Now in its 55th year of existence, the Austin Trail of Lights powered by H-E-B gets more festive every year. It’s not the holiday season without a visit to this mecca of cheer.
The Trail will be open to the public on December 10 and run through the 23rd, but you can get a head start on all the fun this year by taking the family to Night Lights the official preview party at the trail on Friday, December 6 from 6–10 p.m.
Night Lights Preview Party is the Trail of Lights Foundation’s annual fundraising event that helps keep the Trail accessible for all in the community. As you get a sneak peek, there will be live musical performances from Jackie Venson and Mother Falcon and complimentary Ferris Wheel and Carousel rides all night long. Food and drink will be plentiful with light bites from a ton of Austin area restaurants and complimentary beer, wine, and cocktail tastings.
Tickets are $85 and can be purchased now. Don’t miss your chance to beat the crowds and make the most of this amazing Austin tradition.
If you can’t make the Preview Party, we have two pro tips for enjoying the trail. ZIP Passes are a favorite of families and small groups, especially on busier nights. You’ll be close to the action and you’ll stay cozy in the heated ZIP hospitality tents. You also get to enjoy the festive lineup of nightly entertainment on the Zilker Stage. Skip the lines and enter early! You’ll thank us later.
And if you really want to make things extra merry this year, go Platinum with concierge service and a VIP experience. You and your guests can hang in a private lounge with lots of amenities like comfortable seating and an exclusive bar! It’s the ultimate venue for a holiday party. Spring for this one and you’ll be as beloved as Santa this year!
Austin is filled with fantastic dining opportunities. From tender barbecue to tasty Tex Mex, you’ll find a little bit of everything in the Texas capitol. This makes choosing a place to eat in Austin relatively easy. But what if you’re dining with a large group? We all love a good hole in the wall or food truck, but small eateries aren’t usually accommodating for groups, especially if you’re planning a private dining event.
Finding the perfect restaurant is only the first step of organizing a group dining experience. You’ll still have to think about how your guests will get there. Hosting a 40-person corporate happy hour at Banger’s sounds great until you get a call (or five) from colleagues trying to find a parking place around Rainey Street. Book a charter bus to simply shuttle everyone instead. GOGO Charters Austin has a large network of minibuses and charter buses that will make your group’s evening much easier.
A charter bus rental will save guests the frustration and cost of parking along Austin’s busy roads. A professional driver will pick everyone up from your office, home, or any other designated location and whisk them away to your dining reservation. It’s that easy. No trying to parallel park in a spot way too small for your SUV or paying $45 for two hours of parking.
Now let’s think about the food. Where is the best place to take a big group?
Well, it depends.
If you’re organizing a rehearsal dinner or a birthday celebration, you’ll want a restaurant with a private room. If your company is hosting a laid-back social gathering, reserving a big patio table is a better bet.
Booking a private dining room is as much about the ambiance as it is about the food. Are you looking for a classy space with tasty family-style Italian fare? Il Brutto in East Cesar Chavez is your go-to spot. Their private dining room can seat up to 40 people, while bigger groups of up to 100 can rent out the shaded patio. Enjoy all the pasta and wine you want—with a private bus rental you’ll have a built-in DD.
Is contemporary Mexican more your thing? Try La Condesa in Downtown Austin. Taste test their many types of guacamole and chow down on dishes like savory carne asada or an array of ceviches. La Condesa serves up family-style menus for parties of 11 or more in the main dining room. The restaurant also has a private dining room called The Flour House which can seat up to 20 guests. Groups over 20 should ask about renting Malverde, the restaurant’s indoor/outdoor private event space.
If you want chic decor and delicious New American cuisine like bison tartare and delectable hush puppies, look no further than Eberly for your private dining needs. This Bouldin Creek eatery has six separate dining spaces available for private events. The Study at Eberly is the perfect intimate space for wedding dinners and can seat up to 40 people, while The Cannon Room is a wonderful space for a company or organization’s cocktail hour.
Patio restaurants and bars are a dime a dozen in Austin, but picking the best outdoor space can still be tough.
Beers, brats, and big patios are a great combo. Fortunately, you’ll find all those things at Easy Tiger on Sixth Street and Banger’s on Rainey Street. Both patios have large communal tables that are great options for drinks with coworkers, birthday celebrations, or kick-offs to an evening of bachelor/ette party festivities.
Easy Tiger has individual patio table reservations that can seat eight to 10 people, as well as the option to reserve different sections of the patio. If you’re having an exceptionally large event, you can reserve the entire patio for 250 guests standing or 120 seated. Banger’s only offers table reservations Monday through Thursday for groups of 12 or more. Full buyouts of the iconic Banger’s yard are also available upon request.
