Looking for something with a decided “wow” factor to share this holiday season? Wayward Chocolat’s boxed Parisian-style chocolates impress on many levels. In the spirit of full disclosure, AFM received a box to sample, which elicited happy noises from all who tasted. Made from an all-natural dark chocolate, the signature ganache is infused with wild organic rose hips and berries, which are high in phytonutrients, catechins (a compound found in green tea), and beneficial antioxidants. They contain no hydrogenated oils or high fructose corn syrup, and each half-ounce mouthful is 80 calories. Though Wayward Chocolat is made here in Austin at a location off Highway 71, products are available only online.
Rifle + Radford
Shoppers who came across Rifle + Radford at the Junior League of Austin Christmas Affair will be glad to know that they can find these jewelry pieces at Stella Says Go (500 N. Lamar Boulevard) during the month of December. Owner, creative director, and Austinite Melanie R.R. Edwards is primarily located in New York City, where she attended Parsons School of Design and the Fashion Institute of Technology, and studied with Oscar de la Renta and Donna Karan. Edwards finds her inspiration in “the spirit and color story of the Southwestern landscape,” combining refined and organic materials into contemporary accessories. For a gift within a gift, take a look at the “Wear Your Heart” necklaces; 100 percent of the proceeds from these sales goes to research for a cure for Parkinson’s Disease.
Whole Foods Market, H-E-B, Wheatsville Co-op, Natural Grocers, and more
As a kid in Austin, Tommy Williams learned to navigate the aisles at the flagship Whole Foods Market and love food. While studying at Concordia University, he roomed with Justin Yeager; following graduation, the two friends partnered to create Tommy’s Superfoods. After finding success in salsas and spice mixes, they recently introduced a new line of steamable, non-GMO verified frozen vegetables. Flavors include Fiesta Quinoa, Super Greens (a spinach/kale mix), and Roasted Cajun Potatoes. All can be used as a side dish or a quick, vegan-friendly meal—and no one has to know it wasn’t made from scratch. Because the packaging is BPA- and PFOA-free, the Seasoned Vegetables line is safe to microwave directly in the bag.
Delysia Chocolate Culinary Center
200 Windy Terrace, Suite C
For a foodie, heaven might just be the new Delysia Chocolate Culinary Center. These beautiful and delicious designer chocolates have graced the pages of AFM previously, and now founding chocolatier and chef Nicole Patel has opened a 2,000 square foot, state of the art educational space and operations center. Classes, chocolate pairing events, and pop-up dinners are planned; amenities include Bosch appliances, a special chocolate cooling room, and conference space with audio and visual capacity. Stop by on December 7 from 2–5 p.m. for a free holiday event—kids can make their own chocolate bar, visit with Santa Claus, and watch a children’s holiday classic.
Wash Cycle Laundry
LaundryWorks, 606 W. 29th Street
LaundryWorks is a sustainable, eco-friendly company that has taken their commitment one step further—reducing carbon emissions via bicycle delivery. Offering same-day and next-day service, Wash Cycle Laundry (with the clever hashtag #GearedForClean), hauls washing by bicycle and electric trike. Founded in 2010, the company has operations in Philadelphia and Washington, DC, and expanded to Austin this October. The service works like this: Employees ride a bike with a trailer attached that can carry some 300 pounds—approximately 30 loads in a home washer. They peddle over to pick up pre-sorted items that have been placed in soft, reusable containers and then transport them to the LaundryWorks location for cleaning, pressing, and folding. They then cycle back to deliver the cleaned items, which can be hung on rods within the trailers to avoid wrinkling. Services are green; LaundryWorks uses locally made, hypoallergenic detergents, high-efficiency machines, and organic dry cleaning processes. The company also works with several local job-training programs (Workforce Solutions, CapitalIDEA, and Lifeworks) to further support the Austin community.
2920 S. Lakeline Boulevard, Cedar Park
PDQ does stand for “pretty darn quick,” but it also refers to “People Dedicated to Quality.” Recently named by several restaurant publications as an up-and-coming new small chain, the national eatery opened a Cedar Park location in November. Outback Steakhouse co-founder Bob Basham and MVP Holdings CEO Nick Reader, principal owners behind PDQ, wanted to create a casual restaurant that offered fast service but didn’t short change on quality. All menu items are made from fresh ingredients (salads use local ingredients) to order on site, and generally served within 2 minutes. There are also options—turkey can be substituted, chicken can be grilled—and the kitchen is open, allowing patrons to watch food preparation. On a nice day, there’s an outdoor patio to enjoy.