Saturday, April 26, 2014

1541 Pastries and Coffee

This morning was one of those things every pet owner knows about: waking up to find out the dog has not had a good night. Therefore we cleaned up the dog and the mess and decided we'd rather eat...out...for breakfast. We decided to go a place The Lovely Spouse had not yet tried: 1541 Pastries and Coffee because we needed the treat.

1541 Pastries and Coffee is located on Brothers Blvd behind the Walmart in College Station.  It's kind of hard to find unless you're looking for it, making it a somewhat well-kept secret.  Look for an older, brown strip mall containing a couple hair salons and wellness centers.  The coffee shop is on the far corner most distant from Longmire Drive.

While the decor is very simple, the pastries and coffee are really the main events. Pastry Chef and co-owner Anel Olmedo is a Cordon Bleu graduate that also holds a position at the highly regarded Republic Steakhouse in College Station. Her training and skill are obvious in the simple-sounding, but extremely well-executed pastries such as apple turnovers and breakfast croissant sandwiches.

Service is friendly and guests are welcome to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere, with indoor and outdoor seating, and free wifi.

Light and fluffy blueberry muffin.
Bacon, egg, and cheese croissant. Delicious.
How was the coffee? Also very delicious.  And the presentation was the best you will find in the Bryan and College Station area.  The following pictures were taken from several visits with several accompanying friends.

The prices are very reasonable and actually better than you find at most places that serve high quality coffee, lattes, and cappuccino. Flavors can also be added.

And the name? The owners were married in the city of Morelia, Mexico.  The city was founded in 1541 and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

As good as Grandma's cooking was, she never have pastry skills like those found at 1541.
We'll definitely be back.

1541 Pastries and Coffee also makes custom cakes and has become popular for special-occasion cakes for those "in the know".  A very abbreviated portfolio can be found on their website.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Rio Brazos Distillery

I've already posted about College Station's brewery and brewpub, but did you know that College Station now has a commercial distillery? It's totally true.

Rio Brazos Distillery took over the location formerly occupied by New Republic Brewery (NRB moved to a larger space in the building next door).  To get there follow the directions for my previous post on New Republic Brewery.

During one of my visits I got to see how some of the magic happens. In this case he was sealing bottles.
Owner Nathan Barkman distills a very smooth Whistlestop white whiskey that has a character similar to fine vodka.  It has a very, very smooth finish and mixes well.  I've had it in a Moscow Mule (mixed with ginger beer - mmmmmm...Bundaberg), in a Manhattan, and in a whiskey tonic.  Each time the whiskey blends perfectly with the other ingredients without being too obtrusive.

Tours and explanations of the facility will be given upon request. Distilling is a bit different from brewing.

Right now the distillery is only producing the Whistlestop whiskey, but has plans to expand to produce a rum and a longer-aged whiskey that will have characteristics more commonly associated with whiskey: caramel color, barrel-aged flavors, etc.

My picture is a few months old.  The bar looks a lot nicer these days. 
The distillery is open most Fridays and Saturdays 5 - 9 pm and offers free tastings (must be 21 years or old) and cocktails are available for sale. Bottles of the whiskey are for sale, with limits on the quantities you can purchase. It is also available at Spec's in College Station.  If you visit, say hi to Nathan as he's a very nice person. Bonus points for making him smile.  The product is also delightful.

If you drink, designate a non-drinking driver or take a taxi.  Get home safely.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Blackwater Draw

Good news!  College Station now has a brewpub!  Alright, so it's only good news to those of us who have been wanting even more good, locally produced beer.  

Those are some distinctive tap pulls.
2 sizes of growlers for those who wish to take the beer with them.

Blackwater Draw is located at the corner of Boyett and Church Street in College Station, right behind Northgate, or about a block from O'Bannon's.   They have daily specials listed on their facebook page and recently have been having events, including a Northgate pub crawl that will occur tomorrow.

Beer Cheese Soup. Delicious, but found out the hard way it contains garlic.
The beer menu is a mix of their in-house brewed beers and Texas craft beer.  They also have a selection of wines and soft drinks for non-beer drinkers. The food menu features a selection of sliders as well as high quality burgers.  I've visited a few times and so far my favorites are the Contract Killer Coffee Porter, which has a wonderful coffee flavor, and the short rib sliders.  Several friends swear the burgers are in competition for the best in the region.  Given the competition in the area, that's high praise.
Mmmmm...sliders. These were very messy, but totally worth it.
The nachos are a popular menu item. I found them to be alright.  The short rib sliders were, in my opinion, far better.
The Grown Up Grilled Cheese was alright, but not up to the standards of those I make at home. I suggest having the burgers or sliders instead.
The Lovely Spouse loves their parmesan truffle fries. Truffle oil smells and tastes bad to me so he's welcome to them.
The price are very reasonable and dinner for 2 can easily come in around $20, including beer.  We'll definitely be back.