Central Market Cooking Classes

If you’re in the Austin area and looking for something indoors to help beat the heat, and you happen to be into food, then this just may be for you! One of our favorite grocery stores, Central Market wants to help you kick off summer with food, spirits and fun this June at their ‘Central Market’s Cooking School’. June classes include seafood, brunch and Beat Divas’ 10th anniversary where you can learn from Central Market foodies, chefs and culinary professionals from around the world.

Here’s the June lineup: Central Market Cooking Classes

Texas Parks & Wildlife: Oysters & Shrimp (18 and up)

Tuesday, June 10 at 6:30 p.m.

Spend an evening learning to cook with some of the best our great state has to offer. Discover the importance of prep work and then gather ‘round in CM’s Cooking School kitchen to prepare:

  • Cornmeal-Fried oyster lettuce wraps
  • Empanadas de Cameron (hand-pies stuffed with shrimp)
  • Port Arthur seafood gumbo
  • Speedy shrimp with tomatoes, feta cheese and basil


Beat Divas: Celebrating 10 Years of Divalicious! (18 and up)

Saturday, June 21 at 6:30 p.m.

Enjoy this special 10th anniversary edition of CM’s longest running cookin’ and singin’ class with the lovely and talented Beat Divas—Dianne Donovan, Mady Kaye and Beth Ullman.

WHERE:           Central Market Cooking School, 4001 N. Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX 78756 


About Central Market:

Central Market’s open, serpentine-flow, full view European-style layout offers a completely new food shopping experience. A bountiful produce department with unmatched quality and variety, an 80-foot seafood case with selections from throughout the world, hundreds of cheeses, 2,500 wine labels, stupendous specialty grocery aisles with delights from every continent, and a world class cooking school featuring hands-on instruction are among the features that make the Central Market experience unique.


Jon Favreau Chef movie

Jon Favreau delights in a sweet, funny and inspiring new movie, Chef, which feels like an expensively made independant flick that perfectly skirts the line between being too Indie and too Hollywood.

Carl Casper (Favreau) is a successful master chef in a trendy Los Angeles restaurant who has lost the ability to explore his true passion for creating exotic cuisine in exchange for pleasing the establishment’s demanding owner (Dustin Hoffman). The movie opens with Casper excitedly preparing an exotic farm to table meal to be reviewed by a renowned food blogger, (Oliver Platt). Hoffman’s character kills the menu and demand Casper stick with the standard menu they always serve. As expected, Platt pans Casper’s menu as too safe and predictable — and snidely suggests Casper may be overweight because he’s eaten too many dinners returned by unsatisfied customers. This is where the hilarity ensues. Casper discovers Twitter and furiously tweets an exchange with Platt ending in an invitation to the critic to return for a taste of Casper’s preferred menu.

Unfortunately, the owner overrules Casper and insists that he chef prepare the same old menu. Even more unfortunately, a video of Casper’s angry confrontation with the critic goes viral — and the chef quickly finds himself not just unemployed, but virtually unemployable.  Casper’s well-to-do ex-wife, Inez (Sofia Vergara), invites Casper to join her on a trip back home to Miami, where Casper rediscovers his culinary art.

Joined by their adorable 11-year-old son (Emjay Anthony), and his sous chef (John Leguizamo), Casper reinvents an abandoned food truck and begins his journey across country from Miami back to LA. Stopping in New Orleans and Austin along the way, Chef features some of our favorite local spots including Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans and Guerro’s in Austin.

Along the way he develops a beautiful bond with his son and discovers his true passion for bringing delicious, inventive food created with love. So check out Chef, but be prepared to leave with a serious craving for a Cuban sandwich!

Chef opens in theaters May 23rd. Jon Favreau Chef movie

Chef social feedsFACEBOOK + TWITTER

CAST: Jon Favreau, Sofia Vergara, John Leguizamo, Bobby Cannavale, Dustin Hoffman, Oliver Platt, Emjay Anthony, Scarlett Johansson, Robert Downey, Jr.



PRODUCERS: Jon Favreau, Sergei Bespalov

SYNOPSIS: When Chef Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) suddenly quits his job at a prominent Los Angeles restaurant after refusing to compromise his creative integrity for its controlling owner (Dustin Hoffman), he is left to figure out what’s next. Finding himself in Miami, he teams up with his ex-wife (Sofia Vergara), his friend (John Leguizamo) and his son to launch a food truck. Taking to the road, Chef Carl goes back to his roots to reignite his passion for the kitchen — and zest for life and love.

One of my favorite desserts, and probably the only dairy-filled one I would ever cheat with, is gelato. So when I found out there’s a Gelato World Tour and it was coming to Austin I didn’t hesitate to register 🙂

The Gelato World Tour is on its way here and will be held in one of our favorite spots – Republic Square Park in downtown Austin.

Sixteen of the best gelato chefs from the US will compete to create the world’s best flavor. You get to catch all the action live while each chef produces a unique flavor right in front of you – sounds perfect to me! They’re asking guests to taste and vote for your favorite flavor, which sounds like a perfect way to spend the afternoon.


Tour details:

The tour is open to the public, free and sponsored by Carpigiani Gelato University. You can take part in free demonstrations, and learn the difference between gelato and ice cream.

Event Date: May 9th – 11th, 2014

Event Venue: Republic Square Park, Downtown Austin, TX, USA

Gelato World Tour’s mission is to spread the culture of Italian gelato, a fresh artisan food product to the general public throughout the world.

In honor of Valentines day, and our intense love of chocolate, we’re passing along this note from Central Market about upcoming chocolate festivities this month…

The Great Indulgence Chocolate Festival Coming to Central Market 

Decadence dances in the air February 5-18 as Chocolate Festival arrives at Central Market just in time for Valentine’s Day. Come satisfy your senses during The Great Indulgence, featuring more sinful selections of gourmet chocolate concoctions than you’ll find anywhere. Austin Central Market locations will be offering exquisite samples throughout the stores, cocoa-inspired cooking classes, and internationally recognized chocolatiers touting their wares and sharing their secrets with in-store appearances.


