Dining out spares people from using up the last of their paper plates or incinerating the last of their paper ovens. Reduce your disposable-cookware footprint with today's Groupon: for $15, you get $30 worth of local, French-inspired fare at Texas French Bread.
With a dedication to farm-to-table fresh fare, Texas French Bread decorates its dinner menu with French- and Mediterranean-inspired dishes crafted from locally grown, in-season ingredients. Seasoned with frost and mistletoe, the delectable winter squash ($10) sleds across palates alongside beets, roman cauliflower, and horseradish crème fraiche. Bistro butter melts over hanger steak, lentils, greens, and turnips ($21), and roasted poussin ($19) nuzzles up to new potato, mushroom, and lardon in a red-wine jus. A full lunch menu quiets full-throated stomach growls, and the breakfast menu gently awakens snoring taste buds with fluffy banana-walnut pancakes ($7.95) and challah-bread french toast ($7.95). Sunlight pours through the restaurant's light-blue shutters as chefs prepare meals and pastries from scratch with ingredients from local urban farms such as Boggy Creek and Angel Valley.
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.