With the overwhelming number of acclaimed Austin restaurants and food trucks, the city’s a paradise for gourmands. But that diversity can actually pose a challenge when trying to whittle down the options and find the best gifts for foodies. So we scoured the Lone Star State’s hottest culinary destination for its most delicious gems, from slow-smoked Texas barbecue to sashimi sliced by a local sushi master. Whatever your loved one’s favorite cuisine, you’re sure to discover unique gift ideas. 1. Brisket at Franklin Barbecue Franklin Barbecue is renowned throughout the country for serving some of the best barbecue in Austin, and its brisket is the star of the show. Chef Aaron Franklin smokes his beef for hours over oak wood, creating jaw-droppingly tender meat encapsulated by a charred, slightly crunchy bark. For an inspired gift idea, treat your loved one to a meal at this lunch-only hotspot. But you’ll need to show up early—lines start forming hours before the doors open at 11 a.m. 2. Cooking Classes at Silver Whisk Cooking School Executive Chef Myrna Kallergis has years of experience under her belt, cooking alongside celebrity chefs Ted Allen and Sara Moulton, as well as participating in prestigious events such as the Austin Wine and Music Festival. But today she leads a team of equally seasoned culinary instructors at Silver Whisk Cooking School. Surprise your favorite foodie with an in-home cooking class from one of these experts, who will show up at their home and teach them how to make a gourmet multi-course meal. Each session includes two hours of hands-on instruction, ingredients, and all necessary equipment. 3. Sushi at Uchi If the food-lover in your life is a fan of sashimi and maki, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better restaurant to take them to than Uchi, which serves up some of the best sushi in Austin. Chef Tyson Cole studied in Tokyo and New York for more than a decade to perfect his craft, and he enhances that impressive technique with local, seasonal ingredients and fresh seafood flown in from Japanese fish markets. 4. Cheese of the Month Club from Antonelli’s Cheese Shop There are thousands of good gifts for foodies, but nothing beats the gift that keeps on giving: a food subscription. Check out Antonelli’s Cheese Shop’s Cheese of the Month Club. Every time the shop gets a new shipment of artisanal, limited-batch cheese in its shop, it packages it up and sets it aside for subscribers, who can pick it up or have it shipped for an extra fee. In addition to three to five cheeses, baskets also frequently include thoughtful pairings such as fruit preserves or gourmet chocolates. 5. Mexican Food at La Condesa In Austin, you're always a stone's throw from great Tex-Mex, but authentic Mexican food can be a bit harder to find. That's why La Condesa is great if your friend or loved one is a fan of traditional south-of-the-border cuisine. Chef Rick Lopez showcases fresh ingredients and modern flourishes in comfort dishes such as chicken breast with three-day mole, Veracruz–style octopus braised in red wine, and margaritas rimmed with cactus-lemongrass salt.Read More
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When it comes to finding gifts for the adventurous, traditional trinkets fall short. That’s why we compiled gift ideas that’ll help you find the perfect experience for anyone—even the loved one for whom opening presents is just a delay to the rest of the day’s activities. Adventure doesn’t always come cheap, though, considering it takes a sherpa and $10,000 to climb Mount Everest. Not all of us have K2 money lying around, so you can pull off most of the items on our budget gift guide for under $100. Gift Ideas for Couples Sometimes going out for another dinner can be a real drag. Nobody wants to admit it, but the whole time you’re both just kind of thinking, “Why aren’t we making glass doodads or learning to create a culinary masterpiece together?” We’ve got you covered. Glassblowing classes at Green Devil Glass Studio or cooking classes at the world-renowned Le Cordon Bleu help couples bust out of the restaurant rut and rekindle that old flame—in this case over an actual open flame. Gift Ideas for Thrill-Seekers There’s nothing more mind-numbingly boring to your average thrill-seeker than having to unwrap a gift. Untying a bow is no way to get their adrenaline pumping. Instead, give them the gift of flight with hang-gliding lessons from Fly Texas or let them channel their inner Kit Cloudkicker with lessons from Third Coast Kite Surfing. And if you just can’t decide, blend the