Thursday, November 29, 2007


5207 Brodie Lane, Suite 120
Sunset Valley, Tx
Phone: 512-899-9500

I’m going to write a quick review about a chain restaurant that’s new to Austin, Cosi (there’s an accent on the i and it’s pronounced cozy). Well, their website says they’re a chain, but I’ve never heard of them before. It just opened a month ago on the south side of town at the new shopping center by Brodie and 290. I have to admit that for a chain, I LOVE their food. Its my guilty secret, but I probably eat there at least once a week for lunch. The atmosphere is ok. It is a chain restaurant in a strip mall. There are several nice booths, but I hardly ever eat in. They serve mostly sandwiches, a few pizzas, and breakfast (though I haven’t gotten their breakfast yet).

What I have to rave about is their bread. It is seriously awesome. They have a “rustic white” and an “Etruscan wheat” (supposedly an ancient recipe handed down, whatever), and both are equally good. They are cooked in a wood oven right in the restaurant (really, you can watch). The white is a thick, crispy, yet chewy, slightly salty flatbread even the pickiest eater would love. The Etruscan wheat, though is my favorite. Its every bit as wonderful as the white, but it is definitely whole grain. You can even see bit of grain in the bread. I could make a meal of the bread alone. It is that good. The other thing I love there is the turkey. We’re not talking sliced, processed deli turkey. We’re talking large juicy, delicious chunks of fresh turkey breast. The toasted turkey and cheddar sandwich has become my usual there.

Their sandwiches are excellent. I haven’t had a bad one yet. They sometimes sound a little off (a Chicken Masala Indian sandwich? Huh?) but they always taste excellent. The Turkey Delight sandwich (without the cheese) is a healthy and filling way to eat lunch. The Chicken Masala, though odd, is probably one of the best sandwiches on the menu. The Asian Chicken is always very good and healthy with large lovely pieces of chicken tossed in an Asian vinaigrette. Probably my favorite, though it is not the healthiest is the turkey, bacon, cheddar melt. It is truly orgasmic. Fresh chunks of turkey, bits of smoky bacon, a thick cheddar cheese, and toped off with a rich tangy honey mustard. Yum.

They even have dessert. Smores! I know, how can they have smores, you ask? Well they bring out a mound of fluffy marshmallows, a bar of hershey’s, a stack of graham crackers, and a sterno “pu-pu” platter-style burner. I got the smores the first time I went to cosi. I was having a bad day and wanted an easy dinner (that I didn’t have to make). The hominess of the smores instantly attracted me. I had to have them (smores and rice crispy treats are a particular weakness of mine). Cosi had literally just opened the week before and they didn’t quite have the kinks worked out. I ordered the smores with my sandwich and the boy behind the counter asked if I went the smores now or after my meal. I opted for after my meal. I had a lovely meatball flatbread sandwich, but I was interrupted not once, but twice by the pimply faced boy asking if I wanted my smores yet. Didn’t he see I was still eating?? When I was finally finished, I expected said pimply faced boy to come running out with my smores, but I waited and waited, and he never appeared. I guess he got sick of me yelling at him (did I mention I’d had a bad day?). When I did finally track him down, he brought those smores out on the double.

They arrived in a cute little tray with the little sterno cauldron in the middle. The graham crackers were neatly stacked, the marshmallows (which I think might have been homemade – not packaged) were heartily mounded on one side of the tray, and a big bar of hershey’s was next to the marshmallows. I wanted to dig in and get my smores on, but it had been years since I’d actually had a smore and I could not, for the life of me, figure out how to make them. I applied my highly honed engineering mind to the problem and eventually decided that I needed to place a graham cracker on the sterno grill, and put a marshmallow on top of the graham cracker. That way the graham cracker would get all toasty and the marshmallow would get warm enough to melt. I did this with one and it turned out suitably well. I even managed to flip the graham cracker once with my fingers before putting a marshmallow on. Though I do remember thinking to myself “man, this is really dangerous! I almost burned my finger trying to flip that graham cracker”. But, the ooey gooey rewards of a tasty smore had me hooked. So I tried it again. I put a graham cracker on the sterno grill, after a minute I quickly tried grabbing it with my fingers to flip it. Only, the graham cracker had gotten stuck to the grill. I was really confused! How the hell were you supposed to cook these bastards? I tried flicking the graham cracker off the grill, but by this point it was thoroughly fused the grill. It quickly turned a black sooty color and starting to smoke.. a lot.. Then the graham cracker burst into a poof of flame. People all over the restaurant were looking and pointing at the little fire I had created at my table.

At this point, I realized I needed professional help. I ran up to the counter and was greeted by a pimply faced teenager. “Can I help you?” he asked, his post-pubescent voice cracking. I told him I thought my smores had caught on fire. He stared at my blankly then realized I was asking him to put the fire out. He looked around the counter and grabbed the only two utensils lying around - a paper napkin and a plastic knife I didn’t think either one of those would be very useful in a fire, but – hey - it’s his problem. When he saw the burning graham cracker I on my table, he quickly abandoned the knife and napkin, grabbed the tray of smores and walked off. I started to wonder if this happened often, if this was just a fluke, or whether I had done something seriously wrong.

The pimply faced boy returned a few minutes later with his manager. They had brought a whole new tray of smores for me! But this time I was really leery of the burning napalm smores. How was I supposed to avoid harming myself? That’s when the manager produced two wooden skewers that had been missing from the last tray. It all clicked into place. I was supposed to use these skewers to roast the marshmallows over the grill.. I got it! I guess I’ve lived in the suburbs too long and had forgotten that there is an integral piece of hardware one needs in order to make smores. I happily used the skewers this time and made myself a whole batch of wonderful gooey smores. Next time I won’t forget the skewers….

Authors Note: I am sad to announce that Cosi has closed its Doors after only 9 months of business. I'll miss their flat bread. Sniffle.

Mariah - 9.5