While we’ve missed some of the previous sessions already happening this week, you can still catch the session with Sue Williams tonight!
Dr. Sue Williams, Dr. Sue’s Chocolate
Tuesday, February 11
CM Westgate: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
CM N. Lamar: 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Dr. Sue Williams is an internal medicine physician on a mission to fight obesity-related disease through all-natural dark chocolate made to taste better and help you live healthier. In 2009, wanting to learn more about the art of the craft, she headed to Chicago to take classes at the Barry Callebaut Chocolate Academy. Today, Dr. Sue’s elegantly packaged creations have North Texas chocolate lovers swooning.
In-store Samplings and Demonstrations Include:
 Central Market N. Lamar location
Wed., February 12
12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Barry Callebaut
Thurs., February 13
11 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Thurs., February 13
3 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Vosages Haut-Chocolate
Thurs., February 13
3 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Charbonnel et Walker
Sat., February 15
11 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Central Market Westgate location
Tues., February 11
12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Barry Callebaut
Wed., February 12
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Taza Chocolates
Thurs., February 13
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Thurs., February 13
12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Barry Callebaut
Thurs., February 13
2:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Angels Gluten Free Mixes
Thurs., February 13
3 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Vosages Haut-Chocolate
Fri., February 14
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Taza Chocolates
Fri., February 14
11 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Fri., February 14
2:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Sat., February 15
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Taza Chocolates
Sat., February 15
11 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Sun., February 16
10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Taza Chocolates
WHEN:            Chocolate Festival runs February 5 to 18, 2014

WHERE:            Central Market N. Lamar, 4001 N. Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX 78756

                           Central Market Westgate, 4477 S. Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX 78745

I used to hear the word ‘cleanse’ as if it was a 4 letter word. It taunted me, teasing me to consider trying it, knowing the whole time I would have to make some serious compromises from my normal routine.

Could I stick to it? How could I manage juicing and raw foods while at work? Would the hubs be supportive?  Would I spend more time in the bathroom than anywhere else? Would I be satisfied, or feel hungry the whole time?

I remember the first cleanse I ever tried four years ago.  It was a horribly unstructured cleanse ordered by my doctor to address poor adrenal and liver function and help get my digestive system back on track. I stumbled through it, not prepared, and didn’t fully understand how to take advantage of the tools and support that was available to me. So needless to say, my first experience was a bust.

Fortunately, I didn’t let that define my opinions of a cleanse.

And when I met a couple here in Austin that are running an incredible Raw Foods company, and offered to have me join their upcoming Group Cleanse, I was intrigued. I had been thinking about trying another cleanse for a while, but was a little intimidated to go about it on my own. So, I sucked it up and registered for their group cleanse. No turning back now!

Choosing the right group for a cleanse.

As I just mentioned, I’ve recently discovered an amazing group of people who are passionate about helping people transform their lives through healthy eating and better lifestyle choices. They believe in helping us get to the root of our health issues through cleansing programs that strengthen the body, help kill off bacteria and metal toxicities and just generally make you feel great.

I discovered the group I will be joining the Group Cleanse for while in Whole Foods one day looking for a chocolate treat I could eat – it had to be gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free and Organic. And like the incredibly knowledgeable staff at Whole Foods often do, they were able to guide me to a product that would rock my world.  These amazing Chocolate Goddess Clusters remind me of a dense macaroon, but without a noticeable coconut texture, and quickly became my favorite indulgence.

So when I started researching New Earth to learn about their other products, I discovered a cleanse they were putting on for a Spring Jumpstart. By the way, if you want to try some of my favorite raw snacks that helped me get through the cleanse, you can click the image below and head over to our store online to pick them up – I highly recommend you do!


What did I experience?

Day 1: I was unprepared to be out of the house most of the day, so I felt a bit tired and hungry much of the day. Need to do a better job of being prepared for the rest of the week! I stopped by my favorite Juice Bar in town and stocked up on some green juice to get me through the day.

Day 2: I was better prepared since I stopped off at Whole Foods and stocked up on some fresh fruits and veggies. A bit of sticker shock over the bill though 🙁 I hope I love this cleanse!

Woke up feeling good, but about the same as I usually do, so wondering if I’ll start to notice a little more energy throughout the week. Stayed full all day since I was better prepared and enjoyed some recipes such as a classic green juice:

1 green apple
1 inch knob ginger
5 large stalks celery
1 cucumber
1 large handful parsley
5 stalks kale

Snacked on some raw crackers by 2 Moms in the Raw with some guac around dinner time. Feeling good and satisfied!

Day 3:  no more energy in the morning than I typically wake up with, but head is clearer. I did notice that I was feeling a bit more emotionally vulnerable throughout the day though.  Today I added some carrots into the diet and followed this recipe as well as the green juice from above….

3 large carrots
1 beet
1 green apple
4 large stalks celery
1 large handful of spinach, parsley, or other dark green
1 small cucumber
1 inch knob ginger

Day 4: I noticed I’m sleeping really well now and not waking up in the middle of the night. Yay! Also, definitely feeling clear headed in the morning but again, no more energy.  I decided I wanted to chew something today so I made a simple salad with julienne carrots, cucumbers and zucchini and used some fresh lime juice for a dressing. Today I added another new juice recipe into the mix:

Summertime Mojito: A virgin mojito that is fresh, simple, and delicious!

1 cucumber
1 large pear
1 large handful mint
½ lime

Feeling really good today, and glad I decided to give the raw foods and juice cleanse another try!

Day 5: Woke up feeling good with a little more energy today! Emotions are better (not as raw) and feeling great. Today I wanted to add a little sweet juice to my routine so I tried this one and totally recommend it! Not too sweet but gave me a satisfying sweet flavor alongside the green juices I keep drinking.  On a personal note, my bowel movements are stable and I’m peeing more frequently than usual, so I’m avoiding any liquids too close to bedtime.

