Dining Out Sustainably: Olivia

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One of the things I love most about my friends is that they encourage and support my food nerdiness. Let’s be honest; I transitioned past “foodie” a while ago.

My friend Beverly has always been one of my great culinary influences and indulgers. She continued her enabling this year on my birthday by giving me a gift certificate to one of Austin’s finest new restaurants, Olivia. Thanks Bev!

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I was excited because I had heard great things about Olivia, its sustainable focus and delicious food. I also heard that it was a bit on the pricey side (after all, you pay for quality), which is why I hadn’t visited yet. I couldn’t wait to finally explore this gem. We opted for brunch, and I couldn’t make the reservation fast enough.
Olivia is enchanting. From the minute I parked, I was drawn to the sophisticated, but casual architecture and the garden patio. I wanted to sit outside with an iced tea and idle away the afternoon, but there was brunch to be had.
091009_2One of my favorite things about Olivia is their commitment to using local products whenever possible, which they have put in writing on their menu with a list of the local farms with whom they work. Of course, as one of my friends always points out, using local products isn’t enough; the food has to be good. Fortunately, as the sign out front claims, it was.

My brunch companion and I ordered Olivia benedict, eggs florentine, a side of house-cured bacon and the smoked gouda grits. The food was delicious and I appreciated the creativity of the dishes. I never would have thought to put braised short ribs with eggs benedict, but it was a great combination – the spices of the short ribs with the hollandaise was a pleasant surprise.

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Olivia is also making things in house like curing their own bacon and salmon and making their own granola and sausage. I always
appreciate when a restaurant is willing to deidcate time to put their special touch on their food – I know that I’m getting something unique and special.
It was clear to me why they were picked as one of Bon Appetit’s Top Ten Best New Restaurants in America. Olivia is creating elegant, thoughtful food with an Austin casualness. I look forward to visiting again and enjoy more good, sustainable food.
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