The chefs at La Pâtisserie by Oven-Fresh Delights satisfy sweet and savory cravings with a menu of handcrafted French-style pastries, sandwiches, and desserts. The Paris-Brest is a traditional dessert inspired by the Tour de France that fills a ring of pastry dough with rich hazelnut cream to resemble the tire of a bicycle or the donuts on strings used to train cyclists. A thick crust bookends raspberries suspended in whipped cream in the framboisier, and long prisms of succès praliné embed sweetened nuts in buttercream sandwiches. Letting influences from French kitchens shine through all the while, cooks stir pots of rich béchamel sauce and assemble croquet-madames, open-faced stacks of brioche, black-forest ham, and three types of cheese. Butter twists into savory dough for croissants, and from the oven drift scents that hint at spinach and leek quiches.
Today's Groupon gets you $60 worth of French cuisine for $30 at Aquarelle Restaurant Français, the elegant restaurant the Austin Chronicle calls "one of a handful of restaurants bold enough to offer rabbit, sweetbreads, and other organ meats to the sometimes squeamish Austin palate." It serves gourmet cuisine, such as black truffles and fresh duck foie gras, in a romantic turn-of-the-century home in downtown Austin.
Helmed by a husband-and-wife team of seasoned shutterbugs, CherryBones Photography captures memorable moments with a stylistic, vintage flair. A three-hour CherryBones photo-booth rental lets party planners reap a windfall of fun, formal photos at weddings or effortlessly steal dozens of souls dressed in business-casual at office parties. One of CherryBones’s estimable imagists accompanies the booth, zooming in for close-up shots of lovey-dovey duos, expertly cropping pin-ups of photogenic foursomes, and manipulating space-time to capture festive wide shots of the entire House of Representatives. CherryBones can deliver the photo booth to any location in the greater Austin area, and a copy of all two-dimensional memory bytes will be made available to customers on a DVD as well as in an online gallery that will be posted after the event.
Coco Chocolate Lounge has more to offer than just chocolate. That's why readers of the San Antonio Express-News voted the spot Best Neighborhood Restaurant and Best Nightclub in North Central San Antonio in 2011. Though there are plentiful cacao-based desserts served, including single-origin chocolate mousse and chocolate fondue with housemade marshmallows, Chef Hector Villarreal also experiments with savory dishes. Among his creations are stone-baked pizzas topped with house-smoked brisket and venison steaks with fried okra and béarnaise sauce.
The cuisine complements decor the San Antonio Express-News called “scrumptious with plenty of chandeliers, candlelight, and plush ruby-red velvet booths and bar seating.” As the sky darkens and everybody throws away sundials that seemed cool during the day, Coco Chocolate Lounge transitions into a nightclub, and chocolate martinis, wine, and champagne flow more freely. DJs on a dance floor and an outdoor patio spin Latin music, hip-hop, and club hits until 2:30 a.m.
The chefs at the newly opened French Quarter Grille spice up the catfish entrees, seafood gumbo, and grilled meats that populate a menu of authentic Cajun specialties. Diners can acclimate tongues to French-influenced flavors with a starter of crawfish beignets—fried, fluffy pillows dunked in a spicy jalapeño-and-roasted-corn tartar sauce ($9.95 for dinner; $8.95 for lunch). Attentive servers whisk steaming helpings of blackened-catfish gumbo spooned over dirty rice ($15.95) to white-cloth-draped tables before going back to the kitchen. Grillers blacken the rib-eye pontchartrain, smother it in shrimp, crab, and crawfish, and douse the lot in a mushroom brandy cream sauce ($29.95). Patrons can size up peppered pork tenderloins, which are flame-licked over a leftover science-fair volcano before being awarded a mango-pineapple chutney ($16.95). Diners devour forkfuls amid golden walls as the glow from a chandelier reflects in French Quarter Grille's gilded mirror.