Friday, December 31, 2010

Kerbey Lane

So when folks from Austin read this they may be tempted to think,"Kerbey Lane? Really? It's not exactly off the beaten path. In fact I just had breakfast there the other day." While that may be true, the fact is that Kerbey Lane Cafe is a true Austin institution, a 'must-do' for visitors and an old faithful for locals. The best way to describe Kerbey Lane to someone who hasn't been to  is: "It's your typical roadside diner, serving all sorts of Americana, mixed with that key ingredient that makes Austin what it is - weirdness." They take American diner classics and put a different spin on them in a very refreshing and tasty way. There are two wonderful things about Kerbey Lane: the fact that it is open 24 hours, and its breakfast menu. If you want pancakes at 4am on a Tuesday? Done. Eggs at 10pm? You got it.

Cowboy Queso
Lets break down the menu categorically, starting with appetizers. According to the menu they have six or seven choices, but I was only aware of their queso. The Cowboy Queso may be the best cheese-related invention known to man. How can you go wrong when you start with black beans and guacamole, covered with queso and top it with pico de gallo? You can't. It's out of this world tasty. If you don't like black beans you can get the Kerbey Queso. It's the same thing, minus the beans.
Where to start with breakfast, the most delicious meal of the day? You can get your standard breakfast platter; eggs, bacon, toast, etc., or you can get one of the best plates of migas in the entire city.

"What are migas, precious?" you may ask. Migas is a wonderful mixture of scrambled eggs, pico de gallo, soft corn tortilla chips and cheese (cheddar in this case). As anyone who has grown up in the great state of Texas can tell you, it may be the second best way to start your morning. Second best only because Kerbey Lane offers the best pancakes this side of anywhere. Usually measuring in at about 4 inches and chock full of cinnamon and other goodness, cooked to perfection. You can't pick a bad one, although my favorites are the pumpkin and the blackberry.

Blackberry Pancakes

 Also deserving of mention, in the most loving way, are the Eggs Francisco and the Baked Potato omelet. The Eggs Francisco is basically Eggs Benedict but with bacon instead of ham, queso instead of hollandaise, with sliced avocado. This, for me, goes down nicely because I'm not a hollandaise fan. You get your choice of two sides; I usually get home fries and pay a little extra for a single pancake. The Baked Potato omelet is home fries, bacon, green onion, cheddar and sour cream. Also Kerbey Lane serves a good cup of coffee. You won't find Folgers here. Breakfast is most definitely the star at Kerbey Lane.

Eggs Francisco
 Lunch and dinner items are available as well. The stand out, for me, is the Portabella Sandwich. It's a grilled portabella mushroom with basil pecan pesto, tomato, and mozzarella cheese on grilled sourdough bread. I have had similar sandwiches at many restaurants, but they are never this good. Everything on it from the mushroom to the grilled bread sings in a harmonious opera of flavor that is as good to the last bite as it was at the first. Fantastic!

All in all, Kerbey Lane is a definite must visit; if for no other reason than that it's an Austin legend. I recommend ordering breakfast when you go, even if its dinner time, because you really can't go wrong with the breakfast menu. In most cases, expect to ask for a take-out box because portion sizes tend to be very generous. As far as the food holding up to reheating: I stuck my left-over Francisco in the microwave just before writing this article and everything, including the fried potatoes, came back to life wonderfully. This is a rarity for potatoes from most places. One last thing, the cost ranges from about $6 to $13, which isn't too bad when you consider the amount of food on your plate. 

General Information:
Kerbey Lane Website

Official Rating: Two Points 

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