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One of the best wine bars in Texas, and it's in the Live Music Capital of the World
Mulberry is one of Austin's finest wine bars.
Downtown Austin is the heart of it all. It’s the capital city, the home of one of the most renowned college football teams in the country, and the absolute heart of the legendary Austin music scene. Bursting with history and culture, it is only fitting then that downtown Austin should be the home of one of the best wine bars you are likely to experience anywhere.
Mulberry sits at the corner of Nueces Street and West 3rd Street, right across from the Austin Music Hall. It’s appropriate, really, that a restaurant the caliber of Mulberry should share the same neighborhood as this legendary venue that has hosted musical legends such as B.B. King.
Mulberry brings some Old World European style to a decidedly New World locale. They boast over 100 selections of wine for patrons to choose from, and hands down some of the best food you will ever have. And if you need help choosing a glass or bottle to go with your dinner the staff is there to provide expert guidance.
Their food is the brainchild of executive chef Kristine Kittrell, who brings a huge amount of experience and passion to the kitchen. The ingredients are fresh and sourced as much as possible from local farmers and artisans. The kitchen and bar are open for dinner 5pm-midnight 7 days a week and brunch is served 10am-4pm Saturday and Sunday. We’ll see you soon!
Welcome to Sorellina! We are an Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar located on the historic Washington Street in the heart of Hoboken. Our mission is to provide first class hospitality while celebrating Italy&rsquos vibrant culinary culture through food and wine.
Sorellina, which means &ldquolittle sister&rdquo in Italian, was created as a tribute to my lively Italian heritage and intimate family upbringing. As a &ldquosorellina&rdquo myself, I learned at a young age that lots of love, great food and good wine is the heart of the Italian home!
Our menu combines creativity and simplicity in a seasonally inspired menu designed for sharing. With a focus on homemade pasta, we use locally sourced ingredients to serve up modern twists on classic Italian dishes. We proudly make all of our own pasta, bread & gelato in house daily.
Our exclusively Italian wine list has been recognized by Wine Spectator with an Award of Excellence for 4 consecutive years. With over 100 bottle selections, we proudly feature many indigenous varietals and notable producers from throughout almost all of Italy's winemaking regions.
Sorellina encourages a vibrant and social atmosphere where guests can meet, share and enjoy! Come with an appetite and relish in the atmosphere!
Gabi Lombardi, (Owner & Certified Sommelier)
The Best Chocolate in America
50 of the finest chocolate makers and chocolate shops across the country.
For over a year now, there hasn&apost been a whole lot happening on West 42nd Street, in New York City. Back in March 2020, one of the busiest, most notorious places in the country very abruptly closed down—historic theaters, modern day honky-tonks, hotels, gleaming office buildings, all suddenly mothballed. From Fifth Avenue through Times Square and on past the Port Authority, the casual observer could count the number of open businesses on one or two hands, if they even bothered to come to Midtown at all.
Looks can be deceiving. Who knows, really, what all was going on behind closed doors, but one thing was for certain—if you knew where to look, even during those earliest, darkest pandemic days and weeks and months, you could land yourself some of the finest chocolate in America.
The shimmering, Bryant Park-facing showcase that had been home to Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate had closed, never to reopen, and it would be a very long time before the adjoining two-star Michelin restaurant, Gabriel Kreuther, would be able to welcome guests again, but behind the scenes, a talented team helmed by chef Kreuther, his longtime pastry chef Marc Aumont, and head chocolatier Angela Kim Borah were still filling orders not only for delivery in New York, but for shipping to far away places, as well. Intricate bonbons in thrilling flavors like miso, almond and olive, mango con chile were exciting, modern, the perfect distraction. Most of the world may have come grinding to a halt, but the chocolate gods hadn&apost missed a beat.
Time and again across the country, the story repeated itself, during the last year and counting. From mostly-shuttered market halls to back street workshops, more than a few of America&aposs chocolatiers found themselves busier than ever. Should we be surprised to learn that so many of us found chocolate a comfort, during such a challenging time? Then again, history does repeat itselfter all, it was the Great Depression that gave us so much of the candy we grew up with. An astonishing number of the names we know best today, from Snickers to Three Musketeers to Sugar Babies, came on the market during that time, and stayed put.
With the pandemic dragging on, hard numbers started to come out. According to the National Confectioners Association, which keeps track of these things, consumption of high-end chocolate in America shot up by double digits since March 2020. Chaos today, uncertainty tomorrow? This was chocolate&aposs time to shine.
For those just tuning in, perhaps after years of relatively joyless adulthood and one too many dental bills, the landscape of American chocolate might haven all but unrecognizable. During the last couple of decades, the industry has been very nearly transformed, through an extended period of revolt dating back at least to the turn of the century, with the winds of change blowing even earlier than that, when chocolate makers, those out West in particular, began to ask the question: What is wrong with the chocolate in this country (how much time do you have), and how do we fix it?
