Category Archives: Yum

Coffee worth quacking about

So Becky and I have this thing. She really likes coffee. And I really like baked goods. And exploring. And chai tea. And music. And studying not in my dorm room or in the study lounge. So like I said … Becky and I have this thing — we go to coffee house and make an attempt to visit a new one as often as possible.

I’ve been hearing about Quack’s for a while now, especially from Zephyr (remember her? She modeled for my Daily Texan piece!) and I finally got around to visiting it last Thursday.

I should’ve known I would love this place. It’s Hyde Park, it’s quirky, and they have an amazing array of baked goods. So much win. I got a piece of tiramisu that was really a part of a giant round tiramisu layer cake! None of this little bar cake slice thing. It was delicious and definitely worth the couple hundred some odd calories it was likely packing. The decor is colorful in a way that sort of reminded me of 90’s Nickelodeon (a la Rocko’s Modern Life, yes?)

Even the bathroom is cool, and the bulletin board next to it entertained me for literally 5 or 6 minutes. I love those boards in dives all over Austin. They remind me of the wealth of things to see and do in Austin and the myriad of creative people who are making their mark here in the ATX. It’s inspiring if not a little overwhelming at the same time.

Worth noting — they have armadillo shaped cookies. Guys, let’s get real here; This is an amazing commodity. Only in Texas.

My only issue with Quack’s, the wireless was really tricky to connect with. You had to make a username and password and sign up for this service and wait for the confirmation email and yadda yadda yadda … but it really didn’t take too long and once you were connected there wasn’t much of a problem or lag.

The staff was friendly, the food was delish, and the atmosphere was definitely great as well.  It’s a nice change of pace to go up North to Hyde Park instead of always exploring downtown, and it serves as yet another display of the amazing capability of Austin to retain a duplicity of urban city life and quirky small town. I love it.


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Le Café Crepe

Le Café Crepe on 200 2nd Street is truly tres merveilleux, especially because I only accidentally visited!

While roaming together around downtown, my friend Michelle got an unexpected job interview at one of those ritzy restaurants on Second Street. While I waited on her, I saw this dude:

And being a francophile decided to pop in for a cappuccino. I was pleased to find that they offered a super affordable and easily deciphered coffee menu, ranging from only $1.50 to $3. The café was small and homey, with beautiful glass picture windows on both sides that showed off the downtown views. The room glowed with a warm amber tint, and copper pots and pans hung from the ceiling. There’s even a glass wall so you can watch your homemade crépes as they’re born into handmade existence in a twee yellow kitchen that looks like its straight out of a Hyde Park apartment.

I talked to the crepe maker of the moment, Julienne, for a few minutes about the store.  She told me that the store is owned and operated by two French immigrants who opened the store about a year ago; right before SXSW last year. They also own an antique shop on Lamar (that one with the giant iron Eiffel Tower in front of it, of course!) Julienne’s been working at Le Crepe Café since August and her favorite part about the store is that it provides customers with an authentic french experience.

“The owners haven’t compromised crepes to make them more Texan. They are tasty and still appeal to the customer but are authentically French.”

Julienne recommends the Greek crepe with spinach, feta, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, and pine nuts if you’re craving something savory and the cinnamon sugar crepe (“Because I love when the smell fills the whole store!”) if you’re craving something sweet. The crepe menu runs around $7 or $8 for each crepe and the cafe also has a variety of cold drinks and soups as well.

Cute, inexpensive, homey, and French! The store reminded me of all the great crepe parties we’d have during high school french class, creatively stuffing them with blueberries, strawberries, banana, butter, cinnamon, powdered sugar, chocolate syrup, peanut butter, jelly,  and especially NUTELLA. Le Cafe Crepe offered all of these ingredients and even more. Nom nom nom … Oh Le Cafe Crepe, je t’aime.

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Halcyon … and on … and on …

S’mores? Yum!
Camping in January? Effing cold. Even in ATX.
Solution? Halcyon’s Personal S’more Station!

Halcyon is a coffee shop, bar, and lounge on 4th street in between Congress and Lavaca. But more popular than any drink on the menu is the unique dessert choice that Halcyon is serving up: Personal S’mores stations delivered to your seat in increments of 2 or 4 servings. Each station is complete with indivudally wrapped graham crackers, Hershey bars, giant marshamallows, wooden skewers, and a teeny wittle fire pit with which to roast them. It. Is. Genius. It’s the sort of thing that makes people facepalm and say: “Why didn’t I think of that?”

Halcyon (as in the Halcyon Days) is an appropriate moniker for this place — what could possibly bring more tranquility and joy than a safe haven to eat fire-roasted s’mores without all that campfire business? The groovy music taste (Coconut Records anyone?), modern minimalist furnishings and enormous velvet pillows in cantaloupe orange and honeydew green add to the hip and relaxed atmosphere.

Kelly, Ariel, Becky and I went for a Thursday’s girl’s night and gossip session á la “Sex and the City”. I can proudly say that I was labeled the Carrie in the group (huzzah!) with Kelly coming in as the sassy Samantha, Ariel as the reasonable Miranda, and Becky as the slightly naive Charlotte. Oodles of superficial girly talk ensued, and everyone ended up with gooey marshmallow all over their fingers or face at some point. Definitely a successful night.

Halcyon is located at 218 West 4th Street.

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Ode to the Waffle Cart

Oxymoronic, define it– I waffle.
Single solid circular perimeter framing
Copious cubic crevices
Crevices collecting amber sweet
Firm and golden outer dresses
Modesty of sensitive pillowed white
Inside — Moved on site

Aye, waffle!
Renegade lover out on the road
Like a missionary, venturing out to the abyss
To sell the waffle beyond the abode
It is both a muse and a canvas
Receptive to the whims goute de jour
Fruit and sweet adorned

Lay it all on me, the vessel, — I, waffle,
Saturday morning commercials show
Like Helen, historically warred for
There is little propensity to just l’eggo
Without greater tussle of war
Universally craved, loved, esteemed
As simple and modest it may seem

Its fair to say: Life would be awful
In a world without the waffle.

And if that wasn’t enough waffle for ya, here’s some food porn:

Photos courtesy of flickr

Why the waffle inspired post? There’s a little waffle cart just off of campus called Austin Waffles. I think it would be rather nifty to be a waffle monger, so I sent them an email inquiring about job openings and decided that a sardonic (*cough* I mean SERIOUS) poem would make an impression.

Ain’t she a beaut?

Austin Waffles is located at 2316 San Antonio, across the street from the Starbucks behind the Drag.

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