Food Trucks of SXSW

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:

Blue Basil

Blue Basil
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!”

The Jalopy

The Jalopy
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.


Johnnye’s East Texas Soul
Usually outside Holy Mountain
617 E. 7th Street
Check web site for hours

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!


This Week’s Eats: 02/22/13


My 30-day whole foods diet challenge ended last Friday, so I went to Players for a cheeseburger combo with my coworkers. It was delicious.


For last weekend’s Stella-Ex Pede Derby (I’m a Red, he’s a Jack), I made this delicious bacon, spinach, and asiago frittata, served alongside a spread of fruit, pastries, and vanilla screwdrivers.


Liverpool won 5-0.

Blue Bell & Frangelico

Blue Bell Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough with Frangelico.  Yes.

I said the diet’s over, didn’t I?

Sausage and spinach bake

Impromptu sausage and spinach bake with onions, cheese, and breadcrumbs.  This was much tastier than it looks in this picture.


Homemade chili.  This is my recipe, but I actually think Eric’s is better.  I need to post it soon…


Thursday night at Dog and Duck.  An imperial pint of Guinness.  What more is there to say?

This Week’s Eats: 02/15/13

I haven’t posted a This Week’s Eats entry in quite a while.

From now on, in addition to delicious plates from my own or my friends’ kitchens, This Week’s Eats will showcase restaurant (or diner, trailer, whatever) food that I ate and recommend, with links, prices, and minimum commentary. Consider this an endorsement.

Chicken Tortilla Ramen Soup

Chicken Tortilla Ramen Soup, East Side King at Hole in the Wall. $8.00.


Chips, salsa, and guacamole, Texas Chili Parlor. Some of the best guacamole I’ve had in Austin. $4.95 (guacamole), $2.95 (chips and salsa).

Salmon and broccoli

Cajun spiced dalmon fillet from Wheatsville basted and baked in lemon juice, served with curried cheesy broccoli with asiago.

Stuffed poblanos

Stuffed poblanos – a recipe in the testing stage. We’ve been eating a lot of these, and they are really good. What’s your favorite stuffing for a chile relleno?


E.’s scrambled eggs with cream and duck fat, plus bacon and Topo Chico.

Dinner with Laura

Low carb dinner with our friends Mike and Laura: our favorite sausage, the Niman Ranch Uncured Apple Gouda, with Laura’s amazing cauliflower mash and a side of her homemade aloo gobi.

Peshwar Martini

Speaking of Indian food, here’s my new favorite cocktail: the Peshwar Martini at Clay Pit. It is an intoxicating mix of Stoli Vanilla vodka, Frangelico, and Chambord, finished off with a cherry! Amazing.

Burrito Factory

Two tacos from that hidden gem, the Burrito Factory. One al pastor, and one chicken, both on corn tortillas with lettuce, onions, cilantro, pico de gallo, salsa verde, and sour cream. Don’t believe me? Check out their Yelp reviews! $5.00 total!


For Shrove Tuesday, a single buttermilk pancake at Kerbey Lane on the Drag, topped with gobs of whipped butter and lashings of sweet syrup. A definite treat. $3.15.

Dog and Duck

To celebrate Mardi Gras while Eric was at a pub quiz elsewhere, I settled in with an imperial pint of Newcastle Brown and some Waugh at Dog and Duck. A beautiful, solitary evening. $5.50

Fish & chips

Did I mention, I also had a small Fish and Chips plate? Ask for a side of mayo. $7.95

Dip Trio

Back where we began! The Dip Trio at Gabriel’s Cafe. Their chips are really good (but could be a tad warmer), the guacamole is fresh and flavorful, the salsa is smoky, and the queso is addictive (and it’s all gluten free!).

This Week’s Eats: 12/07/12

Chicken salad sandwich

Chicken salad sandwich from The Green Cart, with Dublin Vanilla Cream Soda. I used to drink a lot of cream soda when I was little, and I need to get back into it. This was an amazing lunch.


Fusilli with a light tomato sauce, mushrooms, and homegrown basil, by e.


Sourdough toast with fried eggs and homegrown (hot) jalapeños. We’ve been really into sourdough lately. I don’t think I can go back to regular bread. And it reminds us of our trip to San Francisco in December 2009.

