Local Coffee Shop Bennu Opens Third Location

By Alexa Smith

An Austin Staple, Bennu Coffee, has recently opened their third location on Jacob Fontaine Lane right next to Austin Community College’s Highland campus.

Bennu’s first location opened on East Martin Luther King Blvd. in 2009. The coffee houses’ second location was opened in 2017 after Bennu owners Stephanie and Steve Williams bought the location formerly home to Domincan Joe’s.

Bennu has long been a staple for college students around Austin, as they used to offer 24 hour service. This was a hit for students to stay up late studying for exams and getting homework done. While their hours have been reduced due to COVID-19, students still flock to all three locations to get a dose of caffeine and productivity. 

The new location on Jacob Fontaine Lane is part of the overall development of the area around Highland. If you haven’t made it to campus in a few months, you’d be surprised to see there are apartments and a small shopping center quickly growing. This will offer ACC students more food and drink options within walking distance of The Highland Campus, something that was missing before these developments.

 While Kick Butt coffee and 89 Degrees are nearby, they can take a while to walk to and aren’t the best option for grabbing a bite in between classes without driving. 

The new Bennu location and other restaurants nearby, such as The Pho and iBubbleTea offer easily walkable options right next to the Highland campus. 

The hours of operation for this new location are from 6 am to 7 pm. Bennu coffee also offers take out as well as socially distanced seating inside and outside. Although there is limited seating outside the indoor area is spacious and makes for a great study spot while keeping your distance.

If you’re not sure what to order, I recommend the cold brew and an almond croissant. Steve has been perfecting the cold brew for years and it’s brewed for over 16 hours with organic South American beans.  

Bennu’s other locations are also open from 6 am to 7pm. To connect with the business virtually, visit their instagram page @bennucoffee. 

Culinary Cut: Smoothies

Written by Alexa Smith
Video by Marissa Greene

With summer coming up, it’s a great time to try out some delicious new smoothie recipes. Give greens a chance with our greens smoothie or take a break from the usual strawberry banana with our mixed berry smoothie. If you’re looking for something with protein try out the super easy PB smoothie. With ingredients you probably already have in your freezer, these smoothies are easy to throw together and make a yummy breakfast, snack, or dessert.


Food Sustainability

Tips for eating sustainable without going vegan or vegetarian.

By Alexa Smith

Shop local at farmer’s markets.
Austin and it’s suburbs are all home to some amazing farmer’s markets that feature local vendors and farmers. Food can travel miles and miles to get to your grocery store – causing huge environmental impact. When you shop local at a farmer’s market you’re cutting down on that impact. Additionally, local farmers often have better animal and plant care as they don’t have to produce the same amount big companies do. This leads to less harmful and more sustainable practices.

Austin’s Sustainable Food Center still has their farmer’s markets open during the stay at home order just be sure to follow social distancing rules as you would at a regular grocery store. 

Additionally, many local restaurants are offering grocery pick-up orders. This is a great way to support local restaurants when many of them have lost a lot of business. Plus, you’ll often be able to find pantry staples that many stores are sold out of right now. Check out this list for where you can get your next grocery fix.

Avoid pre-packaged, pre-cut food when possible.
Yes those watermelon chunks and pineapple slices are so tempting in their perfect, little containers. However, this creates extra and unnecessary plastic waste. If you find yourself reaching for pre-cut produce during your lunch break a lot, think of starting to pack ahead so you can cut your produce at home. Not only will this help the environment, it will also be cheaper. 

Bring your own bags.
This one is pretty obvious – especially here in Austin. Tons of people already bring their reusable bags everywhere they go. But did you know you can replace plastic produce bags? For produce bags, check out an option like this or search up a tutorial to sew your own. 

Buy in bulk.
While bulk buying sections are mostly closed right now to prevent germ spread – once they open back up they are a great option for reducing waste when shopping. Buying bulk cuts down on the amount of packaging used for shipping, storing, and buying food. Additionally, you can ask the grocery store you shop at to use your own containers – such as a glass jar – to further prevent waste. 

Look into organic food.
Buying organic can be a great way to factor more sustainable food into your diet. However, according to an article from Columbia University it’s not always the most sustainable option. So don’t stress yourself about buying all organic everything. Instead, figure out which brands and products you trust and decide what is important for you to buy organic. 

The most important thing to remember when creating a sustainable diet is every bit counts. Even just shopping local for some products helps create a more sustainable lifestyle. Don’t feel like it’s all or nothing and as with cruelty free labels it’s important to do your own research and not just believe what you see on the packaging. 


