The Austin Chronicle

Shop Local During the Holiday and Fill Your Belly With Delicious Carbs

Treats to soothe your soul

By Jessi Cape, November 20, 2020, Food

The holidays will certainly look a little different this year, but one surefire way to soothe the soul is by indulging in locally made carby goodness – and spreading that love around. If you're an anxiety baker with plans to churn out dozens of cookies, loaves, pastas, or pies, please consider sharing with friends and neighbors who find themselves stuck in hard times. But if you're able, spend those hard-earned dollars around town. We've rounded up a few favorites for you and the fam to enjoy, whether enjoying a celebration of thankfulness at home with the quar-crew or showing up with a treat for a safe and socially distanced meal with an extended group of loved ones. No matter how you do it, please wear that mask and try to focus on the gratitude.

Lua Brazil

At the center of the comfort food Venn diagram is cheese bread, and this spot specializes in exactly that: Pão de queijo (Brazilian cheese bread) is naturally gluten- and grain-free. These fluffy, golf-ball-sized delights are a perfect snack while you're waiting for the main course. For Thanksgiving, they're offering a special with 60 frozen pieces for $40, with free delivery, available through their website.

Eldorado Cafe

You're probably addicted to at least one of their crazy-good Mexican-inspired dishes, but did you know Eldorado has added cinnamon-sugar buttermilk mini-donuts to the menu? Co-owner Joel Fried created JB Rodeo Donuts as an ode to Jon Bonnell, who slung these beauts at the Ft. Worth rodeo for decades, and now they're on the breakfast menu to help spread happiness this season.

Lotus Chinese

If you prefer your carbs with a savory filling and want to shake up a traditional Thanksgiving menu, order a few dozen of the handmade dumplings at this family-owned spot at the Domain NORTHSIDE. They've got a special on the frozen to-go dumplings (chicken, pork, and vegan sweet potato) and jarred sauces (soy garlic, chile oil, sweet-and-sour, or habanero Dragon sauce): two bags (24 dumplings) and two sauces for $25.

The Sconery

Scones aren't just for Brits, y'all. Casey Warnick developed her recipe to "reinvent the humble scone and show people that this treat, when done right, is incredible." They're somewhere between a biscuit and a muffin, shaped like a pie slice, and available in both sweet and savory flavors: blueberry muffin with streusel topping, the OG Strawberry, Heath Bar with chocolate drizzle, chocolate chunk, Cinnascone, Funfetti with a wild candy topping, and our favorite, the poblano pepper jack. Submit your order through DM on Instagram.

The Sourdough Project

Jennifer Holmer El-Azzi and her husband, Danny, started as a farmers' market favorite, and now their crackers are available at retail spots around town. Made with Texas heirloom wheat stone-milled by Barton Springs Mill, organic extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, and locally sourced spices, the dough is cold fermented for days, which gives the crackers a flaky, tangy, slightly cheesy flavor while remaining dairy-free. And the uniquely shaped crackers are hand-cut and baked in six flavors: classic sea salt, everything, sun-dried tomato, beet and thyme, za'atar, and whole wheat – with all spices sourced locally from Southern Style Spices in Manor.

Handmade by Harriet

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Caitlyn Jackson knows a thing or 10 million about baking, and lucky for everyone, she began selling her goods during the start of pandemic furloughs. The entirely handmade menu (which stays largely the same each week but features specials) boasts delicious breads like ½- or 1-kilo loaves of sourdough boule with all sorts of seeded options, Parker House rolls, focaccia, and English muffins. She also makes cookies by the dozen (chocolate chip and gingersnap molasses) and other delights like whipped butter, vegetarian lasagna for two, and pappardelle pasta. Pickup and delivery available; orders due by Thursdays at 8pm via email.

Vivian's Boulangerie

It's difficult to summarize the glory of Kendall Melton's indulgent French-inspired pastries, but here goes: Using high-quality butter, pure cane sugar, imported salt, sustainable chocolates from Cacao Barry, local produce, eggs, and herbs, the beautiful menu features wonderful treats like pain au chocolat, spinach artichoke dip croissant, brown sugar shortbread, sweet potato and marshmallow tiger claw, and mashed potato kolache, among a bazillion more. Vivian's also donates a percentage of monthly proceeds to Austin animal rescues, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Black Lives Matter movement. Place your order through their web store; available through local delivery and pickup from their secret kitchen.

Be Mindful of Food Storage

Food storage is a big part of cooking, and during the extended holiday season, it's worth considering zero- and reduced-waste options for packing up leftovers or wrapping edible treats to deliver to friends. From reducing single-use plastics like sandwich baggies with beeswax wraps to reusing those cornichon or olive jars, it all makes a difference.

Just in time, Zip Top – an Austin-based, women-owned brand that offers 100% platinum silicone, plastic-free containers that stand up, stay open, and zip shut (as in, NO LIDS) – is officially available for purchase at all H-E-B locations. They're also microwave- and freezer-safe and available in several shapes, sizes, and colors. (

Consider following Austin-based social media pages dedicated to zero waste for ideas on all sorts of products and different recipes and projects for modernizing your kitchen function. Zero Waste Glory (@zerowasteglory) has great tips, and the Refill Nomads (@refillnomads) offer a mobile refill "revolution" for many types of household products. They announced this week that their van, usually parked at Thicket Food Park, was involved in a car accident, but their brick-and-mortar is still open in San Marcos. And one of my faves, Michelle Keffer of @the_zerowastejourney, is a great resource for all things zero waste – with bonus recipes and tips for creative food use. With more time at home, it's the perfect opportunity to save some money and make the Earth – and your family – a little healthier.

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