Category Archives: Pastries

Craving Candy? Check Out Campus Candy

Candy as far as the eye can see...

Returning after a rather warm winter, the first thing I noticed on the Drag was the bright-colored sign advertising “Campus Candy.” What in the world could that place be? A candy store on the Drag, very convenient for hungry night owls? This place is going to do just fine.

Campus Candy is the new kid on the block, replacing the previous clothing store Wish. It is a candy store that has opened up on the Drag that is covering some of the latest fads on campus. It sells frozen yogurt, pastries from Cheesecake Factory, and also popular drinks and snacks to pick up in between classes.

You cannot miss this store on the Drag, blasting loud music like it’s a club and showing off its brightly-colored sign. Stepping in, it feels a bit like stepping into Wonka’s factory as the bright colors of the walls, seating, and candy overwhelm the visitor.

The flavors are often changing. My favorite is admittedly the tiramisu

To the right is the frozen yogurt, supervised by an employee ready to explain the system and provide sample cups. A way to monitor the tasting of flavors, I suppose. The frozen yogurt is very flavorful and a wide variety. Flavors range from tiramisu to chocolate chip mint to raspberry. The price, however, is quite high. It is nearly 70 cents/oz. For a half full cup, it cost me about $3.30, a price that could get a lot more at the other frozen yogurt places near UT. However, the flavors match Red Mango in intensity and the tiramisu and crème brulee flavors seem to be very popular.

A variety of toppings are available at Campus Candy, just like you would find at any other frozen yogurt store. There are tons of sauces as you can see in the front of the picture and lots of fruits and chewy toppings like flavored mochis. I think I’ve also found a new favorite topping for frozen yogurt that tasted kind of like chocolate-covered rice krispy treats.

Tons of toppings and sauces, even some I have never seen at other yogurt places.

Another fun addition to Campus Candy is the fact that you can put any candy in the store on top. It’s a great way to try out some new candies you want to check out, but don’t want to pay the $2.89/quarter of a pound for. For the yogurt I bought, I added some of the sour gummy bears on top to try them out. FYI, probably not a good idea to put gummies on top of cold products as it does reduce the chew of the candy.

Some novelty candies sit around the store such as a 27 lb. gummy bear and the gummy skull next to it. When Valentine’s day was coming up, chocolate roses became available. A lot of old school candies are also available on the wall across from the register like Pot o’ Honey and Neccos.

Ooh, Cheesecake Factory right next to UT!

Finally, there are baked goods being sold at Campus Candy and finishes off the college student’s sweet tooth. Most of the baked goods are from the Cheesecake Factory. These pastries include popular cheesecake flavors from Cheesecake Factory like Raspberry Swirl and Godiva Chocolate cheesecake. The cheesecake slices are not as big as the ones you get at the Cheesecake Factory, but they taste about as good as the ones you can get frozen at Sam’s. If you’re dying for a baked good, here is a decent place to go. They also have Cheesecake Factory’s cupcakes that I am interested in trying, but have yet to do so. Flavors seem to be rather standard such as red velvet, chocolate, and vanilla.

Overall, Campus Candy seems like an establishment that will be very popular on the Drag and already it is attracting loads of customers each night. I am excited that more than frozen yogurt is being sold here and I love the variety and customization available for toppings. Also, there is finally a place on the Drag for easy access to baked goods other than cupcakes and cookies.

Rating: 😛 😛 😛 😛 ½ for covering every sweet tooth, high prices, and good location.

The Coffee Grind: Cherrywood Coffeehouse

As you can see, coffee isn't the only drink sold at Cherrywood.

It seems appropriate that the first review after a final should be about a coffeehouse. Admittedly, coffeehouses are not my first choice for studying, but this was a good place to chill and study in a place that wasn’t always full of college students. Not only coffee is sold here, but a menu full of real food and strong drinks to marathon your way through another study session.

At least there's lots of room to sip your coffee.

Cherrywood Coffeehouse is located close to I-35 on the East side of Austin. Near to some food trailers, Cherrywood is quite reflective of the Austin spirit. A large patio outside includes an outdoor stage for live music or poetry performances. The place is comfy and cozy with lots of light sources to allow you the pick of your study spots. However, that does not mean the place is the most ideal for a study spot. The music is pretty loud and not soothing and if there were more people, the calling of orders from the counter could be distracting.

Look past the computer to a doorway to peace and quiet...maybe.

For these cases, there is also a side room if you need a bit more quiet or privacy and a computer for free internet access. Wi-fi is generously provided free. Happy hour goes from 3-7pm and the place is open ’til midnight, perfect for a late night study group.

