Northwest Neighborhood Treasures, Near and Far

Five new reviews of family-friendly ethnic cafes and east coast-style pizza parlors

It all started with one man's search for the comforting, familiar flavors of childhood. Local attorney Wilfred Aquilar left me a voice-mail message explaining how he'd searched Austin restaurants for a chile relleno as good as the ones he remembered from his boyhood home in El Paso. He claimed to have found what he described as "a chile relleno that made me feel like I was back in my mother's kitchen" at a Northwest Hills Tex-Mex place called Las Colinas. He urged me to go see for myself. Since I'd never heard of Las Colinas, I assumed it must be new and soon made plans to check it out. Turns out the place has been a mainstay in that area for 14 years -- and it's one of three small eateries in the neighborhood where devoted customers return year after year with unwavering regularity. Here's the scoop on three little family-friendly neighborhood treasures on the city's near-north side, as well as two East Coast-style pizza parlors. Thanks for putting me on the trail, counselor.

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