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Monument Café

500 S. Austin Ave., Georgetown, TX - (512) 930-9586
Posted By Michael Stern on 5/22/2008 7:17:00 AM
A half hour north of Austin, The Monument Café has a menu that says it was "designed to be reminiscent of Texas roadside cafes of the 1920s to 1940s." Fans spin overhead, tables are chrome-banded, and windows are hung with Venetian blinds. Service is fast and efficient and the food is a roster of Lone Star classics at their very best. One blackboard itemizes the daily specials. Another lists the gardens, ranches, farms, and orchards from which the kitchen's provisions are obtained. Lunch items include crunchy fried catfish, charred chicken with poblano sauce, and a fine two-alarm (no-bean) Texas chili; but the meal we recommend most is breakfast.

Waffles are elegant, not the big, dried-out Belgium-tread manhole covers served by so many cafés nowadays. Pancakes are big and fluffy; biscuits are served warm; and the sour cream coffee cake is a sugar-crusted masterpiece. One hot breakfast unique to the region is migas, Mexican scrambled eggs that include melted cheese, chunks of tomato, and small ribbons of crisp tortilla that soften in places but stay crunchy in others. On the side of migas, you get red salsa to heat it up along with grits or hash browns and a soft flour tortilla rolled in aluminum foil so it stays warm.

The Monument Café makes some of the best desserts anywhere in Texas, using the finest ingredients to produce classic sweets. There is usually a fried pie (fruit fully enclosed in a pastry crust and fried to a crisp); we have had superb baked tapioca pudding as well as angel food cake with fresh strawberries; and the cool cream pies are dazzling. Chocolate pecan is dark and fudge-like, loaded with chunks of nut and topped with a ribbon of pure white whipped cream. Coconut cream pie is every bit as wonderful, but more angelic than sinful: light, silky, fresh, and layered on a flaky light-gold crust.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
pie
migas
Chocolate Cake
chili
Chicken Fried Steak
Lemonade
Monument Chocolate Pie
King Ranch Casserole
coffee cake
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

Monument chocolate pie is dense and fudgy. Look closely at the crust. It is not a crust, but a web of crunchy toasted pecans. Brilliant!
"Monument chocolate pie is dense and fudgy. Look closely at the crust. It is not a crust, but a web of crunchy toasted pecans. Brilliant!"
Michael Stern





Texas on a plate: chicken fried steak with gravy, mashed potatoes, green chile squash casserole, and a refreshing apple salad.
"Texas on a plate: chicken fried steak with gravy, mashed potatoes, green chile squash casserole, and a refreshing apple salad."
Michael Stern


Honest chili: rich and bright, tasting of cumin and hot but not aggressively so. Wen you order it, the waitress will ask,
"Honest chili: rich and bright, tasting of cumin and hot but not aggressively so. Wen you order it, the waitress will ask, "onions and cheese?" But of course!"
Michael Stern


King Ranch casserole is found in countless self-published cookbooks but is rare in restaurants. It's made with creamed soup, corn tortillas, cheese and chicken. How a chicken casserole got named for a cattle ranch is a mystery to Texas food historians.
"King Ranch casserole is found in countless self-published cookbooks but is rare in restaurants. It's made with creamed soup, corn tortillas, cheese and chicken. How a chicken casserole got named for a cattle ranch is a mystery to Texas food historians."
Michael Stern


Dense, rich, sweet, crowned with fresh whipped cream and perched atop a fragile crust, this coconut cream pie sets the benchmark.
"Dense, rich, sweet, crowned with fresh whipped cream and perched atop a fragile crust, this coconut cream pie sets the benchmark."
Michael Stern


Migas is a way of adding the crunch and chew of tortilla chips to scrambled eggs (along with cheese, tomatoes, and hot sauce).
"Migas is a way of adding the crunch and chew of tortilla chips to scrambled eggs (along with cheese, tomatoes, and hot sauce)."
Michael Stern


See all the big chunks of pecan in this sour cream coffee cake?  Pecan trees are everywhere in this part of Texas.
"See all the big chunks of pecan in this sour cream coffee cake? Pecan trees are everywhere in this part of Texas."
Michael Stern


Old-fashioned chocolate cake: super chocolaty but not cloying the way 'decadent' flourless cakes can be.
"Old-fashioned chocolate cake: super chocolaty but not cloying the way 'decadent' flourless cakes can be."
Michael Stern


The old location up the road was an airy space with plenty of elbow room at tables and the counter: a nice place to linger over morning coffee.  Those blurs in the foreground are good ice tea and fresh-squeezed lemonade.
"The old location up the road was an airy space with plenty of elbow room at tables and the counter: a nice place to linger over morning coffee. Those blurs in the foreground are good ice tea and fresh-squeezed lemonade."
Michael Stern


Jane and I have long contended that ice in the South and Southwest is colder than ice in the north. This close-up view of a glass of ice tea illustrates our point.
"Jane and I have long contended that ice in the South and Southwest is colder than ice in the north. This close-up view of a glass of ice tea illustrates our point."
Michael Stern


Is this the best chocolate pie in Texas?
"Is this the best chocolate pie in Texas?"
Michael Stern



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