Sausage pizza

Eric also made another pizza this week: Italian sausage with oregano, mozzarella and asiago cheeses, and homegrown sage and jalapeños. This was my favorite one yet.

Homemade sausage pizza

Sausage pasta

We used the leftover sausage to throw together another bowl of pasta! Mmm.


Breakfast by Caffe Medici: iced coffee and two Tacodeli bean, cheese, and avocado breakfast tacos.

Tex-Mex holiday party plate

Later in the day, I had this amazing plate of Tex-Mex goodness courtesy UT, at the Staff Appreciation Holiday Party. Yes, we got free margaritas! And I even won a prize!

Pan-Fried Salmon and Sage Spaghetti

Of course, we also had my Pan-Fried Salmon and Sage Spaghetti. So good!

Last night, I went to Clay Pit with my friend Kari, and, believe it or not, I didn’t take a picture of my food! (I had chicken biryana and a side of vindaloo curry sauce). For what it’s worth, I did take a picture of the front door.

Clay Pit

Players cheeseburger

For lunch today, I went to Players with my crazy coworkers. Of course, we all had the $6.00 lunch combo: (cheese)burger, fries, and a drink (free refills!).

We’ve had a good week. I had a lot of carbs.

This Week’s Eats: 11/30/12

Somehow, we’ve managed to eat things that weren’t Thanksgiving dinner! Here goes.

Starting on a sad note, we had our last meal at Sagra on Friday, November 17, with my dear friend Marisela. It was delicious, as always, and we even ordered Frangelico. So sad. You can get the latest updates on the plans of Chef Gabriel Pellegrini and the Sagra team on the Save Sagra Austin Facebook page.

Continuing our tour of the intersection of 17th and San Antonio Streets, I tried Dog and Duck’s bubble and squeak for the first time! It was excellent, and I think this is also the first time an eating establishment has provided me with enough sour cream (I adore sour cream).

Yes, I am that predictable. This is a mammoth burrito of perfection from Burrito Factory, featuring steak and grilled veggies in a whole wheat tortilla.

Oops, I did it again. I played with your heart. I made you believe.

I really shouldn’t write these posts at midnight.

My usual: tres tacos al pastor. But stay away from that “spicy” red sauce. It’s a mouth of fire.

The deluxe grilled cheese at Cherrywood Coffehouse. Provolone and swiss, cucumber, tomatoes, and red onions, served on whole wheat bread, with a side of chips.

Salsa verde and kettle chips at Hickory Street on Congress. An old favorite spot from my Capitol tour guide years, the revamped Hickory Street is quite a bit more sophisticated. So much so that we had to ask for these chips and salsa as a special order, off-menu. I used to work with a guy who said he wanted to run for the Legislature on the “chips and salsa platform”: he’d author a bill requiring any place that serves food in Texas to provide complimentary chips and salsa. Sounds good to me.

Duck tacos. Pretty good (if only because duck tacos are not standard, and duck is delicious), but not as good as Zesty Bean Dog’s!

And, finally, Hickory Street’s utterly ridiculous BLT. And by “ridiculous,” I mean “awesome.” I mean, look at it. My mom ordered this, but next time I’m getting it!

Oh, you know it.

El Mer.

Of course, I also made that Sweet Potato Soup with Candied Bacon recipe…

Once all the Thanksgiving leftovers were gone, our fridge and pantry were running low, so I improvised these black bean tacos with grated cheddar, Cholula sauce, and homegrown jalapeños and arugula. If only I’d had some sour cream.

Even worse! Macaroni from a box (to which I added extra cheese and black pepper, as well as three tablespoons of butter) and leftover Sweet Potato Soup. Notice, no matter how broke, we never run out of bourbon.

Another surprisingly good, should’ve-been-bad, thrown-together meal!

We had a box of instant “wild rice,” so I turned it into this wonderful rice and beans dinner.  I sautéed two cloves of minced garlic, one small green bell pepper, and one jalapeño (the last two from our garden) in three tablespoons of butter.  Then I added the rice, its flavor packet, some powdered garlic, one cup of frozen corn, and two cups of water.  I brought that to a boil then simmered over low heat, covered, for 25 minutes.  At the end, I stirred in about six dashes of Cholula sauce and 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, and served it with a final dusting of parmesan.

Cooking and eating this made me think about how far I’ve come in the kitchen.  And mourn for the 21-year-old me and the horrible, flavorless things I ate.