The Texas Hill Country is known for more than just wide open spaces. You'll find some of the best restaurants around - amazing Tex-Mex, Southern and barbecue, and menus filled with heavy German influence. In the autumn especially, the change of seasons begins to reflect on restaurant menus as apples, pumpkins, and other fall flavors appear at local farmer's markets.
We're ready to celebrate those many choices with some of our favorite fall treats. If you're thinking about planning a mini-road trip this fall to soak in the colors and sunsets, don't forget to make a pitstop in some of our favorite restaurants.
Geraldine's: The Apple Business
Geraldine's not only has a killer bat's eye view of Lady Bird Lake and the downtown skyline, the team at Geraldine's put together a killer menu. After you've dined on locally sourced food with global inspiration (everything from Mexico's salsa verde and pepitas to Japanese tonkatsu sauce and Southern-style shrimp hushpuppies), you have to get dessert. Seriously, you can't this dish up it up.
Geraldine's pastry chef, Yolanda Diaz, has put together to the perfect twist on apple pie. The Apple Business dessert somehow manages to merge a variety of cultures into a classic dish that remains cohesive and homey. Spiced caramel powder tops thinly sliced apples before being finished with apple chutney apple blossom butter. Can we say wow?
To finish it off, the dessert is sprinkled with candied pecans. A cheddar-cheese flavored biscuit acts as the dessert's crust. All you need to do is ask for a scoop of brown butter ice cream and you'll be a happy camper!
Mattie's: The Green Pastures Julep
If you're looking for a refreshing pre-dinner drink, look no further than Mattie's. A rustic, farm-far restaurant with good old-fashioned Texas hospitality, we love everything from the live music to the cocktail list.
La Corsha Hospitality Group nailed it with their Green Pastures Julep. Made with Woodford Reserve bourbon, peach rooibos brandy, and spearmint, the drink is gushing with fresh mint flavor and oaky bourbon notes. It's rounded out with mild peach and a touch of cocoa. This rich drink comes off boozy and yet smooth, with a sweet edge that's not too cloying.
You'll immediately recognize how well the two widely respected styles of julep (the Prescription Julep and the Georgia Mint Julep) come together in this drink.
The Stella Hotel: Campfire S'mores
If you're looking for a beautiful place steeped in Texas tradition, go no further than the Stella Hotel. In fact, there's nowhere better to get an authentic Sunday Supper! Pop into Hershel's, the hotel's speakeasy-style bar, before heading over to Stella's on-site restaurant, Campfire, for dinner. Just make sure you stick around for dessert because they had me at adult S'mores.
This boozy twist on the nostalgic fireside treat will have you reminiscing in no time! Executive Chef Zachary Ladwig skillfully crafts these s'mores by making both the graham crackers and the bourbon vanilla marshmallows in-house.
Stagecoach Inn: 1861 Hush Puppy Stuffing
The Stagecoach Inn is a classic stop that is nestled in one of Texas' earliest settlements. Their restaurant (which is now open for lunch and dinner) is filled with dishes that do tribute to this area's rich history.
The 1861 Hush Puppy Stuffing is a twist on the Inn's legendary hushpuppies. The recipe for this treat has endured for generations. It dates back to the times when cowboys packed these in their saddlebags as a trusted snack. We no longer need hushpuppies to last for days in all types of weather, but that doesn't make this side dish any less delicious.
Which Hill Country treats are we missing? Let us know your favorites in the comments!