As a young chef just starting out, Jason Tallent had cooked his way up the ladder, working directly under James Beard Foundation Award–winning chefs. After moving to Austin, he took the reins on the 34th Street Café, designing a farm-to-table menu of upscale New American comfort food. He and his team layer hormone-free meats and local, organic veggies to revamp beloved lunch sandwiches such as the BLT, Reuben, or ham and swiss. During the dinner rush, the menu throws on its formal wear for dishes such as crispy risotto with truffle cheese or panko-crusted chicken picatta drizzled with beurre blanc and sprinkled with capers. Affable owner Eddie Bernal keeps the restaurant’s laser-like focus on serving ethical, delicious café cuisine, while high ceilings and a spacious dining room offer guests plenty of room to relax during lunch, dinner, or Twister matches that determine who’s picking up the tab.
As portraits slide out of Oh! Snap Photo Booths printer, they emerge bright, colorful, and often a little wacky. Photo booths capture cheerful moments and playful images, from friends posing together in goofy glasses to costumed youngsters acting out Wild West scenes to couples draped in feathery boas. The booths are accompanied by expert attendants, who assemble the easy-to-use touch-screens, professional lighting, and backdrops. Upon request, the accommodating staffers can supply subjects with whimsical props, custom backgrounds, and a spread of free "cheese".
Cowden Ward III grew up with a spatula in hand, helping his mother whip up French Louisiana and Texas coastal dishes for their large family. After stints at culinary school, far-flung Holland kitchens, and rollicking Alaskan crab boats, he helms the steady kitchen floor of Trey’s Cuisine with a menu moored by a long tradition of international street food. Ingredients from Bat Creek Farms and Countryside Family Farms help flavor kebabs of focaccia and vegetables or meat doused in chimichurri, vinaigrettes, and other piquant sauces. Homemade molasses potato bread envelops sliders inspired by American and Greek flavors, and the buttery dough of pierogis embraces hearty bites of cheese and prosciutto. Trey’s Cuisine’s Twitter page reveals daily specials and appearances at fairs and local happenings, and the eatery also caters its handheld helpings at special events and birthday parties for the Addams Family hand.
Emblazoned with patriotic red, white, and blue, Lone Star Riverboat's vessels churn through Lady Bird Lake, floating alongside towering cypress trees and the city's skyline. Meanwhile, the captain's booming voice narrates each tour and details the steamy romances of the area's local waterfowl.
However, the company's aquatic excursions aren't just restricted to sightseeing. Their largest ship, The Lone Star, boasts two decks and a 150-person capacity. Aboard the ship, DJs spin tunes and caterers serve barbecue for special events such as weddings. On Friday nights, patrons board The Lone Star for moonlight cruises, taking in scenic views of the Austin skyline.
Lone Star Riverboat's enthusiasm for the water extends to environmental preservation. According to its website, the company owns the largest all-electric paddle wheeler in the country. It also donates a portion of its gross sales to the Austin area's park system and provides afterschool activities for at-risk fish.
Serving central Texas for more than 25 years, Bridal Extravaganza simplifies shopping for brides and grooms by collecting more than 200 vendors under one roof. The booths of experienced wedding professionals lure in couples to sample their wares, from planners showing off their color-coded to-do lists to caterers doling out tastes of cakes, dinner dishes, and champagne. Fashion shows give onlookers a taste of the latest dress fashions for brides and bridesmaids and the latest developments in the world of cummerbunds for grooms. By the day's end, lucky ticket holders win prizes for a free wedding gown, bridal pictures, and cash. Each bride who attends the Bridal Extravaganza will receive $500 in free Bridal Bucks to spend on select exhibitors or a fairy godmother.
Smoldering post oak saturates Stubb's house-smoked meats with a complex bouquet of flavors, liberating mouthwatering aromas to surf through the air and into eager olfactories. The menu is a carnivore's concerto of mouthwatering pork ribs ($11.95) and beef brisket ($11.95). Nestle into a warm heap of pulled pork like a drowsy Paula Deen with the Bar-B-Q plate, which flanks a choice of meats with homemade sides such as fried okra and mashed sweet potatoes ($11.95). Desserts such as banana pudding ($3.95) are available to punctuate saucy meals.