Almost overnight, it seems like, we were talking about chocolate the way we talk about wine and coffeeout terroir and tasting notes, about sourcing and sustainability, about direct trade and bean-to-bar manufacturing, about widespread exploitation in the world of cacao-growing, driven by an insatiable demand for commercial cocoa in the wealthiest countries𠅎verything was now on the table. Fast-forward to now, and the scene has grown immensely, with so many new names to remember. So many flashes of brilliance, so many flashes in the pan, so many new classics, so much to mull over.
All these fits and starts later, there are certain things we now understand. We know to ask more—so much more𠅏rom American chocolate. We&aposve changed the way we look at the humble bar, represented in many of our minds as a sugary, milky creature often tasting only faintly of actual cocoa, rarely enjoyed on its own, or at all. In a relatively short period of time, the country has managed to make room in its chocolate-loving heart for an astonishing number of exceptional, and exceptionally minimal, bars of dark chocolate, designed to showcase the unique terroir of its point of origin, often with exceptionally high percentages of pure cacao. (To be considered chocolate in America, all you need is a measly 10 percent—many of the bars on this list clock in at over 70.)
The educated consumer will look for a great deal of things from their chocolate bar these days—transparency in sourcing, fair wages for growers, good ingredients. Are there any fillers? (Organic cane sugar and cocoa butter, yes, but most everything else, no, unless it&aposs high quality milk chocolate, which does exist). Above all, is it smooth, rich, and does it taste as great as the price tag might dictate? These are not bars to be scarfed down on the run, but something you savor, broken off in small pieces, allowing it to melt on the tongue, perhaps paired with wine. Strike it right, and chances are you&aposll never go back to old habits again.
Why so serious, so many chocolate lovers will ask, and they do have a point—we are respecting chocolate more than ever, to be sure, but that doesn&apost mean we had to give up having fun.
While this list focuses rather narrowly on the finest American chocolate bars, because they are something so richly deserving of celebration, there are more high-quality bonbon and truffle makers out there right now than most of us will be able to sample in one lifetime. The supremacy of the classic drugstore assortment (which still has a place in our hearts, if not necessarily on this list) has been challenged, and very effectively, by a new generation of American chocolatiers. This is something to celebrate, as well.
Acalli Chocolate (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Carol Morse&aposs interest in chocolate was sparked during a summer of getting to know cacao growers in Central America, while her anthropologist husband worked toward his PhD. In a modest West Bank workshop, Morse combines cocoa from her favorite farmers with Louisiana cane sugar, giving her two-ingredient bars a distinctive taste and a unique sense of place.
Amano Chocolate (Orem, Utah)
Before very nearly everybody was out there peddling their own single-origin bars, a pioneering Art Pollard was already running away with the idea (and an outsized share of acclaim) out in the chocolate happy Beehive State. For much of the company&aposs fifteen-year lifespan, if you have been eating chocolate at the legendary Chez Panisse in Berkeley, chances are it came from Amano.
Askinosie Chocolate (Springfield, Missouri)
Whether or not they&aposve earned the right, most makers tout their sourcing credentials these days, but direct trade trendsetter Shawn Askinosie has been an absolute leader since the mid-aughts, establishing close ties (and setting up a profit-sharing model) with his farmers. Dark milk chocolate from the Philippines (a favorite Askinosie source) blended with salted Swedish black licorice makes a truly memorable bar.
Cacao & Cardamom (Houston, Texas)
Don&apost knock procrastination—it might just change your life. For Annie Rupani, it was the study breaks from LSAT prep, during which she began teaching herself all about chocolate. The one-time Miss Pakistan World would later begin experimenting, combining modern technique with the bold flavors of her upbringing. Wildly colorful bonbons and patterned bars, in flavors like coffee and cardamom, are a visual feast.
Castronovo Chocolate (Stuart, Florida)
One taste is all you need to understand the difference between pure dark chocolate and your typical American chocolate bar the first is practically a health food, the other a milky-sweet indulgence. Denise Castronovo, who moved into chocolate-making when the last recession left her with plenty of downtime from her consulting business, is one in a growing group of top-level makers successfully fusing the two ideas, creating a high-cocoa content milk chocolate, known in the industry as dark milk. Castronovo&aposs is made with the finest, sometimes very rare, Latin American cacao.
Chequesset Chocolate (North Truro, Massachusetts)
Does Cape Cod have it all, or what? After just a few years in business, Katie Reed and Josiah Mayo&aposs ambitious startup already feels like a summertime (or anytime) essential, covering all the bases, from candies to single-origin bars, and doing so at a remarkable level. Their white chocolate, infused with lemon and thyme, does a great deal of heavy lifting for the much-misunderstood style.
Christopher Elbow Chocolates (Kansas City, Missouri)
A pastry chef by trade, Christopher Elbow always had a serious knack for petit fours, popular enough with guests at his last restaurant job to give him ideas about striking out on his own. Over a decade later, Elbow&aposs highly creative bonbons are some of the most sought-after in the country. Single-origin chocolate bars are as serious as they come.
Chokola (Taos, New Mexico)
For Debi Vincent and Javier Abad, the journey began in Venezuela, both in chocolate-making and in married life. These days, the couple runs an appealing shop just off the Taos plaza, turning out exemplary single-origin, two-ingredient bars, each wrapped in packaging decorated with the work of local artists. The awards have been stacking up of late, but a 75% Bolivia, made with wild harvest cacao, is of special note.
