Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Picnik

"Hello, Sunshine."

That's the phrase that graces the top of Picnik's menu and website. It captures a mood that we felt in full force during our first visit there, particularly in our interactions with the owner, Naomi, who is radiantly gorgeous, humbly sweet, and very clearly passionate about the food they are serving at her brand new brick and mortar on Burnet Road. They are committed to using locally-sourced, high quality ingredients, and everything on the menu is gluten-free, soy-free, and corn-free. And they make it clear on their menu that they are happy to assist with modifications for special dietary needs or restrictions - a promise that grew out of Naomi's own personal history of combatting food allergies since childhood.

Picnik is famous for its butter coffee, and while I really wanted to try this, drinking caffeine at night makes me sad. Instead, I opted for their caffeine-free marshmallow chai. I loved the very clean sweetness of it. My husband ordered a cup of butter broth, which is chicken bone broth with grass-fed butter, MCT oil, and himalayan sea salt (he also added tumeric to his).  Having drank a lot of obviously inferior broth in my life, I was skeptical of the idea of just sipping a cup of broth - but after having tried this, I am a believer. It was luscious and amazing and pretty much made every broth I've ever had taste like bath water by comparison. If you take nothing at all away from this review, it should be that you should try the butter broth at Picnik.


Cuppa marshmallow chai (left) and butter broth (right)

As an appetizer, we tried the loaded guacamole ($7.95), which is unique because it contains apple and kale as well as avocado, and is served with almond flour tortilla chips. It was tasty and satisfying and, like so many of the things we tried, it tasted clean, like it wasn't going to drag us down and make us feel heavy later.

Picnik Guacamole

For my entrée, I tried the breakfast risotto ($14.95) - a bed of comforting green power rice topped with crispy pastured pork belly, wonderful oven-roasted tomatoes that offered a satisfying pop of flavor when bitten into, feta, spinach and kale pesto, and a gorgeous poached egg that was obviously not from the grocery store (I originally took photos of this dish before breaching the yolk, but when I saw the telltale bright orange yolk, I had to retake them again.)

Picnik Risotto

My husband ordered the orange chicken & broccoli ($16.95); I only tried a bite of this before he made it magically disappear.

Picnik Orange Chicken & Broccoli

Both of us are enthusiastic brussels sprout lovers, so of course we had to try those, as well. These were wonderful specimens, fried to crispy perfection.

Picnik Brussels Sprouts

We were stuffed at this point, but our server described Picnik's blondie gelato sandwich as the "pièce de résistance," so who were we to resist? We weren't sorry; the chocolate chunk-filled blondies were just perfect with the vanilla bean gelato (sourced from Dolce Neve).

Picnik Blondie Ice Cream sandwich

Full disclosure: the folks at Picnik very generously treated us to our meal. However, I will also say that at the end of this meal, my husband declared, "I will do all the house chores you need in order for you to have time to blog about this place. I love it and I want everyone to know about it!" If you know my husband, you'll know that this is pretty unusually enthusiastic for him. Fortunately for him, I was just as excited as he was, so he hasn't picked up any additional chores...yet.

We left Picnik feeling happy and satisfied and are already plotting a return visit soon. See you there!

Picnik Interior

4801 Burnet Road
Austin, TX 78756

(also still a trailer down south with a much more limited menu):
1700 South Lamar, 400-B
Austin, TX 78704

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