“Fresh” and “farm-to-table” are a match made in restaurant description heaven. Contigo brings fresh, local ingredients together to create American cuisine like burgers, ox tongue sliders, and chicken wings. The restaurant has a sprawling deck with community style tables that can be reserved for private events of up to 50 people.
Food and drinks are always best when enjoyed with a group. So why not make your next gathering even better with great ambiance, cuisine, and private group transportation? Call 512-640-4096 to get a personalized charter bus quote for your next flavor filled Austin outing!
In our over-connected lives, we all feel the need to unplug and escape from our cities, our work, and our screens. Enter Getaway, a company that offers simple escapes to tiny cabins nestled in nature. They are on a mission to help you find the time and space to truly be off, and we are all about it. Take some time to rest and recharge while marveling at the wonder of nature.
Each cabin has a queen bed or queen bunks, fresh linens and pillows, a bathroom with a hot shower and running toilet, heat and AC, and a kitchenette with a mini fridge and two burner stove. They also have a firepit, grilling grate, and an outdoor seating area, so you can make the most of the great outdoors. Quite simply, it’s everything you need and nothing you don’t. Did we mention every cabin is dog friendly? You can bring your pup along for a fee of $40.
Here’s how it works: First, choose your Outpost, cabin size, and dates. They’ll send you the exact address of your cabin after you book. Next, you’ll get an email and text with your cabin name and keycode. And then the best part: don’t do anything. Don’t do anything at all. Lock away your phone, connect with loved ones, and enjoy quiet time in nature. You’ll have everything you need to truly relax.
With the beautiful wooded landscape in the heart of Texas, you will feel totally secluded. But neighbors are close and the support team at Getaway is just a text or email away. You won’t need to worry about a thing while you are trying to destress.
Click here to learn more and book your escape today. Doing this right before the holiday madness will be the best decision you make all year. Use code 365THINGS for $25 off a 2019 stay.
On this month’s foodie podcast, I interview Eric Silverstein of Peached Tortilla, Peached Social House and Bar Peached.
Eric was born in Japan and lived there until he was 11, he then moved with his family to Atlanta and wound up going to college and law school in St. Louis. Eric practiced law for a few years before realizing the corporate grind wasn’t for him. After a talk with his then girlfriend, now wife, Eric packed up and headed to Austin to pursue his dream of opening a restaurant.
Eric quickly learned that opening a restaurant is quite expensive and decided to change course and open a food truck. Peached Tortilla was born in 2011 right here in Austin. Now, Peached Tortilla has a brick and mortar on Burnet Rd. where they still serve Southern comfort food with an Asian twist. Bahn Mi Tacos, Mom’s Toast and Malaysian Laksa Bowls are all staples on the Peached Tortilla menu.
Photo: c/o Inked Fingers
While Peached Tortilla no longer has a regularly running food truck, you can still find their trucks at catering and special events. With the succes of Peached Tortilla, Eric and his team went on to open Peached Social House, an event space on North Lamar, and Bar Peached on West 6th, a bar focused full-service restaurant. Most recently, Silverstein authored a cookbook and memoir. You can purchase a signed copy here.
Photo: c/o Hunter Townsend
Listen to this month’s podcast to hear more about Eric’s journey opening a successful food truck and his business plan for turning a profit during a tough market and eventually opening several concepts. See his recipe for Japanese Street Corn below!
Reprinted with permission from The Peached Tortilla © 2019 Eric Silverstein. Published by Sterling Epicure. Photography by Carli Rene / Inked Fingers.
JAPANESE STREET CORN
Photo: c/o Inked Fingers
Elotes, grilled Mexican street corn, are wildly popular in certain parts of the United States (and, of course, in
Mexico itself). This is my version, bringing Japanese ingredients to the familiar street corn dish.
- 1⁄4 cup Cotija cheese, grated
- 4 large ears yellow or white corn, husks removed and cleaned
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1⁄4 cup Kewpie Mayo
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons Aonori
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons Togarashi
- 1 cup Bonito Flakes
- Spread the Cotija over a large plate.
- Heat a grill pan over medium heat and brush the corn with the oil (see Note).
Note If you don’t have a grill pan, you can always cook the corn in the oven at 350°F. Just set the corn cobs, with the husks on,
directly on an oven rack and bake them for 25–30 minutes.
- When the pan is hot, place the ears of corn in the pan and give the corn nice grill marks.
- After 2–3 minutes, when you start to see dark grill marks appear on the corn, rotate the corn. Continue to
rotate the corn until grill marks appear on every side. The corn should take about 8–10 minutes to cook. Once
the corn is done, remove the ears from the pan.
- Using an offset spatula or a knife, coat the exterior of each piece of corn with the kewpie mayo.
- Once each ear of corn is coated with mayo, roll it in the Cotija.
