June 28, 2012

Blue Dahlia and Take Heart

I’ve decided I’m going to make a point to visit more new restaurants around town. It’s so tempting to eat out only at the tried and true, but I am thrilled every time I discover some new little hole in the wall of awesomeness.

I have a thing about chain restaurants. I hate them. I mean, I love them, but I also hate them. They are so lacking in character and authenticity to me. Chili’s? You may have the best damn Chicken Crispers and Paradise Pie my mouth has ever beheld, and Red Lobster, your Cheddar Bay Biscuits kind of make me want to cry, they’re so good—but your originality is non-existent.

You Austinites probably already know that this is a major foodie town, and we’re all about locally sourced ingredients and supporting small businesses. Especially downtown, there’s a hipster-run restaurant or coffee joint on every corner, and I am always so pleased by my visits to these places. Blue Dahlia on the east side, for example. It was a busy Sunday and my mom and I sat at a community table while we ate our delicious lunch and were serenaded by an accordion player.  I got the chicken salad sandwich with nuts and dried cranberries, and my mom got the prosciutto with mozzarella, pesto, and sun dried tomatoes. So. So. Yummy.

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Incidentally, right next door to Blue Dahlia is a fabulous little store called Take Heart, which my mom and I spent way too much time in. That has got to be THE perfect place to buy a unique gift for someone, or in my case, a few too many adorable cards. Makes me want to bring the snail mail back, I tell ya. For someone as postally lazy as I am, that’s saying something. 

There was even a cute dog in there. What more can you ask for?

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Happy Thursday!

42 comments:

  1. ahh. that dog!
    you are so right ... that cute dog is the cherry on top. I like that "future" fortune too. cute.

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  2. What charming places - both of them! And beautiful photography to boot. "Perfect in our imperfections". Wow. I think I really needed to hear that message today Jen, as you well know. Thank you.

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  3. Wow both of those places are to die for! How fun! Kudos to you for exploring them & getting some pretty awesome pictures along the way.

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  4. i want to go to that store! also, i'll totally be your penpal if you'd like :)

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  5. I love finding little offbeat places! My husband keeps telling me that I would love Austin and you confirm it!

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  6. i want to go to those places with you

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  7. Your photography is really getting great, I love the pictures that you took in the Bistro.

    I miss Austin so much, if I got the opportunity to move back there, I would in. a. heartbeat. For now, UNT is the only place I can get my degree so I'm stuck in DFW until then.



    mindysmoments.blogspot.com

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  8. That shop looks amazing, just my sort of thing--if only there wasn't thousand of miles separating me from it.

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  9. I love little boutique shops like that- the ones that seem to have cute for gifts but not necessarily my personal style of stuff, but then I find myself picking up more and more until I've got an armful for me and a few stacked on top for gifts! I'm trying to get more into the card/letter writing/sending thing, too- for some reason I love sending packages with little "reminded me of you" items but I always leave out the card! Elizabeth at E Tells Tales just did a pen-pal thing, and had a HUGE response- I think real mail is going to take back over the world!!

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  10. I am always so jealous of your pictures, they make everything look so magical.

    www.dysfunctionaleverafter.com

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  11. Blue Dahlia looks superb and Take Heart is so cute. I will need to keep those in mind for when I next visit Austin. I'm on the South side of Texas but sometimes wish I lived closer to Austin and San Antonio for all the culture and little hideaway bistros. Here the majority of our hideaway bistros have either 'La' or 'El' in their names! :)

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  12. how cute! I need to get more bold with my camera and not be so afraid to take it out in public. I always worry people will think I'm weird (I mean the ones I'm with!!)

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  13. Ok I have one question. I just moved to a small town in Germany and I'm trying out lots of whole in the wall places. I want to take pictures in them so bad because they're adorable and my readers would love it, but does the staff or manager ever think it's odd when you're taking pictures??? Maybe they're just happy for some publicity. I always feel like I will get yelled at though!haha

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  14. I have been wanting to try Blue Dahlia, a couple of my friends go there all the time! If you liked blue dahlia, then you will like hillside farmacy. It's a super cute eatery and it's on the east side as well.

