The holiday season is just right around the corner, which means it’s that time again to start figuring out what you’re going to buy for those important people in your life. Landing on the perfect present is hard, but Eater Austin is here to help, at least when it comes to those who are obsessed with all things food and drink in the city.
With that in mind, we’ve gathered lovely and local gift suggestions from Austin restaurants and vendors, from fanciful delectable cookies, top-notch brisket jerky, cute pie pins, to Texas whiskey.
For more ideas, here’s our guide to recommended culinary experiences from Austin restaurants, as well as a roundup of recommended Texas wine bottles to buy as gifts (or just for yourself).
Need more ideas? There’s Eater National’s gift guide for the year, as well as Eater Austin’s previous guides since certain items are evergreen (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018).
The delivery-only bakery from owner Stacy Baker (yes, that’s her real name) focuses on well-made tea cookies that are as delicious as they are beautiful. The thick hot chocolate creams offer twangs of spice and salt, thanks to the cayenne chocolate buttercream and smoked salt caramel, whereas the raspberry jam drops are packed with all sorts of textures from the almond milk glaze to the raspberry jam. Pro-tip: order a bunch to mix and match.
Price: $2.50 per cookie with a minimum order of 36 cookies ($90)
Super Good Clothing’s Bacon Pillow
Austin vendor Super Good Clothing focuses on hand-making very adorable apparel and goods, which includes this oh-so-cute decorative bacon pillow. Conveniently wrapped in what is made to look like grocery store meat packaging right down to the expiration date, the medium-sized anthropomorphic bacon features one happy and one sad side, depending on how you’re feeling that day.
Price: $25; also available at the Blue Genie Bazaar
Nickel City Hat
Nickel City is already iconic, so why not pay tribute to the beloved neighborhood bar with a hat? It’s a great indication of good taste, at the very least. The East 11th Street bar often has the comfortable baseball hats available year-round, like the pride version with rainbow lettering, or the blue hat with red lettering and trim. Just for the holidays, there is the themed cap that’s fittingly, red, white, and blue.
Price: $24; also available at the bar
The Peached Tortilla: Modern Asian Comfort Food From Tokyo to Texas
For those aspiring to open their own food trucks and/or master Southern-Asian cooking, Eric Silverstein’s part-cookbook, part-memoir is a perfect choice. The Peached Tortilla owner shares his own unique upbringing (raised by his Chinese-American mother and Jewish-American father in Japan and Atlanta) and recipes that pay tribute to just that.
Price: $27.95 via BookPeople
Chocolatiers Harshit Gupta and Elliott Curelop combine Indian flavors in the form of house-roasted spices with silky chocolate, as a nod to Gupta’s mother. This leads to inventive bars like dark masala chai, saffron milk, or spicy peanut dark chocolate. It makes sense that the name of the company is Hindi for “honey” and “sweet.” The chic packaging, inspired by Indian textiles, is just an added bonus.
Price: $9; also available at the Blue Genie Bazaar
I.Heart.Avocado’s Pins and Patches
Dubbed the vegan apparel shop, local Etsy shop I.Heart.Avocado offers all sorts of fun food-themed pins and patches. Animal lovers should opt for the appropriately ‘tis-the-season-themed pumpkin pie cat pin ($10). Then there are fruits and foods with evil leanings like vampire guacamole bowl pins ($10), the happy taco patch ($8) because it’s Austin, or, for the alternative milk fans in your life, almond milk carton pins ($10).
Price: Ranges between $2 and $12; also available at the Blue Genie Bazaar
La Barbecue’s T-Shirts
Of course the shirts from La Barbecue are just as sassy as the smoked meats shop itself. The array of cozy shirts range from the “Our Cows Are Sexy” red one featuring an alluring beckoning cow laying on a bear-skin rug to the rainbow-filled pink shirt with little sausage people to the bold “Sausage Is My Safe Word” with said-link holding up a meat cleaver.
Price: $25, available at the restaurant only
Milam & Greene’s Triple-Cask Straight Bourbon Whiskey
The very new Texas whiskey brand from the Blanco distillery by Marsha Milam and Heather Greene offers an elegant bottle of high-class brown spirit that’s both smooth and creamy. The drink is mixed of three different liquors: a two-year-old premium Texas bourbon, a three-to-four-year-old Tennessee whiskey, and a 10-to-11-year-old Tennessee whiskey.
Price: $42.99, at most liquor shops
Casero’s Jess Board
Of the various charcuterie and cheese boards from founder Jackie Letelier food delivery company, it’s the lovely Jess board makes for a foolproof gift. Included are charcuterie and cheese, as well as pate, nuts, fruits (dried and fresh), mustard, and honey, all either quality/locally sourced or house-made. What makes this particular board an even better deal is that it includes the handsome walnut board from local vendor Son of a Sailor.
Bread on the Table
Fans of the baked goods and bread from Austin bakery and beer garden Easy Tiger will be thrilled with baker David Norman’s cookbook, a loving tribute to carbs. Norman explores the bready possibilities with regional loaves from France to Central Texas, as well as accompanying dishes like oysters to migas.
Price: $35 via BookPeople
Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ’s Jerky
One of Austin’s best food trucks boasts both excellent barbecue and tacos, but did you know Valentina’s also made mesquite-smoked jerky? The dried brisket strips from pitmaster Miguel Vidal are flavorful and chewy in just the right way, available in original and spicy. Be quick, it often sells out fast.
Price: $12, also available at the truck
Franklin Steak: Dry-Aged. Live-Fired. Pure Beef.
Pitmaster Aaron Franklin knows his meats, which is why he turned his attention to steak for his next cookbook. It’s actually his favorite thing to eat. The book is meant to serve as a textbook, overloaded with information about how to buy and prep meat, cooking equipment, as well as deep dives into cattle history in Texas.
Price: $29.99 via BookPeople
Whataburger love is still true, and San Antonio artist Michael Esparza captures that sentiment through prints of his painting available on his Etsy shop Me You & Art. The picture shows a dreamy white-and-orange building with towering signage next to a lush waterside landscape.
Price: Starts at $30
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