Best Places for Brunch

According to the Fearless Critic, a book recommended by my friend Shari, the following are the best places for Brunch in Austin. 

  1. Café at Four Seasons
  2. El Chile
  3. South Congress Café
  4. Capitol Brasserie
  5. Manuels
  6. Fonda San Miguel
  7. Taverna
  8. Green Pastures
  9. T&S Chinese Seafood
  10. 1886 Café and Bakery
  11. Hill Country Dining Room
  12. Curra Grill
  13. Dona Emelias
  14. Hoovers Cooking
  15. Polvos
  16. Eastside Cafe
  17. Marco Polo
  18. Hyde Park Café
  19. Tien Hong – Dim Sum
  20. Satay

The Fearless Critic is an Austin restaurant guidebook. Three local food writers rate and reviews more than 390 restaurants in the greater Austin area, including Round Rock, Pflugerville, Dripping Springs, and the Hill Country. The book comes complete with numerous sets of cross-referenced lists that help you find the ideal restaurant for every occasion.  I just paged through the book quickly but I’ve got one on order.  Full review to follow.

Interestingly, I’ve eaten at most of these places but not for brunch.  I’ve tried Manuel’s and Tien Hong for brunch.  Very different but both are decent.  Fonda San Miguel’s brunch is legendary.  Did they forget a favorite place?  Add your thoughts in comments.

Fonda San Miguel: Thirty Years of Food and Art

It’s the season for shopping–malls, crowded parking lots, endless checkout lines…bleah!  This year I’ve decided to give gifts that truly represent Austin.  One of Austin’s signature restaurants, Fonda San Miguel has a new book out to celebrate its 30th anniversary–Fonda San Miguel: Thirty Years of Food and Art

The book does a wonderful job of capturing Fonda San Miguel’s food and art.  The book contains recipes for the restaurants special dishes including Ceviche Veracruzano, Enchiladas Suizas, Cochinita Pibil and Pescado Tikin.  The recipes work!  For Thanksgiving I tried the Ensalada de Jicama con Melon–the recipe was easy (ok getting jicama cut into matchsticks was a bit of a pain) and was a big hit. 

To me, the books photographs of the art inside the restaurant and the stories associated with each piece add significantly to the book’s interest.  The photographs are truly beautifully done and the stories are often interesting.

This book is a a great gift for all those relatives who insist on going to Fonda San Miguel every time they are in town.

BookPeople–Austin’s own bookstore

I go to Border’s and occasionally Barnes & Noble like most people.  However, my favorite bookstore is Austin’s own BookPeople. BookPeople began in 1970 in the student district at the edge of the University of Texas, Austin as Grok Books.  Now at 40,000 SF it’s the largest independent bookstore in Texas.

The store is located on the corner of Sixth Street and Lamar close to other Austin mainstays such as Whole Foods, and Amy’s Ice Cream.  It’s filled with nooks and crannies where you can go hide and look through your favorite magazine or book–my favorite is the barber’s chair on the second floor.  The gift selection is “Austin Hippie” and includes an eclectic variety including incense, statues of Buddha,  Jesus and Sigmund Freud action figures, handcrafted jewelry….

BookPeople also has frequent events that showcase local and national authors.  Authors that have shown up at BookPeople include Amy Henry of Apprentice fame, Kinky Friedman, Deepak Chopra.  Check out the events schedule at their website and definitely check out the bookstore.

BookPeople, 603 North Lamar, (512) 472-5050.  http://www.bookpeople.com/

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