Recipes + Ideas About Food and Community

Category: Community

Farms That Feed My Family

Austin is fortune to have incredible produce and meat produced locally. Here are some of the great farms and ranches that I buy from:

Smith & Smith (

I’ve been buying eggs from Smith & Smith since the first week I lived in Austin in 2010. Colby recognizes me and my bright orange bag when I show up at the market. They raise the most delicious chicken I’ve ever had (not exaggerating, all it needs is salt and a grill). They also have excellent quality turkey, pork, lamb, and goat.

Johnson’s Backyard Garden (

We’ve been getting a JBG CSA box of veggies for years. I love it because it challenges me to eat lots of veggies each week and try new things. The also have awesome visual branding and an incredible digital experience to compliment their subscriptions. Their website allows CSA members to log on each week, see whats coming in their box, make substitutions, see how many weeks are left on their subscription, add more items to their box, and even postpone their box a week or two in case of vacation or your own garden harvests. JBG regularly hosts farm events to build a community around food and encourage visitors to check out the farm.

Grass Fed Beef

I buy beef less frequently these days so I get it from a variety of sources including at People’s Rx and Wheatsville:

Grass Fed Beef of Texas ( They’re at Farmer’s Market at Mueller on Sundays and kept me well fed during Ada’s pregnancy.

Betsy Ross Beef

Bastrop Cattle Company

Pregnancy Diet – Shared Wisdom

One of my favorite parts of being pregnant was spending a bunch of time with other pregnant ladies talking about being pregnant. This was partly through prenatal yoga classes ( that included a sharing circle where we talked about how we were doing and sharing advice and resources. I also frequently shared experiences with my sisters-in-law and friends. Another favorite was feeling emboldened to eat WHENEVER I WANTED, even if that meant during a work meeting full of men (Strangely, I shed my sense of decorum with wild abandon. What is important at this moment definitely shifted!)

In my chats with other mothers-to-be, I heard about many women struggling with their iron levels during pregnancy. Since I’m obsessed with food and nutrition, I did tons of searching to find practical ways to up my iron intake when my midwife said I needed to increase my iron levels. I first drafted this list of foods when asked by my sister-in-law and found myself forwarding it to other expecting moms as well.

“Here’s a bunch of stuff I made when I was pregnant to get enough iron.  I think the key is to eat vitamin c foods with non-meat iron foods and to eat a fair amount of meat if veggie sources aren’t enough.

  • Chili (I usually made this with just the ground beef, no sugar):
  • Seed Granola: usually don’t put coconut oil or pumpkin pie spice.  Its good without, just a little more crumbly.  I also put dried mulberries (high in vitamin c) in.
  • Lamb Lentil soup – ground lamb with lentils, carrot, onion, bell pepper, whatever spices you like and a good quality broth made from pasture-raised bones.  I usually make my bone broth from scrap bones in the crockpot all day with scrap veggies.
  • Lentil Hummus (this recipe makes a ton, make half!)
  • Regular hummus with veggies especially bell peppers.
  • Crown Prince Smoked Baby clams
  • Other bivalve shellfish
  • Roasted Beets – I just roast whole in foil in the oven for an hour or so, then peel off the skin, toss with red wine vinegar and keep in the fridge all week to put on salads or snack on.”

Also, I found it funny that during pregnancy, the the number one recurring question from friends and strangers alike was “What unusual food cravings do you have?”. It always made me laugh. Why are we so interested in what other people eat? I always craved vitamin C foods like tangelos and lemons, which I think was illustrative of the body’s wisdom. Also, I craved what I called (to my mother’s amusement) “cold, wet food” like butter lettuce with lemon juice dressing, cold fruit, and coconut water–again, the body’s wisdom that it needs more water to stay hydrated during pregnancy.

A couple quick tidbits from other pregnant ladies and moms that I found useful:

  • Chew your food plenty to aid in digestion.
  • Drink good quality bone broth from pasture raised animals.
  • Magnesium helps with middle of the night leg cramps.
  • Eat dates to help with labor, really! (I ate quite a few Lara Bars as they are a pretty wholesome food thats easy to have with you all the time for when sudden hunger strikes)

A side note:

Since its not the topic of this blog, I won’t include the contents of other sharing emails I exchanged but I did want to mention that I have developed quite a system to support pumping breastmilk while traveling as well as ways to improve milk production/pumping output. Happy to share – just reach out!

