After a long, hard day of enjoying the Austin Catio Tour (hosted by none other than the local branch of the Audubon Society), we rolled downtown to theme-eat at the Blue Cat Cafe, a joint not only with cat in its name but with adoptable kitties roaming the restaurant. Sadly, the Blue Cat appears to be (temporarily?) closed (cat hair in the queso?). Nearby sat Cenote, and that is where we sat.
Cenote is, at first blush, just a coffee shop inside a quaint old house: counter service, tables inside and out, and lots of lonely people with open laptops. But, as the street sign testifies, Cenote also serves eats, beer, and wine. As we ordered, my first thought was “Hot dang, this place is expensive!” but when our plate-filling food arrived, I felt economically better with the high mass-of-chew-per-chit ratio.
The young lady behind the counter explained that Cenote is famous for their chips and salsa, burgers, and turkey avocado. We ordered each of those while our catty friend went with the club. The chips and salsa (oddly not on the menu; maybe $7) arrived with a tongue-burning, long-sliced jalapeno and limes and were competent. The turkey avocado (with swiss, greens, tomato, and chipotle aioli on multigrain artisan bread; $10) featured high-quality bird and spilling greens.
The club (turkey, ham, bacon, swiss, lettuce, and tomato on multigrain artisan bread; $12) consisted of two (count ’em: two!) sammiches diagonally cut and crazed across the plate. Our cat lady friend purred with contentment but needed to take three-quarters home for later feeds. I went with the Burger of the Month gloriously titled Delayed New Year’s Resolution Burger (beef patty, artisan bun, scrambled eggs, lettuce, tomato, mixed cheese, ham, and chipotle mayo; $13). That burger was unavoidably savory with the spicy fries serving as a great accomplice in delaying the diet.
Cenote also serves breakfast, salads, and tacos as well as gluten-free and vegan fare. Intriguing menu items for later noshing include beet fries (shoestring beets, basil, goat cheese, and sriracha mayo; $7), affogato (double espresso on top of ice cream; $5), banh mi tacos (tortillas, char sui pork belly, cucumber, basil, pickled carrots, cilantro, chipotle aioli, and side salad; $10), and the BLAT (flying pig bacon, greens, avocado, tomato, and chipotle aioli on multigrain artisan bread; $10).
Cenote has your standard comfy, local-coffee-house friendly vibe. The overheads hummed with East Austin cool including Patti Smith and Sleater-Kinney. Cenote just entered empire-mode by opening an outlet in North Austin at Cameron Road and 290. The Cat Ladies, who work up north, took note…
web&where: interwebs; various; menus
what’s the deal? Coffee shop with good booze and food; counter service
overall: ** (food**; drink*; atmosphere**; service**; instagrammability**)
does it scramble? Yes!
– meh [think twice]
* OK [it’ll get the job done]
** good [solid neighborhood joint]
*** damn good [we’ll definitely be back]
**** yippity-yikes that was amazeballs [fantastic; one of the best]
***** holy sh!t [transcendental; best of the best]