Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Kerbey Lane Cafe, South Austin

Ah, for the life of a food blogger. It would be easy to photograph your meals and post them. The hard part would be ensuring accuracy in your descriptions, provided you were conscientious in that way. Taking notes with every meal, interviewing the chef (don't call him a cook), following up on what all those ingredients were -- it could all add up to a long list for the conscientious food blogger. Then there's the risk of burning out on eating just-so expressions of a chef's passionate love of the art of food. I wonder whether the young woman doing Lick My Spoon ever gets a strong urge for a Pop-Tart.

Along with my friends Tom and Catherine, I participated in the eating of this carrot cake, served by Kerbey Lane Cafe-South Austin on the evening of August 16, 2010. (Lilly and Ann had ice cream at the same time.)

I can't list the ingredients, though I'm fairly sure carrots were included. Note the grated carrots as garnishes. Texas isn't particularly known for its carrot production, so local sourcing might not have been an option (my guess is California carrots, trucked in via I-10). I also didn't interview the pastry chef, so I can't honestly gush about his love for the art of carrot-cake creation, building on the traditions of carrot cakes served at the 1855 Exposition Universelle de Paris but adding that ever-so modern twist of using x ingredient, which also pays homage to the terroir of California's Central Valley. Maybe the literal terroir, since there was probably dirt on the carrots when they were delivered.

Never mind, it was delicious carrot cake. At least I got a picture of Ivor, our personable waiter.

Not really, that was a painting on one of the walls of Kerbey Lane South, near the restrooms. One of a series for sale, I think, but I took no notes. The restaurant itself is one of a series of five in Austin. "The first Kerbey Lane Cafe opened on May 5, 1980, with the simple goal of having a cozy place to eat that offered healthy local food at a low price," says the Kerbey Lane web site. "At the time, this was a virtually competitive free restaurant concept."

The first location happens to be on a small Austin street called Kerbey Lane. I don't remember eating there during my Austin summer in 1981, but by the time I visited town regularly during the mid- and late '80s, I started going there with my Austinite friends. In fact, it was almost always the first place we would go once I got to town.

Last year and this year I went with those same friends to the South Austin location on South Lamar, opened in 1986 and marked by some spiffy neon (I didn't try the tomato pie).

Kerbey Lane South's comfort food is just as comfortable as at the original location. Besides carrot cake, which came last, I enjoyed breakfast for dinner -- biscuits & gravy with sausage. Here's my stab at food blog writing: mmmmm.

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At 5:32 PM, Anonymous Lick My Spoon said...

haha, indeed, the overwhelming urge for a pop tart does strike every once in a while :) frosted strawberry, please.


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