thirsty thursday
jo's on south congress

Jo's Hot Coffee and Good Food
1300 South Congress (with a second location on....Second St.)
7am-9pm, Sun-Friday, until 10pm on Saturday

I was a relatively new Austinite when Jo's original location, on the ultra-hip stretch of South Congress, just across from The Continental Club, hung it's coffee-scented shutter, and it's held a special place in my coffee-loving heart ever since.

My first forays along that avenue, the one which clings to the 'Keep Austin Weird' command so stylishly, were always punctuated with a visit, and a cuppa, iced or steaming, depending upon the temperature.  So, iced, mostly.

They have some great snacks, too.  Sandwiches, sides, breakfast tacos (their migas taco, this particular morning, was fresh and steaming and plump, on a handmade corn tortilla, with very tasty salsa as an accompaniment.  Score!), muffins, and sweets. Always fresh.  I'm never disappointed.

Located next door to the Hotel San Jose, the 'hotel with a soul', you'll find curious tourists mingling with Austin's finest hipsters. Don't let those serious faces fool you--strike up a conversation and you'll learn all kinds of fascinating facts you never (or never thought you'd need to) knew.  The coffee is great.  The people-watching is phenomenal.

You can even buy a beer, if that's your thing, and, perhaps not so surprisingly  it was a few of these people's thing, at 8am on an overcast, muggy, most un-holiday-like day in late December. Hipster-grumpy.  But I love the bowler hat.

After loading my car with masa for tamale-making, I dropped by for a few servings of extra fuel, the Iced Turbo, and the Belgian Bomber, a lighter take on the Turbo, on what promised to be a long day in the kitchen for my friend, Kristina, and me, early in the Great Tamale Campaign of 2012.  They are the two drinks that got me through long days and nights, just a year ago, at St. Edward's University, just up the street, which, at the time, had a satellite Jo's all of their own. I trusted in the Turbo, and it did not let me down.

And after that taco was demolished, I was on my way to pick up Santa's best helper, to spend the next 3 full days, plus some, doing the tamale thing.

If the whole tamale Christmas thing seems odd to you, perhaps you'll understand a little more when you see what is typical South Austin holiday decorating that I spied on the way back to the car--palm trees, cactus in the rock bed, old trucks, and Santa in his rusted-out vintage car sleigh.

Yep. Keeping Austin weird.

Wanna take a stab at making your own iced coffee?  A good beginning can be found here, on Notes From Maggie's Farm, Get Up and Go Juice.


  1. Not sure I have ever been referred to as "Santas best helper" kind of cool. I sure liked that belgium bomber it was just what was needed to start the great 2012 tamale escapade .


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