Best things in Austin I have eaten so far

Not only had I not eaten these things before 2006, I didn’t know what in the hell some of them were. I still don’t really know how to pronounce chevre — I usually tag on a vague “ruh” sound at the end. And tomatillos? I thought those were decorative. But I don’t want to spoil the list for you, so without further ado:

1. Pure Luck Farms basket-molded chevre: This cheese has won multiple awards at the American Cheese Society competitions, an event I would very much like to attend. Because I love cheese. And this chevre, sold at the Sunset Valley Farmer’s market as well as Whole Foods, is one of the best in town. I actually recognized their distinctive pepper chevre on the cheese plate at a party. And I said hi.

2. White Mountain Foods Bulgarian yogurt and organic tofu: I don’t eat them together, but they are equally delicious. This local company sells organic tofu at Boggy Creek farm and their live culture yogurt at the wonderful Wheatsville Co-op (on which I desperately need to post). More research is needed on where the milk is from, but I do love it. I always make sure to grab some tofu when I’m at Boggy Creek, which is every Wednesday.

tomatillo.jpg3. Purple tomatillos from Morning Glory farms: Don’t be deceived by Gracie’s small stand at Sunset Valley farmer’s market — she often has the most interesting produce in the whole market. E. Ho and I bought purple tomatillos, cilantro, oregano, and garlic chives to make a verde sauce for enchiladas. “Make it with portobello mushrooms,” suggested Gracie. It was my first time making enchiladas, and they were – if I may say so myself – perfect.

sausagedin.jpg4. Full Quiver sausages: Pure concentrated yumminess. Italian sausages, kielbasa, and the addictive breakfast sausage, all available at the Sunset Valley farmer’s market. These happy hogs are fed whey from the farm’s cheese-making company, Homestead Cheese. Which brings me to my next favorite.

fullquiver.jpg5. Homestead cheese: The raw milk cheddar is the only thing we’ve bought, but it is so rich and delicious I just haven’t been able to buy anything else from them. And they have a variety of cow’s milk cheeses — the only ones I’ve seen at any of the farmer’s markets. Other cheeses are flavored, but I don’t usually go much for that kind of thing. In any case, samples are available every Saturday at the Sunset Valley farmer’s market.

6. Daily Juice: Unlike Jamba Juice and other trendy juice bars, the Daily Juice actually gets what juicing is about: organic veggies and fruit, bought locally when possible. In other words, not powder mixed with water and ice. Located on Barton Springs Road, the tiny shop is the perfect place to stop after a walk around Town Lake. Also try the Yerba Mate tea, which comes with homemade almond milk. They sometimes have a booth at the Sunset Valley farmer’s market as well.

7. Coffee (what else?) from Texas Coffee Traders: Not locally produced, of course, but one of our exceptions. They offer free trade and organic coffee, which is much appreciated when we go to the downtown farmer’s market at 9am. My favorite way to drink it is with cream from raw cow’s milk and Round Rock honey. I won’t be giving up this vice any time soon.

hpim5170.jpg8. Purple Kohlrabi at Boggy Creek farm: Anything from Boggy Creek farm is awesome, but my hubby and I fell in love with these bizarre, cabbagey vegetables. Delicious raw or cooked, and as a bonus — it generates almost zero waste, as the stems and leaves are edible too. We like to caramelize the purple part and then saute the greens.

duck-006.jpg9. Pastured duck from Barnison farms: I always thought that duck would taste like chicken. I mean, it is a bird, and everyone always says things taste like chicken. But this fantastic bird tastes more like beef or pork, except yummier. And unlike chicken, ducks don’t get salmonella and can be cooked rare. E.I.E.I. Ho reserved a duck from cute farmers Alison and Jeremy Barnwell, and it was ridiculously tasty. We saved the carcass for broth, which was similar to chicken broth, but denser and more flavorful. Visit them at the downtown farmer’s market, and tell them Omniwhore said hi! You won’t get anything extra or anything, but I like them.

peppers2.jpg10. Fresh basil and peppers from Scott Arbor Farm: The folks at Scott Arbor farm are so marvelous. I know we’re not selecting “best people,” but if we were, these guys would be way up at the top. Always friendly and attentive, despite the constant flow of customers, they’ll give you recipes, advice, and above all — excellent produce. We bought their gorgeous chocolate bell peppers when they were in season, as well as their basil, which included sweet, Thai, purple, and other varieties. We’re looking forward to their strawberries!

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