Kerbey Lane Cafe makes the ethical choice of veganism accessible to those of us who grew up in decidedly non-vegan environments and hold close to our hearts the need to eat low-quality food at any random point in the evening. The 24-hour restaurant chain has been a staple Austin eatery for over thirty years, and though I can only admit to having participated in roughly eight months of that time, I have grown accustomed to discovering the ins and outs of the diner-cum-family-restaurant’s menu.
One of the selling points of KLC (as it is colloquially known) is the rotating seasonal menu. After a disappointing Winter with only a vegetarian chorizo sloppy Joe as an option, I was drawn in at the promise of vegan queso and surprised by the addition of something called Allie’s Vegan ‘Wich. The sandwich (as I purposefully refrain from using the playful abbreviation ‘wich whenever possible) is a crisp combination of tomato, cucumber, hummus, avocado and spinach on my choice of bread. Texas toast was recommended to me by my server, and I took their recommendation. This proved to be my downfall.
Having no concept of what the sandwich would be outside of the ingredients, I was greeted with a sandwich boasting absolutely nothing more than its ingredients. While the spinach was crisp, the avocado homegrown and the hummus tasty as always, I became disheartened the more I thought about how easily this sandwich could have been prepared at home. Nothing was here to make the sandwich memorable; nothing that would awaken me from slumber with a rumble and carry me up I-183 North in the middle of the night. It was simply tomato on top of avocado on top of hummus on top of spinach. Competent, certainly, but without a spirit. In all honesty, much of this disappointment was due to the Texas toast, which was not toasted and served stale, rendering it simply a Texas bread.
As a hopeful aside, the vegan queso featured a touch of chili powder and was delightful. I will come back to Kerbey Lane, as I often do, and each time I will hope that Allie has taken a second look at the statement of her ‘wich.