Snooze Sparkles with Delicious South Austin Creativity
Brunch is a huge part of Austin's weekend diner culture and the competition in this town is steep with so many brilliant culinary minds constantly crafting the next decadent morsel to appease hungry guests. I will admit that for a long time I missed brunch. No, I didn't miss it in as I pined longingly for it. I literally was sleeping through it on most weekend days, much to my dismay. While I am not one of those people who HAS to start their day with breakfast, my boyfriend is, and thus it became quite a challenge to find a quality place still serving a full breakfast menu at 2pm that wasn't "fast food". However, recently we have begun to find ourselves awake on Saturdays at a normal morning hour and, to our delight, the world of brunch is now within our reach!
For nearly a year I had driven past Snooze on South Lamar Blvd. in Austin, Texas and admired the cheerful bright orange umbrellas and snazzy retro logo of their exterior patio design. I had read several reviews which touted the overall excellence of the menu and bustling atmosphere, as well as the fabulous morning mixed drink offerings. Alas, it was always closed. After all, Snooze is an "A.M. Eatery" open from 6am to 2:30pm. That's why when the unthinkable occurred and we found ourselves awake at 9am on a Saturday, we knew just where we had to go!
Snooze is almost always packed to the gills every single weekend, so be prepared for a bit of a wait. And we just so happened to go on Austin Pride Weekend so it was extra celebratory and sparkly that Saturday when we arrived. However, the strong rich coffee and decadent brunch cocktails made the time fly. Everyone we met from the hostess to the bartenders and serving staff were in the best of spirits and seemed genuinely happy be working that day. And I would imagine it hard to be in a bad mood with such lively disco music playing overhead.
With our stomachs demanding nourishment like a screaming baby, we opted to give up our place on the wait list and selected a couple of seats at the bar where we ordered a few items to sample including the Corned Beef Hash, the Huevos Rancheros, The Snooze Classic, and the Shrimp and Grits, which was emphatically recommended by the waiter. Being that I recently discovered just how utterly allergic I have become to gluten, I was delighted to be able to order gluten-free bread, tortillas (corn), and pancakes (if I so chose).
To start, The Snooze Classic is the classic American diner breakfast done at its absolute best. While there are multiple options for you to customize this standard menu item, I chose the gluten-free toast with apricot jelly, eggs over medium, housemade sausage, and their crispy golden hashbrowns. Absolutely delicious! The Corned Beef Hash also raised the bar for the American diner staple breakfast platters. The corned beef itself was buttery and mildly spicy with black pepper, making it melt in your mouth while moisturizing your lips in strangely sensual way only good brisket can -- who says bbq ain't sexy?! Combined with strips of sweet roasted poblano peppers and more of those golden hashbrowns, it is definitely one dish that will keep you well fed for hours, including the ones during which you may need a nap.
The Huevos Rancheros were some of the best I have ever had, and that is a big statement having grown up in the Tex Mex capital. Layers of buttery corn tortillas, tangy melty cheese, grilled peppers, smothered with a luscious and fresh ranchero sauce, and topped with a fried egg for an extra douse of silky, rich luxury, the Huevos Rancheros was Tex Mex comfort food at its finest. Another mind-blowing dish was the Shrimp and Grits. Wow! Wow wow wow! At 1400 calories (yes, they list out the calories next to each dish so you can make conscientious decisions...or not) this bowl of down-home cajun love makes your tongue feel like its gone home to New Orleans to die a happy death. The grits are velvety with only gods know how much butter, but enough to make you smile like a cheshire cat. The shrimp have a perfect creole spice and are cooked to the absolute point of tenderness. This is definitely a guilty pleasure that you can eat slowly while sipping your mimosa or bloody mary and savor.
While Snooze is a chain restaurant — and I know how Austinites needlessly cringe in horror at the idea of a chain restaurant — it doesn't feel at all like a chain. It is impossible, I think, to be in a bad mood the minute you walk through the front doors. The pure positive energy of the place, combined with the soul-satiating food that grounds you like a big warm fuzzy hug, is an experience you'll find yourself craving in the days the follow. In fact, I am already planning my next trip back and wondering who I can convince to go with me to share in the scrumptuous decadence.
You can find Snooze and all of its locations across the U.S. at https://snoozeeatery.com/. There are currently two locations in Austin, one north and one south. The location I visited is 1700 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704. If you find yourself looking for a fantastic new brunch experience I highly recommend checking out Snooze this weekend, if not sooner!
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