Social Food Tech

I’d love for my devices to bring my friends more into my daily routines. I wish I saw people more often. Got to chat with them. Got to help them out with their everyday commitments. Got to cook and eat together.

Here’s some questions I’ve been asking and ideas I’ve had lately on how to strengthen my connection with others over food and to-do’s.

How might knowing and sharing about what we are cooking this week help us connect to our friends and other eaters we admire?

  • A social network built into a recipe and meal plan app. 

How might easy access to our food history help us maintain our family traditions?

  • A service that digitizes heirloom recipe cards.

How might an easier way to plan a party take the stress out of hosting or encourage more gatherings?

  • An alternative to group text messages that provides an easier way to plan a pot-luck or holiday meal.

I use shared Notes on my Apple devices to manage our weekly meal plan and shopping list with my husband and mother. I’d love to hear from anyone who is passionate about a digital solution they use.

Food Community

Sticky post
My mom got this shot of me and Ada goofing around at TLV (or as Ada calls it “the hummus place”).

I think about food a lot. I spend a lot of time with food too. Planning, shopping, reading magazines and blogs, sending recipes to friends, cooking, eating, talking about what we will eat next, and hosting parties where food and drink are the theme.

So what? Part of why food is so central to me is because of my family and the community of friends around food.

  • Cooking with my daughter…
  • Bringing a new mom friend some easy meals when she goes back to work…
  • Making cabbage halushka for 15 friends and acquaintances when everyone is snowed in on Christmas eve…
  • Jody’s holiday pie help line…
  • A weekly, come-as-you-are, Sunday dinner with friends…
  • Shopping at Wheatsville because it feels like a place that welcomes everyone, and has been making the best tofu sandwich in town for years…
  • Planting a shared veggie garden or watering for each other…

Having friends who you could call at 6pm and ask what they’re doing for dinner, then invite myself over and no one seems to mind…

Well, unfortunately, my family and many of the friends I’ve shared so many great meals with over the years now live in different cities. So, while I try to host as many holidays and brunches as I can, I find myself longing for the bbqs, get-togethers, and casual dinners, and struggle to find enough social time with the people I love amidst the hustle of everyday life.

So, here begins a little writing on the topic of food and community. Some nostalgia or stories. Some ideas for new tech that would make it easier to connect. And hopefully some more recipes to share.

Buenos Aires, a best of…

I just returned from a 6 week trip to Buenos Aires.  Dining in BsAs is incredible; fresh, classic + innovative dishes, wonderful wines + tons of atmosphere.  The last of which is what I’d say sets the city apart from great US food cities like San Francisco and Portland… So many Buenos Aires restaurants ooze charm, nostalgia, and uniqueness, feeling hip or sophisticated without being pretentious.  Dimly lit tables in front of a wooden bar cabinet holding an impressive,  glittering selection of apéritifs.  Crisp white table cloths with mismatched china tea cups.  Hidden courtyards filled with white washed wooden tables.   A big, bright red antique scale sitting atop a contemporary bar.  A tiny place with 8 tables, only a chalkboard of daily dishes + only one remarkable waiter.  Who wouldn’t want to spend 3 hours having dinner + wine at midnight in places like these?!  It only took me a few meals to really get it… go late, bring a few good friends, order a bottle of wine + relax over a wonderful dinner till the early hours of the morning.    I’ve decided to put together a little list of my favorite places around the city + the dishes I ate that made me want to return to Buenos Aires before I even left…


  El Refuerzo aka “Secret Place” [Chacabuco 872, San Telmo]

Its a tiny restaurant with only 8 tables, only open for dinner after 8:30, only 3 daily dishes written on the chalkboards.  I assure you, you’ve never met a restaurant that smelled quite as good…  I was always instantly happy + relaxed as soon as we sat down.  The [one, amazing + charming] waiter brings you a basket of fluffy warm bread + a dish of marinated white beans to start.  Each time I went, I enjoyed really delicious pastas with fresh veggies and occasionally some boquerones.  Their house Malbec is excellent + quite possibly my favorite. 

