Ginger-Chile Oil Dumplings. Picture credit: Evan Sung
Photo by Evan Sun, Courtesy of Elizabeth Street Café and Phaidon

A New Cookbook From an Austin Institution Offers All-Day Inspiration

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French-inspired Vietnamese cuisine from Elizabeth Street Café deep in the weird heart of Texas

Austin, Texas, sure as sh@# isn’t the first place you’d think to look for great Vietnamese food, but there it is, on the south side of town. Elizabeth Street Café has built quite the reputation, far beyond its mission to be a friendly neighborhood gathering spot that happens to serve exceptional Vietnamese cuisine and artisanal French baked goodies. Blame it on goop (and Bon Appetit, The New York Times, and The Daily Meal) because the cat’s out of the bag, especially now that Phaidon has published the café’s first cookbook, Elizabeth Street Café, co-written by co-owners Tom Moorman and Larry McGuire with Julia Turshen and lovely photography by Evan Sung.

Moorman (a fourth-generation Texan raised on a cattle ranch) and McGuire (an Austin native who dropped out of college to cook full time) formed McGuire Moorman Hospitality in 2009. Together they opened Lamberts, Perla’s, Clark’s, Jeffrey’s, Josephine House, and June’s All Day. Elizabeth Street Café opened its cheerful doors in December 2011, serving three meals a day in its homey dining rooms and leafy patio. Over the years, the spot’s become a destination restaurant still frequented by devoted regulars. It’s delicious and decidedly hipster in keeping with the local “Keep Austin Weird” battle cry.

Elizabeth Street Cafe book cover.

Courtesy

Far and wide, Elizabeth Street Café is as known for its great croissants and Stumptown coffee as it is for bánh mì served on house-baked baguettes, char-grilled flank steak spring rolls, spicy breakfast fried rice and eggs, steaming bowls of pho, Green Jungle Curry Noodles, and the house cocktail, a fruity, boozy punch. There’s a nice kids’ menu, too, but most of the kiddies that eat here can’t seem to take their eyes off the rainbow-colored macarons and toasted coconut cream puffs. Those recipes and more are among more the 100 recipes in the café’s cookbook.

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