Serving up an extensive menu of breakfast bites and deli fare, Coffee Pot Bistro resets clanging tummy clocks, and the café’s specialty coffee drinks provide flavorful caffeine kicks. Ante-meridiem munchers can jump-start their days with light breakfast options, such as eggs and toast ($3), or cram face crevasses with a croissant, such as the herbivore-friendly garden variety, with eggs, feta cheese, guacamole, and assorted veggies ($8). Various melts and sandwiches include Nana's chicken-salad sandwich topped with spinach, cranberries, and walnuts ($7) for a hearty meal free of Grandma’s relentless pyramid-scheme sales pitches. Coffee Pot Bistro also boasts a vast menu of specialty drinks that can be served hot, iced, or blended, such as the Laughalatté, with milk-chocolate and macadamia-nut flavors, or the white ghost, with essences of white chocolate, pistachio, and ectoplasm.
A 2010–2011 recipient of the San Marcos Area Chamber of Commerce Emerging Business of the Year award, Phoenix Rising Bakery crafts a scrumptious bounty of handmade breads, sweets, and other golden-crusted butter vessels. Each batch of artisan bread dough is kneaded to life over the course of two days using all-natural and organic ingredients, and then baked in a traditional wood-fired brick oven. Accompany morning cups of coffee or tea-time chalices of mead with a fresh and flavorsome cinnamon roll ($3), or practice making kissy faces by puckering up to a lemon bar ($1.50) instead of an already slanderized milkman. Nonsweet breads are available in flavors such as sourdough, rosemary, and whole wheat, and freshly prepared 10" pizza crusts ($7 for a pack of four) make perfect canvases for homemade pies or anchovy haikus.
Within a cozy and colorful cubbyhole, the brew buffs at Sip! on the Square cater to café connoisseurs with a selection of high-quality coffee concoctions and chewable companions. Stimulate synapses sluggish from an early rising or soothe shot nerves after a night spent listening to boogey men grunting from indigestion with drip coffees such as the french roast or organic Sumatra ($1.59,12 oz.). Customers in the mood for more elaborate fare can furnish mouth caves with the thick cream of a milky mocha latte ($2.95,12 oz.) or decadent Ghirardelli chocolate frappé ($3.95,16 oz.). Like compressing Plato’s dialectics into a Bazooka Joe bubblegum comic, the quad espresso crams the vigor of a soda-sipping squirrel into one cup for a huge jolt of jack-in-the-box energy ($2.45).
The sweet-toothed masterminds of Yo So Cool chill health-conscious tongues with calcium-rich, self-serve frozen yogurt in 12 flavors du jour ($0.42/ounce). Visitors to the modern dessert lair can fill 100% recyclable cups with fruity frozen treats such as the sweet mango, tangy pomegranate, and fresh blueberry; or indulge baked-good hankerings with creamy-cheesecake and red-velvet varietals. Dessert artisans paint frozen canvases with more than 30 toppings including fresh fruit, popular cereals such as Quarterback Crunch, candy, cookies, white-chocolate-iced cake balls, and syrupy syrups. The kosher-certified sweet swirls contain live active cultures and come in gluten-free, sugar-free, and non- and low-fat varieties.
Aromas of baking sourdough, amber rye, and brioche bread waft from the ovens of Texas French Bread, winner of the Austin Chronicle's Restaurant Poll Readers award for Best Bread in 2009, 2010, and 2011. For the past three decades, these ovens have been churning out artisan breads, pastries, and desserts made from scratch, and under the helm of brothers Ben and Murphy Willcott, the ovens now cook a dinner menu of local and sustainable rustic French fare, earning a place in the top five on the Growers Alliance of Central Texas's Truly Local 2011 restaurants survey. Yet neither of the brothers set out to be bakers. Murph, a Harvard law-school graduate and lawyer, and Ben, a student of English literature, both enjoyed staying up late, cooking, and coordinating aprons with spatulas so they decided to take over Texas French Bread with the goal of turning it from bakery into bistro because, as Murph claims, "rock star and/or Hollywood movie mogul seemed like a stretch."
In the kitchen, Ben crafts a weekly rotating menu hewn under the guidelines of famed chef Alice Waters, with local, fresh, and simple ingredients from the urban farms of Boggy Creek and Angel Valley, served in season at their peak. Meanwhile, the pastry chef sculpts key-lime tartlets, cupcakes, and cream puffs to accompany cups of coffee or espresso drinks made with locally roasted beans from Anderson's Coffee Company. The house blend combines premium East African beans with a Costa Rican hard bean, barrel-cooked to a medium-brown, full-city roast to jump-start mornings without licking a car battery.