1 large pear
1 apple
1 cup pineapple, cubed
4 large stalks kale
1 cucumber

Day 6: I’m feeling confident and happy, and made some raw crackers in the dehydrator I borrowed from a friend. They weren’t bad, but I’m glad I have some store bought goodies on hand too! For dinner I had some guac and crackers alongside a beet juice:

1 apple
4 large carrots
1 beet
1 inch ginger

Day 7: Woke up feeling great, but my emotions are right on the surface again. I have a class today for the group cleanse and I’m excited to see what they suggest we do to keep a portion of raw foods into our diet as my goal is to keep at a 50/50 ratio of cooked and raw foods.  I decided to finish out the cleanse with a combo juice I made up:

2 apples
4 large carrots
1 beet
1 inch ginger

1 cucumber



Day 8: Today I wasn’t as hungry as I had been on the previous days, but I still kept up with my juices and just avoided the raw snacks. My emotions are good and I’m definitely continuing to have a clear head!

Day 9: Slept like a baby last night and I woke up feeling great. We have another group class today and I’m looking forward to the recipes they share. I’m’ so glad I’m doing this as apart of a group. It’s been really helpful to share in my experiences with the other group members and learn how much better they feel since most of them are on their second or third group cleanse. Here’s a new juice I added into the mix today:

2 Granny Smith apples
1 McIntosh apple
1  pear
5 kale leaves
1 cucumber
4 celery stalks
1/2 cilantro bunch
1  lemon (optional)

Day 10: I made it! The last day of the cleanse is here, and I’m heading out this morning to a final group class. I did notice that I’m feeling a little vulnerable (emotionally) but otherwise I’m doing great. Slept great, head is clear, energy is high and I’m so glad I did this. It’s such an amazing feeling to know I can do it!  Here’s my new favorite juice blend:

1 red beet
5 carrots
3 celery stalks
1 cucumber
1  pear
1  lemon


What does a cleanse do for me?

Eating raw foods and consuming an abundance of fresh leafy veggies and fruits through juicing give me a sense of energy and awareness that I don’t have otherwise.  I wake up refreshed, I have an easier time at work, my emotions feel more balanced and I sleep better at night.

I’m happier, more energized and any hints of anxiety or emotional ups and downs are gone. Though I will say that if you’re approaching a cleanse form a typical American diet rich in sugar and grains you will probably experience some emotional clearing (meaning you may be a raging bitch or weeping basket-case for a day) but that will pass and you will be on the other side of it feeling better, more balanced and motivated to keep on the path!

So, would I recommend a 7 day raw food and juice cleanse? ABSOLUTELY!

My overall experience was positive and I felt great, had a clearer head, lost a couple pounds of water weight and slept better than I typically do. I’m planning to keep up with a goal of a 50/50 ratio cooked to raw foods, and I bought a dehydrator to make some flat breads and crackers. I’ll share some of the recipes I’m trying as I keep on this raw food path and definitely recommend a cleanse for anyone who wants to give your system a nice little reboot 🙂

Have you followed a raw food or juice cleanse? I’d love to hear your experience too!


When you first walk into their modern, sleek dining area you’re greeted by  one of the friendly staff at Beets, who waves their arms at the tables and invite you to pick your favorite spot.  Armed with a cold bottle of purified water and some glasses, she’ll drop off crisp fresh water and a menu that at first glance, might have you a bit nervous. After asking if you’ve ever been here before, she’ll mention that they’re fully raw, vegan and gluten-free and suggest you take some time to browse the menu, and let her know if you have any questions. And yes, you’ll likely have some questions.

If you’re new to a raw foods bar, the concept of raw, fresh foods can make you feel a bit nervous and leave you a little unsure whether you’ll actually feel full. Since the typical American diet tends to lean towards carbs and meat-based proteins, one look at the menu at Beets might have you thinking you’ll need a double dose to feel satisfied. And while I understand why you might think so, the truth is that Beets menu is packed with hearty meals that satisfy your cravings, and keep your belly full with wholesome goodness. The fiber-rich meals will help keep you satisfied, and their juices are a perfect complement to any meal. We love Sylvia’s Favorite, a blend of Coconut water, bananas and cranberries that pairs perfectly with any dish. Or if you’re craving something a little more dessert-like, grab a Choco A La Na Na featuring almond milk, raw cocao, dates, bananas and spices that brings out the inner child in you.

Some of my favorite dishes are the ELT, Beets’ take on the BLT features a delicious sprouted almond sunflower flatbread, spread with a creamy cashew dijonaise, layered with crispy spiced eggplant “bacon”, lettuce, tomato, avocado, and high-vibe sprouts, served with crispy veggie chips and kraut. Another favorite is the Raw Rueben, made with sunflower flatbread layered with 1000 island dressing, kraut, marinated portabella mushrooms, caramelized onions, and Swiss cashew cheeze.

beets, austin Today, I chose the Asian Style Noodle Salad, made with napa, red and green cabbages, kelp noodles, sea vegetables, daikon radish, bok choy, broccoli, carrot, scallions, cilantro, tossed with Sweet n’ Spicy Miso Dressing, garnished with gomasio. Yum!

As I was finishing up my lunch, I overheard a guest who had just sat down ask if they serve diet coke. No, the waitress answered nicely, but we have Coconut Water, Herbal Tea and fresh juices.  The guest said she’ll stick with water and turned back to the menu after giving her husband a look that I know all too well. She was clearly skeptical about whether Beets was the right choice for them.  I might expect this type of guest to approach eating at Beets, without embracing the true meaning behind their concept, to be lost on the reasoning behind shunning an overly processed, toxic-rich soda. Would she embrace the raw, cold-pressed juices and delicious soups, or would she be dissapointed in the options?  After she spent some time browsing the menu, they finally placed their order. Though I couldn’t hear what they ordered, I’m curious to see how they react to their meals, so I decide to wait a moment to watch as their meals arrive. Do they love the fresh flavor profiles, and the imaginative display? Will they love the rich, exploding flavor bursts form raw foods as much as I do?

I watch, interested, as the get their lunch, waiting to see the expression on her face as she takes her first bite, then another.  She looks at her husband, and smiles. He nods, and they both take another bite. Yep, it seems Beets has two more happy, satisfied customers.

