Tasting at La Patisserie

I have macarons on my mind. ¬†Pistachio macarons, white macadamia macarons, rose macarons. ¬†All of the macarons.¬†Also¬†chocolate croissants,¬†lemon tarts¬†and various other French pastries. Who is to blame for my fixation, you¬†might ask? La Patisserie is the culprit.¬†Two weeks ago¬†I had a tasting at this French pastry shop and it’s roughly 75% of what I’ve been thinking about for the past¬†fourteen¬†days.¬† Obsessive? Maybe. Croissant crazed? Perhaps. Delicious? AN UNDERSTATEMENT.

lapatisserie

The rose flavored macaron, which was light and airy as a cloud, surprised me. I’m not usually big on floral flavors, but the delicately¬†delicious taste changed all of that for me. It was immediately a favorite, though the white macadamia was also in the running. Rich but smooth, this is a flavor that the masses will enjoy. The Funfetti flavor boasts sprinkles and sweetness¬†– I took this one home to my three-year-old (Okay, I took a bite out of it first. For the blog, of course.) and she devoured it and commented, “Mmmm! It’s good.” Food critic in the making, y’all.

lapattiserie4

I can’t not mention the lemon meringue tart. Both tiny and regal, this little guy packs a big and beautiful¬†tart punch. This paired with the buttery¬†flakiness¬†that nearly melted in my mouth¬†have¬†me swooning while typing. And the Millefeuille?¬†Bliss.¬†Chocolate and butter loaded bliss. Need I say more?

lapatisserie2

Actually, I do need to say a little more. Soraiya, the owner of La Patisserie, is such a joy.¬†¬†It was immediately evident to me both the love and care she puts into everything from her sweet treats to her equally sweet staff. She is an attentive, warm and¬†genuinely kindhearted individual. Speaking with her warmed my soul as much as the delicious Green Tea/ Coffee hybrid I was drinking.¬†In the time I spent at La Patisserie, we talked everything from our kids to travel to¬†the importance of women banding together.¬†All of this while I’m nibbling on the most heavenly of macarons. It was truly a lovely experience.

I’d love to tell you how the idea for all of the loveliness¬†began. After a childhood trip to France, Soraiya told her parents she would open a French pastry shop one day.¬†La Patisserie¬†now¬†boasts both a downtown and a north Austin¬†location on Burnet Road. They¬†are both¬†reminiscent of the quaintest of European cafes.¬†She is truly living her dream, and that is pretty inspiring stuff.

lapatisserie3

Soraiya’s favorite thing about owning a pastry shop? Seeing people’s faces light up when they try macarons for¬†the first time. This was not my first macaron, but I know my face lit up just the same.

Tasting at Coffee Shark

I have a new favorite coffee shop in Austin. Maybe even new favorite coffee shop ever.¬† It’s called Coffee Shark, and it will change your life in the best, most caffeinated¬†way possible.

pretzel

Don’t let the name fool you. Coffee Shark serves far more than just coffee (also there’s no sharks), my friends. They’ve also got an amazing array of beer, sandwiches, (may I suggest the Pesto Mozzarella Tomato? Because I’m daydreaming about that cheese and pesto filled ciabatta bun right about now.)¬†soups, pizza (from East¬†Side Pies!),¬†and so much more. I’m going to make a suggestion. Order the soft pretzels and the cheese plate and proceed to immediately dip the soft pretzels into the brie. GUYS. I am salivating thinking about this right now.

coffeeshark31

The inside dons the open,¬†industrial vibes that¬†I am learning is¬†something¬†that I like a lot in my coffee shops. Games like cornhole and giant Jenga grace the back patio, which is perfect for drinking a cold beer on a hot, summer’s day. As far as beer goes, the¬†flirty and¬†fruity Hye-Biscus had me hooked from first sip.

coffeesharkbeer

The best part?¬†All is¬†served with a heaping side of LOVE, y’all. Okay, I know that sounds super cheesy, (Speaking of cheese –¬†Coffee Shark’s all¬†comes from the local Antonelli’s Cheese Shop) but it’s true.¬†Both the staff and clientele at Coffee Shark made me feel like family. I spent over three hours at this tasting, and when I wasn’t eating I was probably laughing or lost in good conversation. I hit it off with one group of customers so well that I made them take a picture with me and the owner joked that he had hired them for the day. After that, I spent another hour and a half¬†chuckling and chatting¬†with the Coffee Shark team.

coffeeshark35

coffeesharkteam

Though mine was more of a beer and food tasting, I can’t not mention the coffee. I had a regular drip coffee but this was far from¬†any¬†‘ole¬†regular drip coffee. Coffee Shark uses a steampunk coffee brewer. This is a hybrid (trybrid?) of the French press,¬†siphon and pour over. They make their delightful drip coffees by using temperature, time, volume and water agitation.¬† So basically this coffee is pure MAGIC.

metasting

I almost wish I could keep this place a secret, but that would be nearly criminal. I must share this good with the world. So, here you go, world. Coffee Shark is where it’s at.¬†¬†Prepare¬†to eat good food, drink good drinks, and make new friends.

