I am a huge proponent of buying local, which works out well because Austin fully embodies the concept of supporting local businesses. I recently got to hear Amy Simmons from Amy’s Ice Creams speak at a conference, and she said it best: that Austin really embraces entrepreneurship and creativity. Most people here would much rather visit a cool, local burger joint than a chain restaurant, and when I give a gift, I find myself gravitating towards some of my favorite Austin businesses. Here’s just a taste of some of Austin’s favorite products that you can also order for yourself if you’re not lucky enough to live here or come through once in a while.
(This is the part where I tell you that none of this is sponsored. Just having a little fun spreading the word about some of my favorite Austin products.)
Ruta Maya organic coffee – Ruta Maya (dark roast, if we’re getting specific here) is the reason we don’t have a fancy Keurig. Despite the fact that the K-cups would cost us twice as much per month, if we’re still grinding it ourselves and using the Keurig permanent filter, what’s the point, really? It’s rich, hearty, and seriously delicious. That’s about as descriptive as this coffee loving non-connoisseur gets.
Last Saturday I got to meet Heather from the Extraordinary Ordinary, who just moved here from Minnesota, and when I mentioned that I was a die hard Ruta Maya drinker, she mentioned that someone had already come over to her new home and brought her some as a welcome gift. And that’s what we do here. We’re all, “Here! You’re new! Have some Austiny stuff!”
BBQ sauce from Rudy’s, The Salt Lick, and Franklin’s – If you come to town, these are probably the places we will take you. Rudy’s is one of our favorites, and The Salt Lick is a great trek when you really want to impress someone since it’s not so close for us. There’s one in Round Rock, but it’s just not the same as making the pilgrimage out to Driftwood. But four words: all-you-can-eat. Yup.
I’ve actually never been to Franklin’s, but it is always voted as THE best place in town. My husband went for a work event and pretty much talked non stop about it afterwards. Something about smoked turkey dipped in butter and HOLY CRAP. Until recently it was a simple food truck that had a line 10 miles long (I may be exaggerating). Now they have a brick and mortar establishment with a line 10 miles long and they run out of food pretty much every day. And look! Now I’m all off topic. That’s what good BBQ does to a person. (Related, do you write bar-b-que or BBQ? I’m obviously lazy.)
Kerbey Lane pancake mix – Kerbey Lane is known around town for their pancakes that are bigger than your face. No boring IHOP or Bisquick pancakes here. You can buy several of their pancake mixes online, including gluten free gingerbread and apple cinnamon mixes. They even offer several of their recipes on their site! I’m die hard buttermilk, myself.
Tito’s Vodka, Deep Eddy Vodka – I’m not a vodka drinker but these are the local brands that the locals rave about. IN fact, I’ve heard several people outside of Texas give props to Tito’s. And Deep Eddy Vodka has one of the coolest websites I’ve ever seen.
Sweet Leaf Tea – I’m not really a tea drinker either, but Sweet Leaf Tea’s raspberry tea is a staple in my fridge. I seriously need to find a place where I can buy it some way other than by individual bottles, but in the meantime, I pick them up 2 or 3 at a time when I go to HEB – they regularly run out. Also, I’m known to share the under-the-cap Grannyisms on Instagram (you follow me right? I’m latorres78).
Honey: Round Rock Honey, Goodflow Honey – 100% pure raw, Texas wildflower honey. They say consuming honey local to your area helps with allergies. And we Austinites get some KILLER allergies. For no good reason whatsoever, I’ve been purchasing Goodflow for years (also of Goodflow Juice), but I hear Round Rock Honey is awesome too. Either way you’re purchasing local!
Vinca Jewelry – If you want something a bit different in your jewelry stash, Vinca is the place. These laser-cut wood and plastic pieces are unique and playful. I’ve reviewed them a couple of times for Free Fun in Austin, and I adore picking out pieces to highlight. Now I just need to buy some for myself. I kinda really need some dinosaur earrings.
Fleegal Farms soap – I am a nut for handmade soaps and body products. I love the unique colors, textures, and scents. This came as a recommendation from my friend Nicole, and then I realized that I had actually bought some Fleegal Farms bars at a farmer’s market years ago, to give as gifts. You should too! For me.
And if that’s not what you’re looking for, here are a few other ideas to consider (aka recommendations from friends and readers!):
- Austin Cake Ball – I’ve had these. Ah-mazing.
- Tea Embassy
- HEB Cafe Ole Austin blend coffee
- Kakawa cocoa beans <— Holy crap!
- Cornucopia gourmet popcorn <— Taking the kids here is actually on my summer bucket list.
- Bolo Patisserie – We discovered this at a local farmer’s market. It’s not often that I’ll fork over $10 for a jar of jam, but I sho did here. I also bought THE most delicious lemon bar I’ve ever had, and it was all natural and gluten free. From what I can tell, you can order online, but they still only serve the Austin area.
- Latika Soap – I checked this table out at MomCom Austin, and can I just say they had the cutest little soaps in the shapes of cupcakes, buttons, cookies, and even mustaches. Such a fun gift idea.
- Hey Cupcake! – Hey Cupcake (AKA little mounds of cream cheese icing covered heaven) delivers in the Austin area! They have these adorable little boxes that look like ovens and can hold a regular sized cupcake or several mini cupcakes. YUM.
I also got some great recommendations for local beers that you MAY be able to find at your grocery or liquor store, but it doesn’t look like they can be ordered online. Is beer shippable? Who knows? It should be.
- (512) Brewing Company
- Live Oak Brewing Company
- Real Ale Brewing (actually from Blanco, but home of one of my faves, Fireman’s #4)
Whew! What a list! Now it’s your turn. What’s YOUR favorite Austin-based product?