And just as I thought about the power of raw foods to help us heal, and how Beets is helping people to transform their thinking on the benefits of eating raw, I noticed the gentleman sitting next to me. He was dressed in a suit, and I overheard him tell the waitress he was visiting Austin from Houston.  After I heard him comment about how good the soup was I struck up a conversation with him; I was curious what this well-dressed businessman in from Houston thought of our little raw foods bar. To my delight he was amazed at how much he loved the raw Carrot, Ginger, Curry Soup, and was happy to ask me about the history of Beets. Did I know what the motivation was for opening it was?  How long they were open? Was there any real competition in Austin for them?

As I shared what I know of their history, from reading the literature on their tables, he smiles, looks around and comments that he would love to have a Beets in Houston.

You can check out their menu and read more about the story behind Beets on their website, and be sure to check with them for cooking class schedules and special holiday menus.

If you’re like the many thousands of folks headed into Austin this week for the launch of the South by Southwest show, you’re probably scouring the web for suggestions on what to see, what to do and better yet – where to eat!

Austin is the live music capital of the world, but it’s also home to some of the best cuisine in the country. Whether you’re craving finger-licking, melt off the bone Barbecue, Interior Mexican Cuisine, Tex Mex, Vietnamese or fresh Farm-to-table fare, Austin has plenty to choose from.

afb_city_guide_2013_logoSXSW turns Austin on it’s head, with some of the best names in music, interactive and film checking out our amazing little town. And while SXSW is an exciting time for attendees, it can also be a bit daunting if you have food allergies and you’re visiting a new town. While the Convention Center does offer some gluten and dairy free options, our guess is you would like to venture out and explore some of the amazing culinary skills our local chefs have to offer.

Every year, the Austin Food Bloggers Alliance works in partnership with local food bloggers to produce a SXSW guide to all things ‘food’ related that Austin has to offer.  And since we’re kind of known for our food here, especially Tex Mex, we’ve pulled together a list of some of our favorite Mexican joints in South Austin. Oh, and they just so happen to be gluten-free friendly too in case that’s important to you!

Our favorite Mexican Restaurants in South Austin…


Chuy’s Barton Springs

1728 Barton Springs Rd (map) (512) 474-4452 
Hours: Mon – Thu: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm Fri – Sat: 11:00 am – 11:00 pm Sun: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm

An ode to 1950’s diners in the heart of South Austin, Chuy’s is a short drive from downtown and sits alongside Austin’s famous Zilker Park. No views, but a stone’s throw from the lake hike and bike trails that are worth checking out if you have some time!

And if you’re looking for allergy-free options, the staff at Chuy’s are always willing to help steer you towards the gluten-free friendly items. Since their salsa is gluten-free, you have several typical Tex Mex options to choose from as well as some salads. Just make sure you steer clear of anything with their green chili salsa as it has flour in it.

El  Alma

1025 Barton Springs Road 512.609.8923

Come for the sunny rooftop deck, stay for the star filled skies. El Alma is one of our favorite places to chill, and offers delicious, closer-to-authentic Mexican foods and their margs pack a nice little punch.  We typically opt for their taco plates, and love to pair the steak and shrimp, but the chili relleno stuffed with duck is another favorite.

They have plenty of gluten and dairy-free options, and their staff is always knowledgeable and happy to help.


El Meson

2038 S Lamar Blvd,   512-442-4441

Why do we love El Meson? It’s a little piece of Mexico in the heart of South Austin! Their traditional Interior Mexican Cuisine features a Cochinita Pibil that our son devours and their stuffed Chili Rellenos are not overly fried or breaded, but rather, are full of flavor thanks to perfect pairings including a light brandy cream sauce with a smoked chicken (my favorite!)

Other menu items include traditional fajitas & enchiladas, and all items are served with a small side of beans and rice upon request. The portions are a bit smaller than typical Tex Mex styles, and their margaritas are made to order.

Definitely worth the quick drive from downtown, and when you’re done, walk next door to Lick, and top dinner off with some of the best, locally sourced and organic ice cream we’ve ever tasted.


Bufalo Bob’s Chalupa Wagon

603 W. Live Oak, Austin, TX. 1 (map) (512) 662-2801

Bobs Chalupa Wagon (and Bob himself) are fabulous! Bob shared with me one night that his wife is gluten-free and also allergic to soy, so they are very aware of allergy restrictions and are definitely willing to accommodate.

Bufalo Bob’s offers range fed all natural Bison, Chicken and Vegetarian Chalupas. They use locally raised all natural chicken and bison certified free of hormones and antibiotics, and their recipes are homemade with organic products whenever possible! They strive to make great tasting food that is good for your body too!


360 Nueces St (map) (512) 320-8226 

Situated along the Shoal Creek, Garrido’s is perfect for a casual lunch or an elegant dinner, and they have never disappointed! Grab a table on their patio if you can and sit back and enjoy the relaxed vibe while you sip a margarita or cucumber mojito and sample some of our favorite Mexican food in Austin.

Their gluten-free menus are labeled and almost all items are gluten-free so rest easy, and enjoy a more authentic Mexican meal. Yum!

“We believe in a healthier way to enjoy Mexican Food”

Offering Happy Hour ALL DAY on Monday  “Late Night Happy Hour” Sunday – Wednesday


Guero’s Taco Bar

1412 South Congress (map) 512.447.7688 
Hours: M-W: 11am-10pm, Th-Fri: 11am-11pm, S-Sun: 8am-11pm

No trip to Austin is complete without a stop at Guero’s on South Congress!

Enjoy handmade corn tortillas, specialty dishes and fresh salsa bar. The caldo de pollo and tacos al pastor are just a few tried-and-true favorites. Start off with a hand-shaken margarita in the cantina, or enjoy an icy cold beer while listening to music in the Oak Garden. Just sit back and relax and ponder why you haven’t moved to Austin yet. And yep, the’ve got a gluten-free menu too!


