Lux Bakery & Cafe
Lux blends coffee, sweets, and sandwiches into a multiethnic stew
Reviewed by Virginia B. Wood, Fri., Sept. 5, 2008
Lux Bakery & Cafe3601 W. William Cannon #175, 891-9850
Monday-Friday, 9am-6pm; Saturday, 9am-4pm
Far Southwest Austin is one of the fastest growing areas of our city, and for several years, there was a consistent complaint about the lack of reliable dining options in the neighborhood. As shopping centers were developed, national and regional chain eateries slowly began to dot the landscape, along with the occasional local mom-and-pop outfit. One of the most inviting little independent spots is a 1-year-old endeavor called Lux Bakery & Cafe. Ann and Tim Lux bought the former Chooby Doo Cafe last summer and opted to keep the existing international lunch menu, which they augment with Ann's handcrafted baked goods. It is just the kind of place that could develop into a popular neighborhood hangout – perfect for coffee and pastries in the morning, very affordable for lunch with the working crowd, and a pleasant afternoon retreat where the bubble teas are refreshing, the sweets are satisfying, and the Wi-Fi is free.
Begin the day at Lux with a cup of organic coffee ($1.50/$1.75) or a thick, sweet Saigon Coffee ($2.50) paired with muffins (95 cents), frosted cinnamon rolls ($1.95), a cheese Danish ($1.25), or scones ($1.75). Drop in for lunch, as I did recently with some friends who live in that neighborhood, and you're greeted with a globe-trotting selection of international specialties. The menu is heavily weighted toward Asian and Mediterranean dishes, but there are plenty of American regional choices as well. My main concern after looking at the diverse menu was that it seemed unlikely this small place could turn out so many different ethnic dishes effectively. However, we ordered the equivalent of a U.N. contingent of soups, salads, and sandwiches and didn't find anything wanting. Everything we sampled was fresh, simple, and well-prepared. We began with fresh, crunchy veggie spring rolls (two for $2.50) and a sweet-hot peanut dipping sauce. I thoroughly enjoyed the home-style interpretation of the hearty hot-and-sour Thai tom yum soup ($3.25) and a hot, creamy, pressed Cuban sandwich ($4.95) that reminded me of one I'd enjoyed in a little hole in the wall years ago in Miami. Both the toothsome grilled chicken gyro ($4.75) and the falafel wrap ($4.50) came wrapped in soft local pitas, dressed with chopped fresh vegetables and a tangy yogurt sauce. The Chicago-style hot dog ($2.95) came with regular pickle relish instead of the signature DayGlo green concoction, but in its defense, the dog was made with a quality wiener nestled on a homemade bun. One of my guests was unfamiliar with bubble teas and became a convert on the spot after sampling the Lux version ($3/$3.50). During a follow-up call, Ann Lux made a point of telling me they make tapioca pearls several times during the day to ensure freshness and start over anew each morning.
Stuffed as we were after our multiethnic meal, we couldn't think of leaving without trying some of Ann Lux's tempting sweet treats. There are drop cookies, hand-decorated cutout cookies, bar cookies, brownies, tarts, cupcakes, cheesecakes, and decorated layer cakes from which to choose. Lucky for us, most of the desserts come in small, individual servings – mini cupcakes, tiny tartlets, cheesecake bites, and festive bags of little cookies – as well as whole versions. We nibbled and made notes on things we would investigate further when we could bring the appetite to do them justice. All of the baked goods listed on the menu can be ordered for special occasions. Think breakfast pastry trays for the office, a one-of-a-kind birthday cake, or a romantic dessert offering for your sweetheart. The Luxes celebrate the first anniversary of their business all next week with daily menu specials. Stop by, and make some new friends in the neighborhood.
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