Tuesday, December 16, 2014

1886 Cafe & Bakery, Austin TX

If you're in downtown Austin, the 1886 Cafe & Bakery is the place for breakfast.  Not cheap, but great gourmet food for a reasonable price.  By the way, nothing is cheap in downtown Austin.  Paid $3.50 for a grocery store taco.  No, for downtown Austin, the 1886 is a good deal, really good deal!  Breakfasts plates run between $11-13, and that's par with top items on just about any breakfast menu.

This is a bakery so just about all of their breads are made in house.  Perhaps not the bagels. There is a continental breakfast for those who want to taste a sampling of their pastries.  For more information go to http://www.1886cafeandbakery.com.

The 1886 Cafe & Bakery is located on the side of the famed Driskill Hotel on the corner of 6th Street and Brazos.  Just go west on 6th off of I-35 till you find the hotel.  And don't ask me about parking.

Bread Pudding French Toast:

Did I say gourmet food?  Here is a heavy dish for you dieting tree-huggers: Texas toast bread pudding with rum raisins and pecan caramel.  Circling around this scrumptious dish are fresh berries and bananas.  Then topped with powdered sugar.  Can't see the sugar for the butter I put on top.  Some people put too much butter on French toast.  I'm one of those people.

Croque Madame:

Croque Monsieur, step aside.  This scrumptious dish is on the lunch menu, hence the home-fried chips, but I still consider this breakfast.  Probably a slip-up on the part of the chef.  This wondrous sandwich is a combination of shaved ham and melted gruyere cheese, and this is only the beginning.  The bread is house-baked brioche, but every bread is housed baked here.  Then the sandwich is topped with pepper-jack mornay sauce and a sunny-side up egg (the egg is what make's it breakfast for me).

A mornay sauce is made from flour dissolved in butter and thinned with heavy cream with some sort of cheese added.  It's an easy sauce to make at home in a small skillet on a low fire.

Traditional Eggs Benedict:

You know the recipe: two poached eggs with Canadian bacon served on an English muffin and topped with a hollandaise sauce.  I forgot what that orange drop of stuff is on top of the hollandaise.  I usually add Tabasco sauce to my hollandaise to spike it a little.  The bakery also does a Paris Texas Benedict which is served on a house-made croissant with shaved ham and brie cheese.  Don't know how I missed this one.

A quick and easy way to make a hollandaise sauce is to mix egg yolks with lemon juice in a blender and then add melted butter to the mixture for one final swirl.  Some make the sauce in a double boiler, but I just do it directly on the fire, adding butter as I need it and moving the pot in and out of the fire until the consistency is runny, but thick.

Quiche Lorraine: 

This dish is made with cage-free eggs whatever that means ... probably has something to do with the chickens roaming free and nothing to do with the taste.  Must be labor intensive, trying to find where the hens dropped their eggs.

The crust on this quiche is house made, and the house adds local bacon (probably cage-free as well) gruyere cheese.  This place really likes the gruyere.  That spicy sweet sauce on the side added a great tang to the meal.  At first I thought that the fresh greens were garnish, but then I took a small cut with my next bite of quiche and wow.  The crunchy from the greens combined nicely with the soft feel of the quiche.  Reminded me of the Vietnamese serving lettuce with fried spring rolls.

Healthy Alternatives:

Not shown or discussed are healthy alternatives such as steel-cut oatmeal, sliced fruit plate, and Driskill granola ... because I generally don't eat that stuff for breakfast.  All these plates are cheaper too ... probably because not too many others are eating that stuff as well.

Guys, all joking aside, I eat healthy at home, try not to eat out at night, and enjoy my breakfasts when I do eat out.  And generally when I have a really heavy breakfast, I have a lite lunch and a salad for dinner.  Unless you have serious medical conditions, splurge and enjoy a great meal out from time to time.  And the best meal in my opinion is breakfast ... but I'm the Breakfast Bro.

I am not going to the 1886 Cafe and Bakery and ordering granola!

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