The holiday season is upon Austin, and it’s time to start hunting for the perfect presents for loved ones. To make things easier, Eater’s here to help out with this handy, highly curated, locally focused holiday gift guide for the food-obsessed friends and family on those lists.
Pro-tip: bypass restaurant gift cards and seek out items that offer unique tastes of the Lone Star state, from booze to hot sauce prints commemorating old restaurant institutions to even dainty Whataburger charms. Below, you’ll find ultimate shopping picks that best represent edible Austin.
For even more ideas, peruse Eater’s national guide, as well as Austin’s 2015 and 2016 guides. Get a head start on those shopping lists and read on.
Lost Austin Prints: Tamale House and Fran's Hamburgers
Know someone nostalgic for Old Austin? Tim Doyle, named best artist by the Chronicle for five years running, has captured relics of a simpler time in these large silkscreen prints with retro coloring. Relive the glory days of Tamale House or the watchful eye of Fran’s Hamburgers on South Congress (RIP).
Prices: Tamale House: $35; Fran’s Hamburgers: $35
Whataburger love is true and the fast food burger chain teamed up with Texas jewelry designer James Avery for a special charm in honor of the institution. The sterling silver charm features the Whataburger logo emblazoned on the state of Texas, ready for necklaces, bracelets, or anything else.
Hot sauces from the Austin-based Yellowbird Sauce are popular for good reason. Every bottle packs a spicy punch, from the milder jalapeno to the oh-so-fiery ghost pepper. For a twist, gift the blue agave sriracha sauce, which offers just a hint of sweetness.
Prices: $5 to $48
Barton Springs Mills’ Fresh Flours
For the baker, the perfect present is a bag of flour from Barton Springs Mill is the right call. The Dripping Springs products are already beloved among Austin restaurants, including Odd Duck. Barton Springs is obsessive over its all-organic grains, ready for bread and baked goods, from wheat like red fife and marquis to rye to Hopi blue corn (including the intriguingly named "Bloody Butcher Red").
Prices: $6 to $28 per bag
Paper + Craft’s Pizza Flowchart
All roads lead to pizza, especially with stationary shop The Paper + Craft Pantry’s handy dandy pizza flowchart print. The real answer here is that there's never enough pizza.
La Flaca’s Potted Herbs and Edible Flowers
Home cooks will want their own herbs, and urban garden La Flaca makes that task so much easier with potted plants. Herbs range from the usual suspects (oregano, thyme) to Vietnamese coriander (it’s worth getting a mix of herbs in a planter box for $24). Then there’s the array of edible flowers, like peppery nasturtiums and sweet borage.
Prices: $4 to $24
Chocolaterie Tessa’s Boxed Chocolates
Tessa Halstead followed in the footsteps of her father, Dallas chocolate pioneer Rex Morgan, to make luscious European-style chocolates and caramels at Chocolaterie Tessa. The small-batch chocolates are available in festive moldings like snowflakes and Santas (and, of course, Texas-shaped sweets) or single-source tasting assortments to distinguish between Madagascar cocoa from Costa Rican.
Prices: $18 to $60
Yummi Joy’s House-Made Fudge
Cult toy shop Toy Joy expanded with a new candy shop, Yummi Joy, which doles out house-made rich fudge in festive flavors. Right now, there are over 20 different flavors, from peppermint bark to the colorful rainbow pride to mint chocolate. Even better: four slices of fudge come with two free pieces too.
Price: $16 for a six-piece box
HomePlate Peanut Butter
Have a friend trying to bulk up, or know a parent in search of snacks? Send HomePlate’s peanut butter variety pack with crunchy, creamy, and honey-infused spreads. Created by a team of Major League Baseball players (and served in the clubhouse of all 30 MLB teams), HomePlate peanut butter was created to fit into training regimens and is full of nutty flavor.
Price: $24.95 for six on Amazon
Let’s face it, everyone’s a sucker for pretty bottles. The perfect gift for people who love the state and whiskey, this blended variety comes in a covetable Texas-shaped bottle. The Austin-based Republic Whiskey is surprisingly smooth, with notes of oak and vanilla.
