Austin Chef Named Best New Pâtissier By Food and Wine Magazine

The people have spoken: Foreign & Domestic's Jodi Elliott is Food & Wine's the People's Best New Pastry Chef.

The Austin chef was nominated in the Central Region category a few weeks ago, along with Barley Swine's Kyle McKinney, Swift's Attic's Callie Speer, Congress' Erica Waksmunski, Oxheart's Karen Man, and Underbelly's Victoria Dearmond.

Sway

When Rene Ortiz left, Alexis Chong quietly stepped to the helm of this swanky Thai spot. Questions about its future are now moot: the girl is on fire. Raw New Brunswick oysters deftly dressed in a house-made nam jim gave a touch of citrus and a bit of heat to the creamy ocean morsels. A whole branzino, flash-fried till it curled and then topped with clouds of coconut cream and a sweet spicy trail of red jam, was simply delicious.

Micklethwait Craft Meats

The little vintage trailer on a vacant lot in East Austin is still relatively new, but Tom Micklethwait has quickly gained a reputation for a changing lineup of excellent meats and sausages (like a beef and pork kielbasa and a firm lamb sausage). He’s even been known to get fancy (pork belly andouille, anyone?). Barbecued pork ribs and pork shoulder are moist and delicious, and the brisket (smoked over oak for at least ten hours) is good while it lasts.

John Mueller Meat. Co

Legendary barbecue curmudgeon John Mueller has migrated to Austin’s east side, where his sizeable fan base lines up early to get Flintstone-esque beef ribs and magnificent fatty brisket, deeply oak-smoked and looking as if it’s been dredged in coarse-ground black pepper. The pork shoulder is out of this world, with a touch of sweetness and a great crust. In fact, we’ve hardly ever had any meat that was less than excellent.

Michi Ramen

Crazed ramen addicts are stomping through town like so many Godzillas, in search of a perfect bowl. Michi, formerly a trailer, has relocated to an old Quonset hut, wasting no money on superfluous interior design. We began with tasty burnt ends of chashu, delicious roasted pork—good fusion cuisine, that—on a bed of rice topped with bonito flakes. A bowl of sapporo ramen, with sprightly noodles and a traditional cold soft-boiled egg in milky miso-rich tonkotsu broth, came with a pat of butter to add if we liked (we did).

Josephine House

Our inaugural visit to Larry McGuire’s Clarksville cottage was quite nearly foiled, for we, alas, had not made reservations for lunch. On a Saturday. At 2 p.m. In Austin. Nevertheless, we managed to secure spots at the tiny marble bar, welcomed by an enthusiastic server who steered us to California cuisine–style dishes like crispy-skinned grouper with a colorful medley of romanesco and diced beets and fat, hand-cut noodles bathed in a wild mushroom ragù and Parmesan.

The Bonneville

Having nabbed a prime spot on a downtown thoroughfare, this sleek place offers a modern American menu with European touches. The tarte flambée, an Alsatian-style pizza with bacon, caramelized onions, and creme fraiche on a thin crust, inspired smiles all around. Chunks of sharp Vermont cheddar brightened a delicate butter lettuce salad with apple, red onion, and a perky apple cider vinaigrette. A grilled hanger steak was well seasoned but cooked rarer than requested.

The Blue Ox

Delicious smoke wafts from a plethora of pits across the city, and while this south-of-the-river trailer flies under the radar a bit, it’s definitely a contender. Crusty brisket, all but rolling in luscious fat, was more than passable, and the pork ribs scored high marks on the fall-off-the-bone scale. Juicy pork tenderloin rubbed with espresso was our dark horse, besting the pulled pork, which was merely fine. Homemade bread and a mayonnaise-free potato salad also won extra points with us.

Olivia

This gorgeous mod farmhouse, with its unpretentious service and local sourcing, exudes calm amid the clamor of busy South Lamar. Alas, that refreshingly simple aesthetic doesn't always translate to the food. The memory of unfortunately mealy mussels was dispatched with lovely red and golden beets mingling with arugula, blue cheese, and pear. Then it got complicated. Perfectly cooked scallops fought for attention atop a creamy pasta dotted with lamb chorizo and white anchovy.

Épicerie Café & Grocery

In a casual but nattily attired building on the edge of a north central Austin neighborhood, Épicerie is dishing up counter-order meals, to go or to eat on-site. Judging by the chatty, family-oriented crowd, many choose to stay, dining on the likes of sumptuous oxtail stew with Anson Mills grits (which will elevate your opinion of grits forever) or a salad of roasted beets and Granny Smith apples. Brunch offers good smoked salmon with capers and cream cheese on house-made English muffins.

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