Monday, August 9, 2010

Mother's Cafe & Garden and Galaxy Cafe

Most of my meals this past weekend were eaten out, and seeing how it took me two and a half weeks to get the Jack Allen post written, there's no time like the present!

Dinner Saturday night was at Mother's Cafe & Garden in Hyde Park. I probably haven't been there in 13 or 14 years, and my memories of the back room/enclosed patio (?) are it being fairly dark and jungle-like. Then they had a fire in 2007 that pretty much destroyed the place, and they were out of business for a number of months as they rebuilt. The facility now seems very spacious with high ceilings in the large back room. There are a number of plants, decorated with various types of lighting, and a xylophone/new age-ish music man playing. A very south Austin vibe (hippy, new age, keep Austin weird, what have you!) in north-central Austin, and remember it is a vegetarian place. 

I had looked at their menu online earlier in the day, and was torn between the spinach lasagna and the Jamaican stir fry. And I've heard so much about their famous cashew-tamari salad dressing, that I HAD to get a salad to try it! I was pretty much settled on a side salad and the lasagna, when the waiter informed us of the specials -- butternut squash ravioli with a lemon cream sauce. Sold! My friend, who eats there a good deal, suggested we split the side salad since it was good sized. So I got the special, she got the veggie burger, and we split the salad. 

The side salad is pretty generous, and I do see the fuss over the cashew-tamari dressing! I bet that would also make a good stir fry sauce for veggies. My ravioli were delicious! Lightly sweet from the butternut squash, a little zippy from the lemon, and rich, but not overpowering from the cream. I honestly don't know if the sauce was pure dairy cream or if they used some soy creamer or what (they make a lot of vegan items too), but it was tasty, and what appeared to be a side of whole grain bread was perfect for soaking up the sauce. And while I didn't try it, my friend really liked her veggie burger. 

No pictures taken at Mother's.... I forgot my camera, and I have since learned that the camera on the phone doesn't do well in low light. 

Ahh, but the night wasn't over yet, as we walked across the street to Dolce Vita, and got gelato -- peanut butter nutella for me, and Oreo for her. Oh yeah. And the place was hoppin'!

Sunday night, I met a friend at Galaxy Cafe in Clarksville before going to see Inception at the IMAX. Fortunately, at 6:15 on a Sunday, they weren't busy at all, so we had plenty of time to eat and get to the movie. Their menus on the wall are a little confusing. There's slots to pick a breakfast, lunch or dinner menu. So I picked up the dinner menu, which primarily had entrees on it, and their gluten free offerings on the back side. Where were the salads? Oh, they're on the lunch menu.... so a little unclear for the novice Galaxy-goer. (I've been to this Clarksville location once, like 3 years ago, and couple times to the Brodie & Slaughter; and they've got a newer once at the Triangle. Same owners have also opened Zocalo Cafe, in what used to be West Lynn Cafe years ago; menu looks good.)

Anyway, ordered the spinach salad with grilled chicken, and YUM! it comes loaded with candied walnuts, hearty bites of bacon, and a nice shallot vinaigrette. How come other people's salads always taste better than your own? This isn't anything real fancy... it's just good fresh, tasty ingredients. My friend got the chicken parmesan sandwich, with the pureed sweet potatoes (you get your choice of like 10 different sides!), and she thoroughly enjoyed it. The chocolate cake sitting on the counter, looked divine, but off to the movie we went!
So two good meals (three if you include the gelato) at locally owned institutions! No chain restaurants here!

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