#WCW: Meet Naomi, founder of Picnik and creator of Butter Coffee

Photo by Brian Fitzsimmons

Photo by Brian Fitzsimmons

Who is Naomi?
Naomi Seifter is someone who is passionate about intersecting experiences of divine intervention with entrepreneurship and food to assist in healing herself and others on similar health journeys. Through implementation of these practices, she can confidently chase her big dreams of shifting the food paradigm in the restaurant and CPG industry.

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Tell us the story behind @PicnikAustin.
For about as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with food sensitivities. Until I was 19 years old, I couldn’t figure out what caused bloat, stomach pain, and the myriad reactions I had to food (especially at restaurants). Around that time, my grandfather mentioned that my grandmother had Celiac disease, and when he showed me a checklist of the symptoms associated, it was as if a lightbulb went off because I finally had some insight into how to heal my gut. During my teenage years and early twenties, I worked in the restaurant industry, so hospitality was second-nature. However, I had eliminated so many different foods from my diet that it became impossible for me to eat out, which led to the idea to start a restaurant that catered to other people like me. My original intention was to open a food truck called ‘Pressed & Squeezed’—pressed for French press coffee, and squeezed for fresh-squeezed juice. Everyone I had talked to about it hated the name, and the branding just wasn’t coming together, so I took it as a sign to pivot. Our first location (the one on South Lamar) always had people saying, “This looks like the perfect place for a picnic!” and that’s what inspired the new name. I curated a menu of flavored butter coffee and had a fridge full of grab-and-go food items that were typically paleo compliant. As time passed, we acquired a group of regulars who began asking for a way to access their beloved butter coffee when they were traveling outside of Austin. This—along with interest from local retailers requesting we produce a ready-to-drink beverage—is the reason we have our bottled butter coffee line. I was fortunate that another couple of regulars, the founders of Epic Provisions, introduced me to the person who is now my business partner, Cameron Smith. Cameron encouraged me to expand into the brick-and-mortar business, as he had faith in the brand and our ability to offer a better ‘restaurant’ experience than what we were providing at our trailers.  Building our restaurant concept has been a dream come true, and I’m thrilled that we have been able to create a space that redefines health-fare by sourcing with integrity and making it flavorful. Additionally, it is modification-friendly, which ties into my original intention of serving people who are working through a food journey of their own. Our restaurant allows us to serve customers who are vegan, paleo, gluten-free, sugar-free and beyond.  The beauty is, however, that we make our food taste great so that you can enjoy our offerings, regardless if you have any dietary restrictions or not.  




"It was as if a lightbulb went off because I finally had some insight into how to heal my gut. [...] I had eliminated so many different foods from my diet that it became impossible for me to eat out, which led to the idea to start a restaurant that catered to other people like me."



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Picnik is famous for the Butter Coffee. Where did the idea come from? 
My mom is a doctor, and she exposed me to the idea of integrating healthy fats into my diet to curb my appetite and make me feel satiated throughout the day. I followed some suggestions that I found in regard to adding grass-fed butter and MCT oil into my coffee. Although that combination was very functional, I thought it was boring to drink. I felt like it was the perfect creamy platform to add adaptogens, superfoods, protein, sweeteners, and so forth to elevate the experience while getting the feel-good benefits of the product.

What’s your advice for someone whose New Year’s Resolution is to eat healthier?
Start by buying single ingredient foods. Fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds (but not dry roasted with spices and oils), meat, legumes. Rather than opting for something in the prepared foods section, buy whole foods in their purest form and then try cooking for yourself using that. You’ll see what a difference it makes.

What’s your New Year’s Resolution?
To finish my house. (It’s under construction.)

 
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What does success mean to you?
Making an impact in my circle of influence and providing a service and solution for people that positively improves their life. I want to provide good people with jobs and have a work-life balance—being able to prioritize my own self-care while running a business.
 

You’ve found success at a young age-- you go, girl! What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs on how to get started and keep up their momentum?
Identify what it is that you’re really passionate about, and then figure out how to share it with others in a way that makes people's lives easier and brings joy. Answer the question: How can you provide a convenience in the areas that you’re passionate about? Then, figure out how to do it in a creative way. Be willing to bend and pivot when you hit walls or plateaus.

 

Do you have any upcoming events, releases, campaigns, etc. that you're excited about?
We are expanding our retail business with two new locations, and rolling out new products in our packaged goods line.
 

Anything else you want to share with the atx&o family?
I’ve lived in lots of places all over the world, but none compare to the community that Austin has. From the innovation in the food space, to the energy from entrepreneurs, to progressive nature of the city, to the positivity of the people—it feels like home.

 
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Learn more about Picnik at picnikaustin.com & follow them on Instagram @PicnikAustin to keep up with the latest.