Maudie’s South Lamar

1212 S. Lamar (map) 512-440-8088 
Hours: 8:00 am – 10:00 pm Sunday – Thursday 8:00 am – 10:30 pm Friday and Saturday

Maudie’s is one of our favorite neighborhood stops and we can’t say enough great things about them! The casual, Austin vibe is an ode to their laid-back approach to good Mexican food. Come for some healthier takes on traditional Tex-Mex fares.

Oh, and if’ you’re gluten-free, they’ve “got y’all covered to”.

They offer a gluten-free menu as well as separate gluten-free chips, and menu is full of great options.  They take a little longer with their gluten-free orders because they take care to prep their stations and grills to avoid cross contamination – they rock!


Polvos Mexican Restaurant

2004 S 1st St (512) 441-5446

We know plenty of folks who claim Polvos to be the best Tex Mex in South Austin, and while it’s not our favorite, it’s a good option for those who dig saucy Tex Mexy dishes. Check out their full salsa bar inside, including pick;ed veggies, and if you’re looking for a healthier option, opt for the steamed fish cooked in a banana leaf and surrounded by veggies. The margs are good – not great, but they get the job done, and the tortillas are handmade and delish.



1816 S Lamar Blvd (512) 326-4395

Another one of our favorite, more authentic Mexican options, Sazon doesn’t offer much in the way of ambience, but they make up for it with stiff drinks and some delicious food. Offering full vegetarian options and several gluten-free choices too. The PUERCO EN PIPIAN is amazing (pork covered in a light pumpkin seed sauce) and the POLLO EN MOLE OAXAQUEÑO is one of our favorite moles in town.  The TIKIN XIC  is another favorite!


310 Congress (map) (512) 472-7555 
Hours: Mon – Thu: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm Fri – Sat: 11:00 am – 11:00 pm Sun: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm

Created in Austin and locally owned for more than 25 years, Manuel’s is a “must” for quality Mexican food.  Serving non-GMO corn products, Premium All Natural Texas beef,  chicken, pork, and wild caught Tuna, Black Drum, and shrimp. 
Manuel’s is an Austin favorite – consistently voted in the top 20 restaurants in town and recognized for best mole, ceviche, enchiladas, tortilla soup, and Happy Hour.

And if you’re allergy-free, Manuel’s staff is more than happy to check with the chef to recommend the safe gluten and dairy-free options. From our experience, there are plenty of choices to be had, and we love their more authentic take on an Austin favorite; Viva Mexican!


Matt’s El Rancho

2613 S Lamar Blvd (map) (512) 462-9333 
Hours: M, W, Th, & Sun: 11am-10pm, Fri & Sat: 11am-11pm

Matt’s is another neighborhood favorite joint that we can’t say enough great things about!  Come for the margs – they pack quote a punch! Try their version of a Mexican Martini, which has just the right touch of tart and olive to keep us coming back! The oversized patio is a favorite space with a water fountain and lots of beautiful landscaping that will make you happy you took the short drive up from downtown to find it.

Since 1952 Matt’s El Rancho has provided Austin with
 authentic Mexican food in a great family atmosphere. And for you gluten-free folks, they don’t offer a separate gluten-free menu, but they’re quick to send a manager over to your table once you mention gluten-free. You’ll have plenty of delicious options here!


 TnT Tacos and Tequila

507 Pressler Street (map) 512 436 8226 
Hours: Mon – Thu: 11:00 am – 11:00 pm Fri: 11:00 am – 11:45 pm Sat: 10:00 am – 11:45 pm Sun: 10:00 am – 11:00 pm

Simple, local and handmade is the essence of the TNT food approach. The essence of great food is simplicity not complexity. Part of simplicity is using what’s in season, and TnT makes every attempt to source local products. Each month the menu changes to reflect seasonal products from local farms. With local farm fresh foods, they plenty of amazing menu items to choose from, and their staff is happy to steer you to the gluten-free safe items.

Their full tequila bar and delicate bites are sure to please – they keep us comin’ back! With yummy Mexican style street corn and tacos, and homemade salsas that are too good to skip, TNT is a fave for a (slight step up from) casual.


Torchy’s Tacos

3005 S. Lamar (map) 512.614.1832 
Hours: M-Th: 7am-10pm, F: 7am-11pm, S: 8am-11pm, Sun: 8am-10pm

What started as a trailer quickly became an Austin sensation, paving the way for many other food trailers to restaurant fame in town. Come for some of the best breakfast tacos in town, and don’t miss our out on their queso – there’s a reason locals keeps voting it “the best queso in Austin”!

Torchy’s Tacos operates several restaurants in Austin, plus one of our favorite trailer parks (located on South 1st Street). They’re local, cheap, casual and oh so good! And thanks to their willingness to accommodate allergy-free dining needs, Torchy’s is a great option for those with gluten-free, dairy free and various other restrictions. Grab their gluten-free menu at the counter before ordering and smile as you sit back to enjoy fresh and tasty tacos, Torchy’s style!


Here are several other options in South Austin that we know so many people love, but we haven’t personally tried since we’re gluten-free. I’ve included the Yelp links so you can check out the reviews – hope it helps!


If you’re on the hunt specifically for gluten-free options around town,  you can check out our earlier posts on gluten-free dining on South Congress here or our gluten-free suggestions for downtown here.

For more gluten-free friendly restaurants in town, check out these posts from ATX gluten free:



And if you’re looking for gluten-free friendly restaurants while here, be sure to download the Locate Special Diet app which will give you consumer generated reviews of the best gluten-free friendly joints in town.


We hope you enjoy your little city as much as we do – it’s a fantastic place to live and we cherish all that makes it so unique and special!





I’m a lucky girl; I live in one of the most amazing cities in the country and I’m surrounded by some of the best culinary options to boot! Yes, Austin has it’s fair share of BBQ joints and Tex Mex fare, but if you go outside your comfort zone, you’ll discover home-made Pho made with love by a family owned restaurant on West Anderson, trailers serving up delicious crepes, hand-dipped frozen banana desserts, authentic Thai or Mexican fare, a husband and wife team whipping up some of the best chalupas we’ve tasted, an African food cart and top rated burgers made with hormone-free meat. From Vegetarian to gluten and dairy free options, many restaurants in town are happy to accommodate special diets, and we think that deserves some local love.

