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Cafe Homestead: good food straight from the farm

April 20, 2011 | Chad Conine | Around Town
Cafe Homestead: good food straight from the farm
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What makes food taste good?

It's seems like the answer to that question should be obvious. It's kind of the "it is what it is" statement of the cuisine world. Good food tastes good. But there has to be more to it, right?

Is it ingredients? Well, yeah, that's probably it. But it's more than that, too. I'm saying authenticity of ingredients is important. If I eat a cheeseburger, I want real cheese on real beef and fresh vegetables on a bun that didn't come in a package with 1,000 other buns. That sounds good.

That's the draw of Cafe Homestead, where I met with cafe manager Sam Lindsay earlier this week. He showed me around the farm and explained the community's philosophy as we toured their model homestead, gristmill and cafe.

We're lucky to have authentic restaurants all over town whether it's Mexican, Italian, Vietnamese, Korean, Greek, Czech or, well, almost any kind of food from any part of the world.

At Cafe Homestead you can legitimately say you're eating Central Texas food. Lindsay said about 30 percent of the ingredients at Homestead are grown or raised right there on the farm, while the remainder is brought in from other Central Texas farms. For example, the farm makes its own flour, cheese and raises cattle. So if you eat a cheeseburger, the beef, cheese and bun all came from right there on the farm. The sweet potato fries represent good Central Texas food as Lindsay said the sandy river bottom soil is excellent for growing sweet potatoes. At the same time, their refreshing peach tea comes from another Central Texas farmer, who specifically mixed loose-leaf tea with input from the Cafe Homestead folks. At Cafe Homestead, if it's on your plate or in your glass, then the Cafe Homestead crew put careful consideration into how it arrived there.

Realize that Cafe Homestead isn't necessarily the place to grab a quick lunch during an hour-long lunch break. Located on Gholson Road, about five miles out from the Lake Shore Drive intersection, dining at Cafe Homestead requires venturing into the country a bit. But that's part of the authentic experience.