10 good eats to close out summer
Also, why is the H-E-B rotisserie chicken salad so good?
We’re wrapping up summer around these parts with frozen noodle delivery, cocktail-inspired kombucha (made with Texas-grown yaupon), a new fermentation project and a tea subscription service that’s connected to the lunar cycles (!).
For a little bit of food writer life nostalgia, I decided to round up 10 of them to hopefully inspire your own little bit of culinary discovery as we head into fall.
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Wild Heart Herbal is a Michigan-based (with Texas ties) tea subscription service, whose owner blends her own teas using ingredients she forages from the land along Lake Huron. Even during the heat of the summer, I’ve enjoyed sipping tisanes made with yarrow, Melissa and even edible flowers. She sells the tea via subscription boxes on Patreon, and some of the monthly deliveries come with seasoned sugar mixes.
Greenbelt Craft Kombucha’s new line of cocktail-inspired kombuchas are absolutely delicious. The Austin-based canned kombucha company has four new flavors that are available at Whole Foods Markets in several regions. They’ve always had good flavors that aren’t as sweet as Buddha’s Brew, but these new ones are top notch.
Dai Due breakfast sausage and chorizo. Unlike anything I’ve ever purchased at the grocery store, and I like it like that. Jesse Griffith has been dishing out surprises since all those years ago at the supper clubs and farmers markets. Glad he’s still at it.
First-time kefir-maker in the house. My boyfriend’s sister and her family have been making their own kefir for 6+ years, and these grains are the most active they’ve ever had. I’m turning a cup or two of milk each day into this probiotic-packed kefir with the consistency of yogurt. I’ve never had so many mango lassis in a month, and I couldn’t be happier about it.
H-E-B rotisserie chicken salad. If you know, you know, you know. It’s the best grocery store chicken salad around. My chef neighbor says his culinary students deconstructed it once and the secret was extra paprika and mayonnaise. I buy croissants when I buy chicken salad and make these sandwiches.
Free mushrooms. The Central Texas Mycological Society I wrote about a few weeks ago has a foraging hike and swim planned for this Friday on the Comal River in New Braunfels. Info on the website. Attendees get a bag like this filled with a grow-your-own mushroom starter.
Once Over Coffee on South First Street has a sweet little back patio area, where you can enjoy a few quiet moments by a creek with a nice coffee and a Stroop Club stroopwafel. Julian and I went here on the first day of school, and it reminded me of the dozens of coffee meetings I’ve taken here over the years and left me verklempt for the Before Times.
(The collective grief that we are experiencing because of this pandemic absolutely stuns me sometimes.)
Savory Spice Shop at the Arborteum is a total inspiration every time I visit. I recently picked up this Long’s Peak Pork Chop Spice, which I used on cauliflower steaks instead of pork chops.
Don’t miss Con Olio while you’re up there! I picked up some white truffle oil to try to replicate the True Kitchen edamame dumplings at home in the next few weeks. If you’ve been to True Kitchen, you know those dumplings.
Everything Brioche at the Cookbook Cafe. The Austin Public Library downtown is, as you know, incredible, but I recently went, not to go to the library part, but to go to the Cookbook Cafe. I am working on donating the Statesman Cookbook Collection to a library or organization, and to get some inspiration for the daunting task of moving them, I wanted to check out Virginia B. Wood’s Cookbook Collection, which has been there since 2018.
I did a livestream when I was leaving and I was surprised at how emotional it was to be immersed in her books.
And finally, a shout out to Chop Chop, the frozen noodle delivery company that keeps my freezer stocked with healthy, homemade noodle cups. (I particularly love the Japanese curry.) This Austin start-up launched during the pandemic, and I hope their concept takes off. I like their product and the founders and hope they do well.
Am I allowed to say that now?
I think so.
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