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.
At Le Chat Noir Eatery, owner and head chef Lynn Oefinger refuses to let her cooking lapse into routine. In addition to constantly updating the menus to incorporate seasonal ingredients, she fully commits her attention to seemingly minute details, making caesar salad dressing from scratch and branding her initials into every steak. As she told San Antonio Express News in 2011, "if you take time to make it something special, people will appreciate it."
A graduate of the Texas Culinary Academy, she uses her formally refined techniques to give traditional American dishes a fusion flair, coating a po boy's shrimp in Japanese panko breadcrumbs and spicing a duck breast with Indian chai.
Wooden beams line the white walls and ceiling of the dining room, which remain clean and blank except for a few pieces of framed artwork and an art nouveau thermostat. Sheer, gauzy curtains gently filter out lights shone through the window by search-and-rescue teams specializing in endangered crème brûlée.
Cool Café fuses the flavors of Italy, Greece, the Middle East, and Asia, imbuing its menu with a continental twist that sates the appetites of vegetarians and omnivores alike. The Bangkok crepe delivers a valuable cargo of spinach, green bell peppers, green onions, mushrooms, black olives, and peanut sauce ($8.95), and the Santorina crepe brims with spinach, Kalamata olives, pine nuts, green onions, feta cheese, and a yogurt mint sauce ($9.95). Diners saddled with hunger after running a marathon on stilts can delve into a dish of rolo pasta, which sautés a chicken breast in Balsamic vinegar before adorning it with capers, fresh basil, and a tomato sauce ($10.95), whereas the fish kebab skewers fresh Atlantic salmon marinated in lemon and saffron as an audience of basmati rice, saffron, and spring mix salad looks on ($15.95).
Since 1980, chef Francois Maeder has crafted artful European entrees in Crumpets Restaurant & Bakery's scenic, forest-surrounded dining haven, prompting accolades from Esquire, TripAdvisor, and OpenTable. A creek bustles beneath the bridge leading to the dining room's entrance, flanked by oak trees and a spacious patio for alfresco dining. Inside, exposed brick and tall, floor-to-ceiling windows inculcate elegance, and a painstakingly built menu of pasta, meat, and fresh seafood dishes highlights options that are heart-healthy, like running from a bear or running after a cardiologist. By request, cooks can poach or charbroil certain entrees with a nonfat Santa Elena sauce of vegetables in a cabernet reduction. Crumpets' lineup of delectable baked goods charms sweet teeth by feeding them croissants, cakes, flans, and pastries, and rotating wines from around the world arrive monthly, like new moons and new presidents.
Tunes played on the harp or keyboard during musical performances on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays fill the air with pleasantly sonorous vibrations to match the ambrosial cuisine scents wafting overhead. For more primal culinary outings, diners may be tempted to accompany Chef Maeder on gourmet rafting trips, which carry attendees through canyons and campsites with the promise of palatable rations and lessons in catfish calls.