Compartes (Los Angeles, California)
Dating back to 1950, and for generations a favorite of everybody from Marilyn Monroe to Elvis Presley, Jonathan Grahm has taken the family business (where he began work at the age of 15) to new heights, on the strength of some of the most visually appealing, mosaic-style chocolate bars on the market today, wrapped in some of the most appealing packaging. The aesthetic is highbrow, the taste is all fun𠅊 breakfast-worthy bar packed with donut pieces and freshly-ground coffee is a top seller.
Creo Chocolate (Portland, Oregon)
The berry-farming Straub family stumbled into chocolate roughly a decade ago, and never found their way out. A close relationship with a grower of heirloom cacao in Ecuador is the foundation of most, if not all of their very fine, frequently award-winning work, from the purest of bars to melt-on-the-tongue caramels topped with black lava salt.
Cultura Craft Chocolate (Denver, Colorado)
Damaris Ronkanen sources sustainably-harvested white cacao from Tabasco state𠅊t the heart of a region with roughly 4,000 uninterrupted years of growing experience𠅏or her intriguing 70% Mexico bars. Ronkanen&aposs Mexican drinking chocolate and cacao-infused Cafe de Olla blend were inspired by childhood visits with family in Puebla.
Dick Taylor Chocolates (Eureka, California)
Inspired by a new generation of makers changing the face of chocolate, woodworkers Adam Dick and Dustin Taylor brought the revolution home to remote Humboldt County back in 2010, quickly making a name for themselves with top-quality single origin, two-ingredient bars. Their black fig bar is something of an industry legend by now, and the drinking chocolate is top notch.
Eclat Chocolate (West Chester, Pennsylvania)
Some of the country&aposs most intricate bonbonsramels infused with calvados, truffles made with rare, Peruvian Nacional cacaon be found at the masterful Christopher Curtin&aposs workshop west of Philadelphia, but don&apost miss the crowd-pleasing bars, milk or dark, filled with crunchy Pennsylvania Dutch-style pretzels made in nearby Lancaster County.
EH Chocolatier (Cambridge, Massachusetts)
Pure, dark chocolate is already vegan, and these days you can find the bar of your dreams at most every maker on this list. Near-perfect vegan truffles? That&aposs another matter. This woman-owned operation finds a sweet balance with delicate vegan meltaways that will seduce very nearly any skeptic.
Eldora Chocolate (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
Money man turned chocolate guy Steve Prickett came up like so many makers on this list, tinkering at home in his spare time fast forward a few years and he&aposs picking up serious awards for his well-sourced, single-origin bars. A flair for distinctive local flavors—mole spice, piñon, chiles—makes Eldora&aposs inclusion bars (industry speak for bars with stuff added to them) uniquely New Mexico.
Fran's Chocolates (Seattle, Washington)
Maybe you&aposre looking to trace the origins of new wave American chocolate, or perhaps you&aposre merely hunting for some of the best chocolate in America either search may well lead you to Fran Bigelow, who set up shop in the early 1980s, pioneering notions of fair trade and sustainability. President Obama&aposs love of the smoked sea salt caramels is by now well-documented.
French Broad Chocolate (Asheville, North Carolina)
Dan and Jael Rattigan learned at least two things from their years living on an abandoned cacao farm in coastal Costa Rica—one, they weren&apost beach people. The other was that they really wanted to make chocolate. After more than a decade in business, their single-origin bars are some of the nicest—pure, but lush—in the South.
Fruition Chocolates (Shokan, New York)
Some of the most elegant chocolate bars in the country right now come from Bryan and Dahlia Graham&aposs relatively modest operation in the rustic Catskill Mountains. From beautifully minimal single-origins (a citrus-tart Madagascar Sambirano) to a series of exceptional dark milks (Peru Marańon, in particular), each bar is as rich and smooth as the last.
Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate (New York, New York)
Gabriel Kreuther&aposs eponymously named restaurant is very likely the only two-star Michelin establishment ever to grace West 42nd Street in collaboration with restaurant pastry chef (and long-time pal) Marc Aumont, Kreuther is turning out some of the city&aposs most exquisite chocolates.
Buy it: Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate, Chef&aposs Selection, $99 at goldbelly.com
Ginger Elizabeth Chocolates (Sacramento, California)
fter honing her skills in faraway places like Chicago and New York, Ginger Elizabeth Hahn returned west to open her dream atelier, fusing European style with a seasonal, cheerful California aesthetic. The result is one of the sunniest𠅊nd still, quite serious𠅌hocolate shops on this list. Everything feels fresh and fun.
Goodnow Farms Chocolate (Sudbury, Massachusetts)
Subtle notes of apple cider, maple syrup, and rye whiskey give the obsessively sourced, delicately flavored bars at this family outfit on a historic New England farm a distinct sense of place. Tom and Monica Rogan started out in the trade just a little over five years ago, but have already managed to comfortably secure a place for themselves right near the head of the pack.
