Surf and Turf, Travis-Style

Lakeside dining 2002: by boat or by car, bring your appetite

Highlands Cafe and Pizzeria

3611 N. RR 620, 266-3335

Monday-Saturday, 7am-3pm, 5-9pm

This little gem of a cafe is easy to miss as you cruise along the Ranch Road 620 autobahn, but I definitely recommend taking the extra time to slow down and look. Located in a vacated ZZ Gourmet Pizza space just north of Lakeway, the Highlands Cafe is one of those strange culinary hybrids that seem to be blossoming throughout the Austin area. Opened last year by a Peruvian woman, the restaurant offers pizzas and calzones from half the menu, while the other half is devoted to traditional Peruvian and Latin American specialties. The Peruvian dishes include Arroz con Pollo ($6.75), meat-stuffed arepas (South American gorditas, $6.25), and moros (slow-cooked shredded pork and black beans atop a pile of fluffy white rice, $6.25). Other miscellaneous menu items include meat-stuffed empanadas ($2.25), homemade tortilla chips and hot sauce ($1.50), and fresh-out-of-the-fat tostones ($3.75) served with an unparalleled, tangy mojo de ajo. Latin American sandwiches and salads round out the offerings (all less than $6). This tiny restaurant has just a few tables, and the sparsely decorated space has a very makeshift feel, but the friendly, personal service and excellent Peruvian food are worth the long drive out to the lake.

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