Food trucks

4 food trailers to chase down in Austin

DC McLean • Campus Reporter

Layla Elayyadi • Staff Photojournalist

Coat and Thai

Price range: Cheap, under $10 1600 S Congress Austin, TX 78704

This cute, friendly looking food truck has a catchy name and some awesome food. Coat & Thai has a varied menu which highlights Thai foods and appetizers such as curry dishes, noodle and rice dishes as well as vegetarian options. One of the more popular dishes is their egg rolls which are crispy, hot and filled with crunchy cabbage, celery and carrots along with noodles and onions. One could say the best part is being able to dip into the perfectly balanced sweet and sour sauce.

The next time you come to Coat and Thai be sure to grab some piping hot egg rolls along with an entree such as, Pod Ka-Poo which is stir fried rice noodles with eggs, green onions, bean sprouts and ground peanuts. This food truck de- mands repeat visits to explore the many options on its menu.

Lunch specials for $5.95 are served from 11 .a.m to 2 p.m.

Stony’s Pizza

Price Range: Cheap, under $10 6th St & Red River St Austin, TX 78701

Stony’s started in late 2007 when a father and son team from Boston pulled this fully equipped truck up to Red River and 6th and started serving some of the best NY style pizza in that area. As we arrived we were greeted by the son, he went over some options (slices, pies, prices) and we elected to get a full pie. While the pie was baking we went around to the front of the truck to watch him and see what they were using. Options tend to be limited inside a truck, so it was not surprising to see them using a little conveyor belt oven. He hand-stretched some fresh dough topping it with some quality sauce (Stanislaus) and a very heavy-handed dose of cheese with pepperoni on half. After the quick 8 minute bake it was ready to be served. We quickly started eating it and were very happy with the flavor. The bake you get on the conveyor is not perfect (typically lack- ing some crunch and structure to the crust) but it did a sufficient job nonethe- less. While it lacked the crisp or browning it was at least cooked all of the way through. The cheese was some of the best tasting cheese we have had on a pizza recently and the sauce was light but flowed so perfectly with the great peppero- nis that had a nice char on them. The pizza was not perfect, but the love, appre- ciation and attention to detail is there. Stony’s is cooking up some home runs out of this truck so don’t be afraid to try this truck after a night out on the town.

Miguel’s El Cubano

Price Range: Moderate, $11 – $30 611 Trinity St Austin, TX 78701

Photo by Jon Shapley • Video Editor

Miguel’s, named after the owner’s grandpa, has some excellent Cuban faire. Owner Alexander Acosta’s food truck delivers Cuban style comfort food wrapped in fresh made bollios with a generous side of traditional black beans and rice with yuca frita. Yuca fritas are the Cuban version of a french fry, howev- er that description does not do them justice. The yuca fritas were crispy, savory and the perfect match for the warm sandwiches.

The El Don was the highlight of the meal and deemed their signature dish. The cilantro garnished slow cooked Berkshire pulled pork was tender, tangy and mildly sweet.

The delicious mojo sauce, made with citrus, garlic, oregano and white pep- per, was served alongside the sandwich and surpisingly, the bread did not get soggy when the sauce was added. If you’re tired of eating Tex-Mex style food and breakfast tacos, track down this truck.

The Peached Tortilla

Price Range: Cheap, under $10 Locations vary from Downtown to South Congress

Photo by Jon Shapley • Video Editor








The Peached Tortilla serves a delightful fusion of Mexican and Chinese food. The Banh Mi Taco consisted of juicy, tender and flavorful pork belly, paired with crunchy, tangy carrot and daikon.

The Crunchy Catfish Taco was OK. It’s supposedly one of the more popular tacos, but the fried batter overwhelmed any other flavor. It was very tasty batter, though.

The BBQ Brisket slider was yummy! Tender and moist brisket was mixed with peachy BBQ sauce, all barely held together by two soft and plump Hawaiian rolls. De-lish.

The Banana Nutella Wontons are a fun twist on a classic dish. Who doesn’t like chocolate and bananas? A little more banana and more filling in each won- ton would have been great, but it was still a tasty treat!




True brew holiday flavor

Story by Janice Veteran • Staff Photojournalist

When some people think of beer, they may think of tailgating or parties of some sort. However, beer is becoming the best known secret to spice up cooking. There are several new printed books and e-books out on cooking with beer. Also, cooking with beer will give you more recipes than you can cook in one semester.

Sean Paxton, professional chef and home brewer, designed the dinner menus for the annual Homebrewers Association’s website, homebrewchef.com, which has recipes and offers aide to aspiring beer chefs.

As you may know, there are several different types of beers on the market. Most people know of the ones made by the mega-breweries that are light in color and flavor (typically a Pilsner style), but there are also the malty beers that impart a different flavor. You may or may not like to drink these types of beers, however you will find that when you cook with them, they produce far different flavors to food than their tastes as a beverage.

