A French-trained chef and a Mexican restaurateur pool their talents at Brown Bag Delivers, designing healthy, affordable cuisine for clients seeking to stockpile easy-to-prepare meals. The menu of entrees and sides rotates every week so the chef can incorporate new, seasonal ingredients. Each meal comes with simple instructions for reheating and can stay fresh inside clients' refrigerators for as long as six days—which is the exact running time of the Ken Burns documentary on leftovers. Although pickup is an option, the staff will also deliver orders to homes or workplaces throughout the Austin metropolitan area.
Mann's menu is the work of owner Jim Mann, an artist whose medium is meat and whose canvas is your face. No-nonsense noshers can order meat by the pound—sausage ($11.99), brisket ($12.99), ribs of bovine ($9.09) or porcine ($12.99) origin, pulled pork ($12.99), and more. To keep a hand open for impromptu gong solos, have Jim slap some of that meat between ground-wheat slabs for a barbecue sandwich ($5.59) and side it with potato salad, turnip greens, or black-eyed peas ($2.59 for one serving, $4.99 a pint). Larger appetites have their choice of combo plate with two sides (two meats, $11.59; three meats, $12.99; four meats, $15.79; veggie plate, $7.59). Once your plate looks like a pig exploded on it and your mouth and clothes are gloriously slathered in barbecue sauce, potato salad, and flecks of cobbed corn, finish up your power lunch with a jumbo Texas sweet tea ($2.29) and banana pudding ($2.89), then go nail that job interview.
The opened jaws of a great white shark are usually no place for a child. But at Kidz 'n' Play, the shark is just another air-filled component of an inflatable playhouse, where kids can race friends down slides or scamper through a Finding Nemo-themed escape tunnel. Designed for ages 10 and under, Kidz 'n' Play's indoor playground includes giant Legos for building, toy tea sets for pretend snacking, and a reading nook stocked with picture books. Though they can pass the time surfing free Wi-Fi or building a pillow fort around their minivans in the parking lot, parents are encouraged to play with their sock-clad youngsters.
Amazing Kakes sugar artists Yvette Humbert and Kim Sanchez, whose creations have been featured on the Food Network and in The Knot’s Best of Weddings 2010, apply their artistry to made-to-order wedding cakes, cupcakes, and cake pops. The flavorings and fondant in their cakes hail from Switzerland, imparting a distinct European note to flavors that range in complexity from red velvet to champagne bellini. The duo's commitment to detail extends to its firm stance on only designing wedding cakes in-person, though the two have flown as far as San Francisco and the moon to construct and attend to celebratory pastries.
Humbert and her fleet of instructors share their expertise in cake-making classes, teaching students to mimic their magic in a roomy, sunlit classroom. In general classes, including topics such as how to make fondant or gum-paste flowers, bakers add new techniques to their repertoires, and during more specific classes, they learn to build cakes that resemble anything from the University of Texas at Austin tower to a high-heeled shoe. All materials are generally provided, allowing students to observe firsthand Amazing Kakes’ efforts to use exclusively sustainable and nontoxic products.
When discussing the motive behind opening an old-school arcade, Darren Spohn told reporters from the Austin American-Statesman, "People have lost that social experience—they sit on couches with [their] Xbox, they never talk to their kids. You want to come to a place where you can play together with your kids, too, and find something that the whole family enjoys. I wanted to recreate that experience in an arcade again.” The arcade enthusiast had been collecting pinball machines all his life before opening Pinballz Arcade, hoping to reintroduce the magic of the classic arcade to a community that's gravitated toward impersonal gaming consoles and lonely one-man games of ping-pong.
Today, Darren's arcade has blossomed into a 13,000-square-foot space with more than 200 classic and modern games. The pride of the arcade is its collection of more than 100 pinball machines—colorful blinking, clattering, and beeping apparatuses dating as far back as 1966. The facility is home to time-honored video games such as Pac-Man and Donkey Kong, as well as cutting-edge shooting and dancing games. Some games—such as skeeball and Hungry Hungry Hippos—earn players tickets that can be redeemed for knickknacks and electronics.
After a round of Tron or Mortal Kombat, guests can gather at the onsite BYOB café to compare scores over burgers and pizza. All of the video games at the arcade are for sale, so customers can purchase pinball machines of their own to play in their home, office, or voting precinct.
Adding a sexy dose to Austin’s wardrobes since 1990, Tabu provides informative and friendly service thanks to a knowledgeable staff that puts shoppers at ease without the use of chloroform rags. A welcoming boutique atmosphere is stocked to the brim with beach-ready swimwear, head-turning lingerie, and an extensive selection of luxury novelties ideal for bachelorette parties. Lingerie brands include Betsey Johnson, Trashy Lingerie, Honey Dew, Wendy Glez, and Jezebel, while swimwear such as L Space's purple striped bikini ($134) adds excitement to pool-side Scrabble games. The racy thread gurus at Tabu are happy to help jittery boyfriends pick out perfectly snug lingerie items for their partners and can direct timid customers to a Lelo Gigi personal massager ($115) and Kama Sutra honey dust body powder ($15).