MM Pack's Top 10 Bites From Small Austin Producers
1) Hope & Glory Pastry: Meringue Épice I thought I wasn't crazy for meringues until I discovered Hope & Glory's meringue épice – terrific coconut clouds laced with black pepper, cumin, and coriander. Oh, and they're gluten-free.
2) The Mediterranean Chef: Baba ghanoush Chef Nikki Kaya may be best known for superior hummus, but her silky, ultrasmoky baba ghanoush became my go-to summertime appetizer, delighting even anti-eggplant guests.
3) Dai Due: Quail-liver and apricot pâté Jesse Griffiths is a master at transforming underappreciated animal parts into magical treats. This combination of quail-liver pâté studded with chopped apricots is outrageously delicious with crusty bread.
4) Cake & Spoon Baking Co.: Double ginger and cream scones One of my Saturday rituals at the Downtown Farmers' Market is snagging some of Melissa Brinckmann's light, gingery scones for a perfect Sunday breakfast.
5) Confituras: Pear jam with Fresh sage and honey It's hard picking a favorite among Stephanie McClenny's seasonal, European-style, local-fruit concoctions, but mine has to be this not-too-sweet pear jam with endnotes of herbs and wildflowers.
6) Kocurek Family Charcuterie: Cheek to Cheek terrine The name may be firmly tongue-in-cheek, but the Kocureks' rustic terrine of local beef and pork cheeks had my taste buds dancing.
7) The Gardener's Feast: Chiapaneco tamales Each Chiapas-style tamale is indeed a feast. Wrapped in banana leaves, these fluffy, organic masa envelopes are stuffed with an intricate combination of chicken, spicy mole, raisins, and prunes.
8) La Patisserie: Coffee éclairs Classic French confections of pâte à choux and coffee-flavored pastry cream, glazed with sweet coffee icing. Transformative, especially if you've got Parisian memories.
9) Lamba Royal Indian Food: Spinach Pakora Traditional crispy spinach-and-chickpea fritters are Tex-ified by a healthy jolt of serrano chile. A bagful of spinach pakora makes a lovely meal, especially when paired with Lamba Royal's yogurt dipping sauce.
10) Phoenicia Deli: Zatar bread is a chewy flat bread topped with sesame seeds, thyme, sumac, and olive oil. I like the way Phoenicia gets it browned and almost blackened on the bottom while still keeping the bread nice and chewy.
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