Tag Archives: restaurant review

A Delightful Lunch at the Kingsland Coffee Co. – Kingsland, Texas

Kingsland Coffe Co. in Kingsland, Texas
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Getting your hair done is stressful. It works up a big appetite, so after our hair appointment last week, Afriel and I headed to the Kingsland Coffee Co. We had a wonderful lunch topped off by an ice cold smoothie and a steaming hot latte. My daughter and I had gorgeous hair, full bellies, and a big dose of satisfaction. Does it get any better than that?

Kingsland Coffee Co. was opened by Rick Gregory and Drew Gerencer. The duo still own the coffee shop although now they’re fortunate enough to have a manager and staff running the business. I remember the days when Drew and Rick were at the cafe 24/7. What I love about the guys is their ability to serve our community’s need for coffee. And good food. And great company.

Kingsland Coffee Co. in Kingsland, Texas

This coffee shop is like many others. It’s friendly, has wifi, and the invitation’s open to hang out all day. In less-than-desirable weather, you can sit inside and watch the traffic on Ranch Road 1431. When it’s nice outside, there’s a lovely deck sprawling around the front of the shop. And it’s complete with unique, handmade bird houses.

Kingsland Coffee Co. in Kingsland, Texas

We’ve stopped for a cup of coffee, but never have taken the time to eat a meal or lounge around. I wasn’t disappointed – this meal was a wonderful luxury. I can easily recall the days when I first went to Kingsland, Texas. That was oh-so long ago in the 1960s, and Kingsland didn’t have too much going on then. In recent years, I’ve felt that even neighboring Llano, Texas, had surpassed Kingsland in the realm of serving coffee addicts. Let’s face it, Fuel has it all going on. I’ve parked my laptop many times, over the years, at Fuel. It’s an amazing little coffee house, and way ahead of its time for an establishment in Llano.

Kingsland Coffee Co. in Kingsland, Texas

What do I love the most about Kingsland Coffee Co.? First and foremost, Drew and Rick. When I met the guys, I mentioned something about riding horses. The guys proceeded to tell me about a woman who rode her horse to Kingsland Coffee Co., tied him in the back, and came in for coffee. How cool is that? So that’s the first thing I love…nice, nice people in our wonderful lake community.

Kingsland Coffee Co. in Kingsland, Texas

Second thing I love is the food. This is a great sandwich shop! I had no idea how good the food was. Afriel and I will definitely go back for more lunches and desserts.

Kingsland Coffee Co. in Kingsland, Texas

With that said, here’s the scoop about our food and drinks.

I ordered half a turkey sandwich with mayo, provolone cheese, lettuce, and tomato on Jewish rye bread. My side was pasta salad, a pickle, and chips. Let me be the first to say this was a delicious sammie. It was made from fresh ingredients that were put together with love. The pasta salad is also made in-house, and it was good. Huge, square blocks of cheese with black olives and pasta shells. It tasted fresh, which is important to me when I’m eating pasta salad.

Kingsland Coffee Co. in Kingsland, Texas

Kingsland Coffee Co. in Kingsland, Texas

I ordered a honey nut latte, but sadly, did not even start to drink it until we got home. It was very hot that day, and the drink was hot – too hot to even sip while we ate lunch at Kingsland Coffee Co. However, once I was able to dig in, the drink didn’t disappoint. Hazelnut, honey, and espresso. Perfect!

Afriel had half a chicken salad sandwich on white bread with lettuce, tomato, and Swiss cheese. What we loved about her sammie was the chicken salad was thoroughly ground up and mixed into creamy chicken oblivion. While I enjoy a chunky chicken salad with bites of apples, grapes, and nuts, the well-mixed chicken salad versions remind me of my childhood. To accompany her sammie, Afriel also had chips and a pickle. She washed down her meal with an ice cold strawberry smoothie.

Kingsland Coffee Co. in Kingsland, Texas

Kingsland Coffee Co. in Kingsland, Texas

We took a piece of coffee cake home for dessert. Let me tell you, this piece of cake is really big! It is the perfect serving for two people, possibly three. Kingsland Coffee Co. definitely doesn’t scrimp on dessert.

Kingsland Coffee Co. in Kingsland, Texas

 

Takeaway:

Kingsland Coffee Co. is located at 1907 W. Ranch Road 1431, Kingsland, Texas 78639. The phone number is 325/270-0863. The hours of operation are Monday thru Friday 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The cafe multitasks with drinks and food: You can get coffee, smoothies, frappes, teas, cocoa, espressos, cappuccinos, and more. Breakfast means pastries, which are served daily (and they look good!). Lunch is served from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. You can have a wonderful sandwich, cold or grilled, quiche, or a fresh salad. And if you’re in the market for coffee, Drew and Rick sell it by the pound and half pound.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Homemade Ice Cream at Thai Niyom Restaurant

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Add a little bit of cool to your day. Order a bowl of ice cream at Thai Niyom Restaurant in Marble Falls. I promise you won’t regret it.