Beer can be used in almost every type of cooking there is: appetizers, soups, stews, breads, entrees, sauces, spreads, glazes, meat marinates, breakfast foods and desserts. You name it, and there is a recipe for the dish that includes beer. Used properly, beer turns the most ordinary foods into exceptional party fare. Beer works great as a marinade for beef, chicken, pork, fish or seafood. In roasting, baking or broiling, beer is used to baste the foods or as an ingredient in the basting sauce to reveal a rich, dark color and high- light gravies.

The better you know and understand beer, the better the application of beer in your meal. It is the perfect ingredient for your meat marinade because it is much less acidic than wine, vinegar or citrus juices, which are typically used in BBQ sauces and marinades. It will tenderize the meat without breaking down the texture as rapidly as the more powerful acids. Also, the balanced flavors in beer means that the other herbs and spices will not be overwhelmed by acetic notes. Also, it is typically less expensive than wine.

Malty beers can be used as a replacement for liquid ingredients such as water in cookies and breads. Pale Ale or IPA style beers have an up-front bitterness that works well with items you would normally cook with citrus juices. Instead of lemon juice, try an IPA. Baste your chicken in a pale ale. Have any left over beer that has gone flat? Your cooking doesn’t care. Add it in there.

David Myers, chef and Austin Community College culinary arts professor, said he recommends thinking about the food versus the flavors of the beer. A beef or pork dish can stand up to a malty beer, but a chicken dish would be overpowered and needs a lighter beer such as a pilsner or pale ale. There are many recipes where an imperial stout or a smoked porter is used in making a glaze or sauce for a beef dish.

Wheeler of Rogness brewer Dan Wheeler and his wife Laurie said they use beer in much of their cooking.

“The (512) Pecan Porter was great in chocolate pecan cookies,” Laurie said.

She said they’ve also tried using an extra special bitters (ESB) style beer in making caramels, Young’s Double Chocolate Stout in brownies, and have even heard of using Rogness Yogi Spiced beer in apple pie brownies.

“The Yogi has the winter spices usually seen in apple pie or pumpkin pie,” Laurie said. “Using the Yogi instead of the liquid, such as water, will give the foods some great flavors.”

If you need to bring a side dish to the adult Thanksgiving dinner, consider a spiced up cranberry sauce using fresh cranberries, fresh orange, coriander, honey, sugar and some witbier (a wheat beer mainly brewed in Belgium and the Netherlands). The witbier will bring out the citrus, sweet and sour flavors of the orange and the cranberries.

If your mother accuses you of drinking too much beer, remember that the alcohol does evaporate during the cooking process. It’s a science project and you are the scientist. Craft beer is about experimenting with flavor combinations — there are no rules.

Slow-cooker cornbread chili

Recipe and photo by Melissa Skorpil • Staff Photojournalist

Transcribed by Era Sundar • Audio Editor

The holiday season and cooler weather not only call for wardrobe changes but menu updates as well. Nothing says warm and cozy like a savory bowl of chili.

This easy-to-prepare classic is a versatile crowd pleaser. It’s low in fat and vegetarian, yet hearty and satisfying enough for meat lovers. Two types of beans provide plenty of protein and fresh vegetables provide vitamins and minerals. Cheddar cheese and cornbread add a touch of rich indulgence.

Here’s what you’ll need:

• 1 onion

• 1 green pepper

• 1 packet of chili seasoning

• 2 cans (14.5 oz. each) diced tomatoes

• 1 can (14.5 oz.) kidney beans, rinsed and drained

• 1 can (14.5 oz.) pinto beans, rinsed and drained

• 8 oz. package corn bread mix

• 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (for more flavor use a sharp rather than mild cheddar)

• 1 tablespoon oil

• Serves 6 people with a prep time of about 5 hours using a slow cooker.

Here’s how to make it:

1. Using a sharp knife, dice the onion and green pepper into 1/4 inch pieces then saute them in 1 tablespoon of oil on medium heat for 10 minutes until the green peppers glisten and the onions become translucent.

2. While the onions and peppers are being sauted, dice the tomatoes into 1/4 inch pieces and keep aside.

3. When the onion and pepper mixture is finished, it will be tender and aromatic. At this point, place it into the slow cooker and add the chili seasoning, diced tomatoes, and beans. Mix well. No additional cooking liquid is needed. The diced tomatoes provide all the moisture necessary.

4. Cover and simmer for 4 hours on low heat setting.

5. Prepare the cornbread batter according to the directions on the package.

6. Drop spoonfuls of cornbread batter on top of the chili mixture in the slow cooker and gently spread the batter so it covers the chili evenly.

7. Replace the lid on the slow cooker and cook for 30 – 45 minutes longer or until a toothpick inserted into the center of cornbread topping comes out clean.

8. Sprinkle the cornbread topping with shredded cheddar cheese, cover and continue cooking for 5 minutes longer until the cheese melts.