Guittard Chocolate (San Bruno, California)
Lyon-born Etienne Guittard came to California dreaming of gold, striking it rich not in the Sierras, but in San Francisco, where he founded what would grow to become one of the longest-running makers in the country. Four generations later, the family-owned company remains a trusted friend to bakers and chocolatiers (large and small), as well as lovers of a fine dark bar, and one of the finest drinking chocolates available at your local supermarket.
Harper Macaw (Washington, D.C.)
With a strong focus on cacao grown in Brazil𠅌o-founder Sarah Hartman is Brazilian by birth—this bean-to-bar maker has become a standout in the nation&aposs capital, emphasizing direct trade with their growers and partnering with organizations that work tirelessly to protect and restore the rainforest.
Indi Chocolate (Seattle, Washington)
Last spring, with the historic Pike Place Market all but silent, this relatively recent arrival was still humming, producing some of the city&aposs best chocolate, something you don&apost say lightly in a town like Seattle. Erin Andrews started out just over a decade ago, moving into the market&aposs long-awaited extension in 2017 Indi&aposs direct trade, single-origin bars ought to have your attention.
Jacques Torres Chocolate (New York, New York)
From orange slices to macadamia nuts, there&aposs very little one of the most famous makers on this list (he&aposs the head judge on Netflix&aposs Nailed It) won&apost cover in chocolate. After a high-profile career as a pastry chef, the France-born Torres launched New York City&aposs first artisanal bean-to-bar operation back in 2000, well ahead of trend.
Buy it: Jacques&apos World Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies, 12-pack, $70 at goldbelly.com
Kahkow (Brooklyn, New York)
Think of this Williamsburg shop and cafe like an Apple Store, except the product line being showcased, ever so proudly, is cacao grown in the Dominican Republic. Operated by one of the country&aposs largest cacao growers and exporters, the chocolate made here is about as direct trade as you will find.
K+M Chocolate (Napa Valley, California)
A partnership between Thomas Keller and one of Italy&aposs most revered olive oil producers (Armando Manni) has yielded, with chocolatier Chi Bui at the helm, some seriously beautiful bars, each finding the perfect balance between obsessively-sourced single-origin chocolate and an olive oil prized by chefs around the world.
Buy it: K+M Chocolate Bar Signature Set, $119 at goldbelly.com
LetterPress Chocolate (Los Angeles, Chocolate)
With nearly twenty single-origin bars available as of this writing, Corey and David Menkes (who started making chocolate in their apartment less than a decade ago) continue to clearly demonstrate a serious passion for sourcing, equalled only by their talent for the finished product, often created with nothing more than a bit of organic unrefined cane sugar. The distinctive Ghana Ashanti—in 100%, 70%, and dark milk—is far from your average single-origin.
Lonohana Estate Chocolate (Honolulu, Hawaii)
The one state where following the bean-to-bar ethic doesn&apost require so much as a crosstown commute also happens to be one of those rare places in the world where cacao growers produce their own chocolate for sale𠅊 14-acre farm on Oahu&aposs North Shore is the source and inspiration for some of the finest all-Hawaiian chocolate on the market, made in very small batches.
Madhu Chocolate (Austin, Texas)
Harshit Gupta and Elliott Curelop source quality cacao from the Tumaco region of Colombia𠅊 favorite among some of the most accomplished makers on this list𠅊nd then go wild with the flavors, drawing on Gupta&aposs Indian childhood for inspiration. Saffron, black pepper from Kerala, cloves, and coriander all make welcome appearances.
Markham & Fitz Chocolate (Bentonville, Arkansas)
Lauren Blanco and Preston Stewart came to chocolate from two very different backgrounds, cultural anthropology, and chemistry, but however they got here, it&aposs safe to say they have arrived, in all senses of the word. Imaginative, beautifully-packaged bars like the Brain Food, an 85% Dominican Republic packed with berries, nuts, acai, and maca root, have managed to make quite the impression, in a relatively short period of time.
Maverick Chocolate (Cincinnati, Ohio)
In 2014, after a career as a mechanical engineer in the aviation industry, Paul Picton launched headlong into an entirely new phase of life—realizing his dream of becoming a chocolate maker. Ably assisted by his family, Picton is turning out some exceptional single-origin bars, recently a relatively rare (at least on the mainland) 100% Hawaiian, sourced from the Big Island&aposs Mauna Kea Estate. (Catch it if you can.)
Milla Chocolates (Los Angeles, California)
American chocolate has improved by leaps and bounds, but most domestic makers have yet to attempt the level of aesthetic taken for granted in cities like Paris and Barcelona, where the shop experience is typically fussed-over as much as the product. Chocolatier Christine Sull Sarioz comes from a background in the fine and decorative arts with designer husband Goktug, she has created one of the country&aposs most astonishing boutiques, filled with equally beautiful (and exquisitely packaged) chocolate. Seasonal citrus bars in flavors like Meyer lemon and blood orange are almost too pretty to tear apart.
