Retail Roundup: Cypress Creek Area Shopping, Dining and Entertainment

Folks who live in Cypress Creek have plenty of convenient options for shopping.

For starters, groceries are just minutes away at a nearby HEB Plus or Randalls. More extensive shopping lists are taken to Lakeline Mall, one of Austin’s biggest shopping destinations located about 5 minutes from home. With over 150 stores and restaurants, shoppers enjoy a spacious mall including anchor stores Dillard’s, Macy’s and Sears, as well as American Eagle Outfitters, Bath & Body Works, Express, Foot Locker, Frederick’s of Hollywood, Gap, Image, Lakeline Day Spa, Lane Bryant, The Limited, Office Max, Old Navy, PetSmart, Ross, JCPenney, Brookstone, New York and Company, Yankee Candle and many, many more.

Teens are attracted to the mall’s extensive food court, movie theater and other retail shops like Hollister and Abercrombie & Fitch. Not to be outdone, families appreciate the wide range of stores catering to children and children’s needs such as the Disney Store, Build-A-Bear Workshop, Carter’s, The Children’s Place, Rooms To Go Kids, Gymboree, Gap For Kids, and Inflatable Wonderland, a bounce house park.

Restaurants at the mall include Applebee’s, Chili’s, Frullati Café, Little Tokyo, Los Canarios Fine Mexican Cuisine, Phil’s Philly Grill and Simon’s Sushi, among others.

Also within a 10-minute drive, the expansive 1890 Ranch shopping center has more than 70 stores and restaurants and is another easy choice for shopping.

From the Southwest to Southeast Asia, Dining Adventures Abound

The Blue Corn Harvest Bar & Grill adds a spicy twist to the local dinner scene with fresh Southwestern-style dishes such as New Mexico Pork Verdes, local farm fresh and creative salads, and their Blue Corn Crispy Salmon. This, one of several signature dinner offerings, is accompanied by crab avocado salad and roasted tomatillo buerre blanc, cheddar seared potato cake, and farm-fresh vegetables of the day.

Another foodie favorite, Thamnak Thai is one of those places that’s almost a local secret. With a no-nonsense, plain storefront nestled in just another strip mall, this is a place you might drive by a hundred times without ever noticing it existed. Even when you get inside, the décor is nice, the place clean, but there is nothing obviously touting how great the food is — apart from the yummy scents emanating from the kitchen.

Locals who know the place often mention the superb service – friendly and attentive without being too much. The menu, purely Thai food, lists a number of appetizers, salads, soups, noodle or rice dishes, curries, and house specialties.

Diners praise nearly every dish on the menu. Some of the most-loved appetizers are the made-to-order steamed dumplings — tender wrappers filled with pork, shrimp, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, mushroom, and onions served in a shallow pool of cilantro-laced sweet ginger soy sauce, and coconut shrimp — golden-fried shrimp in coconut flake batter served with a light sweet & sour sauce and cucumber salad. The well-balanced, spicy tom kha coconut soup comes in both appetizer and entrée sizes.

Among noodle dishes, one of the popular choices is pad keemao, flat rice noodles with shaved beef, stir-fried onion, broccoli, red pepper, garlic, and is enhanced with tender Thai basil leaves laced throughout the dish. And no one should neglect the sticky rice with mango — or coconut ice cream — for a dessert that will perfectly complement the meal.

Dinner and a Show, Pro Sports and an Historic Steam Train

Austin’s famous Alamo Drafthouse has a location nearby with two theaters, a tempting menu of pizza, burgers, salads, sandwiches and 32 beers on tap.  When the lights go down, enjoy a baked pretzel with beer-infused honey mustard and hatch green chile queso blanco.  Then, wash it down with brown sugar lemonade or your favorite beer. Special events include sing-along parties, where the movie theater turns into a giant karaoke party with music from your favorite decades and entertainers.

One of the other major local attractions is the Cedar Park Center, the area’s premier stadium and entertainment center that seats up to 8,000 people and hosts more than 130 music, sports, and live events per year. In addition to hosting the Austin Toros basketball and Texas Stars hockey teams, the Center also stages many family events and even concerts by major touring acts.

Residents looking for nostalgic adventure board the local Hill Country Flyer, a historic steam train that picks up passengers at the Cedar Park station just 10 minutes from Cypress Creek. Passengers enjoy a two-hour ride through the beauty of the Texas Hill Country with lunch accompanied by a Wild West gunfight or, during the holidays, a visit with Santa.