Austin, Texas is loaded with plenty of epic eating. Even breakfast – dominated by massive egg-filled breakfast tacos – is out of control awesome. But, for the most part, breakfast is limited to fast-casual options. So, if you want something sit-down and just a bit more formal, you’ve got to look a little bit harder. While I was in town looking for a nice, relaxed breakfast, we got a recommendation to head to a nearby spot called Elizabeth St. Cafe to get our fix.
This cafe was absurdly adorable. Everything from the whimsically pastel-blue colored decor to the pedestal-mounted fresh-baked pastries to the petite and carefully plated breakfast dishes we saw coming out of the kitchen were so freaking cute.
And you probably wouldn’t be able to tell from the name alone, but Elizabeth St. Cafe is actually a traditional French bakery cafe with a Vietnamese bent. Their menu in fact frequently drifts into the ethnic mash-up and cross-over territory, and I was certainly excited to give some of their more unusual items a shot.
We started off our brunch-time meal with much needed and eye-opening dose of caffeine in the form of Iced Vietnamese Coffee. In general, I’m a big fan of this variety of extra-strong coffee. I love the way the super-sweet, sticky condensed milk mixes with the bold black coffee to create a uniquely strong and aggressive flavor.
And who doesn’t love Sonic-style crushed ice? Without a doubt this is the best kind of ice and I was happy to find it used here in my iced coffee.
But, even before that point, as soon as I had entered the little cafe, I couldn’t help but notice the raised platter proudly displaying a variety of house-made baked goods. In fact, I’d say that this little shop is probably just as well known as a restaurant as it is a bakery. They’re actually pretty renowned for two food items in particular, the first of which is a crazy sounding creation called an Everything & Cream Cheese Croissant.
This thing was exactly what you might expect it to be. It looked just like the enormous, glossy, flaky, layered pastry you’re used to seeing, except this version had a cream cheese filling and was covered with a sprinkling of the standard mixture of everything bagel seeds. And you know what? As exciting as this mash-up sounds, it sort of fell flat for me.
The pastry wasn’t as rich and buttery as I would have hoped, the cream cheese wasn’t evenly distributed throughout the inside. Even the everything seeds weren’t sprinkled plentifully enough to contribute much flavor. It really was tasty, but I had all these grand ideas about how incredible and over-the-top this much raved-about pastry might be, and it didn’t exactly live up to my hopes and dreams.
But, the other dish that Elizabeth St. Cafe is well known for is their Breakfast Banh Mi. They offer a couple of styles of this French-Vietnamese breakfast sandwich, but we went for the one filled fried eggs, crispy pork belly, avocado, and mint. Now, this is what I was looking for. Everything about this sandwich was spectacular.
The texture of baguette was outstanding and really highlighted the bakery’s skills well. The eggs were fluffy and had bright yellow yolks ready to be popped all over the sandwich. The pork belly, which might be hard to see from the angle of the photo, was really more like a pair of gigantic thick-cut pork-chop style slabs of meat with bold, bacony flavor. It was a ridiculously meaty sandwich and the fillings played nicely with the interesting twists of herby, fresh mint and a creamy, sliced avocado. All it took was a bit of sriracha for this breakfast sandwich to be complete and reach perfection.
So, there you have it. If you’re in Austin and are looking for a breakfast or brunch spot that’s doing something other than standard Tex-Mex breakfast tacos, head to Elizabeth St. Cafe. Their impressive-looking baked goods and interesting takes on French and Vietnamese cuisine really make for a great sit-down spot in Austin. And the decor was almost too cute to handle.
Got another great and interesting breakfast or brunch spot in Austin I should check out? Let me know in the comments below.
Elizabeth St. Cafe
1501 S. 1st St. Austin, TX 78704