Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Guide to South Austin Food Trailers

Click here to go to the entire 2015 AFBA City Guide!

Welcome to the South Austin Trailer Guide, part of the Austin Food Blogger Alliance's 2015 City Guide! This post is a roundup of food trailers/trucks in South Austin with permanent locations; I am (mostly) focusing on the area bordered to the north/south by Town Lake to William Cannon and east/west by IH-35 to Mopac.

Please remember with trailers, they can move! They might be at a weekend event, and then back in their regular spot during the week. Some are amazing at keeping up with their social media, and kudos to them! Many are weather-dependent, and even personnel dependent, e.g. only one person can run the food line, so if that person is sick or injured, the trailer may not be open. Hours can vary so check their social media or website.  

They are all small, local businesses, so please show them your love! Trailers listed by geographical area. Apologizes for those who I have inadvertently overlooked; please add in the comments section below.

Along South Congress (from the river heading south)

Along South Lamar

The Picnic -- 1720 Barton Springs Road

South Austin Social -- 415 Jessie Street

Bouldin Creek Food Court -- 1207 S. 1st Street

Torchy's Trailer Park -- 1311 S. 1st Street

Next to Elizabeth Street Cafe -- 1503 S. 1st Street

Across from Elizabeth Street Cafe -- 1502 S. 1st Street
  • 40 North -- Great Neapolitan-style pizza! This was a special with butternut squash + caramelized onions.
    40 North Pizza
  • Regal Ravioli -- They are one of my favorite trailers; here's the roasted beet ravioli with pecan pesto; I also LOVE the sweet potato gnocchi with bolognese sauce.
    Regal Ravioli

Next to La Mexicana -- 1906 S. 1st Street

South First Food Court (at Live Oak) -- 603 W. Live Oak
  • Bananarchy -- frozen banana desserts (they're seasonal though, roughly March thru November)
  • Crepe Up Delicious -- sweet and savory crepes
  • Gravy-- biscuits and gravy (almost as good as my own biscuits!)
    Gravy trailer
  • Mama Mal's -- Italian 
  • Snolabs -- shaved snow desserts (also seasonal)
  • Tommy Want Wingy -- chicken lollipops (wings) with choice of sauce
    Tommy Want Wingy
  • El Primo -- directly across S. 1st @  2101 South 1st. -- tacos

South First and Oltorf  -- 504 W. Oltorf Street
  • Cheke's Takos -- tacos
  • Pie Plante -- pies; I've only had their coconut cream pie, but it was heaven!
  • The Flying Carpet -- Moroccan souk food; the owners have become friends of mine, and their food is delicious and unique. They also have indoor space where you can eat, and it's available as a rental for private events (they've got a great catering menu!). Pictured below is the Moroccan: beef kefta with scrambled egg, and a savory tomato sauce. Don't forget the L'afrique sauce for your wrap or fries!
    The Flying Carpet trailer
    The Flying Carpet trailer

Along Barton Springs Road

The Barn -- 6218 Brodie Lane

The Midway Food Park -- 1905 S. Capital of Texas Hwy (360)

Manchaca Road

Friday, February 13, 2015

Brown's Bar-B-Que Trailer

On a recent warm winter's day, I stopped by the Brown's Bar-B-Que trailer at South Lamar and Mary for lunch. Parked in front of Corner Bar, they've got a picnic table which was filled with people basking in the sun, enjoying the lovely smells that a barbecue trailer brings. And I hear they give bar patrons free barbecue on Sundays!
Brown's Bar-B-Que trailer
Looking at the menu, I went with the three meat plate with brisket, pork ribs, and chicken and added a sausage link for extra cost; cole slaw and potato salad were my sides. I had heard particularly good things about their chicken from a couple of people, and was excited to try it. 
Brown's Bar-B-Que trailer menu
I talked briefly with the cutter, and he did say they use post oak to smoke their meats. I was not asked if I wanted lean or moist brisket, but decided to go with what they gave me. They wrapped everything up, handed me a small brown lunch bag and I toddled home. I think the three meat plate was $16, because my total with the extra sausage was $19+ change.
Brown's Bar-B-Que trailer
Arriving home just a few minutes later, I found the white butcher's paper fairly drenched in grease. The main culprit was the brisket, and what turned out to be an extremely fatty piece. If you look closely at the top part of the brisket, you can see the fat cap just beneath the crust. The crust that was on the bottom I liked, as it had a sweetness to it, and was not heavy on the black pepper; I have felt some other barbecue places often over-pepper the crust. The meat itself, was, for lack of a better term, very "beefy" tasting. Not really bursting with any particular flavor. We were not off to the best of starts.
Brown's Bar-B-Que trailer meats
The sausage was an extremely fine grind, and there was no snap to the casing when you cut into the link. It also seemed over-smoked, as the casing was pulling away from the interior meat. The flavor was decent, with a touch of black pepper. I don't know if it's "their" sausage or where it's from.

