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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Atlanta, 2015

I’ve added a new city to my list of favorites, and its name is Atlanta.¬†I may or¬†may¬†not say this about most new places I¬†visit, but work with me here. I’m just¬†a girl who’s a bit¬†smitten with the world, y’all.

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Atlanta Top 10:

1. Monday Night Brewing

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So unique.¬†So fun. So many ties. For just $10 dollars a piece my husband and I received an adorable glass and¬†six very¬†generous pours of their tasty brews. Inside and outside were both¬†full of lively crowds, sweet d√©cor and string lights. And let’s not forget ALL OF THE TIES. So many good vibes. So many happy feelings. So got my husband drunk.

2. Brunch on the rooftop at Republic Social House

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Bottle of champagne. Cheesy grits. Biscuit with fried chicken and maple syrup. Rooftop views. Need I say more? NO I DON’T. (I’m sorry guys I sometimes scream at you when I’m excited.)

3. Ferris wheel ride at Skyview Atlanta.

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¬†I bought a Groupon for this one which also included a box of chocolates, making the evening all the more¬†lovely and romantic.¬†Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know how awesome it is until you’re eating it whilst on a ginormous Ferris Wheel showcasing incredible sights of Atlanta from high¬†above. Pretty sure Forrest Gump said something along those lines once.

4. Coffee at Octane

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I choose the pour over, which was earthy and herbal and so tasty. Also loved the warehouse-like feel of this place. It was cozy and chill and made my heart smile.

5. Dinner at Canoe

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Located on the Chattahoochee, Canoe boasts exquisite views, an outstanding ambience and orgasmic delights. And by delights I mean food, just to clarify.

6. Exploring Senoia

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(Leaving my purple mark on Senoia)

The Atlanta¬†area is¬†where Walking Dead is filmed, and being geek fans, this was a definite added bonus for the husband and I. Robby especially turned into an excited¬†man-child when entering the town of Senoia, Georgia – aka Walking Dead’s Woodbury. It’s a picturesque town, which made it all the more perfect for the creepy crap that¬†went down¬†in Woodbury. While buying fudge and cupcakes at the¬†quaintest of ice cream shops, we talked to friendly locals and learned that filming was about to start in the next town over, a literal stone throw away from Senoia. Our next¬†thirty minutes¬†were spent getting as close to this¬†town as possible without getting in trouble from the security standing guard all around. Rebels, the two of us.

7. Brunch at H. Harper Station

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Clearly, I really love a good brunch. Atlanta definitely did not disappoint. H. Harper Station is the most adorable of spots, located in an old train station and perfect for breakfast-lunch time. Strong coffee delivered to me in a French press, beautifully presented and completely delicious bagel with smoked trout, and the best, most buttery and crispy tater tots of my life. Yum, yum and YUM.

8. Watching the sunset and sharing kisses on Jackson Street Bridge.

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9. Joystick Gamebar

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On our last evening in Atlanta, Robby and I were brainstorming on what to do. Old man wanted something chill like bowling, and I was craving the nightlife. When he suggested an arcade, I did some googling and found the perfect in between. Joystick Gamebar provided a bar with old school games such as Pac-Man and Donkey Kong. I quickly gave up on the games, but fell in love with this place instantaneously just the same. As Robby played Ninja Turtles, I found drinks like chai soda with pecan vodka and ginger beer slushies. I chit-chatted with fun peeps and explored the lounge area, which was full of board games, tacky wallpaper and cat photos. It was pure kitschy, goofy cheese. Never have I felt so at home in a bar. I wandered back to the Pac-Man area in time to see my husband find a gamer buddy, and I inwardly chuckled with love for that nerd of mine. We then ended the night in very serious Connect Four and Jenga competitions.

10. Biking the BeltLine

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Um, only one of the best bike rides EVER. The views of downtown Atlanta were spectacular and the day perfect for a bike ride. From tiny doors to gorgeous graffiti and sculpture tree faces, the entire BeltLine is an insanely beautiful, zany, culture-filled work of art. I had barely passed one piece before I was captivated by another. Having a husband who repeatedly rang his bike bell, threw his hands up in the air and tried to play bumper-bikes only added to previously mentioned beautiful zaniness.

11.

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So I lied about the top ten because I have to add one more. As always, the moments in between are one of my favorite things about traveling with my dude. It’s fairly¬†easy for me to get caught up in itineraries and doing ALL the things, but with his¬†easygoing nature and calm spirit, Robby always reminds me about what makes our adventures¬†the best. We do.

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¬†On the way back from our small road-trip to Senoia, I was¬†itching to get back for dinner and¬†plans for seeing more of Atlanta. But when we briefly stopped at a gas station and Robby sweetly asked, “Will you buy me a Toostie Pop?”,¬†I just had to smile and slow down. Small a moment as it was, it caught me. Here are the things that are the greatest. Sitting in our rental with my favorite person in a random Georgian town.¬†Making new memories, laughing about things that only make sense to us and enjoying our respective (mine was the bubble gum variety) Pops. We chose to forgo many of the big¬†touristy attractions for things like bike rides, an arcade bar, a brewery covered in ties, little road-trips¬†and strawberry-flavored suckers. And this was the very best of decisions.

Another one of my best decisions? Choosing the above guy as my lifelong partner in crime and travel buddy. My heart fills with joy when thinking about the memories made throughout our many explorations in the past seven years. Thanks for adding some pretty spectacular adventures to that list, Atlanta.