Eating local ensures freshness and superb taste and also spares sensitive tomatoes the pain of being brutally patted down by airport security. Taste the fruits of proximity with today's Groupon: for $15, you get $30 worth of locally sourced, sustainable fare at Texas French Bread. Baked goods are subject to availability.
The family of artisans behind Texas French Bread embarked on their comestible careers in 1981 when it began baking up made-from-scratch breads, pastries, and desserts. Since then, the culinary empire has expanded to include locally roasted coffees, delivery lunch boxes, and a rotating dinner menu of fresh pastas, seafood, and small plates. Although the cuisine changes seasonally, all dishes combine diverse culinary interests in French and Mediterranean cooking with local, fresh ingredients. Recent selections have allowed diners to grab a taste of Dewberry Hills Farm by supping on oven-roasted poussin with new potatoes and brussels sprouts ($17), keep it simple with a small plate of frites and aioli ($8), or spare their supple buckskin boots the trouble of wading to Boggy Creek Farm by ordering the tortelli with greens, chevre, fresh tomato, and basil ($9).
A kids' menu lets little ones find their spirit food with a charcuterie plate of turkey, salami, cheddar cheese, apples, and pickles ($6). Top off a hearty, fresh meal with the butterscotch budino ($7), the finest of its kind since Scotish bakers drained Loch Ness. Although dinner is the meal du jour, Texas French Bread also serves breakfast and lunch, which are available seven days a week.
A welcoming building lined with windows and light blue shutters prepares diners for Texas French Bread's scrumptious house-made dishes. Inside, exposed-brick walls lined with paintings envelop wooden tables, and mealtime indulgences may come accented by locally sourced aromas.
Texas French Bread
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.