Where to eat in Austin: Radio Coffee and Beer & Veracruz All Natural

I ran out of coffee beans a few days ago and thought, “Oh, no problem. I’ll just stop by Radio and get a cortado and two breakfast tacos before work.” Nooooooo. Unfortunately, they were all the way in Texas and I’m in California.  Radio Coffee and Beer wins the award for MVP: Most Visited Place in Austin.  One day, we even went to it twice: once in the morning for coffee, and then again at night for beer.

The perfect  Austin breakfast @radiocoffeeandbeer. Cortado, Stumptown cold brew, migas, and breakfast tacos.

Radio Coffee and Beer is a cafe (and bar) conveniently located off of the 290 (aka Ben White).  It’s on Manchaca, which I was shocked to learn was pronounced “MAN-shack” and not “man-CHA-ca” like someone who grew up in Los Angeles would expect.  When the weather is good, it’s a treat to sit on the patio sipping a cortado or a glass of nitro cold brew. I don’t know if it’s because of the beer glass or the nitro, but the cold brew tastes just like a chocolate stout.

While the espresso drinks and cold brew at Radio are great, I would advise against ordering any of the brewed coffee.  The hard water coming into the cafe makes brewed coffee taste a little soapy, which is most noticeable in a mug of brewed coffee.

At night, Radio turns from a cafe into a bar.  The wifi is shut down at 5pm, there’s a bluegrass band playing on Mondays, people are encouraged to sit on lawn chairs on the grass facing the bandstand, and a general sense of calm that only sitting outside with a cold glass of beer can bring on.  I had a nice chat with a family sitting on a picnic bench near ours while watching people sip beers.

And if a good glass of coffee and beer is not enough, there’s also the Veracruz All Natural food trailer that shares Radio’s patio.  It’s not fast food, but it is good food.  My favorite order for mornings is migas on flour tortilla and a breakfast taco with egg and bacon.  For those not in the breakfast taco mood, they do a mean chicken molé taco.

Veracruz also has a handful of vegetarian and even vegan options, but be prepared to repeat your order a few times because none of the vegan orders are pre-entered into their system, so they have to manually put in adjustments.  We didn’t realize till the day we were leaving that ordering migas without eggs or cheese is $3.00, but ordering a breakfast taco with salsa, avocado, and tortilla chips is only $2.50.  One of the women working there helpfully suggested the later.

A part of me is deeply saddened that there’s nothing like the one-two combo of Radio and Veracruz near me. But another part is slightly relieved because that is not a combination that my waistline needs every day.

Radio Coffee and Beer
4208 Manchaca Rd
Austin, TX 78704
(512) 394-7844

Veracruz All Natural
(same spot as Radio, same hours as Radio)

Decent coffee in the SGV at Taza

I’m not sure what is “social” about this social coffee house I went to called Taza in Arcadia, but it’s probably one of the better ones I’ve been to on this side of town.  The dark lighting and retro typewriter makes this hipster-decorated place look straight out of Silverlake or at least the hip part of downtown LA.  They walk the walk, but I was afraid they couldn’t talk the talk.

A decent macchiato for prelunch. Taza coffee.

I ordered a macchiato and was slightly worried that because it wasn’t on the menu, they wouldn’t be able to make it, but the barista behind the counter assured me it would be fine.  I also ordered a vanilla waffle because I can’t resist having a starchy pastry with my morning coffee.

The macchiato came out with just a teaspoon of milk on top. Perfect! The espresso under it was thick and had the right amount of tanginess.  The waffle was crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and not too sweet.

Sometimes, I just want to do work out of a local coffee shop that doesn’t serve 30 flavors of milk tea and where I don’t have to hear the people at the next table studying for their AP calculus exam.  Taza just might be the perfect place for that. Now if only it were walking distance of my house.

Taza: a social coffee house
11 W Huntington Dr
Arcadia, CA 91007