A couple girls + I discovered this place after a few days of being overwhelmed by traveling with a group of 28.   We quickly decided to keep it a secret, as our perfect little haven of happiness away from the intensity of the city + program, besides we loved the place full of locals.  We couldn’t stop going back…

Territorio [Estados Unidos 501, San Telmo]

A dark little restaurant just outside of Mercado San Telmo which treated me to several great lunches.  These folks really know their eggplant!  They also serve a tasty appetizer of curried lentils with rustic bread.  My favorite sandwich [there is one in every city!] of Buenos Aires is definitely their marinated eggplant, tomato + zucchini served on thick slices of bread with a little salad on the side.

Café San Juan [San Juan 450, San Telmo]

Wow, Café San Juan may well have served me the finest pasta I’ve ever eaten.  Fresh, house made squid ink pasta in a savory, spiced, roasted tomato sauce with broccoli.  Incredible.   Prepared by one of the restaurant’s young hip chefs, presented on a chalkboard menu table-side, couldn’t be better. Here’s a great shot borrowed from Flickr, showing a little hint of the after dark rewards of Buenos Aires…

Café Rivas [Estados Unidos 302, San Telmo]

Like El Refuerzo, I couldn’t help going back to Rivas several times during my 6 weeks in BsAs; it is just too perfect!  Antique lights, glass cake domes in the window, mellow turquoise painted walls, a piano player in the mezzanine… First, and perhaps best of all, they introduced me to the incredible aperitif Cynar, an artichoke liqueur served with grapefruit soda.  My most notable meal here was celebrating the end of our BaSic Initiative program; all the students + amazing folks that made it all happen took over the cafe on a Monday night.  We shared tasty appetizers + salads [caramelized pear + walnuts! smoked salmon + shrimp with thyme mayonnaise!].  For dinner I had an excellently prepared salmon with mustard + roasted potatoes followed by Isla Flotante, a soft, sweet meringue floating in passion fruit sauce.  Eating a meal like this in such a charming atmosphere was the perfect ending to such a trip.  Scroll through their photos on Facebook to get a good idea of just how perfectly cute this place is.

Club Social [Caseros 442, San Telmo]

Another place that oozes atmosphere, the dimly lit, dark wood, sit-all-night-drinking-wine type of atmosphere.  Club Social is a sophisticated, but not at all fussy place on an out of the way street.  I really enjoyed a dish of white salmon, simply prepared in a broth of shrimp stock + carrot, topped with green onion… and a few hours of great conversation with some trusty dinner companions.

Sudestada [Guatemala 5602, Palermo Hollywood]

This [taken from Sudestada’s website] was my dinner time view, watching this kitschy clock tick into the 2am hour.  A comfortably white interior, with only this single clock on the wall, was just right for this place serving Southeast Asian dishes.  I enjoyed incredible fishcakes with a spicy sauce and a tasty stack of pickled veggies on the side… and the few bites of my dining companion’s daily special, a fried whole river fish with spicy bbq sauce.

UNIK [Soler 5132, Palermo Hollywood]

Let’s get this straight:  all of these places were incredible… UNIK just happens to be the most incredible, for one reason:  smoked cauliflower puree.  Amazing.  Each table at this restaurant has a different set of designer chairs + a unique light hanging above.  Its super hip, with its young and wonderful barman, sommelier, and chef [and oddly quirky manager?].  First up, we enjoyed Cynar cocktails at the bar; a Juan Collins [Amargo Obrero, Genebra Bols, Cynar, Hesperidina, grapefruit juice + soda] + a couple Julepe de Cynar [to be reproduced, don’t worry!].  Then to our table, where we sat in a set of comfortable red + white upholstered chairs, rather like Saarinen’s but with a tripod base.  Our appetizer was warm leeks in a mustard sauce with smoked fish.  For dinner, the chef came to the table to present our dishes; I had a fillet of grilled fish on a bed of smoked cauliflower puree, which was truly incredible accompanied by a wonderful bottle of Sauvignon Blanc.

Bio [Humboldt 2199, Palermo Hollywood]

And after a series of such indulgent meals as listed above, I needed a decidedly healthful recovery meal.  I ventured out to Palermo Hollywood to enjoy a casual lunch at Bio, an all organic and vegetarian restaurant.    I enjoyed a few bits of a pureed pumpkin dip, tasty green curry seitan stir fry [lucky photographed by another traveler, Kalavinka, on Flickr] + some fresh ginger lemonade, with a bright and airy window seat.