best of both worlds with Flyboarding, which basically entails strapping into a water-powered jetpack and careening all over the place. Austin Lake Fun is just one vendor of the ultra-modern water sport. (Be sure to have your giftee read through our beginner’s guide to the sport first!) Gift Ideas for Kids What tiny person wouldn’t jump at the chance to sleep with sharks? The Austin Aquarium lets folks pack up their sleeping bags and spend the night, getting a behind-the-scenes look at feeding routines and the nighttime habits of octopi and sharks. In the morning, kids get to feed the birds and enjoy a tank-side breakfast. Older kids might enjoy learning how to mix and sample beats during one of Dub Academy’s DJ classes. For more cerebral tweens, outsmarting the adult escape-room designers at Maze Rooms can be a real confidence-boosting challenge. Gift Ideas for Parents If there’s one thing parents love, it’s a three-way tie between spending time with their kids, unabashedly begging for grandkids, and tearing up the asphalt in a Lamborghini LP560. At Xtreme Xperience, the folks will lose their bongos as they either white-knuckle it from the passenger seat of a high-octane speedster or take the wheel themselves. If your parents are the type to enjoy a more relaxing adventure, they might like taking in the natural beauty of the San Marcos Springs aboard an adorably quaint glass-bottom boat launched from The Meadows Center. And folks who would just as soon forget the Alamo as mess with Texas will love the Frontier Times Museum, a celebration of frontier and cowboy culture. Gift Ideas for Foodies The foodie in your life may turn up their cultured nose at your garden-variety wine tasting. But how about a small-batch, handmade moonshine tasting? Crystal Creek Moonshine infuses their spirits with everything from poblano peppers to serrano cucumber. And best of all, a portion of the profits go toward helping underserved communities get access to clean drinking water.Read More
Will the woman in your life really get excited about yet another scarf or pair of earrings? This year, whether you’re shopping for holiday, anniversary, or birthday gifts for her, skip the jewelry and treat her to an experience she’ll remember. (OK, she probably won’t mind if you throw in the jewelry, too.) From the spa lover to the foodie, we’ve got you covered on Austin gifts for her. Book a Weekend Spa Getaway If the lady in your life could use a little pampering, gift her a spa weekend at the Omni Barton Creek Resort. This is the sort of ultra-luxe getaway that she’d never book herself but you know she totally deserves. Set her up with a day of spa treatments, or let her choose her own. Barton Creek offers everything from rosehip calming facials and essential-oil massages to outdoor yoga classes. Head Out on the Water Spas aren’t for everyone. If the woman on your list would choose rock climbing over a hot-stone massage, go for an experience that’s slightly more adventurous. Congress Avenue Kayaks is a great place to start, with paddleboard and kayak rentals that will show you a new view of the city. And if she’s feeling extra adventurous, sign up for the Bat Tour on Lady Bird Lake—you’ll get a front-row seat as a colony of Mexican free-tailed bats alight from under the Congress Avenue Bridge at dusk. Take Her on a Picnic Looking for romantic gifts for her? It doesn’t get any more lovey-dovey than a picnic. But if you don’t want to spend a day cooking up chicken-salad sandwiches and deviled eggs, look to Pilot Knob Vineyard. They’ll set you up with a picnic in the vines, providing the wine, snacks, and a stunning location to boot. Send Her on a Girls’ Night Treat her and her BFFs to a fun night out with a trip to Personal Picasso, a painting studio. She’ll get to stretch her creative muscles in the company of her besties, and everyone will leave with a personal work of art. Bonus points: throw in a couple bottles of her favorite wine to make this gift extra-special, as the classes are all BYOB. Treat Her to a Fancy Dinner You’ll be hard-pressed to find more lavish decor in Austin than at the Driskill Grill: nailhead-trimmed leather chairs, sumptuous tasseled curtains, and luxe table linens. Embrace a chance to get dressed to the nines and treat her to dinner at this Austin staple, with its daily revolving menu of seasonal Texas cuisine. And if you’re looking to make the evening even more romantic, grab a bottle of champagne and book a room upstairs at the historical four-star Driskill Hotel.Read More
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