Monsoon Chocolate (Tucson, Arizona)
Adam Krantz&aposs chile mango, hibiscus caramel, and mesquite-smoked whiskey infused bonbons practically leap out at you with their sense of place. As Southern Arizona&aposs most accomplished chocolatier, Krantz has proven himself wonderfully versatile, garnering impressive notices for nicely-packaged bars as well, including one from Madagascar&aposs Sambirano Valley, a particularly sought-after source.
Patric Chocolate (Columbia, Missouri)
The type of success this small company has enjoyed since launching fifteen years ago typically leads to serious growth, but founder Alan "Patric" McClure, who spent one very influential year in France before starting his business, has been perfectly happy to keep things small. As a result, some of the country&aposs most award-winning chocolate is also some of the most difficult to find, released in small batches (and available through the web site) whenever McClure finds the time.
Potomac Chocolate (Occoquan, Virginia)
Back in 2010, Ben Rasmussen turned his Northern Virginia basement into a chocolate laboratory, transitioning relatively quickly from enthusiast to one of the best bean-to-bar makers in the DMV. Impeccably-sourced two-ingredient bars are the main offering from this diminutive operation, but Rasmussen has lately been tinkering with the notion of a better kind of milk chocolate, with considerable success.
Raaka Chocolate (Brooklyn, New York)
From advocacy for increased transparency in the supply chain to a unique specialty in unroasted dark chocolate, everything about New York City&aposs best bean-to-bar manufacturer speaks to a passion for grabbing the consumer by the lapels and bringing them as close to the source as possible without actually forcing them onto a plane. A three-bar springtime collaboration with the New York Botanical Garden is well worth seeking out.
Recchiuti Chocolates (San Francisco, California)
Over nearly a quarter century, Michael and Jacky Recchiuti have grown one of the country&aposs finest chocolate shops from farmers&apos market pop-up to renowned producer of some of the most elegant truffles being made this side of the Atlantic. Their Black Box collection pieces, in delicate flavors like bergamot tea and tarragon grapefruit—is the perfect gift for somebody (very, very) special.
Ritual Chocolate (Park City, Utah)
Rescued from a barn in Germany where it had been mothballed for decades, an antique conche (the modern chocolate maker&aposs must-have tool, invented by one Mr. Lindt in Zurich, back in the 1800s) appears to have been something of a good luck charm for this high-elevation, highly-decorated chocolate maker. A lavender and juniper berry bar tastes like a warm summer day in the Wasatch Range.
Seahorse Chocolate (Bend, Oregon)
Every now and then, in the age of the two-ingredient bar, one will come along and fool you into thinking that you&aposre being put on—the award-winning Honduras at this spunky, single-origin maker east of the Cascades hints so urgently at the likes of toffee and brown sugar, some tasters have been all but convinced these are actual ingredients. Terroir—it&aposs a beautiful thing.
Sees Candies (South San Francisco, California)
Founded a century ago in Los Angeles by a family of Canadian expats, this West Coast institution (proudly owned by Warren Buffett, since 1972) produces, hands down, the finest classic assortments widely available in the fifty states, made with quality Guittard chocolate and California-grown nuts. Fun fact: When Lucille Ball and Vivian Vance were rehearsing for the famous I Love Lucy chocolate factory episode, they worked at See&aposs to learn the tricks of the trade.
Solstice Chocolate (Murray, Utah)
On the relatively crowded playing field of Utah chocolate making, DeAnn Wallin is well-known not only for her strong commitment to seeking out the finest single-origin cacao, and going everywhere from India to Ghana to Madagascar to get it, but also for the end result—some of the smoothest, most deliciously accessible bars of their kind on the market.
Taza Chocolate (Somerville, Massachusetts)
After falling for the traditional style, stone-ground chocolate he tasted in Mexico, Alex Whitmore apprenticed with a miller in Oaxaca in order to learn how to hand-carve his own granite mill stones. A decade and a half later, this fair trade-pioneering company&aposs Mexican-style chocolate discs% organic𠅊re some of the finest around, making for a memorable drinking chocolate experience.
Theo Chocolate (Seattle, Washington)
First in the country to be certified both organic and fair trade, this powerhouse brand—you&aposll find their bars on shelves across the country—is not only serious about sustainability, but committed to accessibility as well, offering some of the best-priced bars on this list, along side a whole line of amusing (and delicious) creations like peanut butter and jelly cups.
Valerie Confections (Los Angeles, California)
From serious-times single-origin bars to big-fun bittersweet champagne truffles, pastry chef and chocolatier Valerie Gordon has this uncanny knack for doing it all, and very well at that. Whether you&aposre in the market for a handful of almond fleur de sel toffee, or an elegant grand assortment, you are in exceptionally capable hands here.
Vosges Haut-Chocolat (Chicago, Illinois)
Well before the current reinvention trend began, Katrina Markoff was pushing at the boundaries of American chocolate, packing bars full of bacon, sea salt, or chili peppers. Decades later, the offerings from Vosges are imaginative as ever, and equally sustainable—the company operates from a Platinum LEED-certified facility in Chicago, and recently planted its first crop of cacao in Belize.
