Establishment neighborhood
Verbena Spa at The Austin Proper Hotel
600 W 2nd St., Downtown
The chic, intimate Verbena spa is one of our favorite things about the Austin Proper. Get the Proper Facial—a skin-soothing 60 minutes of cleansing, exfoliating, masking, toning, and moisturizing with Monastery Made’s incredible products like the super rich, hydrating Attar balm, hyaluronic-acid-infused Flora Botanical Cream Serum, plus a custom detoxifying clay and hydrating masks (made specifically for the spa). You can also customize your facial with fantastic add-ons like Saint Jane’s featherweight CBD serum and body cream (the latter is for an epic hand-arm massage) or TheraFace PRO’s percussive massage, heat, and cryotherapy treatments.
Farm to Market Rd., Austin
Miraval really leans into the idea that everything is bigger in Texas. The 220 acres of wildflower-and-cactus-laced parkland is only thirty minutes from Austin’s main arteries. This latest addition to the Miraval portfolio is a counterbalance the city’s techy buzz and BBQ vibe. A weekend here, among the bluebonnets of Texas Hill Country, is about unplugging. No loud talking on the phone (there are designated phone zones) and no smoking anywhere. When you arrive, the smoky scent of wood fires drifts through the lobby, and the rustic minimalism and sheer expansiveness of the property invite you to unwind. It’s impossible to feel stressed in a place this calming. While the practice of wellness and self-care can often feel like a competitive sport, the Miraval team has created a beautiful, noncheesy wellness wonderland. Everything is saturated with natural light, and guest rooms—all in soothing shades of grey, sand, and cream—come stocked with meditation cushions and Tibetan singing bowls. (Tibetan singing bowls!) The A-frame yoga barn is so peaceful and soothing that it’s worth taking a class even if you don’t like yoga. Even the animals are calm. Horses never clip-clop…
Lemon Laine
714 Yale St., Greater Heights
Given our loyalty to nontoxic skin care and makeup, it’s only natural that we love a beauty boutique that checks off certain boxes: clean and luxurious products, transparent labeling, and a great overall message. So when Lemon Laine—a modern beauty boutique with an ethos that revolves around natural, effective, and sustainable products—opened in Houston, we were instant fans. Owner Laura Lemon brings her decade’s worth of beauty industry experience to the shop, in which she stocks some of our favorites, including Kjaer Weis, True Botanicals, and our very own goop skincare. Best yet: The design is clean with bright color—and there’s an oil bar where you can mix bespoke beauty formulas to meet your specific skin needs.
1800 E. 6th St., East Austin
Chef Fermín Núñez did the rounds in Austin, cooking at La Condesa and Launderette before striking out alone. The menu champions traditional tacos, tamales, and tostadas, all made with what is the foundational ingredient of Mexican cuisine: masa. A soft flour of finely ground, presoaked corn kernels is prepared daily, using local white, green, and red heirloom corn. The nutty, slightly sour flavor of the doughy wrap is worlds away from the chewy, prepackaged tortillas we’ve become accustomed to. Be sure to order the suadera taco—fork-tender brisket, avocado salsa, and Suerte’s black magic oil (smoky Morita chili, a little sesame, and other secret, transporting flavors we can’t quite put our finger on). The drinks list is a thing of beauty. Mezcal and tequila are, of course, in abundance, but the Oaxacan whiskey was a first for us, and a good first at that.
2115 S. Lamar Blvd., South Lamar
Imagine a mashup of hot Malay, Thai, and Chinese smoked meats paired with Texan BBQ. That’s Loro. Run by Austinite food-scene veterans Tyson Cole (Uchi) and Aaron Franklin (Franklin Barbecue), standouts include the Thai green curry sausage and charred pork shoulder with a heaping portion of garlicky rice noodles to soak up the juices. While Loro isn’t necessarily the spot for the meat-averse, sides like Texas sweet corn, zesty papaya salad, and the grilled Asian pear with kale hit the spot for herbivores and carnivores alike. Stools and long wooden tables built for communal feasting set a picnic-for-the-adults vibe, and twinkling skylights and long hanging lamps strung from the barn-style roof add atmosphere in spades to this casual dining spot that is so thoroughly at home in Austin.
Veracruz All Natural
1704 E. Cesar Chavez St., East Austin
Born in Veracruz, Mexico, sisters Reyna and Maritza Vasquez grew up helping out in their family restaurant. Veracruz All Natural (and mostly organic) started as a food truck back in 2009 and was an immediate hit. Nowadays the sisters have five locations, including a brick-and-mortar spot in north Austin. We go weak for flautitas de papas (potatoes wrapped in a corn tortilla, deep fried, and served with beans and salsa)—the ultimate comfort food. Al pastor tacos are freshened-up with seared sweet grilled pineapple, while the vegan “furioso” (cauliflower, black beans, spinach, salsa) has as much flavor as any of the meat dishes. Fruity aguas frescas are the norm around Austin, but Veracruz has added to its arsenal a slew of healthy juices and smoothies (with the option to add hemp protein, and nut milks), which are ideal to go.