- To finish garnishing the corn, sprinkle the aonori, togarashi, and bonito flakes on top.
A lot of Japanese chefs shave their own bonito, right before service, with a bonito box. These little wooden
boxes can be purchased online and are imported directly from Japan. They function like a mandoline, except
there is only one blade, and the bonito shavings are caught in a drawer that pulls out of the box. Freshly
shaved bonito has a pronounced, fishy flavor that adds an extra layer of umami to dishes. You can also
purchase whole dried bonito online through Amazon or at specialty Asian retailers.
Austinites love a good speakeasy vibe, and later this month we will have a stylish new place to hideout at the corner of 6th and San Antonio. Devil May Care will have a seriously cozy and eclectic vibe and will offer happy hour and evening and late-night lounge-style dining. The food will be a healthy and shareable play on Mediterranean cuisine and the cocktails will incorporate fresh, organic, and house-made ingredients. And for those who are always looking for something different, the wine list will feature one-of-a-kind varietals from Lebanon, Greece, and beyond.
The kitchen will be led by Executive Chef Jon Oh, who trained under industry leaders such as Jean Georges and Marcus Samuelsson. Having served both as Executive Chef of Scarpetta
NYC and Culinary Director for Geoffrey Zakarian.
As evening fades to night, Devil May Care will embrace an increasingly cheeky mood with theatrical lighting and soulful, upbeat music.
A collaborative concept by a diverse team of friends, partners and colleagues, Devil May Care brings a unique, dining-meets-nightlife concept to Downtown. “While Austin has an impressive Food and Beverage scene, the team and I felt like the city was ready for something different, a break from the ordinary,” says Jack Zimmermann, founder of Nova Hospitality.
Devil May Care is set to open late November 2019. Follow them on Instagram for the latest updates.
Photo by Letitia Smith.
When all he could find on the market were uncomfortable and outdated boot options, one UT Austin alum decided to make his own. As he set out on his mission, Will Roman ripped open all kinds of boots and spent months experimenting with improvements to both structure and design. Along the way he was inspired to make boots that were not only great looking, but a force for good.
Founded by Roman, Chisos is a boot company on a mission to spread the gospel of Texas by creating the world’s best cowboy boots and advocating for Texas land conservation. Named after the Chisos Mountains in Big Bend National Park, the values of generosity and stewardship are core to the company’s mission.
In terms of style and fit, the designs forgo traditional western patterns for more Texan, understated motifs and a proprietary post-tanning process creates the unique softness and beautiful depth of the Chisos heritage cowhide. They are also ready-to-wear and require no break-in period.
The company has just debuted its inaugural line of intricately designed, responsibly sourced cowboy boots. The artwork of the handcrafted first-edition collection alludes to the West Texas mountains, and a portion of every sale goes to support Texas land conservation.
“Boots are core to the legend of Texas and the identity of Texans,” Roman says. “What a great tool to bring people together to take care of the special places in our state.”
The first-edition Chisos boots retail for $495 and are exclusively available at Chisos.com.
It’s almost peak hosting season, when friends and family will be knocking at your door. Could you house use a deep clean before the festivities? We thought so. This year make it a green clean!
Modern Maids is exactly what it sounds like, a cleaning service for the 21st century. A green cleaning service! Ban those toxic chemicals from your life. They provide all the supplies and equipment and offer flat-rate pricing that makes booking super convenient. Once you’ve noticed that crazy layer of dust that lives on each of your ceiling fan blades (gah!) you can book with Modern Maids in under a minute.
And what’s really great is that you can leave your home to go Christmas shopping while they clean and knowthat everything will be fine. They are insured and bonded and do background checks on their employees. For apartments, they even have a key release option where you work with your leasing office to let them in your pad.
Cleanliness leads to happiness, so let Modern Maids take it from here. And guess what! Our readers receive an exclusive 25% discount of your first cleaning when you use promo code 365thingsaustin. Click here to schedule an appointment.
Glossier, the online much-obsessed-over beauty brand is popping up in Austin this fall with a real-life shop for a temporary time! Check out the products and shades in person and get some holiday shopping done on SoCo.
From the Statesman: “Created in 2014 by beauty blogger Emily Weiss, Glossier has built a cult following among Millennials for its minimalist, “barely there” beauty products, which initially were sold exclusively online. Products from Glossier, which has 2.3 million Instagram followers, have been known to have waiting lists of thousands of customers.”
Pop on by and see what the fuss is all about before it disappears.
When: now–December 8th
Time: open daily from 11–7 p.m.
2000 South Congress Ave.
Austin, TX 78704
We recently had the pleasure of a two-night stay at the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa on a road-trip from Denver to Austin. While 48 hours isn’t nearly enough time to take in all that the resort has to offer, here are some of aspects we enjoyed the most.
