Last Sunday I checked out the new Austin Central Public Library.  Austin is truly growing up.  Other major cities have libraries that are true destinations for students, people working remotely, families and tourists alike and Austin has joined the big leagues!

My first impression was “Wow, I feel like I am in a Frank Lloyd Wright design”.  The multilevel library is completely open in the center so as you climb up you gain visual access to all levels.  It is stunning.  Additionally, they incorporated so many cool details.  The designers, Lake Flato,outdid themselves.

View from above Austin Central Library


Something else to note it the rooftop courtyard overlooking the lake and trail as well as downtown Austin.  This space provides a stunning respite and features a butterfly garden.

Inside are stacks of books to peruse (it is a library after all!) as well asbreak out rooms for meetings and brainstorming. 

Coming soon is a cafe cheekily named Cookbook by the The Elm restaurant group  (known for Easy Tiger, 24 Diner, Italic and Irene’s)

Overall it is a fantastic community centric space and it made me even more proud to call Austin my home.

*Note there is a large onsite parking garage under the library and the first 30 minutes are free.  Street parking is available nearby.

View from Austin Central Public Library Rooftop
Rooftop courtyard Butterfly Garden


Another angle on the view




An Italian Sunday Funday in Austin, TX

Last Sunday the husband and I were in the mood for a late brunch and a nice cocktail (or two).  For some reason it took us years to get ready and get out the door though!  So long in fact that all brunches were over when we set on our hunger quest.

We decided on Juliet and lo and behold it was happy hour-very convenient. It was a gorgeous day so we sat outside at their patio bar.  Last year we went to Italy for our belated honeymoon and I drank Aperol Spritzs nonstop.  I basically had an IV drip of them.  My favorite Aperol Spritz was inPositano at La Brezza.  Since Juliet has their take of this delightful cocktail on the menu I started with one, scrunched my eyes and pretended I was back on the Amalfi Coast…

View from La Brezza’s patio of the Spiaggia Grande (large beach!)

Aperol Spritzs with the hubs in Positano at La Brezza!

In all seriousness, Juliet is such a fun spot.  We often pop in there for drinks and a snack.  This particular visit included the butter lettuce salad, meatballs and calamari.  My husband enjoyed the Italian Mule while I got my spritz on and then we had some wine.

The drinks were refreshing.  The salad was light and crisp, the meatballs were gooey perfection swimming in robust tomato sauce and topped with fresh mozzarella and the calamari was ever so light fried and to my delight included fried lemon wheels.  My husband loves calamari but it is usually not my first pick.  However, this calamari dish was quite nice, not overly breaded or chewy.

I am very particular about atmosphere and service in addition to good food and drinks!  Our server Mike was fun and attentive and helped shape our lovely afternoon experience.  Also, Juliet’s patio feels like a secret garden and the interior is very mid century modern every day glam which I love.  The atmosphere plus the food and service equals a nice overall experience.  It did not hurt that this afternoon excursion helped cure some of my Italy nostalgia.  Take me back!

Juliet’s happy hour really cannot be beat with a selection of $5 wines by the glass, $5 beers and cocktails as well.  Additionally there are several food items on happy hour as well including the meatballs and calamari we enjoyed.  I haven’t been for dinner since they revamped their menu but hopefully I will make it back soon!  Until then, Ciao!

Aperol Spritz at Juliet

I have been in Austin a LONG time and I have seen restaurants come and go.  Sometimes even the best restaurants have not been able to survive in this fickle city!  The restaurant biz is HARD.  My favorite restaurant growing up was  Café Spiazzo off of 2222 and Northland Drive.  They had the most amazing chicken in mustard cream sauce over a bed of angel hair pasta.  For dessert I loved the chocolate ganache torte and I have yet to have another torte I love as much.  They went out of business long ago, much to my chagrin.  I believe now, as Austin has become more foodie and chic, that Café Spiazzo might have thrived.  RIP. 

Since Austin has upped the bar for food culture the last 10 plus years I have amassed many favorites.  However the last 2-3 years, as restaurants have been opening at a rapid pace, I have been a tad underwhelmed.  I have plenty of top spots I will (and plan to) gladly wax poetic on however recently the new places do not stand up, in my opinion. 

However, last week I had the opportunity to try two restaurants, one newer and one that has been around a few years and I was dually impressed.

The first one was Dai Due, butcher shop and supper club turned full blown brick and mortar restaurant.  I think the restaurant has been open 3ish(?) years now and I for whatever reason had not ever been. 

I am not sure how it spent so much time under my radar but I am glad I finally went!  It’s a smallish space with a vintage/eclectic feel inside and an inviting back patio that feels like a hidden garden due to the vine filled back wall that encloses the patio.  The front of the restaurant houses the butcher shop.

We were seated in the back garden and since it is finally fall I did not wine about sitting outside.  To begin the meal we enjoyed a charcuterie plate-yum yum.  I wish I could name all the meats involved but I cannot.  I can say that they were all fresh and tasty and accented with a mustard sauce and cornichons. The husband and I shared to the rib eye and our friend had this massive hunk of meat, the beef rib on the bone.  They have only Texas wines and beers and offer a nice selection.  We enjoyed a bottle of Tempranillo Blend from Tranquilo Cellars and then a bottle of Aglianico from  Duchman Cellars.  The Aglianico was the top pick for me and my husband and our friend loved the Tempranillo.

The sides were home style cooking and absolutely delectable.  I love a good grit, ha!   We also enjoyed collard greens and mac and cheese.  Dessert was not as memorable, but that is because I was so full I took a small bite of my friend’s and I am not entirely sure what he had.

The menu changes but I don’t think you can go wrong with a meal here.  Large portions, chill atmosphere, memorable food.  I truly enjoyed this meal!  Go and see for yourself.  I am putting it on my try again list for sure.  Huge plus, they have brunch! Brunch is my favorite.  If you don’t trust my opinion of this place, check out Matthew Odam’s recent top restaurants lists…#3!

The Cold Meat Board at Dai Due

I rarely go to two nice restaurants in the same week but last week was my luck week.  After Dai Due Wednesday night I went toEberlywith some girlfriends to celebrate one of their birthdays. 

Eberly is a visually stunning restaurant.  I had been last fall for cocktails and appetizers in the bar and was super excited to have dinner in the restaurant.  They sourced materials for the décor from a range of places including an old train station.  The vibe is magical.  The service is on point.  The menu has something for everyone.   I do not love when things are on the higher end side and you get three bites and are later starving.  This was not the case at Eberly.  I shared apps with the girls and then three of the six of us couldn’t decide between a couple of entrees so we shared two and I was pleasantly full afterward, even with sharing.  Also, the cocktails are out of this world good.  I may have enjoyed too many! 

Highlights include:  The Sweet Heat and I Carried a Watermelon cocktails, the cheese and crudite, the pepper crusted filet, all the sides and the excellent service.  This is not an everyday restaurant in my opinion but I would definitely seek it out again for a date night or occasion.   I would chillax in the bar with some oysters and bubbles or a cocktail anytime.  I sincerely love when a restaurant can nail the atmosphere, energy, service and menu and Eberly did not disappoint.

The Sweet Heat at Eberly

The Atrium at Eberly is stunning! This was taken from their Cedar Tavern Bar which is a great place to stop for a cocktail and a snack!