Coconut Ice Cream at Thai Niyom in Marble Falls, TexasThis isn’t your typical ice cream, so be prepared. Blue Bell doesn’t have anything on Mama’s (Oranthai, the chef) homemade ice cream. This luscious creation is hand-crafted vanilla ice cream blended with fresh, minced coconut. If that isn’t enough yummy goodness for you, ask for the ice cream to be served on top of sticky rice with sweet milk.

This photo doesn’t do the dish justice. You have to eat the ice cream to fully appreciate it. The danger? You will become addicted! At all hours when Thai Niyom is open, you will find yourself calling in an order of ice cream to go.

This item can be seasonal, so be sure to ask if the ice cream is available. For a summer treat, it beats the mango rice hands down.

With triple digits following Central Texas into September, ice cream is a must-have. Thai Niyom is known for preparing food with love. The ice cream dessert is no exception.

Enjoy!

 

Lunch at El Bracero in Kingsland, Texas

El Bracero Mexican Restaurant in Kingsland, Texas
El Bracero Mexican Restaurant in Kingsland, Texas.

El Brasero Mexican Restaurant on Foodio54

El Bracero Mexican Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Last week, we visited El Bracero in Kingsland for lunch. El Bracero Mexican Restaurant has been around for about four or five years, and within the last two years, ownership has changed. I hadn’t been to the restaurant since the new owners took over, so I was eager to find out how the food tasted.

Prior experiences with El Bracero were excellent. Not only did we eat in several times, but we also called for take out. What I loved the most about El Bracero was an interior Mexican taste as opposed to Tex-Mex.

El Bracero is situated almost at the intersection of RR 1431 and RR 2900, smack dab in the heart of Kingsland. The building is unassuming. Long ago, this building housed a furniture and appliance store. Not much has evolved since. The interior is little more than a cleared out room with tables and booths scattered around. If you’re looking for decoration, glamour, or a sparkling clean eatery, you’re at the wrong restaurant.

But if you’re looking for fabuloso food and a great group of people who are eager to serve you, El Bracero is the place to be.

Interior of El Bracero Mexican Restaurant in Kingsland, Texas
Interior.
Entrance and front area - El Bracero Mexican Restaurant in Kingsland, Texas
Entrance and front area.

Here’s the deal: Focus on what works at El Bracero. You have to overlook the dirty floors and dining booths. And the oh-so ugly ceiling tiles.

This visit my daughter chose…drum roll…enchiladas! (Enchiladas are her fave so it’s no big surprise.) We arrived during El Bracero’s lunch special, so the Texas plate (two enchiladas, carne guisada, rice, beans, and guacamole salad for $6.99) was a great choice. I chose a lengua torta ($3.99) and the rajas with cheese ($6.99). This entree features tiny strips of beef cooked with slices of jalapeno and topped with Mexican cheese. The sides include beans, rice, and guacamole salad.

I ordered the rajas with cheese due to our server’s recommendation. I asked her what would be yummy to try and without hesitation, she began an animated discussion about how the dish was prepared and cooked.

She sold me on the dish, that’s for sure. I love it when servers know their menus. Kudos, El Bracero!

Fresh red salsa and chips come gratis with each meal. The salsa is good – not the best I’ve had – but certainly many steps above the Alamo Cafe. The chef cooks the tomatoes each morning, cools the mixture, then adds fresh onion, jalapeno, tomato chunks, and spice. The taste is a good blend and worth going back for.

We did not enjoy the chips. They were stale, and the worst part of our meal.

After digging into our food, which was served promptly, I offer the following comments.

Rajas with Cheese - El Bracero Mexican Restaurant in Kingsland, Texas
Rajas with cheese.

The rajas with cheese were excellent. I’m not a big red meat fan, but the combination of beef strips grilled with jalapenos and topped with creamy, white cheese won me over. Don’t be afraid of too much spice with the jalapenos. The chilies were mild enough that my daughter could have eaten them.

We couldn’t have asked for better sides of refried beans and rice. Both were subtle in taste and exactly what you’d expect to find at a decent Tex-Mex restaurant. The guacamole was fresh, garlic-y, and sat atop fresh iceberg lettuce and chopped tomatoes. Good stuff!

I found the rajas to be best wrapped in a bit of corn tortilla and dipped in salsa.

