I have the good fortune to escape my cold northeastern home and visit Austin for 3 months. We've tried and enjoyed many of the restaurants mentioned on this board. I'd like to ask about food shopping.
I love Central Market. I don't mind paying the higher prices because It's so much fun to shop there. The place is laid out for people who cook. You enter into a huge produce market, then move into meats and seafood. Once you've chosen your fresh ingredients, you move through wines and pantry items. You don't need a shopping list because the place inspires you to dream up great meals. On weekends there are so many different tasting-samples that you can make a light meal of it. The staff will give you tastes of any produce. Just ask.
There's a nice farmer's market on Westlake near Cap of Tx Hwy. Saturdays from 10-1. I got org-grown spinach, brussels greens, scallions. Decent tomatoes (hydroponic) and nice goat cheese. Baked goods too.
What local Texan products should I try? Which are the best canned re-fried beans? Supermarket tortillas? Picante sauce? What can I buy at the HEB in order to make good tex-mex at home? What are those round Mexican cheeses for?
Where is the good bread in South Austin?
My husband craves a pumpkin-filled empanada. Where's a good Mexican bakery?