It takes great dedication to create a quality meal, and a love for their guests to offer such incredibly delicious and healthy options. So, below is a list of some of our fave local Austin allergy-free friendly joints that we visit often and think you should too! Note – these are in no particular order!

14 Allergy-free friendly Austin joints:


zocalocafe Zocalo Cafe

1110 West Lynn (map) (512) 472-TACO

Casual, fun and delicious – order at the counter and grab a seat on their beautiful patio or inside for a quick, tasty and inexpensive meal. Their staff is super helpful and friendly about diet issues, and their manager told me that almost all of their items are gluten-free with the exception of a couple to stay away from. Be sure to tell them your needs and they’re happy to help!

Come experience the bold flavors and colors of a Mexico City taqueria from the comfort of a unique Austin neighborhood. Try our delicious tacos, salads and house specialties. All of our menu items are homemade from the freshest ingredients, including our handmade tortillas and salsas. Check out Zocalo Cafe Taqueria Fresca at 1110 West Lynn.


Screen Shot 2013-01-12 at 10.27.28 AM

PHO Taison

With 6 locations throughout Austin, this family-owned restaurant serves up some of the best Pho in town! And we love their cutesy little play on the word Pho – check out their menu for some ‘Phun” play on words 🙂

Just about everything on their menu is gluten and dairy-free and you can’t beat their homemade bone broths’ healing powers. These guys are healthy, delicious and much cheaper than their more trendy competitors. A must try in Austin!

 Torchy’s Tacos

3005 S. Lamar (map) 512.614.1832 
Hours: M-Th: 7am-10pm, F: 7am-11pm, S: 8am-11pm, Sun: 8am-10pm

Breakfast, lunch or dinner – Torchy’s is a goto in our house and we love their off the wall, exotic combos! It doesn’t hurt that they serve their full menu all day long, so when we head out for breakfast tacos, I can enjoy something from their regular menu that’s egg-free, which typically means I go for the Mr Pink (tuna) or Mr Orange (salmon).

Torchy’s Tacos has several store-front locations, and still held on to their original trailers.  And thanks to their willingness to accommodate allergy-free dining needs, Torchy’s is a great option for those with gluten-free, dairy free and various other restrictions. Grab their gluten-free menu at the counter before ordering and smile as you sit back to enjoy fresh and tasty tacos, Torchy’s style!


 Guero’s Taco Bar

1412 South Congress (map) 512.447.7688 
Hours: M-W: 11am-10pm, Th-Fri: 11am-11pm, S-Sun: 8am-11pm

If you’re looking for some of the tastiest and strongest margaritas in town, head on over to Guero’s where they serve them in tiny tumblers. Check out the decor – much of the old wall hangings are there from when they were a feed store so don’t be alarmed if you notice a stuffed bird or deer head. Random, yes, but it’s an Austin original, and if you’re looking for allergy-free options, Guero’s has you covered. They list their gluten-free and vegan menu on their main menu (no separate ones here) making it easy to know what you can safely order.

Enjoy handmade corn tortillas, specialty dishes and fresh salsa bar. The caldo de pollo and tacos al pastor are just a few tried-and-true favorites. Start off with a hand-shaken margarita in the cantina, or enjoy an icy cold cerveza while listening to music in the Oak Garden. Just sit back and relax, and soak in the local Austin vibes.


 Beets Living Food Cafe  – a Cafe as unique as Austin

1611 W 5th St. Suite 165 (map) (512) 477-2338

Offering a complete Raw Foods menu, Beets is a fabulous option for any health conscious Austin foody. Most all of the menu items are naturally gluten-free,    and the staff is super helpful. We love Beets!   Click here to check out their menu online.

 Freddie’s Place

1703 S 1st St (map) (512) 445-9197 
Hours: Mon – Sun: 11:00 am – 12:00 am

This large, outdoor, creekside  restaurant/bar is in an idyllic  setting, under large, shady oak trees.  Freddies has a, laid-back, South Austin vibe, with tasty burgers and margaritas,  a beautiful setting, live music and friendly staff.

Freddies’s fun, laid back vibe finally includes a gluten-free menu (yay!!) So now you can enjoy a burger with a gluten-free bun, or even a breakfast option of french toast. They also have a delicious seared tuna, pork chops, salads and more. And if you’re there on a day that’s hotter than 100degrees, their frozen margs are only 100 pennies 🙂 Can’t beat that!


 Snap Kitchen

Why do we love Snap? It’s the first time I’ve ever walked into a grab-n-go restaurant that actually labeled every ingredient in its food, and caters to allergy-free friendly eating. Not only is about 90% of their food gluten free, but they also offer Paleo options. Gluten-free, allergy-free, Paleo lovin food that’s delicious to boot!

In their words: dedicated to bringing our customers flavorful, handcrafted food that supports our commitment to local, organic ingredients and healthy cooking. Snap Kitchen’s menu offers a selection of “foodie” items made fresh daily, salads tossed-to-order (flagship locations), juices and specialty elixirs, high-energy snacks, and diet-friendly desserts for the person on the go.

1014 W. 6th Street Austin, TX 78703    Phone (512) 479-5959      austininfo@snapkitchen.com



1400 S Congress Ave (map) 512.243.7505 
Hours: Mon – Thu: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm Fri – Sat: 11:00 am – 11:00 pm Sun: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm

Handcrafted burgers, beer and a full bar in the heart of SoCo and now on W Anderson too, offering gluten-free buns and salads to satisfy your cravings. Delish burgers, but prep for a line!


 Maudie’s South Lamar

1212 S. Lamar (map) 512-440-8088 
Hours: 8:00 am – 10:00 pm Sunday – Thursday 8:00 am – 10:30 pm Friday and Saturday

Maudie’s is one of our favorite neighborhood stops and we can’t say enough great things about them! They offer a gluten-free menu as well as separate gluten-free chips, and they will give you a separate salsa to avoid cross contamination from the non- gluten-free chips. They’re gluten-free menu is full of delicious options, and I’ve been told on many occasions that they can alter most any of their items to be gluten-free since their salsas are ok, and they make most things fresh on the spot. They take a little longer with their gluten-free orders because they take care to prep their stations and grills to avoid cross contamination, and I’m super grateful for that! Yep, can’t say enough great things about their knowledgeable staff, delicious & healthy mexican fare!