The pork rib was very tender, and had a sweet glaze on the exterior; good flavor and not too fatty. I'd eat these again, though they don't come close to my favorite, the departed Artz Ribhouse or current fave, Opie's in Spicewood.

And then the chicken thigh. While the skin was not crisp, the meat was extremely moist and juicy, and bursting with flavor and a nice smokiness, without being overpowering. This was definitely the winner of the four meats I tried! I would love a smoked chicken salad made from these, but really I'd be happy just eating another *plain* thigh.

The sides were average: the cole slaw was chunky, sweet, and vinegar-based, and the potato salad was more like mashed potato salad with a sweet twang. And I can't even remember how the sauce tasted.

While I linked to their Facebook page above, they don't really seem to keep up with it, as their last posting was from August. I think they're closed on Mondays, but not totally certain. But when you make your way over to Brown's be sure to get the chicken! I'll be back for more!

Friday, February 6, 2015

40 North Pizza

40 North and Regal Ravioli food trailers
In the past couple years, South First Street from Barton Springs Road to Oltorf Street has become a bustling hubbub with various eateries and hip stores continually popping up. I've lived in the area for over 15 years, and it's nice to have so much within walking distance, especially when it comes to good food. 

The latest addition to the Bouldin Creek food scene is the 40 North food trailer, specializing in Neapolitan-style pizza. They are directly across the street from Elizabeth Street Cafe, and share the lot with Regal Ravioli, which has always been one of my favorites. I was invited by 40 North to try their pizzas. 
Neapolitan pizza (butternut squash) from 40 North food trailer
They offer six regular pizzas and then a couple rotating weekly specials, as well as some salads and dessert. Owner/chef Clint says once the weather is warmer, he hopes to expand some of the salad and other offerings. He was a lawyer in New York before deciding law wasn't his thing, and went to Italy to study the craft of pizza making in Naples (hence the name, as Naples is at the 40⁰ latitude mark), and then returned to Brooklyn and worked in a pizza shop there, before moving to Austin in 2011.  He hopes for a brick and mortar spot down the road!
40 North pizza menu board
Their trailer contains a wood-burning oven, which takes up almost half the trailer space. On this blustery February day, we were invited inside the trailer to check it out, and to see the oven first hand. You could immediately feel the heat! Those beautiful coals are burning at over 900⁰, and they actually had to cool it down a bit before serving pizzas; 850⁰ is more the ideal temperature, and pizzas cook in about 90 seconds.
40 North pizza trailer oven
The first one we tried was one of the specials, butternut squash with caramelized onions, ricotta, a bit of thyme, calabrian peppers, and a drizzle of Mike's Hot Honey (honey infused with chiles). Loved it! I am a sucker for sweet and savory, and all the components together worked extremely well. The crust which is very lightly charred at the edges, had a very nice chew to it without being overly dense.
Neapolitan pizza (butternut squash) from 40 North food trailer
Then we tried the hot honey pizza, which is a regular menu item; with a base sauce of San Marzano tomatoes, it has hot coppa salumi, ricotta, and a drizzle of the hot honey as well. The coppa crisps up nicely, and again with the contrast of the honey, it makes for a tasty pie.
Neapolitan pizza (hot coppa + honey) from 40 North food trailer
Beautiful and delicious pizzas. 40 North knows what they're doing and they're doing it well. I definitely suggest you go check them out! They have live music on some Saturdays, so check out their Facebook page or website for updated info. A fabulous addition to the neighborhood!

Full disclosure: I was invited by 40 North to check them out, but was not paid for my opinion or a blog post. But I am happily and honestly providing one that I hope will make you want to go try them!