Dill & Drinks [San Martin 986, Microcentro]

Eating with my friends Amy + Carolina is best typified by this meal + restaurant.  The place: really cute, contemporary with a couple antiques and a table perfectly sized for 3.  The menu: influence from all over, always changing with what is fresh + seasonal.  The waitress:  incredibly friendly.  The drinks: well done classics.   My dinner was a fresh fish cooked in a coconut soy sauce with a side of roasted sweet potatoes + arugula, preceded by a sweet cocktail of vodka and muddled grapes.  In short, delicious food, great atmosphere + lively conversation.

Dadá [San Martin 941, Microcentro]

A small, casual, hip spot for a light dinner with the girls.  We shared grilled trout on a bed of arugula + tomatoes and a pumpkin ravioli with almonds in a butter herb sauce, so rich but just right.  Add a glass of Ruca Maleri Malbec, a handsome bar tender + a very nice waitress [who helped us out by speaking English] + you’ve got a perfectly unpretentious evening out.

Urondo [Beauchef 1204, Parque Chacabuco]

In a way, Urondo is as obscure as their business card.  In a very quiet neighborhood, Urondo simply inhabits a small corner restaurant, simply decorated + delightfully staffed.  They greeted us with a glass of rose + a small menu of seasonal dishes.  We enjoyed a bottle of Aguijón de Abeja [translate: bee’s stinger!] Malbec with some straightforward dishes.  I had a simple fish served with fresh spinach, lightly sauteed mushrooms + perfectly caramelized red cabbage.

Blvrd Saenz Peña [Boulevard Saenz Peña 1400, Tigre]

Perhaps the most fitting of places to eat near the end of the trip… Everything is for sale in Blvrd Saenz Peña.  If eating at all these impeccably decorated restaurants made you want to transform your home, you could walk out with the chairs, table, adorable dinnerware + tons of cute accessories to replicate your very eating experience.  And you’d want to after enjoying a tasty fresh tuna salad + fresh baked bread on a sunny afternoon here.


Here are my favorite spots to enjoy a cup of coffee or drink, based mostly on atmosphere + accompaniments.

I (love) Cafe [Rodriguez Peña 1714, Recoleta]

While the coffee was nothing special, this place serves a “bagel” that is delicious.  Really, its not much like a bagel at all, but rather a soft pretzel, boiled and baked.  An error of food naming I am happy to ignore on a break from shopping and tourism in Recoleta.

Voulez Bar [Cerviño 3802, Palermo Chico]

These couple pictures say it all… coffee so cute, well, I’d have to eat it?  Followed by a wonderful nueva salade niçoise.

El Baztán [Estados Unido 758, San Telmo]

Only 4 tables, but towers of baked goods stacked high on cake plates + quirky mismatched china tea cups.  A solid cup of coffee + a crumbly but delicious egg + tomato sandwich = great spot to catch up on your [food] journal.

Maria Rojo [Carlos Calvo 618, San Telmo]

The cutest place, hidden behind a clothing boutique with a delightfully sunlit, heated courtyard.  Cafe Doble served with two tiny squares of cake + a shot of soda water on the side, as it should be.

Bar Seddon [Defensa 695, San Telmo]

Day, evening or night, this place is a wonderful step into old style charm.  The tables + bar are set with dripping candles propped into wine bottles + packed with pleasant wine drinking folks.  A typical + delightful San Telmo corner bar.


El Galpon [Chacaritas – behind La estación Federico Lacroze]

A small organic market in an old train station.  Delicious samples of whole grain empanadas, quince jam + other fine treats mix with vendors selling everything from organic yerba mate to fresh cheeses to organic produce.  There is a wonderful smelling parilla outside under a very cool shade structure made of recycled tarp signs.

Mercado del Progresso [Caballito]

A nice all food indoor market with tons of fruit stands, specialty ingredients + tons of butchers.   I found some very unusual Andean potatoes… in fact, tiny sweet potatoes!  I roasted them with salt, pepper + herbes de provence for a late breakfast on the roof of my friend’s amazing San Telmo apartment.

Mercado San Telmo [San Telmo!]

My local produce market.  A wonderful selection of beautiful presented vegetables, fresh eggs, bulk nuts + seeds, as well as bakeries attached to a market of the neighborhood’s famous antiques shops.


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