The Factory: Caf√© with a Soul

I knew as soon as I saw¬†photos of The Factory that it was something special – magical, even. I had an inkling that it might become one of my new favorite Austin treasures. I love it when I’m doubly right.

thefactory2

Walking into The Factory felt a lot¬†like stepping inside of a dream come true. I went from being outside of Northcross Mall to being transported to a land of swings and beautiful artwork and hanging lights and¬†unicorns. Okay, I’m totally lying about the¬†unicorns part. But it was so enchanting, I almost wouldn’t have been surprised. Co-owner Wendy’s talent for design is remarkable, especially when learning that¬†she originally created the¬†gigantic wall mural from her iPhone.

I could have been satisfied just staring at The Factory for hours, but the interior beauty was only the beginning.

factory8

I’m not somebody who often says sappy things like,¬†“I can taste the love in this.” But, y’all. At this tasting, I swear I could taste the love put into every sip and bite.¬†I think that’s¬†partly¬†because everything¬†about The Factory is a labor of love. I knew this as soon as I started chatting with Wallace, who owns the caf√© with wife Wendy.

factory32

When I asked Wallace to tell me more about how the café came to be, he launched into the love story of how he and Wendy first met. They were both attending college in LA when they found each other through mutual friends at a movie theater. Neither of them were fond of the other girl sitting nearest them, so they decided to talk to each other instead. And the rest is history.

History that has, thankfully, brought The Factory to Austin.

factory4

Everything about the caf√© had me smitten, so it’s hard to begin listing¬†the things that left me swooning. But I guess the drinks are a good place to start. The Viva Matcha Latte was one of the creations I was most antsy to try, and it did not disappoint. Made from premium matcha harvested from Aichi prefecture in Japan, this latte was hands down the best matcha I’ve ever had the chance to sip on or look at.¬†Visually a work of art,¬†it was the perfect amount of sweet, foamy and delicate to taste. It warmed my soul, y’all.

If the matcha warmed my soul, the Marymint Monroe refreshed it. Freshly picked mint leaves and concentrated cold brew over ice make for a heavenly and mojito reminiscent combination. I was convinced this drink was mixed with mocha, but the intense and divine flavor just comes from the high quality of coffee that is standard at The Factory.

thefactory

I’m not done raving yet, guys.¬†The Factory’s¬†chicken and waffles is my new favorite brunch item.¬†(A brunch item that tastes great all day,¬†and pairs¬†amazingly with the¬†prosecco on tap.)¬†¬†The classic side of syrup has been traded in for an egg tartar sauce and coleslaw, and the result is completely¬†exquisite. I could have¬†easily devoured a bowl of the egg tartar sauce alone,¬†and the eleven spices mixed into the chicken¬†batter made for a savory and distinct flavor. Juicy and tender with just the right amount of crunch, the chicken paired wonderfully with the soft and decidedly anti-sweet¬†waffle. This dish made a statement, and its a statement that I simply¬†cannot stop daydreaming about.

factory25

The Factory, in and of itself, seems like the best of daydreams. The creations here are not just something to sip or nibble on, but something to take the time to enjoy and savor. Wallace explained to me that he had never really enjoyed coffee until he realized there was an art to making it. This art is one that he and Wendy have mastered. They have traveled the world looking for the finest ingredients, and the pride and joy they put into their work is immediately apparent. The café itself is devoid of WIFI, and is meant to be a place to relax and get to know friends and strangers alike. Walking inside is like a gentle reminder to slow down, to be fully present and to enjoy the magic that every moment brings.

factory50

The Factory is something really special. I told my best friend that I was having a hard time writing this post because, for me, the caf√© embodied everything I¬†adore about Austin.¬†And that’s a lot of love to try to fit into one post. But I’ll try. The Factory is¬†a little wacky,¬†a lot lovable¬†and above everything else, so very¬†welcoming. When my first matcha got cold over the course of¬†chatting, ¬†Wendy insisted on bringing me another. When I reached out my hand to shake Wallace’s on my way out, he¬†requested a¬†hug instead. This is what spending time at The Factory feels like. A big hug. A hug that includes coffee, and swings and waffles and good vibes. Austinites, rejoice.

Plans & friends & summer and COFFEE!

It’s officially my summer break.

I’m in the works of planning so many fun things for the next few months. Trips, new experiences, quality time with the people I love. Etc,etc,etc. I’m feeling super spontaneous lately. This could be dangerous. Or just really awesome.

Husband purchased our tickets to spend almost a WEEK in Florida with his family in June. It’ll be our longest vacation since our honeymoon in Cancun and my first time ever in Florida. That will be two new states this year by June! Not too shabby. I’m pretty giddy. GIDDY!<<See?

Happiness and two cups of Starbucks Dark Roast and this is the kind of blog post you end up with.

I’m platonically (Is that not a word? Why is there a red squiggly line below it? Screw you, red squiggly.) smitten with my girl friends and all of the time spent with them. Just in the past week: A girls day out and mini road-trip with Tessa,Priscilla and Jennifer. A girls night in with Kaitlyn, Chelsea and Tessa. Happy hour with Amanda and Becca. Getting to know Hannah and Rachel better over pizza and story-telling and hysterical laughter and taking pictures in a circular formation whilst laying on the floor. Aren’t girls great? We are. We’re so great.

I think after my pilates/jog routine today, I’ll go find a pool, read a book and catch some sun.

Yay!

My excitement for life and friends and vacations and spontaneity and no more homework is kind of bubbling over into this here post. The coffee and my naturally hyper personality may not be helping either.