforming them into refined menu offerings.
When I venture out for a stiff drink in a short glass, I seek a setting that rouses a sense of romance and sparks my imagination, where skillfully crafted cocktails are served. As someone who finds herself mired in the aesthetics of a room, the ambiance of a bar is important.
Sometimes you just want a beer and burger at the neighborhood joint, but other times you want to embark on an upscale, booze-fueled adventure that transports you to another time and place. In the case of the latter, here are my top five picks for the most stylish bars in Austin.
One of Austin’s most anticipated restaurant openings of the year, Eberly was unveiled on Oct. 15, 2016 as the newest restaurant addition on South Lamar, serving contemporary American cuisine.
Developed from what was an old print shop into what stands out as one of our city’s most dazzling spaces–a mix of Victorian and midcentury design aesthetics–Eberly aims to preserve the soul of Austin amid a growing population and changing landscape.
Upon entering Crêpe Crazy’s South Austin location, I was transported to a quaint European cafe. My senses were delighted by the scent of freshly-made crêpes, melted cheese and the occasional waft of espresso. The mid-century modern inspired decor boasted sleek lines, a warm color palette of mustard yellow and orange hues, marble white table tops, and spherical copper pendant lighting. At this point I was already smitten…and I hadn’t even ordered yet.
As we move into the holiday season, I begin to reflect on all I have to be thankful for and consider how I can help those in my community who are less fortunate. If you’re also looking for a way to give back this holiday season, Austin Empty Bowl Project is a cause highly deserving of your support. Over the past 19 years, Austin Empty Bowl Project has raised over $900,000 to help feed hungry Central Texans. Now celebrating 20 years, the goal is the $1 million mark.
Like most Austinites, I welcome cooler weather after enduring a seemingly endless summer. November marks the beginning of sweater weather, and you can bet that about the time I reach for something knitted, I’m darting out the door to devour a steaming bowl of pho in Austin.
What do a former nurse, federal government employee, paralegal, teacher and banker have in common? They’re all Austin women entrepreneurs who traded their careers to open small businesses in our city. And they all share a passion for the local community and a commitment to sustainability.
There’s no better place to hold a festival dedicated solely to the art of fermented foods than our festival-obsessed city known for its vibrant food scene. On Oct. 2 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., more than 40 vendors, brewers and artisans will converge on the grounds of Barr Mansion (10463 Sprinkle Road) with one thing in common: their love of fermentation. This will be the third annual Austin Fermentation Festival, presented by Texas Farmers’ Market with the support of sponsors Whole Foods Market and Barr Mansion.
If you suffer from food allergies or autoimmune disease, you know that dining out can be restrictive. As a foodie who later developed celiac disease, the number of restaurants in Austin where I’m able to dine safely can be counted on both hands. I wrote about these safety bunkers in my article, “Top 10 Austin Restaurants When It MUST Be Gluten-free.” Thanks to Picnik, that number has grown to 11.
As a minimalist with an interest in sustainability, excited by the challenge of living in small spaces with a fear of geographical commitment, you could say I’m an ideal candidate for the tiny home lifestyle. But this wasn’t always the case.
If you haven’t been to Spider House yet, there’s no better occasion to get acquainted with this uniquely Austin institution. The eclectically-decorated playground that is Spider House Cafe and Ballroom includes an indoor cafe and bar, an expansive patio complete with stage and a variety of food options, and a ballroom that has hosted many of Austin’s best live music and theater acts over the years.
It is well known that Central Texas is one of the fastest growing regions in the nation thanks to an economic boom that has taken place in recent years. But you may not know that despite all of this growth and prosperity, tens of thousands of Central Texans are at risk of going hungry each week, including one in every four children.
Due to the rising cost of living, an increasing number of people in the Austin area are having to choose between food and other basic needs like housing, utilities, transportation and medicine.
“What is a locavore?” you may ask. No, it isn’t a new diet trend or an exclusive club reserved for those in the know. Locavores are those whose diets consists principally of locally-grown or -produced food. Taking a locavore approach to eating means a step back into simpler times, before the industrialization of the food system. Before the existence of genetically-modified crops and the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Before monocropping practices and animal production facilities dominated the U.S. food supply.
The topic of food access is a personal one for me, being from the small city of Pueblo, Colo., where half the population is Hispanic and 32 percent lives below the poverty line. Growing up, I consumed a diet heavily based on fast food, sodas, canned vegetables and packaged foods. I had never heard the word “organic” until my sophomore year of college in Boulder, Colo., when I stepped foot into a Whole Foods for the first time.
Dining out is one of my absolute favorite activities. So when I received my celiac diagnosis, I thought my world was ending. No more pizza, pasta or sandwiches. Good-bye to sushi happy hours and baked goods. “Having a beer” was now a thing of the past.
On one hand, it was a relief to know I wasn’t dying, and that by eliminating gluten from my diet I could relieve all the symptoms that had left my life in a state of disarray. On the other hand, I knew future family gatherings and social outings were going to require a certain degree of diligence and abstinence on my part.