Buy it: Dark Chocolate Truffle Collection, 16 pieces, $49 at goldbelly.com
Wildwood Chocolate (Portland, Oregon)
Producing some of the most visually-appealing chocolate bars in the country right now—there&aposs a reason they&aposre packaged in clear wrappers—this bite-sized outfit that you don&apost need to be all things to all people, in order to be successful at chocolate, or to win a slew of awards. Just a handful of flavors are offered, from delicate caramel and fennel pollen to the kids-of-all-ages friendly Texas pecan brittle.
Wm. Chocolate (Madison, Wisconsin)
Starting with a series of kitchen experiments in 2015, William Marx has proven himself as one of the most skilled practitioners of the bean-to-bar method in the Upper Midwest right now. From sourcing to packaging, everything is as close to 100% sustainableਊs possible.
Xocolatl Small Batch Chocolate (Atlanta, Georgia)
After being spoiled by the truly bean-to-bar chocolate culture they discovered during an extended stay in Costa Rica, Elaine Read and Matt Weyandt filled their suitcases with cacao and came home to learn how to make chocolate over the better part of a decade, their micro-sized Krog Street Market operation has grown to become one of the region&aposs most important chocolate makers.
Zak's Chocolate (Scottsdale, Arizona)
Rare is the chocolatier that attempts to do absolutely everything completely from scratch hobbyists gone pro Maureen and Jim Elitzak take pride in doing all of the work themselves, from sorting ethically-sourced single-origin beans to wrapping the often award-winning bars for sale. Their not-to-be-missed (even if you&aposre a major skeptic) white chocolate is made with just three ingredients—house-pressed cocoa butter, whole milk, and organic cane sugar.
The Rainey Street District in Austin, Texas is a residential-turned-commercial row boasting bars in remodeled bungalows, upscale eateries and food trucks galore. Find out where to go and what to do on this street that never sleeps:
Rainey Street Bars. Credit Geoff Duncan.
Sunday Funday is more of a religion on Rainey Street. Start with a French bistro brunch at L𠆞stelle, stop in at any of the bars for mimosa specials, and make your way to Icenhauer’s to dance at Super Soul Sundays with the Love & Happiness band.schew Tex-Mex for traditional Mexican specialties like huevos rancheros and chilaquiles at El Naranjo&aposs Sunday Brunch.
Emmer & Rye: Headed up by Chef Kevin Fink, voted one of Food & Wine’s Best Newhefs, this hotspot serves inventive grain-forward dishes and a circulating dim sum cart.ਊsk the bartender for the “Russian Roulette” special. They pick the drink, you ride the ride.
Royal Blue Grocery: Not your ho-hum market, swing in for gourmet grab-n-go treats, bottles of wine, fresh flowers and sundries.
Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden: Beer lovers take a moment of silence for the largest tap wall in Austin (add to it antelope and venison dishes for a full Texas experience). Swing by on Sundays for the Big Band Brunch and be sure to ask about their featured sip, the Manmosa.
Little Lucy’s Mini Donuts: Savor fresh, hot mini donuts with your choice of flavored sugar in adorable pink bag.
Courtesy of Banger&aposs Sausage House & Beer Garden.
LIVE MUSIC & NIGHTLIFE
Rows of historicungalows have been transformed a lively scene ofꂺrs on Rainey Street. Staying true to Austin&aposs roots, this strip of bars often features live, local bands.iscover DJs dropping beats at the aptly named Container Bar, a multilevel hot spot built from shipping containers. Home to a Clinebell ice machine, Half Step cocktail bar will please even the haughtiest cocktail snob. Or, kick up your boots at Craft Pride, a rustic bar with 50+ Texas beers on draft and Detroit-style pizza at the Via 313 food trailer out back.
Lustre Pearl: This popular bar anchored the Rainey Street District development and continues to be a popular spot representing everything Austin has to offer. Clientele ranges from the professionals, the weird, the hippy, and hipsters alike.
Hotel Van Zandt: Inspired by the Austin music scene, walk beneath the brass instrument light fixtures to enter this boutique hotel that also houses restaurant Geraldine’s and a well-edited host of cocktail and music-themed gift options in 605.
Clive Bar & Bar Illegal: This handsome bar serves a mean martini, while the secret bar in the back specializes in mezcal.
Lucille Patio Lounge: Swing in the hammock off the extensive patio or enjoy a board game inside the charming bar.
The Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center. Courtesy of the City of Austin.
MUSEUMS & ACTIVITIES
Austin&aposs diverse culture is not just contained in a museum but sprinkled throughout the entire city. Learn about the cultural arts of Mexican-Americans and other Latino cultures via the gallery, exhibits and special events at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center (MACC). Then, join the Tejano Walking Trail which begins from the MACCਊnd guides visitors through the heart of the historically Hispanic East Cesar Chavez and Holly neighborhoods. The Tejano Walking Trail covers an expansive part of American history in a loop of just under 5 miles.
Aj Pappalardo, the son of Giuseppe Pappalardo, the founder of Joe & Pat's in Staten Island, wanted to create an institution like his father's in Manhattan.
He was inspired by the 57 year old family recipe and created his own instant classic.
Rubirosa is a family-run, Italian-American, neighborhood restaurant and pizzeria.