Rajas with Cheese - El Bracero Mexican Restaurant - Kingsland, Texas

Fresh veggies and well-cooked beef tongue made for a decent lengua torta. However, I prefer the lengua as a taco. The beef tongue was chewy and tough as opposed to soft and buttery. That said, I need to try the new owners’ tacos. I haven’t had a lengua taco since the new owners bought El Bracero.

Lengua Torta at El Bracero in Kingsland, Texas

Texas plate with chicken enchiladas.

Texas Plate at El Bracero in Kingsland, Texas

El Bracero in Kingsland will see me again. I’ll try new things and pick the servers’ brains. And maybe I’ll get an interview with the elusive owners. I’ve tried to speak to them each time I’ve come, mentioning that I’m a writer/blogger, to no avail. Nonetheless, El Bracero Mexican Restaurant is good. Especially if you take the food home.

Chow, ya’ll!

Takeaway

 El Bracero Mexican Restaurant is located at 1516 RR 1431 in Kingsland, Texas 78639. The phone number is (325)388-0022. Hours are Monday through Sunday, 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. Takeout is available.

This restaurant is something to explore. There are a wide variety of dishes available and while the choices are extensive, it works. You’re getting a taste of interior Mexico – this isn’t standard Tex-Mex fare.

Breakfast is served daily from 6 a.m. until 11 a.m. You can order from the breakfast menu after 11 a.m. for an additional $1 surcharge.

During breakfast hours, order three breakfast tacos or one breakfast burrito for $2.99.

Lunch specials are served Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. For $6.99 you get a plate with sides and a glass of iced tea.

Children’s plates are available for $3.99.

Takeout Sushi at Koy Restaurant in Marble Falls, Texas

Koy Restaurant on Foodio54

Koy on Urbanspoon
I gambled the the other day. I decided to get takeout sushi from Koy Restaurant in Marble Falls. Normally I revel in the sushi bar experience: Eat at the restaurant, fill myself with sushi goodness, and drown in overall luxury with the people I love the most. This time I decided to see how Koy’s sushi would stand up as a takeaway.

Takeaway Sushi Dinner from Koy Restaurant in Marble Falls, Texas
My sushi dinner from Koy Restaurant. Yum!

I ordered maki sushi rolls and nigiri sushi. Putting Koy to the test, I wanted to see if the flavor combination was as fresh and good as if I were sitting in front of the Itamae.

If you’ve read Big Grey Horse Media, you know I’m a stickler for customer service. Gotta say I was disappointed by Rhiannon’s tone when I called to place my order. Granted, I had no idea what was going on at the restaurant (Were they busy? Was she distracted?) but she didn’t seem happy that I was calling. That didn’t leave a good first impression but I gave her the benefit of the doubt.

When we arrived to collect the food, I wasn’t surprised to see the parking lot empty save two vehicles. Highway 281 by the Lake Marble Falls bridge is under construction and access to Koy’s parking lot is tricky.

I ordered the sushi appetizer (tuna, salmon, sea bass, and shrimp for $8.50), two regular sushi rolls (yellowtail and tuna rolls each $6.50), the New York roll (tuna, salmon, hamachi, and masago topped with spicy mayonnaise sauce for $9.50), an egg roll ($1.25), and crab rangoons ($4.95 for six).

Egg Roll from Koy Restaurant in Marble Falls, Texas
Egg roll.

Somehow I ended up with two egg rolls instead of one, but that would explain why my tab was a bit higher than I expected. I ate half of one egg roll and left the rest for later. The wrapper was crispy and flavorful, but the filling was pretty bland. (Although it’s fair to say that when I nibbled on the leftovers the following day, the egg roll tasted better. There was a distinct, pepper-type spice that I liked. I think you have to eat more than one bite to appreciate Koy’s egg rolls!)

I ordered the crab rangoons for my daughter.

Crab Rangoon from Koy Restaurant in Marble Falls, Texas
Crab rangoon dipped in duck sauce.

I wasn’t impressed by the way-too-crispy rangoon tops. It seems that few Chinese restaurants get crab rangoons right. Typically the tops are so crusty they are inedible but the crab filling makes up for it. In this case that wasn’t true. These rangoons need more filling and less frying. I think you can easily see there’s no oomph to this sorry little rangoon. Unfortunately, after one bite, the crab rangoons went in the trash. Thumbs down, Koy!

The main ambition for this meal was to experiment with takeout sushi, and I wasn’t let down. I tried the New York roll first. This roll looked appetizing and it was love at first bite. The fish blend (tuna, salmon, and hamachi) was excellent. The spicy mayo topping was perfect and the masago added that special bit only fish roe can. (I really dig masago – it’s got that salty, ocean taste with a crunchy pop of texture.) The New York roll was perfect.

Salmon nigiri and two pieces of the New York roll - Koy Restaurant, Marble Falls, Texas
Salmon nigiri and the New York roll.

