Épicerie (Austin)

I stepped inside, looked around, and was instantly enamored with the quaint, casual style of Épicerie Café & Grocery. The walls are lined with rosy bottles of wine, decadent chocolate bars and hand soaps for sale. The community tables are surrounded by high-end cheeses and meats, mason jars of hibiscus tea, and homemade sweets. I immediately decided I would not only come to épicerie to dine, but also to shop.

The counter-style ordering adds a touch of nonchalantness to the meal. A small and sophisticated menu, Laura (my favorite Austinite PR guru and owner of Striped Shirt) and I decided to split a few salads and small plates.

I had never seen fried gouda on a menu before--such a mark of creativity struck me! I loved the new take on fried mozzarella. The nuttier cheese enhanced the crushed cashews and sweet cherries on top.

The caesar (hold the anchovy) was wonderful. I never order this type of salad in fear of a creamy, heavy dressing on romaine. This version's light concept highlighted generous shavings of fresh parmesan.
The watermelon salad with quinoa & arugula had such gorgeous coloring and fine contrasts of texture. I moved my fork around the yogurt dressing at the bottom, which was sour and too creamy. But the fresh watermelon with toasted almonds was a delight.

I wish y'all could've witnessed my reactions to the salted chocolate chip and shortbread cookies. SO FREAKING GOOD. The chocolate chip cookie was dense and perfectly chewy. The shortbread was light and buttery, melting in my mouth with every bite. I could eat these all day long. If anything, check out épicerie for just a cup of coffee and one of these sweets!