Second Helpings: Bakeries
Central Market4001 N. Lamar, 206-1000 Daily, 9am-9pm 4477 S. Lamar, 899-4300 Daily 9am-9pm
If you're shopping for a picnic, the bakery at Central Market is a good place to start. Their fresh breads will turn any sandwich into a conversation piece. Other noteworthy items include croissants almost as big as footballs and huge peanut butter cookies that will stick to the roof of your mouth.
Quack's 43rd Street Bakery411 E. 43rd, 453-3399 Monday-Friday, 6:30am-11pm; Saturday-Sunday, 8am-11pm
This Hyde Park hangout does its part to carry on the spirit of slacker-era Austin. It is a great place to luxuriate over coffee and a muffin while eavesdropping on gossipy conversations about the local music and arts scenes. Reasonably priced sandwiches and rice and beans resonate with the budget-minded, while the Toll House pie resonates with the sweet-tooth crowd.
Russell's Bakery & Coffee Bar3339 Hancock, 419-7877 Monday-Friday, 6:30am-6pm; Saturday, 7am-2:30pm; Sunday, 8am-1pm
Who would've thought a former filling station would make such an inviting neighborhood bakery and coffee shop? Russell's carries a fine assortment of cakes, cookies, and sandwiches along with coffee, juices, and Italian sodas. The peanut butter and chocolate chip cookie is a particularly tasty reward. With quick access via the Hancock Drive overpass, it is a convenient place to while away a lazy morning regardless of what side of MoPac you live on.
Sweetish Hill Bakery1120 W. Sixth, 472-1347 Monday-Saturday, 6:30am-7pm; Sunday, 6:30am-5pm 98 San Jacinto, 477-2411 Monday-Friday, 7:30am-4pm
This well-loved Austin institution has earned its reputation with excellent breads, cakes, and pastries. Sweetish Hill keeps it coming through the lunch hour with great sandwiches on fresh bakery bread. For dessert, try the plum tart, bee sting, or lemon bar.
Texas French Bread2900 Rio Grande, 499-0544
3213 Red River, 478-8794
Monday-Friday, 6am-7pm; Saturday, 6am-5pm; Sunday, 6am-3pm
1722 S. Congress, 440-1122
Monday-Friday, 7am-6pm; Saturday, 8am-6pm; Sunday, 8am-3pm
The three remaining locations of Texas French Bread are still the perfect places to duck in for a scone, pastry, and cup of coffee. Check out the sandwich menu for light lunch fare. Dessert-minded hedonists will want to sample the Hyde Park Fudge cake.
Upper Crust Bakery4508 Burnet Rd., 467-0102 Monday-Saturday, 6:30am-6:30pm; Sunday, 6:30am-1pm
Cinnamon-roll aficionados should try the Upper Crust's version, a refined-taste treat that refuses to overwhelm the cinnamon with sticky kid-stuff sweetness. This centrally located bakery also serves breads, pastries, cakes, tarts, and cookies. Workers from nearby state offices and medical buildings crowd the Upper Crust at lunchtime for soups, salads, and sandwiches.
Whole Foods Market601 N. Lamar, 476-1206 Daily, 8am-10pm 9607 Research, 345-5003 Daily, 8am-10:30pm
Whole Foods carries a fine assortment of breads, cakes, cookies, and pastries. Their strawberry, raspberry, and cinnamon scones make a fine midmorning snack. Meanwhile, their tasty "gingerbread people" resist sexist language with a moniker vaguely evocative of cannibalism. The bakery also carries a variety of vegan sweets.