Southwest cuisine in a hundred year-old building, Wildfire makes for a classy little date night. A few of the dish titles are over the top ("Pools of Broth," "Flame Kissed Agave Chicken Breast") but the food delivers, especially the desserts: The smoky Oak-Toasted S'mores alone make the drive out there worth it.
I used to work at Monument Cafe in college, and while the "Fried Pie of the Day" was always the main attraction, the overhaul of the restaurant into a more organic, farm-grown has added a tiny bit of virtue to those outright sinful pies. The fried blueberry and fried peach were always outrageous bestsellers, so call ahead if you're traveling north up I-35 and see if you can snatch one.
On a little journey out to Wimberley, I accidentally stumbled upon this tiny slip of a bakery, with a long, shiny glass case of beautiful pies. I tried a slice of the key lime, because one tires of pecan and pumpkin during the holidays. Custardy, tart and tangy, it's probably a July kind of pie, but here in January, it suited me just fine.
It's like Texas Pie Co. took an MRI of my brain, analyzed the things that made its reward center burn brightest (pumpkin and pralines) and combined them into my happiest Thanksgiving dessert ever, the Pumpkin Praline Pie. I've only eaten here at Texas Pie Co. but I've how ordered roughly half of Austin, Texas to drive out to Kyle and try it, a testament to that particular pie's crack-like powers.
Sweet Serendipity is mostly a call-ahead bakery for fancy, cake-appropriate occasions, but it's also a fun place to swing by for chocolate-dipped marshmallows on a stick. It's like you were about to make s'mores, then remembered that nobody cares about graham crackers and that marshmallows/chocolate are the best part and then ate it! Good call, Sweet Serendpity. I approve of this dessert.
You can't drive through Elgin without order sausage. I'm pretty sure that's against the law. Southside Market is the place to do it, and they serve two varieties here: Original, and Jalapeno Cheddar. The first is spicy and fabulously salty; the second heart attack-inducing, but so good I threw coronary caution to the wind and kept eating.
A date-ready cafe literally set inside a cellar, Root Cellar is pretty darn cute. In truth the atmosphere shines more than the food, but I enjoyed my Cajun Shrimp Stew, particularly with a hunk of honey butter-smeared beer bread to dip into it.
A cutie pie cafe with one helluva BLT. Technically, it's a "BBLT" as it's smeared with brie, and as if my table-side sounds weren't inappropriate enough, it's layered with habit-forming applewood-smoked bacon.
If you've never eaten a handful of injera bread wrapped around gobs of stewed meat with lentils dripping out your first, you just haven't lived. There are several Ethiopian joints in Austin now but Taste of Ethiopia is one of the best, partly due to its insanely fresh injera, fermented daily.
Who is Camille, and why are her ice creams so good? The world may never know. This place is super nondescript, basically a food trailer on the outlet mall grounds, but I'm a sucker for any design-your-own concept and design I did: My chocolate-dipped M&M / oreo / coconut banana bar hit the spot on a hot afternoon. After three licks I think I went into a diabetic coma, but no matter! I'm OK now and those three licks were insane.