The winter season always seems to ramp up my craving for sweets. Perhaps it’s the looming approach of holiday dinners followed by cheery desserts, or it might be that sweet treats go perfectly with a necessary cup of hot coffee in the chillier months. My latest addiction is the Salty Donut, which opened in May in Dallas’s Bishop Arts District. Ranked as one of the nation’s best by Thrillist, the Miami-based chain offers artisan donuts in a variety of adventurous flavors.

The menu offers flavors like guava and cheese, Texas chocolate sheet cake, maple bacon, and my favorite, horchata—which is a brioche donut soaked in the Mexican cinnamon drink, crusted with a Valrhona Caramélia chocolate, and then topped with a torched cinnamon meringue. Delicious! And yes, along with perfectly crafted doughnuts, the shop also sells a good cup of coffee.

Kathia Ramirez, art assistant

East Austin Succulents

Along with everyone else, I’ve tried many new hobbies and interests to keep me occupied during the pandemic. Perhaps the best has been gardening, as filling my apartment with houseplants has refreshed the space and made it feel like a peaceful oasis. Half the fun, it turns out, is making weekend trips to garden stores, browsing the aisles, and contemplating which plant to bring home next.

Central Texas has dozens of great nurseries, yet East Austin Succulents continues to stand out for its unique pots (all with a hole drilled in the bottom for drainage—a tiny but vital detail) and diverse range of plants. The shop has an incredible array of plant types, trendy pots, apparel, and minerals nestled in a welcoming open-air location.

Caitlin Davis, editorial intern

The Molly Burch Christmas Album

If you’re like me, the minute Thanksgiving has passed you start an overzealous countdown to Christmas. This year is no different. One standout I discovered while searching for festive tunes is The Molly Burch Christmas Album. A mix of popular holiday jingles, lesser-known carols, and original tracks, the Austinite’s third full-length album is imbued with her signature marks: echoing steel guitars, smoky vocals, and a touch of melancholy.

A standout on the record is “What Do the Lonely Do at Christmas,” a cover of the song by the Emotions, showcasing Burch’s billowing vibrato and range while conveying the sense of longing that can sometimes come with this time of the year. In all its holiday cheer and winter blues, the album is the perfect accompaniment for any holiday season–but especially this one.

Arielle Avila, editorial coordinator