The four-piece sushi appetizer was also delicious. Each piece of fish (tuna, salmon, sea bass) was delicate, fresh, and buttery in taste. Exactly what you’d expect from a great sushi bar. The shrimp nigiri was cooked, of course, but also sweet in taste. The rice was excellent in size and proportion to its accompanying sushi.

Sushi Appetizer Dish from Koy Restaurant in Marble Falls, Texas
Top to bottom: Sea bass, tuna, shrimp, and salmon nigiri.

The yellowtail and tuna rolls had a funny smell that I couldn’t identify.  Upon opening the packet, I detected an off-putting, smokey smell. I can’t say what the smell was or what caused it, but after taking the rolls apart to smell the fish, it wasn’t old fish. It was either the rice or the seaweed. However, I wasn’t able to eat the rolls due to the smell.

Yellowtail and Tuna Rolls from Koy Restaurant in Marble Falls, Texas
Yellowtail and tuna rolls.

Despite crappy appetizers and two rolls that smelled weird, I will go back to Koy Restaurant in Marble Falls. I know better than to order Chinese appetizers at a sushi bar (although the restaurant touts its Chinese menu, typically sushi bars are known for what they do best: raw fish). I also know working in the restaurant industry is a thankless, unforgiving job. In Rhiannon’s defense, she was pleasant once I spoke to her face-to-face and squared up my bill.

I should note that when I arrived to a mostly empty restaurant, no one was at the front desk and it took several minutes for Rhiannon to appear and wave me back to the bar to pick up my food.

All in all, my prior experiences at Koy have been positive, and I’m intrigued to see what happens during my next visit.

Chow, ya’ll! (That’s how we say “ciao” in the Lone Star State.)

Takeaway

Update February 2013: Koy is permanently closed at the Marble Falls, Texas, location.

Koy Restaurant is located at 101 North Hwy 281, Suite 102, in Marble Falls, Texas 78654. Hours are Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. until 10 p.m.

The original Koy Restaurant location is in Kyle, Texas.

Koy’s mission is to provide affordable Chinese and sushi dishes to the casual dining patron. Both restaurants purposely do business outside Austin, Texas, with the ambition to introduce more people to authentic Asian food.

Happy hour happens Monday through Friday, 2:30 p.m. until 5 p.m. Ladies Drink Special hours are Monday through Friday, 2:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m.

Koy Restaurant is family-friendly, offers takeout, and holds banquets by reservation. Delivery is available in the Marble Falls area.

Email info.MarbleFalls@koyrestaurant.com or call (830)798-8389 for additional information.

Alamo Cafe, San Antonio, Texas, Pictorial Review

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This is a pictorial review of our visit to Alamo Cafe, San Antonio, Texas.

Warm, multicolored chips and red salsa are served with each meal at Alamo Cafe. The salsa is decent, but if you’re used to traditional Mexican salsas, this one won’t knock your socks off.

Chips and red salsa served with each meal at Alamo Cafe, San Antonio, Texas.

The menu at Alamo Cafe is extensive. Probably too extensive! This restaurant would do best to focus the dishes the chef does best. Forget about the rest (like the seafood flautas).

Alamo Cafe, San Antonio, Texas menu

Alamo Cafe, San Antonio, Texas menu inner page

Alamo Cafe, San Antonio, Texas menu inner page

Our drinks. I ordered ice water with lemon and my daughter had pink lemonade.

Ice Water with Lemon at Alamo Cafe

Pink Lemonade at Alamo Cafe

The fresh, homemade flour tortillas were the stars of our lunch. We couldn’t find one thing to fault about these Mexican delights. The tortillas are the perfect size, perfect taste, perfect temperature, and hot off the tortilla press!

Fresh Flour Tortillas at Alamo Cafe

Flour Tortilla at Alamo Cafe

Tortilla Factory at Alamo Cafe, San Antonio, Texas

My daughter’s chicken enchilada plate #3 with rice, beans, and a cheese tostada.

Enchilada dinner #3 chicken at Alamo Cafe

Chicken Enchilada Dinner #3 at Alamo Cafe

I kick myself now for ordering a meal that was iffy. While my daughter’s had far better Tex-Mex food, she enjoyed the chicken enchiladas. They do look yummy!

Chicken Enchilada Dinner #3 Alamo Cafe Close Up

Seafood flautas with jalapeno green sauce and sides of rice and grilled vegetables. Unfortunately, the seafood flautas were pretty nasty, the grilled vegetables tasted like frozen veggies as opposed to fresh, and the rice was bland. I also wasn’t digging the jalapeno green sauce that “smothered” my plate.

Seafood Flautas at Alamo Cafe

Seafood Flautas at Alamo Cafe Partially Eaten