Price: $25.25 at Spec’s
Austin Brewery Pack: Celis Brewery, Blue Owl Brewing Co., and Friends & Allies
Austin has a good beer history, so why not gather some of the newer brewery faces in town, along with a returning favorite? First, there’s the city’s first original craft brewery, Celis, which came back courtesy of founder Pierre Celis' daughter Christine this year. On deck are the brewery’s old school witbier Celis White and the pale bock. Then there’s sour brewery Blue Owl Brewing Co., which is offering a four-pack of seasonal bottles: the farmhouse style-ale Saison Puede, fruit-tinged Wee Beastie Sour Wee Heavy, the Saison Puede Harvest made with Infinite Monkey Theorem syrah and the Ol Wee Beastie. Finally, there are hoppier beers from brewery Friends & Allies, with year-round cans including the citrusy Noisy Cricket and complex Urban Chicken.
Prices: Celis: $9.46 for six-pack at Spec’s; Blue Owl: $48 for four-pack bottles at the taproom; Friends & Allies: TBD at taproom
Tiny House Coffee Roasters
Tiny House Coffee Roasters’ beans, sourced from farms in Central America, are thoughtfully picked out from Central American farms. The Black Honey is particularly lush and the El Segoviano hits all the right notes. The cold brew kegs aren’t bad either.
Price: $12 to $14 per coffee bag; $15/month for monthly subscription
Franklin Barbecue’s Porcelain Tray
For a fancier take on the coveted blue food tray from Franklin Barbecue, opt for the porcelain version from Texas Monthly’s shop. The sturdy platter (alas, sans logo) happens to be designed by noted restaurant ceramicist Keith Kreeger.
Take Heart’s Kokeshi Spoons
These adorable red or blue ceramic spoons are inspired by a type of doll from northern Japan. The perfect size for stirring tea or coffee, the kokeshi spoons can be found at East Side boutique Take Heart, along with other charming trinkets like ultra-soft alpaca fur animals
Price: $12 per spoon
Queso! Regional Recipes for the World’s Favorite Chile-Cheese Dip
Homesick Texan Lisa Fain went deep into the wonderful world of queso with her latest book. She covers the history and variation iterations of the cheesy dip, from the classic chili con queso from El Paso to vegan to queso-drenched dishes like chicken fried steak and even ice cream sundaes.
Price: $15 at BookPeople
Elizabeth Street Cafe
Austin’s favorite Vietnamese eatery and French bakery Elizabeth Street Cafe collected all of its hit dishes in cookbook form. The tome covers how-tos for macarons, noodle soup bowls, and even cocktails.
Price: $39.95 at BookPeople
Western Whims’ Food Print Shirts
Native Austinite Lilia Beaman is behind Western Whims, the playful brand of handmade Western shirts, skater dresses, pearl snap bags, and more. Though several patterns and sizes are available on the website, Beaman can also make custom pieces with food twists like this homage to barbecue she created exclusively for Eater.
Price: $98 for Western shirts, email for custom pieces
Miche Bread Subscription
Miche Bread makes it easier to carb-load with its small-batch loaf subscription service. Owner/baker Sandeep Gyawali experiments often with his bread creations, like playing around with unspent grains and fermentation cycles, resulting in hearty miche, sourdoughs, and more.
Price: $48 per quarter for six half-loaves; $90 per quarter for six full loaves
La Pâtisserie’s Cookie Kit
Decorating cookies can be a messy hassle, but Parisian-style bakery La Pâtisserie created this fun kit to make it easy. The kit comes with pre-baked sugar cookies in festive shapes (some are pre-frosted, for newbies), sprinkles, and six colors of icing in bags ready to pipe. While in the store, picking up a box of seasonal macarons isn’t a bad idea either.
Price: $25 per kit
Round Rock Honey
With flu season in full swing, stocking up on local honey is a must. Round Rock Honey gathers raw Texas wildflower honey, careful to keep the pollen profile and complex sugars intact. The reserve collection is aged in oak bourbon barrels to deepen the flavor and accentuate the floral notes.
- All Gift Guides [E]