Willie Nelson, Beyonce make their macaron debut at Austin markets

Macarons aren’t quite the bakery trend they were just a few years ago, but one Austin baker is making macarons that tap into another trend: kawaii, the Japanese term for super cute.

From anime to Hello Kitty, you already know this style of cute. It’s the kind of adorable that makes you squeal, or in 2018 terms, squee. For her company, OMG Squee, Austinite Sarah Lim is mashing up these trends to create ridiculously charming macarons, often in the shape of recognizable pop culture icons and characters, including Queen Bey and our own Willie Nelson.

Macarons — the French almond-and-egg-white cookies, not the shredded coconut macaroons — are notoriously fussy to make, but Lim has mastered the fine details required to make a macaron look like David Bowie, Prince or an angry kitty.

Lim sells these treats at the SoCo Farmers Market (1511 S. Congress Ave.) from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and the Hope Farmers Market (412 Comal St.) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays. 


Quesoff added to SouthBites lineup of food events

For six years, South by Southwest has amped up its food offerings through SouthBites, a pop-up food trailer park that features both local favorites and food trucks that come in from other cities

This year’s SouthBites will return from March 9-17. Anyone — not just fest attendees — can enjoy food from vendors such as Four Brothers, DFG Noodles, Bodhi Viet Veggie Cuisine, OneTaco and Ranch Hand. In collaboration with Sprudge, SXSW will also set up a Roasters Village on March 10- 12 to highlight the growing tea and coffee industry. Also new this year is the SouthBites Market from March 14- 17, featuring food and beverage vendors, including Suga’s CakeryThunder BeastRaaka ChocolateBrainJuiceSteel City PopsOn the Rocks Gourmet Jams and Woops! Bakeshop.

But perhaps the most exciting news for both visitors and locals is that Adi Anand’s annual Quesoff, which usually takes places in the summer, will have a special SXSW edition from 2- 4 p.m. March 13. In partnership with Washington State Wine and Hot Luck Fest, the event will allow queso-loving teams to showcase their best dips, but Anand says it won’t be a competition this time around.


Former Dai Due baker Abby Love now teaching classes, planning brick-and-mortar shop

Abby Love, the former baker for Dai Due, is having a good start of the year.

After leaving the lauded Manor Road eatery last year, she’s been making partnerships with other food businesses around Austin, including a special chocolate sourdough with Confituras earlier this month.

The bread baker and pastry chef easily met a crowdfunding goal for L’Oven, a brick-and-mortar operation she has in the works, but in the meantime, you can catch her teaching classes at various locations around Austin.

From the about page of her site: “She will bore us with science. Because making good bread is often about understanding the building blocks of your loaf. Be prepared to learn baker’s math, think about the structure of a wheat kernel, and use words like ‘enzyme’ and ‘protein’ for the first time in maybe decades.” (The classes have been selling out quickly, so keep an eye out for tickets if you want to snag one.

The Louisiana native, who moved to Austin in 2013, is also hosting private classes and pop-ups, which you can learn about at lovenbread.com.


Royal Blue Grocery expanding to San Antonio later this year

Austinites who spend any time downtown are so familiar with Royal Blue Grocery that we take it for granted.

There are seven Austin locations of these small specialty stores that carry tons of local products and lots of quick and ready-to-eat options for people looking for a meal, a snack or a last-minute ingredient needed to make dinner. Last week, the San Antonio Express-News broke the news that Royal Blue will be opening its first location in downtown San Antonio later this year. The company already has two locations in Dallas

The 2,500-square-foot store, which won’t open until September, is under construction in the Savoy Building on Houston Street. “We are not a substitute for a full-size grocer, but we are the three trips in between for one or two things,” Royal Blue owner Craig Staley told the Express-News.

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