Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Galaxy Cafe

1000 West Lynn
Austin, TX 78703

My boyfriend loves his typical American breakfast. So much, in fact, that we have a tradition on the weekends of seeking it out. The options in his current town of Fort Worth are not so great. When we are in Fort Worth we alternate between Paris Coffee House- his favorite greasy spoon, Spiral Diner - my favorite FW establishment (the town's vegan restaurant), and just giving up and cooking at home. There are a few others, like Ol' South Pancake House and the ever present IHOP/Denny's choice; but my experiences there have been less than noteworthy. Like finding a peice of comb in my omelette at Denny's, or the tub o' bacon a waitress brought us at Ol' South, crumbled greasy and cold. The bacon that is, although one could argue the waitress was too.

But this blog is not about Fort Worth. It's about Austin. And when we go for breakfast in Austin we usually default to the Galaxy Cafe. We've tried other places, but this is our favorite. First of all, we can walk from my house which is always a plus. But other than that, the food is always tasty, the menu is varied and well priced, you can sit outside on a pretty day, the atmosphere is perfect for brunch, the decor is stylish and hip but not pretentious, and the range of people that frequent Galaxy includes almost everyone. On a typical day you will find students, artists, yuppies and the Clarksville hipster family set all sitting under the same roof.

Often you even see the owner putting around the place. He's a tall lanky guy in glasses in his early 30s that looks like more of a graphic designer type than a restauranteur. This explains in my mind why the style of the restaurant is accented by sleek retro starbursts and strategically gathered circular shaped mirrors.

This past weekend we met up with our good friends Leslie and Neighbor Joel (not to be confused with Joel from the Kenobi blog) after a round of tennis for a late brunch. Galaxy serves brunch until 4 on the weekends, which is a good thing since by the time we got over moving and got our exercise it was well after 2.

At Galaxy Cafe, you order at a counter. There are two menus to look at as you wait in line: a brunch menu and a lunch/dinner menu. I studied the menu intensely, deciding today I was going to order something different. The French Toast Sticks are delicious. They are made from whole wheat and the sweet sticky syrup is enough to send anyone on a major sugar rush. The quiche is made fresh daily and comes in spinach feta or leek & canadian bacon. You can order the french breakfast- a slice of quiche, fresh fruit and ciabatta or multi-grain toast. The hot veggie wrap on the lunch menu is excellent, as is the bowtie pesto pasta. And any dish that comes with fries or a side can subsitute sweet potato fries for 75 cents.

The roasted tomato soup is also a personal favorite of mine, although the last time I had it I got a tummy ache from the heavy cream. If I were a seafood eater, I would order the Hot Shrimp Salad with Baby Spinach ($8.95) which involves shrimp sautéed in olive oil & crushed red pepper over a bed of baby spinach, toasted pine nuts, hard boiled eggs & roasted red bell pepper. Served with warm honey sweetened vinaigrette.

Alas, I was coming to the front of the line, so I impulsively defaulted to my old standby, the Mediterranean Breakfast. Sometimes my man and I split the dish and get an extra side item, but that day he made it clear that he wanted his own breakfast all to himself. And who could blame him? We had worked up quite an appetite on the tennis courts and it was well past lunch time, much less breakfast.

3 Mediterranean Breakfasts and a Chicken Salad Sandwich with Turkey Chili for Joel, the anti-breakfast man.

We sat at a table inside since the place was a little crowded. The coffee is good by American standards as American coffee is well known for being weak. Our food arrived out of sync, because we had ordered seperately as couples. Joel and Leslie watched on as Lach and I tried not to pick at our food.

Luckily, their food was not far behind. The majority of our plates (the Mediterranean Breakfast) contained scrambled eggs with fresh roma tomatoes, feta cheese and basil, Ciabatta toast and a cup of fruit. It was arranged attractively and accompanied by a selection of jams and butter for the table to share. The eggs were fluffy and the fruit and Ciabatta bread were fresh. Joel's sandwich was so big that he could only eat half of it. He complimented the turkey chili, adding that he couldn't even tell it was turkey. Apparently, he's a beef chili kinda guy.

We chatted about skiing and the vehicle Joel was wanting to purchase as we devoured our food. Usually, this amount of food would be more than enough for me, but today I was voracious, so I did something out of character and headed back to the counter to order a side of macaroni and cheese. It arrived quickly and I dug in as my boyfriend wondered what had gotten into me to cause such an appetite. The macaroni was good, but I had regret for choosing it over the bowtie pasta.

I finished my pasta and we stumbled out into the bright Austin sunshine to say our goodbyes. We all agreed that it had been a fantastic meal.

Overall: Excellent food in a great atmosphere for decent prices. Good for a casual meal on a weeknight or lunch, but even better for brunch.

Laura - 10

Update: Over the past 6 months I have seen a serious decline in the quality of the food at Galaxy Cafe. I think there must be a new cook because the eggs do not come out the same as they used to. Lately they have been a bit overdone and choppy rather than fluffy. This past weekend I went there and ordered a breakfast burrito with mozzarella, spinach and mushrooms. It was awful and overpriced. They used canned mushrooms folks! ick! And the coffee.... not so good either. Anyway, I'm knocking their rating down to a 7.

Overall: Great atmosphere and staff, nice menu selection, but poor quality ingredients. Execution is lacking.

Laura ~ 7