The resort is located on a Native American Pueblo, roughly 20 miles north of Albuquerque, NM. The natural beauty of the desert and the Sandia Mountains provided stunning sunset views from our patio, and everywhere we wandered around the resort. There are several hiking trails throughout the property that are beautiful and shaded throughout the day.
Saying that the resort is pet-friendly doesn’t do it justice. Upon arrival we were given a gift basket for our pup complete with treats, a Tamaya bandana, and more. Our guest room had bowls set out for food and water, and there was a large dog bed that got plenty of use as well.
The aforementioned trails were also perfect for early morning, and sunset dog walks.
We’re admittedly huge fans of the game of golf, and Twin Warriors, the on-property golf course was breathtaking and challenging. If you enjoy the sport, this course is worth making the trip on its own.
Srai Wi means “our children” in the Keresan language which is spoken by the Native Americans who live on the Pueblo. Fittingly, the resort offers many family-friendly activities inspired by the local culture. Traditional bread baking, jewelry and pottery making classes are a just a few of the offerings, and we also enjoyed more traditional resort activities including the beautiful pool area, complete with waterslide, and smore making in the evening over an open fire pit.
Tamaya Mist is the onsite spa at the resort, and it offers a wide variety of specialty treatments. We opted for deep tissue massages, which I highly recommend, but also be sure to arrive early; throw on one of the luxurious robes and enjoy the steam room and hot tub beforehand.
The culinary highlight of the trip was dinner at the award-winning Corn Maiden, Tamaya’s fine dining option, but we were also thoroughly impressed with the menu at the more casual Santa Ana Café. We ate there for several meals and were always happy with our experiences. Definitely try the enchiladas!
Overall, we had a great time and will definitely be visiting again before long. Southwest offers affordable non-stop flights daily (golf clubs fly free!) to and from Albuquerque, making this an easy getaway for Austinites.
To book your stay visit: https://www.hyatt.com/en-US/hotel/new-mexico/hyatt-regency-tamaya-resort-and-spa/tamay
On this month’s foodie podcast, I am interviewing Todd Duplechan of Lenoir and Vixen’s Wedding. Todd’s love for food and Austin is apparent in both of his restaurant concepts and in this podcast!
Todd and his wife Jessica moved to Austin over 12 years ago and opened up Lenoir on
S. 1st Street shortly there after. Todd is heavily influenced by local farmers. He calls his cuisine “hot weather food” which basically means he likes to use ingredients that are grown near the Equator where it is hot. Austin definitely falls into that category.
At Lenoir, guests can expect a more refined dining experience where Todd and his crew create dishes that are influenced from flavors from all around the Equator from North Africa to Southeast Asia to Austin. The patio at Lenoir is one of my favorites in town and it’s dog-friendly and has happy hour every day of the week!
Duplechan’s newest concept, Vixen’s Wedding, opened this summer at Arrive Hotel at 6th and Chicon. Vixen’s Wedding is a Goan-inspired restaurant that draws it’s flavors from the Goa region in Indian. Some of our favorites on the menu are the Shrimp Samosa, Coconut Saag and Pork Ribs. If you’re curious about the meaning behind the name Vixen’s Wedding, check out the podcast to hear how they came up with the name!
When he’s not in the kitchen at his two restaurants, he enjoys dining out in Austin at local favorites like Bufalina and even gave us the deets on his favorite food truck La Hawaiina! If you’re a gin fan, you’ll be excited to know that Todd is behind the newest gin bar in town located above Lefty’s Bar at Arrive Hotels.
Treme Zombie & Banh-Boy From Lefty’s Bar
Be sure to tune in to the podcast and let us know what you think! You can follow all my eats around town and kitchen cooking over @natalieparamore. Slide into my DMs and let me know which local chef we should feature on upcoming episode!
Pork Vindaloo Recipe
- 8 piece garlic cloves, peeled
- 2-inch piece ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons coconut vinegar
- ½teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 tablespoon Kashmiri chili powder
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 pounds pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup tamarind pulp
- ¼ cup grapeseed oil
- 1 piece cinnamon stick
- 5 piece cloves
- 4 piece green cardamom pods
- 2 teaspoon black mustard seeds, crushed
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 red bell pepper, large dice
- Cooked rice or potatoes for serving
In a blender, blend garlic and ginger. Add vinegar, turmeric, cumin, chili powder and salt and blend well. Transfer to a large bowl, add pork and turn to coat well. Cover and set aside at room temperature for one hour.
In a large sauté pan, heat oil. Add cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and mustard seeds. Fry over medium-high heat until sizzling and aromatic, about 4 minutes. Add onion and cook, stirring often, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add pork and cook, turning until lightly browned, about 6 minutes.
Add tamarind and bell pepper bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook until pork is tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Serve with rice or potatoes.
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