Chocolate Milkshake Day: The Austin way

There is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate
— Charles Dickens

We couldn't pass up the opportunity to celebrate National Milkshake Day on September 12th...

so we made our own chocolate shake the ATX way..with Austin's own Lick Ice Cream of course! With fall quickly approaching, it was a no brainer to pair the chocolate base with two of our favorite summer produce items while they're still in season. Get your sweet tooth ready for this DIY shake that only takes 5 minutes to whip up! 


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Ingredients:

  • 1 pint of Lick's Dark Chocolate with Olive Oil & Sea Salt Ice Cream

  • Basil (finely chopped)

  • 10 Raspberries

  • 5.3 oz Coconut Milk Yogurt Alternative (Can also use coconut milk or a dairy product if preferred. We chose this option for the slight coconut taste and added thickness to the shake.)


    (Super, duper easy) Directions:

    • Grab a medium sized bowl for mixing

    • Toss pint of ice cream and coconut milk into bowl

    • Fold in basil and raspberries, making sure to smash apart raspberries in the process

    • Pour shake into two separate glasses

    • Top with fancy straw and start sippin'!

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    Beat the Heat: A roundup of how our featured #WCWs and Maker Mondays stay cool in Austin

    Summer's winding down but, in true Texas fashion, it's 101° outside and putting on your seatbelt is still a game of hot lava. You're already a regular at Barton Springs and Lake Travis and you've hit up the ice cream shops more times than you can count. What else can you do to beat the heat other than crawl into a never-ending Netflix & AC hole?
    "Chillllll"-- we've gotcha covered! Here's how a few Austinites featured in our #WCW's and Maker Mondays series are keeping their cool and feeding their soul at the same time. 


     

    "My favorite treat in Austin would have to be at @ThaiFresh. A sweet rice ball heated up in a bowl with a scoop of Thai tea flavored ice cream right on top. It's one of the best desserts I've ever tried."

    --@HannahParksDesign, Austin-based jewelry designer

     


    White Pomegranate Thai Ice Cream with Sticky Rice from Thai Fresh

    White Pomegranate Thai Ice Cream with Sticky Rice from Thai Fresh

    "Crystal Lake Chamomile Ale at @4thtap, paletas from the paletero who cruises down my street, bubble tea from Coco's Cafe, or the screw-mosa from @staygoldaustin."

    --Alicia Jones, owner of @AmuricaTX


    Photo Credit; @helloitstello

    Photo Credit; @helloitstello

    "There's nothing like a frosty beverage to cool ya off when you're hot. I'll open the fridge and snag a Marco IPA from @ZilkerBeer of if I'm for something a lil lighter, you can't go wrong with @TitosVodka and @TopoChicoUSA."

    --@ArloBush, co-founder of @NorthernFirBeard


    "To start a summer day off in ATX you can’t go wrong with a chilled mason jar brimming with @chameleoncoldbrew. After polishing off a few tacos for lunch I want nothing more than to sip on a icy cold, bubbling @topochicousa. In the evening, my go-to treat to beat the heat is my all time favorite beer, @liveoakbrewing’s hefeweizen!"

    --@ChloeJaneMade, Austin-based watercolor illustrator


    "I'm addicted to cold brew, so I'm going to say that first and foremost. Otherwise, coffee mochi from @Michi_Ramen or coffee ice cream from @SweetRitual. (Can you tell I like coffee?) And OF COURSE @LichasCantina’s super-dirty martini because I inhale about a jar of olives everyday and that ish is FRESH."

    -- @DahliaDanda, Art Director @WomenOfVenus, Online Content Producer at @Statesman and a Freelance Write for @DailyDot


    "We have a weakness for Cold Cookie Company. Our favorite treat to cool off is their "Unshakes" or a unique ice cream sandwich. We usually give the employee full rein to make whatever fun specialty they're feeling that week, and we always leave in a sugar-induced happy daze."

    --xo, ashley & becky, @atx.and.o


    Campfire S'mores Unshake from Cold Cookie Company

    Campfire S'mores Unshake from Cold Cookie Company

    #WCW: Meet the founder of #bossbabesATX, Jane Claire Hervey

    Jane Claire Hervey

    founder of #bossbabesATX


    We took some time to meet with our forever #WCW and asked her 7 top-of-mind questions around the intersections of women, creative industry & Austin


    1. What brought you to Austin and what led you to found #bossbabesATX?

    I originally came to Austin from the Rio Grande Valley in 2011 to pursue a Bachelor's in Journalism at the University of Texas. I was a #coolnerd in college (or so I like to think), so I completed my degree a bit early and worked all through school. By the time I graduated I had a full-fledged freelance career and a solid background in content marketing. I began to take jobs in the start-up/media world, and I found myself searching for resources and peers who understood me (and also friends—sometimes we forget how much a good time can impact our professional lives and our wellbeing). This pressure (whether self-imposed or the result of external forces) led me to interview women in creative industry I admired about their jobs and what they wanted from the world; I was surprised they felt as equally disconnected as I did. 

