With the weather warming up in preparation for summer, brunch season is upon us and the Austonia team has some thoughts.
Whether you’re looking for something lowkey to roll out of bed for, like Andrea's pick, a South Congress outing, where Sonia's pick will take you, or something a little more on the wild side like Figi’s pick, there’s a brunch in Austin for everyone.
If you haven't already, check out some of our Austonia-approved favorites.
Andrea’s pick: Magnolia Cafe, 1920 S. Congress Ave.
Serving Austin since 1979, Magnolia Cafe is synonymous with Austin and even served President Barack Obama at its now-closed Lake Austin location once. Andrea likes the option to sit either indoor or outdoor and the pleasant waiting experience, since they don’t take reservations. If she's feeling savory, Andrea orders the tropical turkey tacos. If she’s feeling sweet, Andrea recommends the royal toast.
Claire’s pick: Blue Dahlia Bistro, 3663 Bee Cave Rd.
With fond memories of visiting the San Marcos location throughout college, Claire has been enjoying Austin-based Blue Dahlia Bistro. Claire often sits on the gardeny outdoor patio with a prickly pear or white peach mimosa and orders some of the bistro’s “legendary waffles.”
Figi’s pick: Vixens of Volstead Drag Brunch, 1500 E. 6th St.
When I go out on weekends, I’m looking for brunch and a show. The patio at Hotel Vegas and Volstead is the place to be when drag queens Mars, May Magdalene and Veronica Valentine take the stage from 1-3 p.m. for Sunday brunch. Grab a crispy chicken sandwich and some sriracha ranch tots from Vegas Concessions, the adjoining food truck, a cocktail of your preference and get your cash out for an exciting show from start to finish. Don’t forget to tip the Vixens!
Isabel’s pick: Paperboy, 1203 E. 11th St.
If you can manage a reservation at the buzzy East Austin restaurant, Isabel recommends making a stop at Paperboy. Isabel says to sit upstairs on the patio if you can, grab a cold brew martini and enjoy the vibes. Try her favorite, the migas with goat carnitas, or a kale salad for a light choice.
John’s pick: Jo’s Coffee, 242 W. 2nd St.
A tried-and-true Austin classic so popular it has its own airport location, you can find our operations manager visiting Jo’s downtown location on weekends. Though it’s not your typical brunch setting, John says the joint has great coffee, “phenomenal” lunch sandwiches and despite not having a dog, he enjoys seeing other people’s pups on the patio. Seasonal specials, like a pistachio latte or matcha palmer, keep the menu fresh and free parking keeps the downtown location accessible.
Mark’s pick: Pool Burger, 2315 Lake Austin Blvd.
For those warm summers, our publisher enjoys the outdoor atmosphere and a Mai Tai (with a dark rum floater) at Pool Burger’s tiki bar. Mark orders a hippy burger with a fried egg and crinkle fries and soaks in that casual, carefree and beachy vibe.
Sonia’s pick: Joann’s Fine Foods, 1224 S. Congress Ave.
A lowkey tropical vibe along South Congress, Joann’s Fine Foods is great for people watching or enjoying the sights and sounds of the strip. Our Sonia likes to sit on the back patio, since you often don’t need to make reservations in that section, with some white bean hummus and some great migas. The laid-back atmosphere is perfect for long jaw sessions!
Austin chefs were well-represented at the James Beard Foundation Awards on Monday night as two local restaurateurs took home the coveted award—more than any other Texas city.
Chef Iliana de la Vega of El Naranjo, 2717 S. Lamar Blvd., took home the title of Best Chef Texas and chef Edgar Rico of Nixta Taqueria, 2512 E. 12th St., took home Best Emerging Chef at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Nearby, Houston’s Julep was recognized for Outstanding Bar Program as the only other Lone Star State mention. The award has often been compared to high-caliber awards like the Oscars or the Grammys of food.
De la Vega told Austonia she wasn’t expecting to win—she hadn’t even prepared a speech—she was just happy for a weekend vacation with her husband and business partner Ernesto Torrealba. De la Vega said she considers it a joint award for the two of them.
“It was a little bit shocking, emotional, a little bit of everything. When we had to move from Mexico to here, I thought at some point, you know, it has to have a meaning,” de la Vega said. “We finally came to be recognized for the love and the sharing of the traditions from Mexico that we feel very proud of.”
De la Vega said when she originally started El Naranjo in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 1997, it was the “perfect place, the perfect life and the perfect everything.” After the economy collapsed, de la Vega and her family had to move to the U.S.
They bounced from New Mexico to San Antonio, when she was asked to create and lead the Latin American Studies program for the Culinary Institute of America, which she accepted. Soon after, they moved to Austin and started a food truck for their lost restaurant in Oaxaca before they were able to build a brick-and-mortar shop in 2012. The rest is history.
De la Vega said she was proud to share the stage with Rico and represent her native cuisine, she just hopes she can live up to the hype of newcomers.
“To recognize Mexican cooking as one of the best cuisines in the world, I think it's huge,” De la Vega said. “Maybe there will be new people coming in that didn't even know that we existed and they may have bigger expectations so (I’m trying to) live up to the challenge right now.”
Rico echoed de la Vega’s pride in his emotional acceptance speech, mentioning it's huge for "La Raza," which directly translates to "the race."
“This is huge for la raza, this is huge for my people. For all the taqueros, anything is possible.”—Edgar Rico of Nixta Taqueria, 2022 #jbfa Emerging Chef winner, sponsored by @SanPellegrino. pic.twitter.com/9K831GqM0T
— James Beard Foundation (@beardfoundation) June 13, 2022
“Honest to god I did not expect to win this award tonight, but it’s been a trial to get here,” Rico said. “This is huge for La Raza, this is huge for my people. For all the taqueros, anything is possible.”
Dust from the Saharan Air Layer took a trip over the Atlantic Ocean and into Austin's skies Tuesday, causing a hazy sunset and air quality that was labeled "Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups" by the National Weather Service.
The African desert's dust takes a trip across the Atlantic every three to five days in late spring, summer and early fall and tends to hit Central Texas most from mid-June to late August.
Did you notice the hazy skies today? This was attributed to Saharan Dust that has made it into the region. Here is a comparison of tonight's hazy sunset versus two nights ago before the dust arrived. The dust is forecast to impact the region through Friday. pic.twitter.com/tmj4VwQbOU
— NWS Austin/San Antonio (@NWSSanAntonio) June 14, 2022
Other than creating vivid sunsets, the dry Saharan air can make the sky appear milky white at midday. Just one dust cloud can be as large as the United States—and each cloud can help prevent tropical cyclones from occurring in the humid ocean air.
Those who are most sensitive to changes in air quality—including the elderly, young children and those with respiratory conditions—should limit their time outside as dust levels peak in the Austin skies Thursday.
And while the dust can cause a sore throat or itchy eyes, Saharan dust is an irritant that cannot be alleviated with allergy medications.
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