In Austin, Texas, the coffee industry is booming.
If you ever have the chance to visit, I’m sure you will be encouraged to try out a bevy of quality shops such as Houndstooth and Mozart’s, who have been around for years now (and for good reason). You may even be directed to some of the newer places that have very quickly risen to prominence in the coffee scene, such as Stouthouse, Patika, and Sa-Tén.
But I’m not going to talk about those places today.
No, today I’m going to write about one store in Austin, just east of the gorgeous St. Edward’s University, in an area known for its flammable and sketchy apartment complexes, that has remained under the radar since its opening in 2014 but is slowly and surely gaining popularity and favor: Café Crème. (Just in case you don’t believe me, this shop made the People Magazine’s list of 24 Coffee Shops in America that You have to Visit.)
As are most of my great coffee finds, I became aware of this place by accident. I was looking for another restaurant in the area, and Google Maps marked it as a possible point of interest. (Google knows me too well…)
I determined that I had to visit after checking out their website and finding that they did a monthly French movie night (I was really into France when I was in high school) and sold a unique menu of crêpes, pastries, and coffee drinks.
I’ll admit that it took me a while to get there, but I am so glad that I did.
First of all, in a city where accessible and free parking is becoming less and less, this place is located in what was a small office building, so it contains a great amount of easy parking just outside the front door. It’s hot in Texas now, and I carry a lot of books in my bag, so any shop with easy parking automatically gets brownie points from me.
When I walked in, I was immediately greeted with a chalk board listing the day’s crêpe offerings, and even though I had every intention to go for the pastries, I couldn’t help myself. I ordered the Versailles crêpe, which contained brie, artichokes, mushrooms, onions, and spinach. Dear God, it was good.
As for the coffee, I ordered their medium roast brewed in a French press. I know there are a lot of haters of the French press out there, but I love coffee the consistency of sludge. And let me tell you, Café Crème knows how to make a mean sludge. 🙂
I think what really did it for me at this shop though is that it was remnant of my first days in Austin, back before the city was winning every “Best Of” award in the nation and receiving a 100+ new residents each day. The furniture was a little rough but clean, the decor simple yet eclectic due to local artwork and a makeshift bookshelf-sheet-wall hybrid in one corner. Even my food flag, a card with cats in various yoga poses, was characteristic of the weird hippy vibe that had made Austin so unique and exciting.
If you ever find yourself in town, you will be pleased with the coffee shops that fill Downtown and East Austin. There is nothing amiss with any of those establishments, but for a true taste of the spirit of Austin, make sure to head down to Café Crème.
Don’t let the traffic on 35 deter you. It’s worth it.
Reporting from the oven also known as Texas,
The one and the only Pookachino