At Lake Travis Wine Trader, the title of Big Wino is one to be celebrated. Every six weeks, the combination wine store and bar clears its space for the Big Winos event, a guided tasting of six luxury wines. This regular gathering is just one of the steps the store takes toward fostering a warm, welcoming atmosphere and demystifying the wine-tasting process. On any day of the week, wine experts Lori and George are on hand to pour 30 wines by the glass, or help customers navigate a hand-picked gallery of more than 1,000 hard-to-find and boutique small-batch bottles. The bar also explores the world of wine throughout the week with events such as wine dinners and walk-in Saturday tastings. Knowing that tasting wine works up appetites that can't be sated with fistfuls of peanut butter, the bar also curates a menu of small plates such as gourmet cheeses, marinated meatballs, and breakfast tacos.
A finger-licking land of savory bites, Uncle Billy’s boasts a menu loaded with slow cooked barbecued meats, including brisket, ribs, jalepeno cheese sausage, turkey and burgers, as well as light, contrasting salads. Though your Groupon isn't valid toward alcohol, Uncle Billy’s imprimatur remains home to handcrafted creations from brewers Amos Lowe and Brian Peters, who happily pour in-house beers alongside a rotating tap of favorites from breweries throughout Texas. Live music lights up the weekend nighttime air, and a liberal, dogs-welcome policy at the Barton Springs location keeps the outdoor patio cozy on sunny afternoons.
Lauded as a 'Neighborhood Gem' by its diners on OpenTable, Eleven Plates' chef Dom Labeaud has elevated the trend of small plates to new heights with twists on contemporary American dishes. This inventiveness is evident in the seared diver scallops, a dish punctuated with grilled corn, spanish chorizo, corn-nut dust, and citrus aioli, which was described in Delicious Mischief as "far more creative, and…more satisfying” than typical takes on the seafare. Inside the dining room, bottles of wine stacked horizontally fill shelves on a wall that faces out toward dark, wooden tables and rich leather chairs, and patterned wallpaper lines the walls above the curving bar. Eleven Plates also serves lunch.
While it is easy to spot some of Kingdom Chauffeured Limousine Services' fleet of vehicles—such as a stretch limo transporting a bridal party or headed on a tour of wine country—some of their most impressive cars fit in any old parking space. The drivers spend most of their days catering to regular business travelers, ferrying them around town in the less elongated, yet more pronounced, style of a Mercedes Benz S550, Cadillac Escalade ESV, or Rolls Royce Phantom.
Most of the vehicles have tinted privacy glass for passengers, as well as pristinely maintained leather seats. Additionally, the stretch limousines boast privacy dividers, a premium sound system, and room for up to ten passengers or one extremely happy passenger and all of the stuffed animals he won at the carnival.
Every weekend, Cannoli Joe's serves a menu of tooth-tickling Italian brunch dishes in a buffet style from numerous stations that have been arranged to resemble a strada of authentic Italian street merchants. As you duck through a forest of wildly gesticulating hands and endure the endless declarations of love by organic, free-range Italians on Vespas, you'll get to browse brunchtastic creations such as baked fontina, eggs strata, and poached eggs florentina. Decisive DIYers can visit the custom omelet bar, while more patrician palates can luxuriate in Rome's culinary conquests with French toast and Belgian waffles. Cannoli Joe's regular lunch line-up will also be on display, including the flawlessly spiced lasagna bolognese, perfectly parmed eggplant parmesan, chicken marsala, and spaghetti pomodoro. The menu also includes a piazza's worth of pizza flavors, along with authentic Italian meatballs and Sicilian-spiced rotisserie chicken. More than 70 succulent comestibles can be matchmade with an empty plate at any given time and cover every dining stage from antipasto to propasto to dessert—a word that can only be pluralized in Italian by combining Frangelico bread pudding with cheesecake and cannoli.
Upon sampling sips from among more than 100 wines culled from 13 countries, guests craft personalized batches of their favorite variety. Water 2 Wine’s knowledgeable winemaking team assists patrons in taking crushed grape selections and beginning the fermentation process by apologizing deeply to the grapes for being savagely crushed. After approximately eight weeks, customers return to prepare bottles and take them home. In addition to tastings and winemaking experiences, Water 2 Wine hosts sundry events, including wine glass painting classes, parties, and private soirees.