A Guide to the Restaurants in My Novels by Laekan Zea Kemp
Laekan Zea Kemp’s novels are all full of sensory delights – particularly mouthwatering food! But fun fact, many of the restaurants described in her books are actual places you can visit! So if you’re ever in the Austin area, don’t miss out on these real-life spots that inspired An Appetite for Miracles – and inspired my stomach to start rumbling as I read those passages!
In An Appetite for Miracles, Mena’s is described as “a teal and white oasis with pink and orange accents and picnic tables that look like rainbows.” The aesthetic was directly inspired by the beautiful outdoor patio at Fresa’s on South 1st. And if you’re dying to try the strawberry guava ice cream that Raul and Danna have on their first date, it’s on the menu, along with other delicious flavors like Tres Leches, Orange Creamsicle, and Mint Chocolate Chip.
At the end of the book, Raul proves he’s become an expert in Danna’s love language by bringing her all of her faves, including donuts from Lola’s. The good news is that Lola’s is the real deal and not just fiction. They’re a Latina-owned gourmet donut shop serving brioche donuts and French Crullers with a rotating menu of incredible flavor combinations, such as Brown Butter Sea Salt, Mexican Hot Chocolate, and Fruity Pebbles. Plus the vibrant flower wall surrounding their order window is the perfect backdrop for photos.
Someone else who understands Danna’s love language is her cousin Victoria. During their graveside picnic, Victoria brings a spicy deep dish pizza called a Bobo Brazil, which is topped with Hot Calabrese, Sausage, Red Pepper Flakes, and a drizzle of Mike’s Hot Honey. And unlike some of the other items on this list, the Bobo Brazil is one you can get even if you’re not in Austin. You can find the Detroit-style pizzeria Via 313 all over Texas, as well as select cities in Utah.
At that same graveside picnic, Danna brings a fresh Strawberry Rhubarb pie with a side of chocoflan from Papi’s Pies, which is technically a Round Rock establishment but it’s just a short skip and a hop from north Austin. In addition to delicious pies they also serve incredible cafe staples, such as quiche poblano, chicken salteñas, and huitlacoche crêpes.
About the Author
Laekan Zea Kemp is the Pura Belpré Honor author of Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet, Heartbreak Symphony, and Omega Morales and the Legend of La Lechuza. Her work celebrates Chicane grit, resilience, creativity, and joy while exploring themes of identity and mental health. She lives in Austin, Texas. Laekan invites you to visit her at laekanzeakemp.com or follow her on Twitter @LaekanZeaKemp.