While walking around downtown a few weeks ago. The JW Marriott is in full swing and there’s a new restaurant in the lobby – Corner! True to its name, it sits on the corner of 2nd and Congress with an amazing wrap around patio.

We had some margaritas, tacos, and chicken sandwiches. All the food was excellent. As is expected of a hotel restaurant, it was a little pricey. However, everyone was satisfied with the food (the chicken sandwich was SO good) and no one complained when the bill arrived. I’d certainly go back!

1886 Cafe and Bakery

Last fall, my mom and I were downtown at the Pecan Street Festival and were mesmerized by the beautiful Driskill Hotel. We wandered inside and ooed and awed at the elaborate architecture. It was built in 1886 by Mr. Driskill for $400,000. Inside, the hotel has a cute little bakery called the 1886 Cafe and Bakery. We were drawn to it immediately! It was later in the day though, and we already ate, so we had to take a rain check.

Fast forward six months later to the spring 2015 Pecan Street Festival. This time, my mom and I planned our day around brunch at the Driskill. Plan accordingly! We got there at 10am and it was already packed. We had to wait about 40 minutes. It wasn’t a big deal though – we killed time by exploring the hotel’s common areas.

The food was excellent, priced well, and the service was wonderful. I had a beautifully cooked over-easy egg, with potatoes (regular, sweet, and purple – can you say perfection?) and sausage links. My mom got a cute Texas waffle with fresh fruit. Of course, no breakfast is complete without coffee. Basically, we started planning out return visit the second we left! If you’re ever downtown, I would recommend a meal at 1886 Cafe and Bakery. You get the benefit of dining in an upscale location, without the upscale cost.

Product and Food

Have you seen my collection of Food and Product photography?
It has it’s own page:

Tiny Pies

The cute cupcake trend has hit new heights – gourmet individual tiny pies. I thought this was such a cool idea, so I went to Tiny Pies on Burnet Road to try them out for myself. They were great! I definitely liked the fruit pies more than the sweeter pies though.

The front of the shop is painted wonderfully. I believe they have finished it since I took these photos.

I got two pies: Peanut Butter Cup and Cherry. Cherry was definitely better. Loved their fruit pies!

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Tiny Pies

St. Philip

FINALLY. I have found good pizza in Austin. For being such a foodie city, I have not been impressed with the pizza scene. Now, there are some people out there who are pizza fanatics/snobs and I’m definitely not one of those. Pizza has always tasted the same to my unrefined palette: good. But what I’ve tried in Austin so far has left me wanting more. My favorite pizza comes from the California chain Me-N-Ed’s, and since I can’t get that anymore, I’ve had to find a new favorite place. So far, every Austin chain I’ve tried was disappointing.

Then, I tried St. Philip Pizza Parlor + Bakeshop. Boom. Delicious pizza, located off the 290/71 frontage road near Brodie Lane.

I built my own pizza, with goat cheese and mixed vegetables, and loved every bite of it! The dough is buttery and garlic-y. It’s on the thinner side, but the rim crust is nice and doughy. With my pizza (note to self: they are definitely large enough to share). I ordered a cold brew Cuvee coffee. It was good, but a little too strong for my taste. I’m sure it’s high quality coffee, but it was a little overwhelming to drink.

Sharing the space with St. Philip Pizza Parlor is the Bakeshop. Before leaving, we picked up a few pastries. They also have soft serve ice cream. Also, I liked the sign that said “Exit through the bakeshop.” I’m not sure if that’s meant to be purely instructional, but it reminded me of “Exit Through the Gift Shop” and I enjoyed that. Always love a little Banksy.

So, if you’ve new to Austin and are struggling to find pizza you enjoy, try St. Philip. My only complaint is that the don’t deliver!

Austinites: What’s your favorite pizza place?

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Monument Cafe

We’re branching out today and exploring Georgetown! It’s a cute little city just north of Austin. My family and I went to walk some trails at San Gabriel Park and, as we usually do, had lunch afterwards.

We ate at the Monument Cafe. It’s a cute diner that serves breakfast all day long. My kind of place! Immediately upon arriving, I came across several things I liked. They have a large, free parking lot, first of all. When we walked in, they were very busy, but said the wait was about 15 minutes. Then, they took my phone number to text me when our table was ready. I thought that was pretty cool! Even better, I could download an app (on their free wifi) to check our place in line. I found this very useful because I’m the kind of person who thinks, “We should definitely be next, I can’t believe those people went before us!” At Monument Cafe, I can just consult the app, instead of bombarding the staff like I usually do. But, I didn’t even get a chance to download the app! Our 15 minute wait time turned out to be more like 5 minutes.

The service was quick and they always had my coffee cup filled. I have a thing with drinks – they should always be full! I basically base my tipping on how attentive the waiter was to my drink. After we sat down, we received a basket of biscuits! Free biscuits! How cool is that?

I ordered a waffle with creme brûlée bananas. It was delicious and dessert-like. As most diners are, the food was very affordable. I certainly enjoyed my trip.

I’m not the only one who likes the Monument Cafe. They were featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives!

The city of Georgetown is somewhere I need to explore more. It has an old, cute downtown filled with mom and pop antique stores. Are you familiar with Georgetown? What do I need to see on my next trip!

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The Monument Cafe

Snack Bar

I think South Congress is the coolest place. Everyone has an opinion on SoCo, but personally, I’m always looking for opportunities to visit. There are a bunch of unique shops, ranging from vintage clothing, to rare books, to straight up bizarre home decor. There is also a wide variety of food, including Amy’s Ice Cream, Home Slice, and Jo’s Coffee.

Something I’ve always loved about Austin is its abundance of patio seating. I’ve had my eye on Snack Bar for a while because of this. They have a great, retro looking patio, complete with fire places and a bar. It faces SoCo, so it is perfect for people watching, too.

Brian and I stopped by for some drinks and appetizers last weekend. I got an Apricot Cha-Cha, which was SO delicious. I still catch myself thinking of it. It has sparkling wine, apricot purée, cinnamon, brown sugar, and other spices. For food, we tried the baked mac and cheese and buffalo wings. As Brian said, the wings were “very fancy.” With a complex mix of spices and peanut toppings, they certainly were very fancy. Not your typical sports bar wings here! As always, the mac and cheese was great too. When is mac and cheese bad?

Snack Bar is pretty active on their Instagram. Follow them @SnackBarAustin.

(This is my 100th post! Hurray! Thanks for sticking around.)