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  15. We love going out Diners, Drive-ins and Dives style. It's so much more fun.

    Your hair is getting so long! Very pretty.

    xo
    -W.

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  16. oh wow, these places sound awesome! I love little hole in the wall joints, they usually have the greatest food and best atmospheres.

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  17. What a cute little shop. I love the random scruffy dog too. I have never been to Austin but it seems like a great place to live (minus all of this crazy heat I've been hearing about for the last while).

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  18. I also hate chain restaurants! As city dwellers, I know we are so lucky to have so many options out there, but it still makes be cringe when I see on fb "At Applebee's for my b-day dinner!". I would die. City-living has made me a restaurant snob (and I don't mean fancy - I mean innovative).

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  19. Guilty of sticking to what is familiar! I have my favorite restraunts and my standby foods to order at each one. When I do go to a new place I usually order a hambuger because let's face it, they are pretty hard to ruin.

    Needless to say when I do try a new place and step out to order something different I am almost always glad that I did.

    Love the little shop! Those are always fun places to go to.

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  20. I ate there a few months ago with some friends- it was amazing! I have something with brie...it was yummy! All of us loved our food and the atmosphere was very cool.

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  21. I love chicken salad. There is a place in Tulsa, OK called The Ripe Tomato (it is inside The Market - an antique store) and they have the BEST chicken salad ever. And I so agree with you about chain restaurants.
    You are really getting awesome at picture taking. Beautiful!

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  22. I completely agree with you about the big chain restaurants. They do offer good dishes sometimes, but I hate that it comes at the expense of originality and charm. As always, your photos are gorgeous and that doggy was pretty cute, too!

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  23. I really need to check that store out! I'm always needing some little things gifts and there for coworkers, friends and family!

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  24. Cute cards! I'm all about the snail mail! Who doesn't love getting a hand written note? :)

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  25. Gosh, I love Austin food. All I do is eat when I go there. Sometimes in college, I would drive from Fort Worth to Austin for the day and stop at Common Grounds in Waco and Round Rock donuts on the way down, then eat at Kerbey Lane, Mozarts, and a few other places around town, and drive home that night weighing about ten extra pounds. True story. It happened more than once.

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  26. What a cute and lovely place to eat... and that lil puppy!!

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  27. I feel the same way about the chain restaurants and hate going in them..not to mention their food always upsets my stomach. I love local places, nothing better in my opinion.

    My mom years ago, took me in her favorite antique store and darn it if I didn't spend over $500 in there. haha It would have been A LOT more had they accepted Amex. hahaha
    Emily at Amazing Grapes

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  28. I love snail mail. I try to send out a few letters a week to friends. I hate how everything is done by email or fb these days. An electronic birthday or thank you card is tacky lol!!

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  29. uhmmm...i wish i could be in this place right now. it looks amazing!

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  30. You and your blog are just lovely! So happy to have stumbled across this treasure ♥

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  31. I'm with you, I hate chain restaurants...they're just so boring. But they do have some dang good food sometimes :) Love the pictures! That tiny dog is adorable.

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  32. what an adorable little shop..complete with a pup! love the mom and pop shops like that :)

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  33. How have I not seen this place before?!? Will definitely have to check it out next time I have a chance. I just love all the Austin gems out there to discover!
    -Kristen

    The Mrs. and The Momma

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  34. These photos are amazing! I have wanted to visit Austin for years and I've added these places on my list of places to visit when I finally get around to going!

    I came across your blog a little while ago after Sarah Tucker mentioned you on twitter. So glad she posted your link! Your love story and mention of The Secret drew me in and I have been hooked ever since! Can't wait to read more!

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  35. That was fun... and I loved seeing that little sweet doggie again... Wish she was for sale!

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  36. I love these photos. Makes me want to go there. And I definitely need some of those cards!

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  37. nice posting.. thanks for sharing.

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  38. Exploring local spots is so much fun!

    "I mean, I love them, but I also hate them"-you're too funny!

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  39. Cute cards! I'm all about the snail mail! Who doesn't love getting a hand written note? :)apa essay format

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