On a recent long weekend trip to Austin, I was introduced to a few new places and people that have me ready for a return trip. First up, Serana is a communal and glamping retreat that offers a seasonal dining series. It is such a beautiful setting, and an amazing dining experience…a must try. Local chef Myles Snider does a wonderful job whipping up tasty meals and, along with the folks at Serana, creates an evening to celebrate the simple pleasures of nature, good food, and those we share it with. Mother Tongue Cooking Club, created by Myles, is my new favorite cooking site for inspiration and excellent ideas to help take your cooking to the next level.
I also had the pleasure of staying at the fun and eclectic San José Hotel, and had the opportunity to enjoy a cocktail and walk the gorgeous grounds of the Commodore Perry Estate. Definitely put these on the itinerary for your next visit to Austin.
Situated on 53 acres of private Texas grasslands, Serana is a glamping destination for those seeking a place to reset, relax, and reconnect. Located in Paige, Texas, about 45 minutes outside of Austin, Serana offers three tiny cabins, five off-grid glamping tents, an outdoor gym, yoga deck, pool, bathhouse, and outdoor communal kitchen. Guests can join Serana for Airbnb getaways, private retreat rentals, and quarterly farm-to-table dinners.
Serana was inspired by a vision to create a space where people could enjoy nature and meaningfully connect with others. With that emphasis on community, Serana is designed in such a way that maximizes guest interaction. Guided by the unofficial motto of “we all start out as strangers,” guests typically end up cooking together in the communal kitchen, chatting around the bonfire, and enjoying each other’s company throughout each night.
Accompanied by local chef Myles Snider (Mother Tongue Cooking Club), Serana hosts quarterly farm-to-table dinners with food and wine from local farms and ranches to celebrate the bounties of Central Texas. Each dinner is an intimate experience of only 20 guests, served family-style at one long communal dinner table under the Texas sky. Guests have the option of staying overnight in one of Serana’s tiny cabins or glamping tents for a fully immersive experience. It’s a time to indulge in good conversation, good company, and one of the most universal human connectors: food.
MOTHER TONGUE COOKING CLUB
Mother Tongue Cooking Club was founded in 2022 by chef, entrepreneur, and passionate home cook Myles Snider.
The goal of the Cooking Club is to help members to become more confident, savvy, creative, and empowered home cooks. Along with recipes and how-to videos, Myles offers in-depth explanations of key culinary techniques, tips and tricks for running a better kitchen, ideas for meals to feed a crowd, quick weeknight dinner plans, suggested drink pairings, answers to your cooking questions, and so much more.
Myles Snider was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and raised in a family of cooks. His favorite memories from childhood involve big dinners with family and friends.
After college, he studied at Centro Culinario Ambrosía in Mexico City and then cooked professionally at Hartwood, an open-fire, farm-to-table restaurant in Tulum. He’s worked at food startups, developed recipes for several brands, and started his own line of spice blends.
His cooking ethos is simple—he believes in cooking real food from scratch, sourced from the best places he can find, and taking inspiration from a wide variety of global flavors and techniques.
Roasted Beets with Herbed Yogurt and Texas Dukkah
For a delicious side or appetizer, this roasted beets with herbed yogurt and Texas dukkah dish is always a crowd pleaser. Serve skillet flatbreads alongside.
These skillet flatbreads are a delicious and easy side or appetizer to make. Serve with roasted beets topped with herbed yogurt and Texas dukkah.
Commodore Perry Estate
Step through the Mansion’s ornate wrought-iron doors and be transported to an era when Texan businessman Edgar “Commodore” Perry and his wife Lutie presided over lavish Jazz Age soirées. Their intangible spirit lives on in the Mansion of the Commodore Perry Estate, reimagined as a glamorous social hub. Sip on craft cocktails and dine on a modern interpretation of Old-World classics in gathering spaces imbued with dramatic elegance and an unmistakable sense of time. Extend your time in this picturesque 10-acre setting in the heart of Austin with a luxurious overnight stay or indulge in one of their exclusive resort “Experiences.”
Starting with produce picked fresh from the estate’s own gardens and procured through specially cultivated relationships with local farmers and ranchers, husband-and-wife chef team Bradley Nicholson and Susana Querejazu take a personalized, handcrafted approach that ranges from dry-aging their own steaks to making their own soy sauce from Texan pecans.
The People’s Biscuits
A classic, comforting biscuit recipe crafted by husband-and-wife chef team Bradley Nicholson and Susana Querejazu of Commodore Perry Estate.
Sparkling Rum Punch
This festive and fun punch recipe is perfect for weekend brunch with friends.
Hotel San José
Built in 1936 as an “ultramodern” motor court, the property was transformed in 2000 into a 40-room urban bungalow-style hotel tucked behind stucco walls and set amidst lush garden courtyards. The Hotel San José is located on South Congress Avenue in the heart of one of Austin’s favorite neighborhoods. In addition to being a unique place to sleep, it serves as a gathering place and occasional hub of community activity.
From bed platforms made of reclaimed native hardwood to custom saddle leather chairs by artist Jamey Garza, and from granite pathways to the impeccably curated landscape designed by artist Mark Word—the San José reflects a voice that is proudly local and uniquely Texan.
Enjoy a cheese board and michelada in the hotel’s courtyard lounge, a popular gathering place. The lounge serves beer, wine, and cocktails, plus a selection of light fare, in the garden courtyard.
This refreshing Frosé cocktail is perfect for hot summer days.