Austin Monthly’s Kimya Kavehkar visited mother-daughter-run Cafe Nena’i, and found a welcoming atmosphere with delightful food. While initially irked that the restaurant wasn’t open at its posted hours, Kavehkar soon forgot about this annoyance after a a “very sweet, black shot of espresso.”
Kavehkar was delighted by the pastry case, full of everything from familiar Nutella-stuffed croissants to “crumbly” alfajores. However, her favorite items were savory, like the arepas:
A thick and salty corn patty forms the “bread,” which is then filled with chopped ham, eggs, and gooey cheese. The breakfast sandwich game may be forever changed.
Kavehkar mentions that items sell out, and the owners occasionally bicker, but it’s all part of the warm, family atmosphere: “This is a place to sip slowly and savor.”
On the evening beverage side of things, Austin Monthly’s Moira Muldoon was transported by east side bar Nickel City. She was particularly captivated by the large oak bar, rumored to have been tossed into an alley by the Driskill Hotel and scavenged by former tenant Longbranch Inn. (“Thank all that is good that, when the new management took over, they got out the Murphy’s Oil Soap, cleaned the backbar up, and kept it right where it was.”)
Muldoon was also impressed with Nickel’s relaxed vibe. Though the crowd appeared to be mostly younger, she noted, “My friends and I sport the only gray hairs I can see, but I don’t feel out of place.” Of the drinks:
Mixed drinks on the menu start at the “well known” and end at the “unknown” [...] I drink an old-fashioned ($9), and my husband has a $9 “Isn’t It Unusual” made with Evan Williams Bonded, Amaro Averna, orange curacao, Porter vermouth and cherry bark bitters. As often happens, I like his drink better than mine.
Though she skipped the food offerings from Delray Cafe, Muldoon seemed satisfied, concluding with, “[a] neighborhood hangout is a lovely thing.”
THE BLOGS: South Austin Foodie loved the dishes at The Little Darlin’ so much, she couldn’t not blog about the bar; So Much Life Blog stopped by My Name is Joe and was surprised by the excellent food offerings, like the savory Texas Rancher-Oats.