Saturday, August 27, 2011

Endless hours at 24 Diner

Last Sunday, 24 Diner and I finally made it official.

One thing about this downtown gem is that no matter what time of day I've indulged in you, consistency is the common thread. Whether it's post-festival going at ACL (you know we fest goer's have a blinding disregard for ordering appropriately) and indulging on chicken & waffles with milkshakes OR lunching with business associates on frittatas and mixed greens – you get some of the best plated food in town. Quality ingredients and a commitment to preparation are motivating factors for 24 Diner. No wonder you're constantly recommended and have an endless wait at the door. Hmmm, think this will be a bad review? Likely not.

Arriving at 12:00 p.m. sharp and being seated in a record time of 5 minutes, I opted to kick-start our meal with the infamous 24 Diner Bloody Mary made with Austin's own Tito's Vodka. 24 Diner blends their own mix and offers a surprisingly tasty medley of pickled vegetables all for $6.50. Call it a drink or meal, any sucker for a spicy bloody with ample flavors and an obvious amount of vodka, will find this styling has all the components. Dare I say 24 Diner boasts the #1 Bloody Mary in town? Try it!

Hungry with absolutely no shame, Breakfast In Austin opted for the massively overindulgent, Fried Egg Sandwich served with skillet fries. Imagine a doughy Challah Bun with Texas Applewood Smoked Bacon and cheddar cheese topped with an over medium egg with a perfectly cooked yolk. For the average diner, guilt may overtake you during those last 4-5 bites. Please don't let it. I encourage you to finish this delicious sandwich. It’s penny worthy and filling with a price tag of $9.95.

Kids in tow? My 12 year old, also excited for 24 Diner, decided to go big & rich with the French Toast Platter. Boasting a large cut of French bread and topped with vanilla cream & fresh blueberries, this sampling was an undertaking for anyone, pre-teen or otherwise. With the addition of egg & bacon sides, it became pretty clear that this plate would go unfinished. Flavorful, filling and pricey at $11.95.

For you breakfast lovers who prefer a gluten-free lifestyle, 24 Diner is mindful of your dietary needs. Along with a gluten-free menu, they are happy to modify recipes, so please ask! My friend, Sarah, who has been GF for several years opted for the 24 HASH with bacon, sausage, jalapeno and cheddar cheese served with a side of homemade skillet fries. Hunger kicking in, our server recommended Sarah order the large portion for $9.95. Thumbs up!

24 Diner has certainly found a niche in Austin with their “round the clock service” and quality of food choices. With breakfast available morning, noon or night, indulgence can occur for you at anytime.

It's all about the feast, not the famine!

For more information, visit 24 Diner at:

Whether it's 3 a.m. or 11 p.m., check out 24 Diner's Breakfast Menu at:

OR 24 Diner's Gluten-Free Breakfast Menu at:

Local and involved, no surprise that 24 Diner is connected! Find with them on FB at: or follow their Tweets at: @24DinerATX

Pros: Hmmm, this is tough - open 24 hours, breakfast 24 hours, best bloody mary ever, creative & flavorful dishes, farm to table local ingredients, locally roasted coffee, green minded - composting & recycling, great location at 6th & Lamar, spot-on service and relaxed ambiance

Cons: Always a wait, so be patient, items are on the spendy side but quality justifies the expense

Suggestions: Order a bloody mary at the bar while you wait, once seated take your time & enjoy - nobody will make you feel rushed

24 Diner ~ 600 N. Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX 78703 ~ 512.472.5400 (Open 24 hours, with the exception of Wednesday morning from 1-6 a.m. for cleaning)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

100% Green, Natural & Elemental at Java Dive Organic Bistro

Java Dive isn't really a "dive," as the name might imply. It's my neighborhood "go-to" spot for a dark blend of coffee, friendly faces and the occasional baked good or organic whole wheat breakfast taco.

In case you hadn't heard, Java Dive has a following in the Austin & Lakeway areas with a reputation for offering 100% organic food with primarily gluten-free options. Led by owner, Roni Liberman, his concept caters to all breakfast lovers, including those with food restrictions. Other highlights? Varied coffee beans are roasted in house (think anti-Starbucks), along with creatively baked goods (my personal fave - the triple berry muffin) which are made fresh daily, from the kitchen. If you're looking for a quiet place to work on your laptop with artsy ambiance, Java Dive offers free wi-fi to assist in jumpstarting your day. I've taken them up on this service a few times!

Java Dive has created an extensive breakfast and brunch menu that is worth exploring! If you enjoy Waffles, there are many options (also available as gf) including a Mandarin & Toasted Pecan styling - all topped with maple or chocolate syrup and homemade whipped cream. Omelette lover? You'll find several choices including a Pesto & Mushroom Omelette with Swiss Cheese to the Italian Delight Omelette with spinach, goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes. For the more traditional breakfast lover, Migas, Bagels, Oatmeal & Breakfast Tacos are also available. A common theme provides you options to dress up your meal with nitrate free turkey or ham.

Upon arriving at Java Dive, I'd decided to indulge in something hearty. But first, the steps:

1. Grab a menu at the door (study it)
2. Walk to back counter (wait in line)
3. Place order with cashier (nameless, hurried & all biz, grrr)
4. Pay (card or cash, they take tips at the counter)
5. Collect your number for table delivery (find a table, they were packed today!)

So, what did Breakfast In Austin order? A caffeine fan, I decided on a Soy Cappuccino for sipping which made its appearance in a bulky red cup with an artsy leaf in the foam. Cool and tasty!

...and in appeasing my insatiable need for food after running stairs this morning, I decided on the the South West Bacon Sunrise Panini. Imagine (or see picture below) a delicious creation with scrambled eggs and cheese on a toasted organic sprouted bun with organic and pesticide free tomatoes and a fire roasted poblano pepper. Remember my note of dressing up a meal? I did just that with the addition of nitrate free turkey. All I can say is BRAVO - the presentation was beautiful and the food combination tasty.

Parting words? While on your quest for a great breakfast with healthy options and flavorful food, I highly recommend spending your hard earned $ at this local dive, Java Dive Organic Bistro. Roni and his staff will treat you right!

It's all about the feast, not the famine!

To learn more about Java Dive Organic Bistro, visit them on the web at:

To see a complete list of Breakfast offerings, check out Java Dive Organic Bistro's Menus:

Pros: 100% organic, gf options, varied menu, kid friendly with kid menu, free wi-fi, freshly roasted beans & coffee, delicious baked goods, affordable, locally owned
Cons: When you're busy, it's even more important to get the dirty tables cleaned up
Suggestions: Bring another employee in on Saturday & Sunday mornings. Would increase flow at the door, counter and with turn at your tables. Also, are you Bistro or Cafe? The signage on both locations, then online is confusing

Java Dive Organic Bistro (Restaurant) ~ 1607 RR 620 N, Austin, TX 78734 ~ located in The Oak Grove Plaza ~ 512.266.5885
Java Dive Coffee Shop ~ 900 RR 620 S, Austin, TX 78734 ~ located in the Lakeway Commons Plaza ~ 512.263.5995