The annual Kyle Fair and Music Festival unites the community with the smoky flavors of competitive barbecue, the colorful fun of a kid-friendly parade and carnival, and the twangy strains of an eclectic lineup of live music. On Friday evening, Thunderhill Raceway will roar with the sounds of Cheyenne, a country cover band able to replicate Garth Brooks's twang, Kenny Chesney's cowboy-hat silhouette, and Glenn Frey’s egg-laying abilities. Fred Andrews & Honeybrowne then shows off its unique fusion of rock, pop, and country melodies set to narrative lyrics of love won, love lost, and love absentmindedly forgotten on the counter. On Saturday, Grammy-winning Latin funk band Grupo Fantasma delivers songs fresh off its new album, El Existential, and Blue Clear Sky celebrates country monarch George Strait. VIP ticket holders snag the best seating in the venue and enjoy a short stroll back to their vehicle's cushy preferred spot.
It was a fateful night in January 1999 when the bellies of college sophomores Leon and Tiffany started to rumble. The two UT Austin students convened at Leon's apartment, where they whipped up a batch of chocolate-chip cookies in his oven. As they chewed on the warm, gooey fruits of their labor, the pair was struck by the idea to sell these freshly baked cookies to their fellow students. They began delivering treats to their peers during evening study breaks before expanding their customer base to include parents and Austin residents, all the while renting the back kitchen of a local restaurant to accommodate the growing demand.
Fifteen years later, the indulgent lure of Tiff's Treats has helped Leon and Tiffany open 13 locations throughout Austin, Dallas, and Houston. Within these bakeries, kitchen crews sculpt fresh dough into 10 types of cookies, supplementing the gooey morsels with decadent brownies and signature Tiffwiches—vanilla Blue Bell ice cream sandwiched between two warm cookies. Bakers hand-deliver batches every day, pulling them fresh from the oven instead of the overheated engine block of the delivery car.
From the exterior, it doesn't look as if much has changed about Buddy's Convenience Store, a 30-year-old stalwart of supplies and Texaco gas. The shop still sports its modest, ranch-style frame and functioning pumps, but inside it's another story. Jorge and Julie Garcia, scions of the family that spawned Curra's Grill Restaurant in South Austin, purchased the old filling station and slowly transformed it into a bastion of fresh, authentic Mexican cuisine called Señor Buddy's.
Now, in addition to the fuel that still flows from the pumps, 20 foam-flecked taps gush with draft beers to accompany a full menu of seafood enchiladas, breakfast tacos, tender cuts of pork and steak, and Curra's exclusive Oaxacan coffee. Out back, majestic trees cast cool shadows and misguided fishing lines over an expansive outdoor patio, where patrons can enjoy the soothing sounds of live music every Friday and Saturday beneath strings of twinkling lights.
Bananarchy operates on a deceptively simple principle: frozen, fair-trade bananas are dipped in the customer’s choice of four melted dips and then coated in their choice of 11 toppings. Hundreds of combinations result. Patrons can opt for a wholesome snack, devouring a banana dipped in vegan chocolate and granola, or indulge in a satisfying dessert with a banana dipped in chocolate and coated with toffee, cookies, and M&M's.
In addition to offering a warm-weather alternative to snow cones or snowman tears, Bananarchy boasts a complex origin story that earned co-founder Laura Anderson a feature on McSweeney’s. In a Q&A session, she explains that the idea was inspired by the frozen banana stand on the TV show Arrested Development.
Hoping to revive the culture of the neighborhood butcher shop, with its personalized service, attention to detail, and artful products, restaurant-industry veterans Justin Rosberg and Jason Parent took a gamble on their first New Hampshire butcher shop in 2003. Dubbed The Meat House, their store quickly earned a foodie following, spawning additional franchise locations across the country. Today, The Meat House stocks fine cheeses, prepared side dishes, other gourmet grocery items, and hundreds of wines alongside the usual selection of traditional and exotic meats. Butchers also explain how to prepare each hand-carved cut of meat, sharing recipes, best slicing practices, and cooking techniques for giving pork chops the flavor of justice.