Monday, March 31, 2008

Cafe Mundi

1704 E Fifth St
Austin, TX 78702
Phone: (512) 236-8634

Saturday morning the boyfriend and I went out in search of some breakfast. After flipping through a book of Austin restaurants that Mariah gave me for my birthday for recommendations, we were eager to try Azul on the east side. So we got in the car and drove over to East Cesar Chavez to find a cute but empty little building with a fun patio and a sign in the window announcing that the establishment was closed- for good. What a shame, it looked fun.

We consulted the book for other east side places - we were already there afterall- and chose Cafe Mundi on East Fifth Street. I started driving north towards East Fifth, and was a little bit curious when i turned down a narrow road bordered by a graffitied railroad track. As I drove down the street, I started to notice people wandering around outside. Something was definately going on.

We parked at the Cafe Mundi sign and got out of the car. We then realized that there was a bike fair in the area between the cafe and a hair salon and that the place was crawling with granola biking hipsters.

We made our way through the terrifically landscaped garden full of banana trees and flowers and into the actual cafe itself. The menu was limited for a restaurant, but extensive enough for the coffee shop vibe we were getting from the place. We scanned through the sandwiches, migas, bagels, coffee and beer selections and ordered a double latte, a plate of migas, and a lox bagel plate from a severely spastic barista. I repeated my order three times to her upon her request, and tossed in a fourth confirmation at the end- just to make sure.

Lach was feeling a bit queezy, so he went outside to find a table while I continued to deal with the barista. The latte was delicious. We drank it outside while soaking up the sun in the calming beautiful garden that reminded us of our recent trip to Mexico and began people watching. Trust me- there was some interesting people watching to be had. The 50-something massage therapist wearing a grateful dead shirt, dreadlocked ladies intensely focused on notebooks, a Canadian couple with one of those daddy over the shoulder slings for their newborn and the yuppie friend that accompanied them. Girls that looked very normal, save a streak of purple hair, or prominant tattoo. And bikes all around.

Our food arrived, and well. Damn. Lach's lox plate looked so much better than my migas and corn chips. They were out of bagels so they substituted foccacia bread for his plate to accompany the lox, cucumbers, cream cheese, tomatoes, olives and capers. He ate every bite, save a few cucumbers and olives that I stole. My migas were edible, but mildly stiff and uninspiring.

We got a second coffee to go (Hey, we split the first one, so really that's just one a piece!) and left feeling just a little too corporate for the place. I loved the atmosphere- I was just afraid someone was going to ask us what we did for a living!

Overall: beautiful garden, hipster atmosphere, great as a coffee shop but wouldn't come here for a meal. Avoid the migas.

Laura ~ 8.5 as a coffee shop, 6 as a restaurant.