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This Austin pastry chef is making all your sweet(s) dreams come true

Yolanda Diaz
Photograph: Marilyn Perkins

“I'm like the unicorn of Austin,” says Yolanda Diaz. She means that she's from here—a rarity in a city of transplants—but it's not like the Geraldine's pastry chef hasn't ventured elsewhere. Diaz honed her skills at the Michelin-starred L'Epicurien in Albi, France, and Ciao Baci in Little Rock, Arkansas, then returned to her Austin roots and worked at Isla and Péché before landing at Geraldine's this past summer. The chef, who defines her style as playful, shared her favorite local spots to eat, drink and relax with us. 

Drinking in the dark
“My favorite place to get a drink is Casino South Side. I love that it's never really crowded, and the place just reminds me of an old, dark ’50s-style-bar. I always get a top-shelf tequila, neat, with a Modelo or local beer

Subtle sweets
“Making cookies and cakes and ice creams all day, you have to taste your stuff all the time, so [dessert] is the last thing I want. But if I do have a sweet tooth, honestly, it’s gummy bears or a piece of pie. Just real subtle.”

Take a hike
“I love anything to do with the outdoors: hiking, camping, fishing, kayaking or throwing the ball to my girlfriend's dog. My favorite trails are Violet Crown and St. Edwards Park.”

Perfectly poached
“I really love Salty Sow. I'm never disappointed. They've got duck-fat fries with a 60-degree poached egg. The drinks, food and atmosphere just hit me right in the gut and heart.”

No place like home
“I decompress on my mother's patio. Her backyard and landscape are so calm and relaxing, with lots of hummingbirds around her house.”

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