 Matt’s El Rancho

2613 S Lamar Blvd (map) (512) 462-9333 
Hours: M, W, Th, & Sun: 11am-10pm, Fri & Sat: 11am-11pm

For over 50 years Matt’s El Rancho has been 
family owned and operated.
 Since 1952 Matt’s El Rancho has provided the Austin area with
 authentic Mexican food in a great family atmosphere.

Matt’s is another neighborhood favorite joint that we can’t say enough great things about! While they don’t offer a seperate gluten-free menu, they’re quick to send a manager over to your table once you mention gluten-free. They’re extremely knowledgeable about how their menu items are prepared and they’re always willing to accommodate dietary restrictions, beyond just gluten-free. You can absolutely rest assured that Matt’s will take good care of you!

 Piranha Killer Sushi

207 San Jacinto Blvd Ste 202  Austin, TX 78701 (512) 473-8775

Amazingly fresh, delicious and allergy-free friendly options, including rolls wrapped in cucumber (no rice!) and gluten-free soy sauce.
Note that they offer valet parking for $4 next door so you can avoid dealing with downtown parking for just a couple more bucks than the cost of street parking.  Read more about why we love these guys on our review here. 

Mr. Natural

Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free friendly, these guys serve up amazingly fresh & relish foods that are good for us too. They also stock just about any nutritional supplment you might need, and I always find their prices to be pretty competitive. You can’t go wrong with the Vegan and Gluten-free pastries, and my son claims their GF donuts are the best he’s ever had 🙂

Love their ranchero sauce as a great gluten and dairy free side with fresh tacos or omelet’s, and you can’t go wrong with their fresh juices. Stop by for lunch or dinner and enjoy their full menu found here.

When it comes to Mr. Natural’s Bakery, you probably won’t find a healthier selection of gluten-free or vegetarian baked goods anywhere in town!

2414-A S. Lamar (map) 512-477-5228


Thrice Cafe (formerly Thai Fresh)

909 West Mary St. (map) 512 447 9473

Why do we love Thrice? Fresh steeped loose leaf teas, Kombucha on tap, great selection of beer & wine, and all the Vegan Ice Cream you can imagine! Their menu is almost entirely gluten free, with the exception of their Vietnamese sandwiches  and they’re happy to leave out the grains if you request that they do. We love their curries and our son is a fan of their gluten free chicken strips with homemade rice vinegar dipping sauce.

Thrice believes in sustainable thai cooking…

Thai Fresh is committed to bringing you authentic Thai meals that are made with fresh local ingredients. Their meats are raised within Texas and free of antibiotics and hormones, featuring Buddy’s natural chicken and Dewberry Hill Farms chicken, with pork from Peach Creek Farm and their beef is all grass-fed from Bastrop Cattle Company.  Check out their menu here.


 Shady Grove

1624 Barton Springs Rd. (map) (512) 474-9991 
Hours: Mon – Thu: 11am-10:30pm, Fri-Sat: 11am-11pm, Sun:11am-10:30pm

Our favorite cozy outdoor cafe, Shady Grove is perfect day or night; with plenty of “shade” provided by the abundance of trees, which are adorned with white lights at night, this is a perfectly romantic, casual and fun vibe all in one!

Shady Grove is a frequent choice in this house since they offer several gluten-free options and are always happy to accommodate further dietary restrictions. While they no longer offer a gluten-free menu, their staff is more than happy to point you to the salads, burgers, pork chops, fish and more that are safe for gluten-free needs.

Billed as a formal evening to benefit the The Sustainable Food Center this Red Carpet event was planned by The Next Fest to the finest of details, including tasty bites, exotic drinks and a fire- breathing bartender.  Hosted by the Olde Pecan Street Cafe, this glamorous red carpet event was filled with guests adorned in a range of black tie attire to costumes worthy of the Dia De Los Muertos theme. 

Guests were treated to exotic face painting thanks to guest artist Guillermo Garza, while the ever-present staff of Olde Pecan Street Cafe cruised through the party, offering guests delightful bites such as puffed pastries and crepes. Soul Wagon rocked the house with a blues and jazz themed mix of original songs that were a perfect blend for the event.

While guests enjoyed a variety of exotic cocktails, including some blue and green themed vodka drinks courtesy of Austin’s own Tito’s Vodka, Celebrity Chef’s hosted a cook-off, Top Chef style, and Jason Ballard, co-founder of Treehouse, gave a brief overview of their company: “Think of Treehouse as WholeFoods meets Home Depot.” It was a pleasure learning about Treehouse and their mission to build a company based on the idea that people, communities, nature, excellence and dreams all matter.

The Pecan Street Cafe’s side room was transformed to allow Soul Wagon to entertain us, while local foodies gave us tastes of their amazing foods.  Guests sampled foods from Brats N Beer and Chef Ryan Abitz, Hot Soup Love, Nada Moo, Kind Bars, Llama’s and Pecan Street Cafe, and I was pleased to see most vendors offering allergy-free friendly options, allowing me to sample most of the foods provided.

A Silent Auction was held in the courtyard, and included goodies from Alamo Draft House, Zipcar, Deep Eddy Vodka, Mauro Pilates, Birds Barbershop, Antonelli’s Cheese, Second Bar + Kitchen, SEO Consulting by Happiness Digital, Invention Consulting by Long Tail Products, Creative Writing Workshop, Castle Hill Fitness membership, Nutrition consulting by Kate Brodsky, Lobster Rolls for 5 from Pamela Jane’s New England Lobster Rolls and private cooking class by Chef Ryan Abitz.