😛

My roommate and her boyfriend were kind enough to bring me along to the coffeehouse. Entering the place, there were tons of tables and it was not too busy at 10pm on a Saturday night. Their favorite choices there include the breakfast tacos. They are a good size, ranging in about half the size of a Chipotle burrito. What makes them unique is the potatoes  are not cubed, but more like crispy shoestring potatoes. For less than $5, you can customize a breakfast taco that is both delicious and satisfying. A perfect snack to enjoy with your coffee or strong drink.

Mmm, just the right size.

It was pretty late so I ordered a hot chocolate to keep my brain awake as I prepared the next post for the blog. It was good, but a little more on the sweet size. Fair 8 oz. size and in a nice cup. More sugary than creamy. Chocolate taste was not muddied and quite delicious. It was also nice that they asked for the choice of milk in my hot chocolate. I chose whole milk, but it can range to soy milk and even almond milk.

So many pie slices were lined up!

If you’re feeling like a sweet dessert, there is more than enough to satisfy sweet tooths. I was too full to try anything, but there are pies and croissants and a number of other pastries.

Overall, Cherrywood Coffeehouse is a welcoming place to sit down and hang out for a good long time or enjoy the music scene on the patio. The prices are fair and the food is fair. If Bennu is too busy, why not try another coffeehouse like Cherrywood?

Rating: 😛 😛 😛 😛 for lots of study spots, pretty good food for pretty good prices, and also lots of distractions.

Yes, I Will Marry You Ken’s Doughnuts, Love B.

The run-down looking doughnut shops always seem to be the yummiest ones.

I have long heard of and seen Ken’s Doughnuts as I’ve been going north on the Drag. It is a walkable distance from campus, though you best be careful of the many cars whizzing by and very wide road crossings. It looks a little run down, but you know it’s going to taste good when the place does not rely on looks alone. What makes Ken’s Doughnuts even more unique than other doughnut places is that it is a nice, family-run store with Indian pastries along with the doughnuts. Now presenting…Ken’s Doughnuts!

Cannot miss that pink elephant.

Now that it’s finals time and my last post until after finals are done (see you in a couple of weeks!), it’s the perfect time to let you know about a late-night eating spot in case you get midnight munchies while studying. What makes Ken’s Doughnuts so awesome is that it is open 24 hours! Or close enough with 6am to 5:30am hours, 7 days a week. I went with my friend around 11pm and doughnuts were still coming out along with fresh samosas. Also, 4am is apparently a good time for fresh doughnuts, but don’t ask me how I know. And if you don’t want to move from your room, consider Longhorn Delivery to fill your fried dough needs.

Oops, sorry. Cut off the top. 😮

So not only is the place open late, but the prices are great too! $1 samosas that are a good snack size and doughnuts for less than a $1. My doughnut holes were only $1.50 for a dozen and that is equal to like two doughnuts with extra glazing. Low low prices and doughnuts that taste GOOD! Heck yes! 😀

*crunch crunch* Yum!

Onto the food! First, the samosa was big, yummy, and warm. It was spicy, but in a good tasty way. The dough was just chewy enough with a lot of potatoes and warm spices inside. If you like samosas, you’ll probably like this one.

The amazing insides of a palak paneer and pretty big too.

My friend got the palak paneer. It had a similar dough to the samosa, but was a little less spicy and full of spinach and a special type of cheese called ‘paneer.’ It cost a little more than the samosa, but it was very yummy and definitely something we’d both get if we went again.

Ohh, delicious doughnuts, you make me hungry just looking at you. 😛

Finally, the doughnuts. I am a Shipley’s Doughnuts fan and those are the type of doughnuts I like. No Krispy Kreme for me, sorry guys. If you like Shipley’s though, you’ll like Ken’s Doughnuts. These doughnuts have an airier texture and less cakey, though those are available as well. Bunch of varieties like bear’s claw and cinnamon twists are also there. I am a fan of the doughnut hole, however, and they were absolutely delicious. A little less chewy and more cakey than the usual doughnut holes I eat, but that made it much more substantial and still delicious. Next time, I am definitely trying some more varieties including the fritter. 😛

Trying to imitate the art at the bottom of the Tower.

Late-night doughnut craving? Need something to eat after studying until 3 in the morning? Go to Ken’s Doughnuts and have delicious fresh breakfast pastry at any time of the day. Or ice cream. There is also a little ATM machine inside if you don’t have any cash and just want to make it easier on you. Prices are great and so are the food so you’ll enjoy lots on a college student budget.

Rating: 😛 😛 😛 😛 😛 for airy doughnut texture, a little run-down, and great prices.

The Coffee Grind: Bennu Coffee

This looks just like a coffee house should. Mocha on the left, cranberry scone in the middle, hot chocolate on the right.

