Food
2004 Readers Poll
2004 Critics Picks
Best Locally Produced Food Product

The state Lege should dub GoodFlow limeade the Official Refresher of the Great State of Texas. In beekeep speak, GoodFlow means, "good honey crop," and we are here to tell you people that in Austin, Texas, "good flow" means "good crop, honey!" What began as a small OJ squeeze in Bastrop almost 30 years ago has blossomed into our town's signature sip. GoodFlow is made with love, by hand, yielding more of that precious life fluid than a machine ever could. Whether you like the complex taste-bud tease of elaborate flavors with beets or echinacea or you simply like your grapefruit juice straight up, this nectar is the stuff of life.

Goodflow Honey & Juice Co.
2601 E. Cesar Chavez
512/472-6714

Best Local Food Company

For more than 30 years, White Mountain has been meeting the dietary needs of Austinites with wholesome foods that accommodate active lifestyles. Their Bulgarian-style yogurt is the staple of many robust diets, and it’s always made from the highest-quality ingredients found in the Central Texas area. Also, look for wheat and gluten products by White Mountain, all of which can likely be found in your closest grocery store.

White Mountain
3301 E. Fifth
512/385-4711
www.whitemountainfoods.com

Best Brunch Crowd

Celebrating 15 years in Austin, Z'Tejas affords a delicious weekend that includes specialties from their lunch and dinner menus as well as inventive breakfast favorites. Brunch-goers form an eclectic mix of families, baby boomers, and young people, who somehow all come together for a pleasant, quiet, slow-paced weekend morning of mimosas and eggs Florentine.

Z'Tejas
1110 W. Sixth, 512/478-5355
9400-A Arboretum Blvd., 512/346-3506
www.ztejas.com

Best Catering

Feeding Austinites at special events for close to 20 years, Word of Mouth prepares everything from finger foods to multitiered bridal cakes. No matter how large or small the occasion, this Austin original can provide food to make it memorable. Bon Appétit even named them one of the 10 best wedding caterers in the nation.

Word of Mouth
2501 N. Lamar
512/472-9500
www.wordofmouthcatering.com

Best Coffee/Tea Selection

Mercilessly serving Austin's undercaffeinated, overeducated hipster masses for years, Little City's outposts attest to the power of xanthine in a college town. Their Guadalupe and Congress locales are terrific study spots, what with wi-fi, specialty drinks, plentiful refills, and ample people-watching opportunities when motivation wavers. So go holler at that sexy thang slyly hiding behind that laptop - caffeine promotes confidence.

Best Tortillas

God bless Taco Cabana and her wonderful tortillas. They're always warm and fresh, thanks to those gigantic, round-the-clock platters with the harrowing press. The tortilla press, an industrial strength Rube Goldberg in plain view for the public to see, smushes those little orbs of dough and cooks them into perfect, sizzling flatness. Every time we watch, we hear the end of that Raymond Scott song, "Powerhouse" in our heads (www.raymondscott.com/OEhouse.mp3 – think Bugs Bunny factory scenes). And if you don't have enough scratch for a full meal, the tortillas are good enough to eat alone! You can always find just enough change in your car seat cushion to buy at least three for the perfect inexpensive late-night snack.

Various locations, including 2507 E. Riverside, 462-2236

Best Outdoor Seating

Never mind the yerba maté, the bigass weekend waffles, and Italian sodas. Never mind the comfy couch, the wi-fi, and low lights. That's all inside, within the folds of one of Austin's most beloved and intimate coffeehouses. Now outside is the cafe's life mate and compatible counterpart: Under a canopy of crepe myrtles, various flora, and thatch, the dawn disappears into day and day disappears into dusk as poets chisel into notebooks, lovers process, and the mantis resides, humble in prayer. This Eastside adobe is our temple of the temporal, an earthly easy chair, a respite from all that distracts. It's impossible to not breathe here.

Best Home Delivery

Austin’s Pizza doesn’t have to offer minute-by-minute gimmicks to get your pizza promptly to your doorstep. They just do their jobs: You order, they pop it into their brick oven, and then, miraculously, one of their courteous delivery staff appears at your stoop and the doorbell rings. Their menu is simple, cheap, and straight-forward, but their food is divine and utterly satisfying. Best of all, they don’t even charge extra for soy cheese.

Various locations, including 800 W. 12th, 474-8822

Best Gourmet/Specialty Grocery

Belying its size, Wheatsville carries a surprising array of both local and imported organic and nonorganic products and promises special orders of anything you can’t find. While that’s impressive in itself for a neighborhood grocery, the deli and outside patio ensure that you'll run into someone you know, making Wheatsville the glue that binds in this small town/big city we call home.

Wheatsville Food Co-op
3101 Guadalupe, 512/478-2667
4001 S. Lamar, 512/814-2888
www.wheatsville.coop

Best Place to Meet for Lunch

This regular Chronicle poll topper tops the charts again with its atmosphere and food, keeping Austinites coming back year after year. The outdoor goodness of the open-air stone patio and indoor Roy Rogers-Ranch-style coziness offers the perfect workday respite. Menu faves include the famous Shady Grove Nachos and the Hippie Sandwich. If you want a sweet place to go, meet up with buds on your break, and get your grub on, be sure to swing by Shady Grove and soak up the good vibes.

Best Place to Dine Alone

For those of who oft dine solo, here is some good news: Zen has made it easy! Zen has made it popular! No more stealth trips to the drive-through, furtively gobbling up burgers and tacos in the driver's seat! No more pitying looks from happy couples having interesting conversations about their even more interesting lives! Our readers know: One can proudly walk into one of these very reasonably priced Japanese eateries and eat right with a healthy noodle bowl or a couple of tofu rolls. Don't take it to go; don't even bring anything to read! Just enjoy the food, the solitude, and bask in the self-satisfaction and oneness with oneself!

Various locations, including 3423 Guadalupe, 300-2633

 
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