And while guests strolled the Silent Auction tables, and were treated to a fire-breathing show in the coutryard, Austin’s Celebrity Chefs prepared for their SFC cook off which took place in the main dining room. I loved watching the Chefs prepare amazing dishes including local foods, and while I wasn’t able to hear who the winner was, I’m sure the judges were more than pleased with the submissions. How could they not be given the incredible panel of Celebrity Chefs which included Alberto Carreño, Matt Zepeda, Zach Herrera and Heavy, all local Austin talents.

As for the beneficiary of the evening, The Sustainable Food Center believes that we should all have access to affordable, healthy food, regardless of where we live or how much money we have. SFC cultivates a healthy community by strengthening the local food system and improving access to nutritious, affordable food. SFC envisions a food secure community where all children and adults grow, share and prepare healthy, local food.

Pretty amazing philosophy, right?

Not only do I love what they stand for, but I loved their incredible team as well! I had the pleasure of chatting with them throughout the night, and was impressed with how warm and welcoming they were to me and my humble little blog. Thanks ladies!

Here’s a quick recap of what the SFC is about, and more details on how you can help them.

Sustainable Foodies is the premier group of champions for the cause of sustainable food in Central Texas. By providing support for SFC through sharing of time, talent and resources, Foodies act as an awareness and fundraising arm for SFC. Foodies are actively engaged in Austin and enjoy bringing new people into the life of SFC, helping those in underserved communities and spreading the fun of local, seasonal food!

If you’re an Austin foodie, or just want to learn more about how you can help spread the work about healthy and sustainable food practices for our amazing community, check out their upcoming events here, and learn more about what a low-cost membership provides you and the SFC. From workshops on developing community gardens at our schools, to Farm to Table Harvest Dinners benefiting the SFC, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved.

Read more about the SFC and their incredible cause here. It was truly a pleasure to have attended the Gala and met the wonderful team at SFC, and I highly encourage you to check out their site to learn more about how you can help them bring affordable, healthy and sustainable foods to our community.


What do you get when you cross a fuel saving hybrid with a large plastic banana? A bananamobile of course!

If you live in the Austin or Dallas Fort Worth areas, and you aren’t yet buying from Greenling, you’re missing out on some of the freshest and best tasting local produce, delivered to your door! Currently, Greenling delivers to Austin and San Antonio with plans for Houston on the horizon, and according to the founder, Mason Arnold, they don’t plan to stop there.  Ultimately, he would like to expand the service nationwide.

“We’ve developed a system that’s a just-in-time inventory, so it reduces the time it takes for food to get from the farm to the table by more than half,” Arnold says. “We’re delivering a more nutritious product, and we’re able to deliver it much faster. We think everyone in the nation should have this available.”

But Greenling is not just about local produce. In fact, they are about fresh, healthy and delicious food. Period.

From their Local Box, which is delivered weekly and packed with the freshest local produce you can imagine, to their fully stocked online shop, you can browse from hundreds of products, including many gluten-free options! I’ve sampled some of their brands, and will follow up with product reviews this week, so until then, here are some quick tips on how to start taking advantage of their amazing services.  And remember, everything Greenling sells is either Certified Organic, or locally sourced and sustainably grown. So you can feel good about the food you’re eating, thanks to Greenling.


Connecting you with local farmers, every week!

With their Local Box, Greenling connects you with the freshest, best produce you can find. Local Boxes are delivered either weekly or twice monthly, bringing you farm fresh foods, delivered to your door, for about the same price as you would pay in the grocery store. And the best part? Your dollars stay local and help farmers continue to farm Organically, helping you to feel better and keeping all the harmful side effects of non-organic farming away from your table.

Greenling’s partner farmers are all local, Organic Texas farmers. Check out their list of featured local farmers  here.


In a hurry, or not much of a chef? Let Greenling do the work for you!


Be sure to check out their prepackaged meal plans;  listed  as “Recipe Kits”, these little guys are super handy and include apps, 1 Meal, 2 Meal, juicing, breakfast kits and more. Greenling has done a fantastic job of covering many special dietary needs, and they don’t disappoint to that effect with their Recipe Kits either. You can browse the ingredients on their kits here, and while they don’t currently have it broken down by gluten-free options, I’m  happy to say that they have plans to build a criteria to search by ‘gluten-free” items soon!

Healthy, allergy-free friendly Shop

Looking for healthy, fresh and delicious foods from local companies? Once again, Greenling doesn’t disappoint! With hundreds of products lovingly made by local companies, Greenling features some of the tastiest homemade products we’ve tried. With Vegan, gluten-free bread that my son devoured, to a gluten-free brownie that my husband swore was the best he’s tried yet, their products are fresh, healthy and delicious.

Browse their gluten-free items in the shop here; be sure to choose “Shop” then “Grocery” and you will see the image for gluten free items on the next page.

Here’s a snapshot of the menu option listing their gluten-free items:

So head on over to Greenling now, and sign up to view their amazing local and delicious selections today! Note that the Local Boxes are delivered on either a weekly or bi-weely schedule, but you can shop any of their other items as often as you like.

Here’s a quick video of Greenling’s founder, Mason Arnold sharing why he founded Greenling, and what shopping with Greenling does to help ensure better health, better farming practices, and safer food conditions.


Still have questions? Check out these quick tips on Greenling’s Local Box from their site:

What is a Local Box, anyway?

Our Local Box is a weekly changing selection of seasonal, sustainably grown produce, fresh from local farms! You’ll receive 8-10 different local fruits and veggies, along with a list of where they came from and suggestions on how to use them. More on the Local Box here.

What if we don’t deliver to your zip code?

Oh noes! We’re sorry about that. We track every zip code entered so we can gauge interest when we are ready to expand our delivery area. Perhaps try a friend or family member’s address that might be able to accept the order for you?

When will I get my Local Box?

Your delivery day is determined by your zip code – in order to route as sustainably as possible, we visit each area of town once per week. Once you create your account, we’ll let you know your next available delivery day, and you can choose a later date if you’d like. More on delivery specifics here.


Hopefully you’ve already stopped reading this and headed over to Greenling by now, but if not, please go now – you will thank me for it later!