Author Archives: Laura Roberts

A Kerbey Lane Café Christmas

This Christmas, I wasn’t able to spend the holiday with my parents, since a) the truck is rattling in a scary way and b) still being new to Austin means the job hunt continues onward (if you just said “What? You mean Shoestring Austin isn’t paying your bills?! How can I help?” you should get in touch regarding our sponsorship and advertising opportunities!). Anyway, this means that the Husbot and I were on our own for the holidays, and not feeling up for making the usual enormous Christmas Feast. As such, we started clicking around online in search of some places that would be open today, December 25, the day of Baby Jesus’ supposed birth.

Kerbey Lane Café, Northwest location (photo via kerbeylanecafe.com)

We found the Kerbey Lane Café, an Austin favorite that has apparently been voted “Best Breakfast” every year since 2005. Nice! Although we haven’t yet taken advantage of their crazy early-bird breakfast special (for a mere $3.45 between 4 and 7 AM, daily), we like the thought of a resto that’s open 24-7 and has a slightly more upscale ambiance than (our admittedly cheesy fave) Denny’s. Inspired by the fact that their Northwest location was open today, we set out in the Truckasaurus to taste the Kerbey Lane Café’s wares.

The Husbot ordered their Cobb Salad, which he’d been salivating over since he noticed it on the web version of the menu. I dithered for a while, trying to decide what would be best, kind of wanting to order a Cobb Salad of my own, or maybe one of their Cobb Sandwiches (basically, a Cobb Salad on bread), but hating that feeling of “copying” a fellow diner. (I like to at least be able to trade a bite or two with my dining companions, to get a better idea about what the rest of the menu is like.) Ultimately, I went with the Chicken Enchiladas Verde, and we also tried the Bloody Mary (he) and Kerbey Kosmo (me) from the drinks menu.

I enjoyed my Kosmo, which was a local twist on the typical Cosmo made with Tito’s Vodka and pomegranate liquor. I had a sip of the Husbot’s Bloody Mary, which was a real kick in the teeth with its spiciness. He thought it was tasty, as he enjoys a good Caesar (or Mary in a pinch).

Annoyingly, when the food arrived I was all the more disappointed in my selection. Should’ve had that Cobb Sandwich! I had a few bites of the Husbot’s big salad, with bleu cheesiness, hard-boiled eggs, bacon, chicken and romaine lettuce galore, and was totally jealous. My enchiladas were okay, but nothing like the spicy authentic Mexican dishes I’ve gotten used to eating here in Austin. I can’t really put my finger on anything I would say was bad about them, but they just weren’t as face-meltingly hot as I like them to be. On the plus side, however, I had room for dessert, which was what I had really wanted to order since we walked in!

Checking out the dessert menu, I noticed they listed cheesecake, and said to inquire with the waiter about daily specials. I asked what the cheesecake of the day was, and our waiter told me it was a peanut-butter and chocolate concoction. Yum! I ordered a slice and offered a few bites to the Husbot, who thought it was “too rich.” (He admits he has lost his taste for desserts since a particularly sweet-toothed ex-girlfriend ruined him with too many breakfast sweets.) I thought it was delicious, although I will also admit to enjoying the pleasures of a straight-up plain cheesecake, which I would be curious to compare it to in the future.

All in all, I would have to say that the Kerbey Lane Café (Northwest location) was a decent spot for lunch, and I’d be interested in giving them another try. The waiter also noted that different locations have different menus, so I’m wondering if perhaps there are other items I might enjoy more than the enchiladas in the future.

ADDRESS: 13435 Highway 183 N. (Northwest location; see website for other locations)
PHONE: (512) 258-7757
ONLINE: kerbeylanecafe.com

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Helping others this holiday season–for free!

The holiday season is upon us, and like a lot of you out there, I don’t have a ton of money to spend on gifts this year. Maybe you’ve also been passing the bell-ringers and donation slips at the grocery stores, wishing you could help out those less fortunate, but feeling like that one-buck donation isn’t really going to do much?

Here’s your chance to do something good—for free!

It’s really simple, and will help give struggling families something they really need, all year ’round: FOOD. Just click on the gizmo below to help Shoestring Austin support hungry families this holiday season. For each e-greeting you send to friends and family—along with a bunch of neat holiday recipes—Kraft Foods will donate 10 meals. This is a great way to show you care, just by clicking a few buttons and sending out the seasonal cards you probably forgot to send anyway. Let your family and friends know you care by sharing the love, the recipes, and the seasonal donations to worthy charities… and get ’em to pass it on to THEIR friends!

If you’re feeling particularly giving, sign up for an account at SocialVibe and keep doing the little quizzes and activities to contribute even more money to this cause, or any other you prefer. They’ve got everything from HIV/AIDS charities to animal protection societies to causes that help prevent hunger and homelessness. It’s a cool social media site where everything you do gives a little bit back. It’s way better than a Facebook quiz that’ll sell your info (and your friends’ info!) to a bunch of evil corporations, so check it out!

Whatever your religious/spiritual/holiday views, it’s always awesome to donate time, money and support to charities. I’ve got a bunch that I favor, but helping feed the hungry is a big one on my list. Shoestring Austin would like to urge you to contribute to the many fine organizations around town that help feed those in need all year ’round, but most especially during the holiday season, when it’s so easy to help. Check out the Capital Area Food Bank’s website or the Eastside Community Connection for more information on how you can donate food or volunteer your time this holiday season.

Finally, if you like freebies, Christmas music, and Lady Gaga, you should definitely go download this free MP3 of Lady Gaga’s Xmas song, “Christmas Tree,” over at Amazon.com while you still can. Hilarity (and dancing) shall ensue. Consider it Shoestring Austin’s e-gift to you for donating your precious time to our little charity cause. Thanks, Austin!

My chocolate addiction

Hello, my name is Laura, and I’m a chocoholic. I love chocolate, lust after it, need it. As such, I’m wondering if Austin has any particularly great chocolate shops, or any locally-made chocolates that can be purchased at the grocery store? I’m just about to Google my brains out looking, but if you’ve got any tips, I’d love to hear ’em!

"I (heart) chocolate" (based on a photo by Flickr user jovike)

More chocolate articles (and sweet, sweet photos) soon to come, but in the meantime, be sure to check out Chocolate.com for all your home-delivery chocolate needs, as well as this edutaining article I wrote about chocolate’s health properties, entitled Research on Health Benefits of Chocolate.

XOXO,
Choco Fanatic, aka Laura