“We ate there a few years ago, and you loved the cinnamon roll. You don’t remember?” my mother said, though I’m still not sure if she was asking me or telling me. And for the record, I did not. But a cinnamon roll for which there’s even an iota of a chance that I’d been a once upon a time fan was enough to get me up in time for brunch, the following morning, for a visit (back) to the Monument Cafe, in the lovely Austin suburb of Georgetown, Texas.
First off, we had a really fantastic server, Heather, who truly elevated what would probably have been a pretty great meal, anyhow, to a truly wonderful one. How wonderful? Let me put it this way: One of the first things Heather told us was that the Cinnamon Rolls (scratch-made daily and topped with homemade cream cheese buttercream frosting)—part of the appropriately titled “While It Lasts” section of the menu—had already been 86’d, by the time we’d arrived; and we still had a memorably great brunch! *
So, lemme tell you what we did have. My mom got the Corned Beef Hash (with house-made corned beef, caramelized onions, and crispy potatoes, topped with two eggs—fried, medium—hold the poblano peppers, please) which she loved; even going so far as to do a bit of hand-modeling with a fork to demonstrate the size of the juicy hunks of corned beef.
As for me, I opted for the Pearl Sugar Waffles (covered with candied pecans, butter, and maple syrup) which were the waffle equivalent of dollar-sized pancakes, and while pretty darned close to perfection on their own, and pretty amazing with the maple syrup, those candied pecans shot the whole flavor experience into orbit!
I took two sides—an order of the House-made Sausage, and an English Muffin (toasted with butter and cheddar cheese)—and paired them into a version of my longtime favorite breakfast sandwich that my brother has dubbed the “Butter McCheese.” ** It was a bit rich, but oh so yummy (if not particularly heart-healthy).
We’d decided to split an order of Two Buttermilk Pancakes, and upon seeing the enormity of each, knew they were going right into a pair of to-go boxes (along with half of mom’s hash). And in case you were wondering, I put the pancake in the to-go box, spread the butter, and poured the syrup on top, before closing the box. I brought it home and put in the refrigerator; and I'm delighted to report that where most pancakes would have dissolved into a congealed sticky goo, a few hours later when I went for a bite, my pancake had soaked up the syrup without losing any of its structural integrity. Now, that’s a pancake!
Rounding things out, I ordered a slice of the Monument Chocolate Pie, because it’s the Monument Cafe’s signature dessert, and I’m all about a signature dish, regardless of the course. Also, the Monument Chocolate Pie is gluten-free; which got me thinking about how this is the time of year during which I usually visit my very favorite gluten-free household, that, for any number of reasons, I’m likely not to be seeing for another few months. *** Anyhow, that’s what had me so hot-to-trot for the Monument Chocolate Pie, which was really damn tasty, but—as you’ve no doubt surmised—required my boxing half of it to go because I was just so full.
Heather advised us that the Monument Cafe opens at 7am and that if we wanted to come back the next day, that we should call-in early, and order a couple of Cinnamon Rolls to-go, that we could then eat when we came in. I set my alarm while she was standing there.
Then, on our way out, with our shopping bag full of leftovers and as-yet-uneaten pancakes, my mom spotted the Monument Café’s longtime GM, David Schuler, who told us that he’d make sure to put aside a couple of Cinnamon Rolls, for us, tomorrow, if we wanted to come back. Suffice it to say, we’ll be there, tomorrow, to take him up on it!
The Monument Cafe
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Get into it!
[Editor’s Notes: My favorite theory about the origins of the expression “86’d” posits that it was coined in the late 1920s as a reference to the standard pot used in soup kitchens during the Great Depression. These pots held 85 cups, so whoever came next (the 86th person) was outta luck, or 86’d. // ** A reference to a joke from the S23, Ep7 episode of Saturday Night Live, wherein Norm McDonald—while anchoring “Weekend Update”—said “McDonald’s has introduced its latest offering, the “Butter McCheese” accompanied by an illustration of a stick of butter covered with a melted slice of American cheese. // ***Wherever William Gilbane III and Jeffrey Tousey and their charismatic curly-haired canine companions, GrahmTheDog and Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside Tousey Gilbane, are calling home]