Tempted by the menu of literary-themed drinks, I visited Bennu Coffee, located close to UT on the east side. It is open 24 hours with lots of comfy nooks and corners to settle down and study in an overstuffed chair while sipping on a drink and chewing on pastry. Or Torchy’s tacos. Or Hoboken Pie’s pizzas.

What makes Bennu an Austin creation is its promotion of small businesses in Austin such as the food places mentioned above, Russell’s Bakery and The Green Cart. Bennu sells its own array of coffees (especially mochas) while also promoting local foods you would want to eat, all at one cozy location.

Does this place not look comfy cozy? Look for hanging plugs on the top right.

If you’ve come here to study, quickly find a chair. The atmosphere is really great, having a sort of hipster quality to it that invites you to sit down and soak in a college atmosphere. Bennu is an awesome place to study since there is free WiFi and even power outlets hanging from the ceiling so that even more people can access a power supply. However, even though the coffee house is a good size, it can get full quick late at night or finals time. It is often difficult to find a place to sit down and enjoy your coffee and can be a grind at this particular coffee house.

The cup of hot chocolate was huge!

Now, to the food. I personally don’t drink coffee, but the friends who did enjoyed it and especially the specials that Bennu offers. The coffee is pretty nice and the chocolate added is also pretty nice. Overall, the coffee is a little better than average, but doesn’t wow you. I was THIS close to trying coffee after hearing about the Pride and Prejudice Mocha. However, I settled for a hot chocolate that came in a huge coffee cup and a cranberry scone.The hot chocolate was pretty good.  but mellowed out the sweetness with the scone. The scone by itself wasn’t that tasty either, but combined with the hot chocolate was very good.

Are you tempting because of the chocolate or your literary references? I am quite befuddled.

The mochas seem to be the specialties of the place. What makes this place so quaint are the mochas that pay tribute to literary greats. How can you not want to try a drink called The Raven or Oliver Twist? In general, the mochas are supposedly pretty tasty, but it might depend on the time you drink it because sometimes the chocolate is mixed in well and other times it isn’t. It’s also good to know that you get a huge mug for your mocha as well. It’s just something fun to try once and say you have tried a drink called the Great Gatsby.

How very zen.

I also cannot forget to mention the bathroom. Awesome and clean! I must have looked crazy taking pictures, but not sure if you’d believe me without them. There is also, strangely enough, a blackboard in the bathroom to keep up the literary tradition of the place. There is only one bathroom as far as I remember, but it seems to be pretty well-maintained. Considering how busy the place gets, try to be careful about filling your bladder up too much with coffee and one bathroom.

Overall, Bennu is a cool Austin-exclusive coffee house that pays tribute to the academic institution it owes many of its customers to. Perfect for the college student who studies late into the night, Bennu also supports small businesses and has all you need for a study marathon. With clean bathrooms. How can you beat that?

Rating: 😛 😛 😛 😛 for its atmosphere, average food, and plugs from the ceiling.

Austin Is Keeping It Foodie

 
 
 

May your Christmas be full of love and happiness! 😀

Hello everyone!

Sorry it’s been a while, but finals and general holiday preparations are keeping me busy. I thought I’d take a minute, though, and mention Austin’s growing reputation as a city for foodies.

Yahoo! has been keeping busy by posting Top 10 places to eat in the US. Austin has recently appeared in two of them for up-and-coming restaurants as well as bakeries.

First to be mentioned should be the GQ Eats: The 10 Best New Restaurants in America. Uchiko, a rather recent branch from the famed innovative Japanese restaurant Uchi, is featured in the article for its more Americanized version of Japanese food. It has certainly taken Austin by storm and is quickly becoming as busy and popular as its parent Uchi. What makes Uchiko so unique is its allowance of its chefs to be more playful and creative with their creations that an established restaurant may not have the leeway for. Uchiko is a fine addition to the culinary range of Austin and it is obviously being recognized. For extra fun fact, Uchi is planning on extending itself to Houston for all you Houstinites in 2011 so if you’ve been enjoying your food in Austin, try it out in Houston too! Houston for Foodies!

Next, from Bon Appétit’s 10 best bread bakeries, to be noticed is Barrie Cullinan, a well-established baker in Austin and featured quite a bit in articles that you can check out on her website here. Though she has yet to establish a baking site, one will be opening up this coming summer and her website allows you to order boxes just for yourself to enjoy tasty french pastries and delicious baked breads.

Austin is moving up in the foodie world and hopefully you know that even if you are confined to campus, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some delicious foods nearby or even ones made yourself.

In case another article doesn’t crop up between now and the 25th, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and hope you enjoy yourself this holiday season with family, friends, and food!

Merry Christmas and to all a good night!