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Deborah Hamilton-Lynne

Deborah Hamilton-Lynne

Articles (3)

The 10 best parks and gardens in Austin

The 10 best parks and gardens in Austin

The best thing about Austin is the great outdoors: filled with trails, lakes, parks and gardens that offer space to enjoy the state’s perpetually sunny weather. Without them, Austin wouldn’t be Austin: ATX’s swimwear and flip-flop-loving residents would simply be lost without kayaking on Ladybird Lake, playing ball on Auditorium Shores, or catching rays after a dip in Barton Springs. For tourists and locals looking to enjoy the town’s best green spaces, you’re in luck: we’ve plucked the 10 most scenic parks and gardens in Austin, ideal for spreading out in the company of a good book, a charcuterie platter, or a handsome date. From the heights of Mount Bonnell and the shores of Lake Austin to wildflowers stretching as far as the eye can see, here are the top spots to soak up Bat City nature. RECOMMENDED: The best places to hike in Austin

The best desserts in Austin

The best desserts in Austin

Austin's reputation as a true foodie destination doesn't just apply to the best tacos in town or the top BBQ restaurants—we're also a city with a serious sweet tooth. From the best ice cream in Austin to the best bakeries to restaurants with a phenomenal pastry chef, there are plenty of places where it just might be worth it to have dessert before dinner. Sink your fork into our picks for the best desserts in Austin.

The best hot dogs in Austin

The best hot dogs in Austin

Throw a hot dog on the grill, stick it in a bun, slather it with ketchup and mustard and relish and you’re golden, right? Not so fast. The best hot dogs in Austin aren’t your run-of-the-mill franks—there are endless incarnations of this delicious treat. Once you’ve finished making your way through the best burgers in Austin and have eaten at all of the best BBQ restaurants in town, continue your meaty travels through our list of favorite hot dogs (then follow it up with a trip to one of Austin’s best ice cream shops). With a creative variety of offerings in our gluttonous city, you’re certain to find one that’ll satisfy your cravings.

Listings and reviews (18)

Jack Allen's Kitchen

Jack Allen's Kitchen

4 out of 5 stars

Jack Allen is a legend in the Austin culinary scene—the father of locally sourced cuisine and a philanthropist to boot, Allen is also the father of Bryce Gilmore, owner of Barley Swine. Desserts at Jack Allen’s Kitchen are made from scratch daily and include a variety of cakes, pies and cobblers, but for serious chocoholics there is only one choice – DeeDee’s Chocolate Bomb. You and your taste buds will thank us.

Chez Zee

Chez Zee

5 out of 5 stars

Chez Zee claims to be more than a restaurant (“It’s an experience!”) and from our experience we can say that their extensive dessert menu is unsurpassed in Austin. An Austin favorite since 1988, when owner Sharon Watkins set out to create a unique combo of European bistro and bakery with an Austin flair, Chez Zee has been the site of many celebrations with dessert as the highlight. Our favorite is the lemon rosemary cake, a Chez Zee original creation. But it’s hard to pass up the melt in your mouth coco leches cake or Maida’s cake, a gluten-free, flourless chocolate delight filled with vanilla cream and mocha mousse. Chez Zee also creates weekly dessert specials.

Tiny Pies

Tiny Pies

4 out of 5 stars

For some people, pie is the dessert that brings back the happiest memories, a feeling the mother-daughter team who created this locally owned treasure set out to capture when they started the company in 2011. Baked from scratch every day with natural ingredients, the pies are individually sized, savory and sweet, and all baked within a signature crust made from European butter. They cater, they ship and you can also pre-order for parties and gatherings. They have a pie of the month and seasonal favorites, and while the blueberry lemon lavender pie is tempting, we have to go with our childhood favorite: the Sweet Texas Pecan.

Los Pinos

Los Pinos

5 out of 5 stars

From Los Pinos’ original Hudson Bend location, they served authentic interior Mexican dishes and Tex-Mex with flour and corn tortillas made daily and some of the best margaritas you will ever sample. The mole sauce is perfect and the weekend specials give you something to look forward to during the week. With a second location in Bee Caves, the secret is out. After a meal of spicy tamales, enchiladas, chile rellanos or fajitas nothing is better than the cool combo that makes up fried ice cream—fresh tortillas stuffed with Mexican vanilla ice cream fried to perfection. The desserts are all homemade and include sopapillas, candied flan, vanilla bean crème brulee and a mocha toffee tort.

Churro Co.

Churro Co.

