Monday, September 29, 2008

Mimi's Cafe

At my last count greater Austin now has two Mimi’s; on MoPac near 183, and on I-35 in Round Rock, at the outlet mall.

Having previously lived in Scottsdale and Tucson, where there were several Mimi's, I knew that they served a very good breakfast, had great sandwiches, and offered many options for dinner:

The pot roast sandwich consisting of chunks of tender beef on a crusty baguette was a wonderful choice for lunch or dinner. A rich, thick corn chowder available in cup or bowl is very good, and also offered for lunch or dinner. Fresh turkey salad with walnuts, served on their own raisin bread - great. Dinners always included a basket of bread and rolls, with their own carrot bread and fresh baked crusty baguettes. Their bread pudding with hot whiskey sauce dessert - fantastic.

I looked forward to the small chain showing up in Austin, and soon after the MoPac Mimi’s opened I was pleased to experience that breakfast at Mimi’s is still delicious.

However, when with great expectation, I invite family members to try the Mimi’s on MoPac for dinner sadly not a single dish we order is acceptable. Everything tastes like it has been prepared and cooked in a distant commissary, trucked to Austin, and warmed improperly. Also, no more crusty baguettes (or pot roast sandwich) - what's that all about?

Nonetheless, I have since enjoyed breakfast at both locations several times, and will continue to return. Their menu offers a huge number of delightful choices, and the biggest problem is not to get in a rut. A favorite of mine is their corned beef hash . Of course, I also enjoy pancakes with two eggs fried over easy, served with really fat link sausage. Mimi’s offers a choice of fresh baked muffins in lieu of toast. Try the raisin nut.

Still offered are the corn chowder, and bread pudding, and I understand that they will soon start serving their wonderful crusty baguettes. Why they stopped, I have no idea.

Interesting, that for about two weeks after the Round Rock restaurant opened it had a double shift of servers with experienced trainers everywhere. Service was quick, attentive, and the food served hot. They opened with little fanfare, and as a consequence never overloaded an inexperienced crew. What a good idea.

I recommend Mimi’s Café for breakfast. In fact it rivals Hoover's and beats about anything else available

If you go (or have gone) for dinner please let me know what you think?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Also In Houston

Cheeburger, Cheeburger

Recently, when I was in Philadelphia visiting our 11 month old grandson and his family our daughter, who is well aware of my fondness for burgers, suggested that we do a little shopping for the baby in Cherry Hill, NJ and then have lunch at a place named Cheeburger Cheeburger*.

Upon entering the restaurant my immediate inclination is to leave because the décor is such a poor imitation of a 1950’s cafe. There are white painted walls with a weird blue accent, glass block partitions, stainless steel cladding, black and white tile, and a wall paper trim at the ceiling that looks like it came out of a kid’s bedroom.

We sit down at one of the chrome trimmed tables with white plastic laminate tops, and are promptly handed a menu. The menu seems poorly organized, and cluttered with what seem to be unlimited choices. There are five sizes of all beef patties (the smallest being 5.5 oz and the largest 20 oz), five cheeses and 28 different “free” toppings plus five specialty toppings at additional cost. There are also seventy-five or so flavors of shakes that may be combined in a zillion different combinations. OK, I exaggerate on the number of combinations, but believe me the menu is truly overwhelming.

As you might expect I order my 5.5 oz burger with mayo, lettuce, tomato and a slice of raw onion. I also ordered a 50/50 order of fries and onion rings to share with my daughter who for some inexplicable reason orders a birthday cake shake.

The burger is very good.

The lettuce is shredded not leaf which I personally prefer, but there is a huge slice of raw onion and several slices of bright red tomato. The bun is good, sort of Kaiser like, but way too large for my 5.5 oz patty since it must be one size fits all with the 20 oz patty forcing the large size. The juicy patty is cooked medium, as I requested, and has a solid fresh beef flavor.

The fries have great potato flavor and are tasty indeed. The onion rings are likewise terrific, light, and with a wonderful crunch.

Sadly, the shake is all wrong. Too foamy, little evidence of ice cream and a horrid flavor of what - birthday cake, I don’t think so.

All in all it would be nice to have a Cheeburger Cheeburger in Austin.

*During a 1970’s skit on SNL during a famous skit parodying Chicago’s famous Billy goat Tavern, Don Akroyd yelled, “Cheezborger, cheezborger”. A coincidence, I think not.