In addition to our famous pizza, we proudly offer Italian-American classics featuring a wide array of pastas made fresh in-house daily.
Rubirosa is located in the heart of Nolita and its clientele bridges the gap between the old and new neighborhood regulars. Rubirosa's homey and comfortable atmosphere welcomes every occasion, from family-style group dining to drinks and antipasti at our cozy bar.
Pizza angel logo lovingly designed by Ginger Fé.
Chef Maria Mazon is the Executive Chef and Owner of BOCA Tacos y Tequila in Tucson, Arizona. Born in Tucson but raised in Sonora, Mexico, Maria’s cuisine is inspired by both sides of her borderland home. Using the unique flavors and ingredients of the Sonoran Desert, Maria’s experimental take on classic Mexican fare have earned her local and national accolades including The New York Times. She has been pushing the boundaries for years, introducing to people unique flavors and exotic ingredients. In 2020, Maria became a James Beard Award semi-finalist for Best Chef in the Southwest Region. When not at the restaurant, Maria loves cooking for her wife, Lilly, and their 12-year-old son.
Padma Lakshmi is an Emmy-nominated food expert, television host, producer and The New York Times best-selling author.
She is the creator, host, and executive producer of the critically acclaimed Hulu series Taste the Nation, which received a 2021 Gotham Award for Breakthrough Series. The series has just been greenlit for a second season.
Lakshmi also serves as host and executive producer of Bravo’s two-time Emmy-winning series Top Chef, which has been nominated for 32 Emmys, including her two-time nomination for Outstanding Host for A Reality-Competition Program. Its new season will be premiering in spring 2021.
Lakshmi is co-founder of the Endometriosis Foundation of America (EFA) and an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Artist Ambassador for immigrants' rights and women's rights. Lakshmi was also appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Born in India, she grew up in the United States, graduating from Clark University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre Arts and American Literature. Known as India’s first supermodel, she began her career as a fashion model and actress working in Europe and the United States.
Laskhmi established herself as a food expert early in her career hosting Padma’s Passport, where she cooked diverse cuisine from around the world and Planet Food, a documentary series, both on the Food Network domestically and worldwide on the Discovery Channel. She also co-hosted Rai Television's Domenica In, Italy’s highest-rated variety show.
She’s a prolific author, writing the best-selling Easy Exotic, which won the “Best First Book” award at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. Lakshmi followed this with the publication of her second cookbook, Tangy, Tart, Hot & Sweet and her memoir The New York Times best-selling Love, Loss and What We Ate. She later published The Encyclopedia of Spices & Herbs. In August of 2021 she will publish her first children’s book Tomatoes for Neela.
In addition to her food writing, Lakshmi has also contributed to Vogue, Gourmet, both British and American Harper's Bazaar, as well as penning a syndicated column on fashion and food for The New York Times.
Lakshmi created a fine jewerly line The Padma Collection, which sold at Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom. She also designed a home décor line under the same name featuring tabletop dishware, stemware and hand-blown glass décor pieces, was sold nationwide in Bloomingdale’s. In addition, Lakshmi created Padma’s Easy Exotic, a collection of culinary products ranging from frozen organic foods, fine teas, natural spice blends and home goods. In 2018, Lakshmi collaborated with MAC Cosmetics for a worldwide capsule collection called MAC Padma which quickly sold out in both India and the United States.
After unknowingly suffering from endometrisis for decades, in 2009 she co-founded the Endometriosis Foundation of America (EFA) alongside Advanced Gynecological Surgeon Tamer Seckin, MD. The EFA launched the first interdisciplinary research facility in the country for Gynepathology, as a joint project between Harvard Medical School and MIT and Lakshmi gave the keynote address at the Center’s opening in December 2009.
Her efforts were recognized on the floor of the New York State Senate, where she succeeded in passing a bill related to teen health initiatives. The organization’s ENPOWR program has currently educated over 32,000 students about endometriosis in high schools across the state of New York.
Lakshmi is a visiting scholar at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and has received the 2018 Karma Award from Variety, as well as the 2016 NECO Ellis Island Medal of Honor.
No, Really, That’s a Travel Agency
Would you book a two-week trip to Italy on the same couches where you lounged with friends over a glass of Pinot Noir?
Departure Lounge, a leather-couch hangout in the heart of downtown Austin, is part of a new incarnation of travel agency. It’s not the traditional kind with a bunch of agents at desks and frayed beach posters on the wall. Instead, it’s an upscale meeting place that hosts corporate happy hours, South by Southwest events, wedding receptions and memorial gatherings. Families pop in with children on weekends or couples meet after work. It has a wall of wine bottles, its own coffee blend, sandwiches and TV screens on three sides.
Three years after opening, this brick-and-mortar mashup is profitable—and 80% of its revenue comes from selling trips. Travel agencies need to be visible to consumers to be relevant, says founder Keith Waldon. “We’ve got to get travel back on the street,” he says.
An industry once written off as a victim of the internet and direct booking is finding new ways to prosper. Luxury travel advisers have thrived booking elaborate trips and including special perks for clients. More travelers are deciding travel, like accounting or investing, has become complex enough to benefit from expert advice, especially as they venture further off the beaten path to exotic destinations.