5 out of 5 stars

Only open Thursday through Sunday, Churro Co. serves the traditional Mexican pastry as you’ve never had it before. While their traditional churros tossed in cinnamon sugar served with chocolate, caramel or Nutella dipping sauce is memorable, we have to go with the Hippie Hollow version: churros with powdered sugar, topped with peach and blackberry compote, basil, whipped cream and granola, as our choice for one of Austin’s best and most memorable original desserts. Mexican street food served from a food truck never tasted so good.

Balcones Canyonlands Preserve

Balcones Canyonlands Preserve

Located about 25 miles from downtown off Highway 71, nature lovers will revel in the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve, protected area for the endangered Golden Cheeked Warbler and other birds and wildlife. There are picnic tables, restrooms and hiking trails within the preserve but its most popular attraction is its Hamilton Pool. One of the most stunning sights in Texas, Hamilton Pool is a natural pool that was created when the dome of a massive underground river collapsed thousands of years ago. Designated a nature preserve in 1990 by the Travis County Commission, the oval watering hole is surrounded by limestone outcroppings covered with ferns and hundreds of stalactites. The 50-foot waterfall plunges into the collapsed grotto, and the water flows from the pool down Hamilton Creek and, eventually, into the Pedernales River. The pool and creek are not chemically treated so huge catfish thrive in abundance. There is an entrance fee and reservations are required in the summer.

Bull Creek District Park

Bull Creek District Park

With 32 square miles to tend to, the Bull Creek Foundation has its hands full when it comes to maintaining Bull Creek District Park. The watershed includes limestone seeps, waterways, waterfalls, springs, scenic cliffs and diverse archaeological features; just off Capital of Texas Highway, there’s an area rife with dog owners who romp with their pets in the shallow waters. The park has barbeque pits, basketball courts, a fishing pier, volleyball courts, picnic areas and an off-leash dog area, and is also a coveted spot among rock climbers who love to scale the limestone cliffs.

Emma Long Metropolitan Park

Emma Long Metropolitan Park

Emma Long Metropolitan Park is the only city-owned park that offers camping—and the only one that has a beach. Just off RR2222 and City Park Road lies the hidden gem—well worth the two-mile trek that winds down a wooded road before you arrive at the entrance to the park.  Each of the 66 campsites has access to Lake Austin, and there are electric and non-electric sites catering to RV and tent camping. Rates are a reasonable $10-$25 dollars per night, with car fees of $5-$10. Activities at Emma Long include fishing, hiking, volleyball and basketball. Pets are permitted, but they must be on a leash, and there’s a 9.5-mile challenging outdoor motor bike trail and a boat launch so you can bring your own boat and enjoy the day on the lake.

Mission Dogs

Mission Dogs

5 out of 5 stars

The bacon-wrapped hot dogs at Mission Dogs combine two guilty pleasures (bacon! franks!) and are served with an Asian twist: exotic toppings that include papaya slaw, wasabi mayonnaise and sesame miso sauce. Plus, the fresh cut garlic fries are to die for. Delivery and catering are available, and you can check their website for their truck’s location in addition to the permanent brick and mortar spot.

Dai Due

Dai Due

5 out of 5 stars

Hot dogs at Dai Due are for true connoisseurs that can appreciate venison links served with kimchi mayonnaise and fresh chilies, plus sausages made from wild boar and topped with grilled onion, refried beans, radish, cilantro, queso and mayonnaise. Both are delicious and are served at breakfast and lunch. The menu changes daily so call ahead to make sure the links are available that day.

T-Loc’s Sonora Hot Dogs

T-Loc’s Sonora Hot Dogs

5 out of 5 stars

Food trucks abound in Austin, and T-Loc’s Sonora Hot Dogs is one of our favorites. For a true Tucson-style hot dog (aka Sonoran), you can’t beat links wrapped in bacon, topped with beans, tomatoes and jalapenos. The chili cheese dogs with beef chili, sharp cheddar cheese and onions are also solid. Check out these flavorful Sonoran dogs at the Long Center on Trailer Food Tuesdays.

Chi-Town Chicago Style Eatery

Chi-Town Chicago Style Eatery

5 out of 5 stars

Nothing comes close to sitting in Wrigley Field watching the Cubs with a hot dog done-up Chicago style—an all-beef dog smothered in relish, mustard, onions, tomato wedges, dill pickle spear and hot peppers. Chi-Town works just as well, where we heartily recommend the Chi-Town Classic or the Georgia Slaw Dog (yellow mustard, chili, house slaw). Be sure to get the Italian ice for dessert.

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