Last month we spent a weekend in Austin.

Both days were pleasantly warm and sunny, allowing for several walks along Town Lake, around the University campus and through downtown. We enjoyed German pastry Zagat rated diner burgers Texas BBQ puffy tacos well-missed Wisconsin brews and antipasti in the hotel room. Plus wine wine and more wine

But it was the lingering autumn colors that made me smile most.

A few other things that make me smile:

+ rich, smoky chicken braised with ancho chilies and homemade corn tortillas to sop up the liquid

+ streaming classical holiday music

+ the simplicity of homemade Baileys even though I think ours is fermenting after only two days — it’s got a kick!

+ three Christmas-y recipes I have to bake at some point in the future

+ a stellar December issue of Saveur Magazine that kept me turning pages and hungry for country ham Gujarati cuisine Swedish desserts and a trip to Basel during Fasnacht

What makes you smile these days?