A Meticulous, Experimental Tasting Menu at Barley Swine

*Editor’s Note 3/29/16: Barley Swine has relocated its entire operation to a larger space at 6555 Burnet Road since my visit.

Many of my previous visits to Austin had been during Austin City Limits where my schedule was jam-packed full of concert-going and nearly every moment of my usual 3-day stay was booked up. But, this Christmas-time trip was a little different. We were in town for a full week with plenty of time to relax and do bit of gastronomic exploration.

I’ve experienced a variety of Austin’s lower-key options including mini-trips to the outlying barbecue towns of Lockhart and Elgin, but I had never before really experienced Austin’s more elevated dining scene. First on my list of places to try was a little, Southern, tasting menu-only restaurant called Barley Swine and sister to another amazing Austin hot spot called Odd Duck – both which recently received 2015 James Beard Award nods.

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Excellent, Made-To-Order Cream Puffs at Beard Papa’s in SF
Made To-Order Cream Puffs at Beard Papa’s in SF

Excellent, Made-To-Order Cream Puffs at Beard Papa’s in SF

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Frequent WinstonWanders readers may notice I don’t eat sweets very often. I don’t know what it is about them, but I’m just not drawn to sweet foods very much, so you should realize that it’s a particularly special occasion when I do find sweets that I love.

Right across from the Museum of Modern Art in the Union Square area of San Francisco, there’s a small, but hard to miss shop with bright yellow signage covered in friendly doodley illustrations. This shop, called Beard Papa’s, specializes in none other than cream puffs which are individually filled with cream to order.

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The Baconery Holiday Bacon Baked Goods Basket
The Baconery Holiday Basket

The Baconery Holiday Bacon Baked Goods Basket

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Ahh, bacon. Yes, one of my favorite topics and one of my favorite things in the world. For those who are not yet aware, in NYC up near Harlem there is a magical place called the Baconery (bacon + bakery, get it?). Literally everything on their menu involves bacon in some shape or form, from sandwiches to baked goods to any of their raw artisanal cuts. Even the hot chocolate is topped with bacon! Amy and I took a trip up to the shop a few months ago for a low key date night and nearly put ourselves into a dreamy bacon-induced coma.

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