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Cabernet Sauvignons to Drink Now
Austin Hope 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon (Paso Robles) $50, 95 points. This bottling remains as impressive and delicious as it did upon debut two vintages ago. Aromas of black cherry, hickory smoke and vanilla cookie lead into a palate of brown sugar, sea salt, caramel and black-cherry foam, all framed by polished tannins and just enough acidity. –Matt Kettmann
Lail 2016 Blueprint Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) $80, 96 points. This is a stunningly beautiful wine that is ageworthy, complex and will stay with you long after it’s gone. Tones of cedar, clove and cinnamon start it off, followed by a dusting of cocoa powder and toasted oak. Lingering threads of crushed rock, violet and currant carry the finish. It finishes soft and silky. Editors’ Choice. –Virginie Boone
Château Tanunda 2016 Matthews Road Cabernet Sauvignon (Barossa) $18, 92 points. This historic producer excels at Cabernet. It’s broody and savory in notes of graphite, dried herbs and flowers amid the red currant and spicy oak notes. It’s lifted by a focused line of acidity, which slices neatly through the savory tannins and grainy texture, making the fruit feel crunchy and tangy. There’s something rustic yet classy about this wine. Drink now–2026. AUSA Pacific. Editors’ Choice. –Christina Pickard
Domaine Bousquet 2018 Reserve Made with Organic Grapes Cabernet Sauvignon (Tupungato) $18, 91 points. A deep color and ripe aromas of black fruits and prune convey the friendly conditions of 2018. This Cab is saturated and full in volume. Blackberry, raisin, cassis and chocolate flavors finish warm and chocolaty. If you like your Cabernets ripe and rich, this is in that mold. WISD LLC. –Michael Schachner
Three Thieves 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon (California) $11, 91 points. This exuberant wine is packed with expressive fruit aromas and irresistible flavors that range from cherry to black plum and blackberry. No noticeable oak gets in the way of the wine’s fruit flavors. Medium body, good balance and gentle tannins make it easy to sip. Best Buy. –J.G.
Carmen 2017 Frida Kahlo Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Maipo Valley) $16, 90 points. Beyond the cool concept label, there’s a serious Cabernet Sauvignon in the bottle—one with steady aromas of cola and root beer along with berries and light oak. A flush palate deals a full fan of berry flavors, while rubbing tannins give grip to an otherwise easy finish. Drink through 2024. Trinchero Family Estates. Editors’ Choice. –M.S.
Wakefield 2017 Promised Land Cabernet Sauvignon (South Australia) $13, 90 points. This aromatic Cab opens with a plummy, red currant tang, flanked by white pepper, dried green herbs, graphite and a hint of dried flowers. Medium to full in body, the fruit is plush but bright, backed by herbal, graphite characters right through to the close. Soft-edged but grippy, grainy tannins and a streak of oak support without overwhelming. Seaview Imports. Best Buy.–C.P.
Funckenhausen 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon (Mendoza) $17/1 L, 88 points. Burnt oak and dry barrel aromas dominate a nose with baked berry-fruit scents. A stout palate is dense and full, while this offers a burnt-oak lead flavor balanced by peppery spice notes, dark berry accents and toast. A spicy, peppery character lingers across a lively finish. Global Vineyard Importers. Best Buy. –M.S.
MAN Family Wines 2017 Ou Kalant Cabernet Sauvignon (Coastal Region) $12, 88 points. Prominent scents of mentholated herbs and black currant leaf form the nose of this wine, overriding the secondary black plum and berry aromas. The palate is full and structured, with fine yet supporting tannins and ripe black-fruit flavors that carry more intensity than the nose suggests. The finish is fruity and enduring, with lingering flavors of black plum and cherry. Vineyard Brands. Best Buy. –Lauren Buzzeo
The Shiso Rona Cocktail
At The Roosevelt Room, a chic cocktail bar and event space set in a historic warehouse nestled in the heart of downtown Austin*, guests indulge in the contrasting experiences of both classic and innovative cocktails.
Head bartender Sharon Yeung has created a unique twist on a version of the timeless sour, which she dubbed the Shiso Rona as a play on her own nickname, “Sharona.” Combining vodka, lemon and lime juices, pink peppercorn syrup, and cucumber bitters, the Shiso Rona is a refreshing and complex cocktail. Yeung garnishes the drink with a single shiso leaf, a tribute to her Chinese heritage.
“I wanted to create an approachable vodka cocktail with a slight Asian flair, and this spin on the Old Maid has all the components of the classic, but reimagined,” Yeung says. (The Old Maid typically combines a clear spirit with citrus and cucumber.)
Yeung’s inventive update offers several complementary flavor elements. “The pink peppercorn lends a soft subtle spice, and cucumber bitters [create] a fun 'pickle-y' element, while the shiso adds a fresh herbal kick,” she says.
Ed. note: At the time of publishing, The Roosevelt Room will be closed to ensure the safety of staff and patrons during the coronavirus pandemic. For more information, visit the Roosevelt Room on Instagram or read a statement from the business here.