Saturday, September 29, 2012

Firewheel Cafe

"The Fire who?", you are asking. Well, I had never heard of it either until a friend and I booked a spa visit for massages to the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort and Spa east of Austin-Bergstrom Airport, on the way to Bastrop. We had purchased half-price hour-long massages through a Travelzoo coupon offer, and figured if we were driving all the way out there, we better make a check out as much of the Hyatt's facilities as possible. Once you turn off Highway 71 onto the Hyatt's property, it's a scenic 2 mile drive through the piney woods til you reach the facility. We arrived around 11:30 am, and after wandering around the main hotel building (neither of us felt that locations were well marked inside, nor did any of the limited number of staff we passed offer assistance), we found the Firewheel Cafe, their less-formal dining restaurant.

The dining room is a large open space somewhat resembling a barn, nicely filled with windows and light. There are large stained glass windows depicting regional wildflowers, of which the firewheel is one, and the windows were made by a local Bastrop artist. Aside from us, there was one large table of about ten people and a mother and child at another table; they were not busy. I don't know if the banquet food for meetings and events at the hotel comes from this kitchen or a different one; the hotel parking lot was filled to the brim with cars for a Texas travel conference, but we never saw many people, so they must have been in sessions.
I was drawn to the BLTG sandwich -- bacon, lettuce, tomato and Texas goat cheese, with sweet potato fries. It was prepared on sourdough bread, and I asked our waitress if the bread was toasted and she said yes, it was. However, when the sandwich arrived, the bread was not toasted, as I would have preferred, but fortunately, it was not a tough and chewy sourdough. The "L" was really arugula, that was heavily tossed in a vinaigrette, which dripped everywhere. And while the menu description says tomato aioli, I couldn't really taste any. It was a good enough sandwich, particularly the honeyed bacon, but it didn't totally resemble it's advertised description.
My friend ordered the Angus beef burger, with red onion jam and horseradish sauce on a brioche bun. She asked for it to be cooked medium, and it was more like medium-well, so it was drying out. We split our sandwiches, and I don't feel there was anything special about the burger. There was a three compartment dish with ketchup, mustard, and mayo, and I am fairly certain that was straight mayo, not the horseradish sauce. I didn't realize it was supposed to have a horseradish sauce until I went back to review the menu for this write up. 

Overall, I'd say it was decent for hotel food, but nothing out of this world. The spa was very nice, and there were very few people there. We used the shaded hot tub before our massages, and then sat by the pool afterwards. A nice relaxing afternoon!


  1. I agree with you about the Firewheel Cafe and my main dislike is the noisiness of the restaurant because of the high ceiling and cement floors. I was not impressed with the food there, either. You might give the Hyatt another chance for lunch and try Sheller's Bar in future. Better, more cozy atmosphere (the deep leather chairs are my fave) and I really like the smoked brisket sliders. Now, if you want to spend some money, you can trade out what you'd spend at the spa and go upstairs for dinner at Stories. I go there as often as my wallet will allow. Decent (although not very expansive) wine list, lovely food and presentation and fabulous service. And did I mention that I'd like to camp out permanently in that gorgeous dining room? Let me know if you get a chance to try it out.

    Vindaloo Tiramisu of The Voluptuous Table

    1. Sounds like you know your way around Hyatt Lost Pines! Thanks for the suggestions, and yes, smoked brisket sliders sound divine! Don't know that I will be back there anytime soon (the wallet needs more padding!), but I will keep you posted!

      Love your name, by the way, hope we get a chance to meet in person sometime! :)

  2. Thanks so much for making the daytrip from Austin to Hyatt Lost Pines! We’re so glad you did, and we also appreciate your thoughtful feedback. We hope you will come back again soon to enjoy Spa Django and to check out the just-remodeled Firewheel Cafe as well its updated menu.