    With these conversations swirling around me, I decided to host the first #bossbabesATX meet. From there, it just grew into the space I never knew I needed—a space that could cultivate conversation, commerce and community between hard-working, multi-faceted women. A space in which women were not required to be complete. A space in which we could explore the complexities of being human, perpetual works in progress. A space that's accessible in both finance and concept. A space for feminism applied. It's been a two-year journey in what I'm sure will be a lifetime of discovery.

    2. How do you define a #bossbabe?

    Any woman navigating the patriarchy and making it work, embracing both her strengths and her weaknesses. Single mamas, entrepreneurs, grandmothers, side hustlers, artists, creatives, etc.

    3. The mission statement for #bossbabesATX speaks to our souls with its dedication to the intersections of female empowerment and the arts in Austin. Tell us your favorite story (either your own or from a member) that exemplifies the positive impact of your organization's mission.

    I really believe that "empowerment" is not making others feel good—it's sharing with others in a way that supports them in a way that's actionable. Stories about finding a job or starting a business through our organization (this sort of networking even happens at our festivals; it's beyond our bimontly meet-ups) are probably my favorite. There's an intimacy in finding your bread and butter through human, face-to-face interaction. I get to listen to those stories often, and it's heartwarming. 


    "I really believe that 'empowerment' is not making others feel good—it's sharing with others in a way that supports them in a way that's actionable."


    4. How can our followers get involved with #bossbabesATX?

    Attend an event! If you're not into networking, come to one of our discussion programs or festival programs. You can also volunteer as tribute to one of our events (jk—just volunteer) or donate to our work at bossbabes.org.

    5. We use the word "auspiration" to describe the same type of community inspiration and connection that #bossbabesATX fosters. Where do you go to be "auspired"?

    I usually go wherever my friends are playing or showcasing work (many of my friends are artists—I'm also a musician). Most of my nights are spent at galleries or at bars listening to others perform.

    6. What's the best advice you've ever received?

    When life gets tough, take the stairs. One of my professors relayed this to me in college, as we walked down the stairs after class one day, and I didn't quite get what he meant. I think I do now; taking life step-by-step is much more rewarding than demanding your immediate transportation to the next level.

    7. And just for fun... what's your fave ATX treat to beat the heat?

    A rusa from Hay Elotes. Yuuuum.


    Learn more about #bossbabesATX at bossbabes.org & follow Jane's happenings @byjaneclaire on Instagram.




    Smash Cake: Our 1000th follower celebration!

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     Y'all-- it happened. We hit 1,000 followers!! To celebrate us reaching this milestone together, we came up with a treat as creative, bright and fun as all of you…a Smash Cake! 

    What's a Smash Cake?

    It's a hollow candy dome filled with sweet treats inside that you break open to enjoy.

    And trust us...it's just as fun as it sounds! 


    Ingredients:

    • 3 bags of Candy Melts (8 ounces each) in colors of your choice
    • 2-3 plain balloons
      • Make sure they don't have words/images on them as that'll come off on the dome)
    • Smash Cake fillers of your choice
      • Small, bright treats work well to create a colorful, voluminous smash.
    • Toppings of your choice
      • We recommend picking an overall color story and theme and choosing toppings that add various heights and textures. The perfect Smash Cake needs layers- and lots of them!

    Directions:

    • Melt 2 bags of candy melts in a microwave safe bowl.
    • Blow up a balloon while the candy melts cool to room temperature. The balloon size will determine the size of your dome. We blew ours up 3/4 of the way for reference.
    • Slowly dip the balloon in the candy melt until a dome shape has formed. Heads' up-- you want to go slowly so that the balloon adjusts to the heat of the candy melt and doesn't pop!
    • Stick the balloon on wax paper and stick in the fridge for 5-10 minutes until hardened.
    • Make a small slice in the balloon near the knot and slowly let out air, peeling the balloon from the sides of the dome until the full balloon is removed. 
    • Stack your fillers on your serving dish and cover with the candy dome.
    • Melt the last candy melt bag in a microwave safe dish. Use the candy melt as "glue" to decorate the outside of the candy dome with your toppings. 
    • Find something fun to smash the cake! Make sure to get it on camera and tag @atx.and.o in your post. We'd love to see your creations! Check out out smash here
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    Thank you all for your support to help grow the atx&o family. You #auspire us and the Austin community more than you know with your creativity and kindness. Happy Smashing!