Culinarily speaking, the American South is having a bit of a moment, and any chef worth his or her White Lily flour has a biscuit on the menu somewhere among the sorghum and scuppernongs. Of course, this latest food fascination is nothing new to our part of the country, where the fluffy rounds of flour and fat, once a fixture of almost every meal, sustained our cowboys, nurtured generations of their descendants, and even influenced our politics (“Pass the biscuits, Pappy!”).

Formula 3

When the American National Bank building opened in Austin, in 1954, it boasted such marvels as the first escalator in town, au courant interior furnishings by legendary designer Florence Knoll, and a sophisticated parking system by which valets would retrieve cars by riding a chain-hoisted “elevator” to the desired floor. Once considered a candidate for demolition, the building recently underwent a loving rehabilitation and has been restored to its mid-century glory. 

What the Hay?

Have you heard the one about the pastry chef who walks into a feed store? “I’d like to buy a bale of hay,” he says. “What kind?” the clerk asks. Astonished to learn there are different kinds of hay, the pastry chef says, “I don’t know.” The clerk says, “Well, what are you feeding?” Realizing he probably should not announce that he intends to use the hay in cake and ice cream and feed it to human beings, the pastry chef says, “Er, horses?”

No. 10 Le Cep

Let’s play a guessing game. I’ll say the words “small, new, refined French restaurant,” and you tell me where it is. If you answered Fort Worth, congratulations.

No. 9 Starfish

Just walking into the dining room at Starfish is fun. Clear acrylic jellyfish lights dangle from the ceiling; piscine portraits adorn century-old brick walls. The star here is indeed fish, a category that includes critters with fins, shells, and tangly legs.

No. 8 Coltivare

This rustic Italian restaurant opened to such anticipation that you would have thought the people in line were waiting to get into a Beyoncé concert. A year later, customers know the drill: get on the list, order a drink from friendly bartender and co-owner Morgan Weber, and wander around the garden inspecting the baby lettuces and herbs.


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