“Why don’t we brunch more often?” I asked my family as we soaked in the beautiful fall sunshine in Austin on an October Sunday.
In some parts of the world, and in some families, weekend brunch is a staple but I feel like our hectic lives get in the way of such a relaxing way to connect with those we enjoy spending time with. As I sat on the outside patio, with nowhere I needed to be, surrounded by my immediate family, I wanted to brunch (can be a noun or a verb) every weekend.
Café Josie, just west of downtown Austin, provides one of the most enjoyable brunch experiences you’ll ever encounter. They have Austin’s first and only unlimited chef’s tasting menu, “designed to allow you to experience the best of Café Josie as you see fit.” At $30 per person (excluding drinks), this deliciously curated menu presents a good deal if you arrive hungry.
With only a few ground rules—there’s a charge for over-ordering and no to-go boxes—the Brunch Experience is truly one to devour. Start with coffee, juice or even champagne (non-alcoholic drinks are $3 each) and if it’s nice weather, opt for the outside patio.
Proceed to order from the prix fixe menu of 13 hearty choices. The waitress recommends starting out with three selections and I do believe that’s the magic number. After three dishes—they come in tapas-sized portions—we had all reached our limit. (I tried to push it to four but was stuffed!) So then you have to decide among the mouth-watering selections.
The Breakfast Tater Tot Casserole with eggs, sausage, cheddar cheese and shitake hot sauce was the #1 winner in our group. A close second was the Crab Toast with crab pico de gallo, smashed avocado and cilantro on grilled bread. The Smoked Pork Shells & Cheese with cheddar, smoked gouda and bacon onion jam is what brunch dreams are made of!
But don’t forget a Fried Chicken Biscuit with caramelized garlic and honey butter—-it’s picture perfect! If you’re jonesing for the sweeter side, you might opt for the Tiramisu Yogurt Parfait with layers of ladyfingers, espresso yogurt, toasted hazelnuts and cocoa powder. The Rocky Road Pancakes are one of the bigger servings with chocolate chunks, candied pecans, honey meringue and pecan praline syrup.
There were other culinary delights we didn’t have the room to taste so you’ll need to check out The Brunch Experience at Café Josie and let us know how you like the Fried Brussels Sprouts with dijon rum glaze, candied pecans, rum cherries and chives or the Fried Oyster Benny, a biscuit covered in creamed greens, red chili hollandaise and a poached egg.
My 12-year-old son has already requested we return to downtown Austin on an upcoming Sunday to experience the Café Josie brunch again, followed by cruising the town on electric scooters.
Cover: Café Josie’s Tater Tot Casserole. Photo courtesy MYLK Collective