Rolling In Thyme & Dough dishes out a savory menu of flavorful bistro fare concocted from a sunny spread of fresh ingredients. For breakfast, rouse porcine sleepers by ordering up a pig in a blanket ($3.50), or down the smoky chipotle baguette, with a fiery combination of egg, cheese, turkey bacon, and peppers that allows you to roar cartoon flames in the sun's cackling face ($5.35).
You're probably thinking, "That sounds great, but I've never bought a car or a computer without first reading the Wikipedia definitions for car and computer—I'm not about to buy a Groupon either without a briefing." Well, neither would we, and since this is everyone's first Groupon, allow us to briefly explain how it works.
Nothing Bundt Cakes mixes fresh eggs, genuine butter, and real cream cheese into rounded risers worthy of slapping up on mom's fridge. Choose from nine moistened cake flavors such as ravishingly rich red velvet or swirlishly scrawled marble. Lemon bundt cake goes particularly well with tea parties attended largely by rabbits, mice, eccentric haberdashers, and confused British girls, while raging chocoholics can get a day’s worth of fixes with the moist, decadent chocolate chocolate chip. Every cake, from the pineapple-studded carrot cake to the streusel-like praline pecan, comes topped with thick petals of Nothing Bundt’s signature cream-cheese frosting. Sizes start as small as a single serving (wee bundtlets are $3.99 each, $45 per dozen) all the way up to a two-tiered cake ($65) that resembles a frosted snowman perfect for any autonomous ice monster's first birthday.
Aromas of baking sourdough, amber rye, and brioche bread waft from the ovens of Texas French Bread, winner of the Austin Chronicle's Restaurant Poll Readers award for Best Bread in 2009, 2010, and 2011. For the past three decades, these ovens have been churning out artisan breads, pastries, and desserts made from scratch, and under the helm of brothers Ben and Murphy Willcott, the ovens now cook a dinner menu of local and sustainable rustic French fare, earning a place in the top five on the Growers Alliance of Central Texas's Truly Local 2011 restaurants survey. Yet neither of the brothers set out to be bakers. Murph, a Harvard law-school graduate and lawyer, and Ben, a student of English literature, both enjoyed staying up late, cooking, and coordinating aprons with spatulas so they decided to take over Texas French Bread with the goal of turning it from bakery into bistro because, as Murph claims, "rock star and/or Hollywood movie mogul seemed like a stretch."
In the kitchen, Ben crafts a weekly rotating menu hewn under the guidelines of famed chef Alice Waters, with local, fresh, and simple ingredients from the urban farms of Boggy Creek and Angel Valley, served in season at their peak. Meanwhile, the pastry chef sculpts key-lime tartlets, cupcakes, and cream puffs to accompany cups of coffee or espresso drinks made with locally roasted beans from Anderson's Coffee Company. The house blend combines premium East African beans with a Costa Rican hard bean, barrel-cooked to a medium-brown, full-city roast to jump-start mornings without licking a car battery.
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.
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.