For the first time in seven years, I took time off work during Spring Break, and went to some SXSW stuff.
My main objective, in addition to enjoying a four-day weekend, was seeing Frightened Rabbit (!). I even stood in line for three hours. Other acts I caught included Amanda Shires (if you’re from Texas, I dare you to listen to this and not cry), Henry Wagons, Alt-J (whom I somehow hadn’t heard of!) Lucius, Joe Banfi, The Staves, Akron/Family (a very exciting surprise, as I’ve liked them for years), Helado Negro, and All Tiny Creatures.
Of these, I thought Lucius put on the best show. Performing in the historic St. David’s sanctuary (also one of the best venues, for my money, which was zero dollars), they concluded their high-energy, tight-harmony set by sitting on the floor in the center aisle, amid the congregation of music-lovers, and doing a short, unplugged piece, during which the drummer tapped on the wooden floorboards and pews. I’d go see them again anytime, anywhere.
I also tried three food trucks:
Corner of 7th and Trinity
Every Thursday night to Saturday night, 11:00pm – 3:00am
Pictured above is the #2, Chicken Over Rice. This delectable bowl included fragrant, fluffy rice topped with succulent, perfectly grilled chicken breast, served with a slight sweet sauce, paper-thin cucumber slices, and Asian slaw, topped with a fried egg. $7.00. Highly recommended.
The boy had the #5, Pork Sandwich ($5.00), and was also very impressed. If you see Alex there, tell her I said, “SHAMON!”
15th and San Antonio
Monday through Friday, 7:00am – 9PM
Saturday – 11AM-4PM
This one’s right in my neighborhood, but I’d somehow never been, despite hearing rave reviews.
Pictured above is the Gadd Thai sandwich, with tender pulled pork, coconut milk peanut sauce, sriracha, and pickled onions. I’m a sucker for coconut milk, and I have a longstanding peanut fixation, so this was right up my alley. Eric had the Son Hong: pulled pork with sweet and savory chili sauce, pickled onions, cucumbers, scallions (both $6.50). Washed down with a cold Topo Chico, these made a great meal. The relaxing, shady picnic tables don’t hurt, either.
Saturday afternoon, we went to the Home-Tapes party at the Museum of Human Achievement, an art warehouse in East Austin. Stefon would’ve loved it. This place had everything: experimental music, bearded dudes lying on the floor, a papier-mâché skeleton, a child. It also had my new favorite food trailer: Johnnye’s East Texas Soul.
Johnnye’s is one of Austin’s newest food trailers, named for the owners’ grandmother, and founded to share the East Texas country cooking they loved growing up. The regular menu includes fried chicken, fresh greens, sugar snap peas, fried pickles, and some dang good coffee.
We split a “Gay-Fil-A” (did I mention that I love this place?), Johnnye’s chicken tender sandwich with pickles and mayo. The chicken was expertly battered and fried, and the waffle fries were amazing! Johnnye’s is such a great spot, they even offered to give us a free one when we dropped our first sandwich. I can’t wait to go back.
Read more about proprietors Laurel Barickman and David Millner and their food philosophy in this Chronicle piece by Kate Messer.
“We are gonna give 10% of every sandwich we sell to GLAAD to try and do our little part, to throw it out there that you don’t have to eat at Chick-fil-A if you want good chicken.”
I love me some radical East Texans. Solidarity, y’all!