December 24, 2010

Cooking with the Flying Carpet

I had the great priviledge of cooking with Maria Souktourri of the Flying Carpet in their home in Austin last night.  I'll update the blog with the full story later, but wanted to post the video and recipe while it's hot.

Short lil minute and a half video on how we cooked the dish.

Moroccan Lemon Butter & Olive Chicken w/ French Fries

1 whole large Chicken - washed and dried skin on

In a bowl combine:
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 stalk cilantro finely chopped
  • 1 med. onion finely chopped
  • 3 sm garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp tumeric
  • 2 tsp Fine Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp Coarse Black Pepper
  • Juice of one med-large lemon
  • 1/2 stick of salted butter slightly softened
Mix ingredients together making a paste. Cover chicken with paste outside and inside the skin.  Insert lemon halves used for their juice inside the chicken

Cook at 350 for 1 1/12 hours or until done.  Every 20-30 baste chicken in it's own juices with a spoon

Add 1 1/2 c. green olives (no brine) to the chicken the last 10-15 min. of cook time.  Olives will fall to the sides and into the chicken's juices- this is what you want.

This chicken is often served with a cucumber/tomato salad, french fries & bread to sop up the sauce.

Much love,

the Souktouri Family

December 22, 2010

Table for One - Not Anymore

I recently stumbled upon this popular tumblr site: Table for One and it got me thinking.  We weren't meant to eat alone.  We were made to create and share food together.  As primitive people, we hunted in groups and gathered in groups and cooked and ate in groups.  It's in our DNA.  Yet so many of us eat in isolation either becuase it's faster or easier than preparing a meal for one.  I will admit there are times in life when eating alone is the way to go, like if you're sick, or if you just want to hunker down with a good book and hearty snacks.  And I'm not suggesting that every meal needs to be shared here in the 21st century hectic lifestyle.  Rather, I am encouraging you to eat one less meal alone this week.  Find a meal buddy and cook something together, or get a group together and eat something local.   
Facing a meal 'alone' is often the reason I resort to protein shakes over a wholesome meal. It's no fun cooking for one. I'm not much of a leftover-eater anyways. A potential 'meal alone' is also something that prevents me from my duty of trying new trailer food. So to remedy my newly acknowledged conundrum I am going to take one person to lunch at least once a week in 2011. Join me at the trailers!

These pictures were taken from my first trailer food crawl in Austin, TX in February 2010.

December 20, 2010

Two trailers participating in Sip & Savor Austin

Sip & Savor Austin is a two-week event featuring a representative sample of local food and drink that is reflective of the variety of choices we have available in Austin.  From upscale restaurants and swanky night clubs to gourmet food trailers and dive bars, this event showcases some of our favorite eats.  A full listing of particpants can be found at their site: The event will be peppered throughout Austin January 16-30, 2011 and there is still time to participate as a vendor or sponsor. The deadline for participation is Wed, Dec 22nd - contact

Meanwhile, I want to highlight two of the trailer food vendors that are currently in the line up.  Both came to the Gypsy Picnic and are continuing to make their mark in the trailer food scene here in town:  Colibri Cuisine and the Holy Cacao.  

Former accountant and teacher Anthony Alaniz alongside his bride to be, Candy, are dishing out such authentic Mexican cuisine as Barbacoa, Tamales, Quesadillas, Nacho-dillas, Taco-dillas and Tostadas down at their trailer Colibri Cuisine.  Check them out at their permanent location on W. 6th and Nueces in the trailer across the street from Little Woodrows.  They are open for dinner and late night Tuesday - Sunday 7:30pm to 2:30am.  Being from the Rio Grande Valley area, Anthony's roots in good food and hospitality come naturally. 

I'm also excited that Ellen and John of the Holy Cacao will be participating in the event with their famous cake ball trailer that also serves frozen hot chocolate and cake shakes.  They have a rich publicity history including 'best dessert' from the Gypsy Picnic, 'best frozen hot chocolate in America' from Travel & Leisure Magazine and were featured on the Food Network's 'Kid in a Candy Store'.   They are parked in the famous South Austin Trailer Park & Eatery (by Torchy's Tacos and Man Bites Dog) at 1311 S. 1st and are open for business seven days a week from noon til 8p, with two extra hours on Friday and Saturday. 

Check out their food during Sip & Savor week and tell them Trailer Food Diaries sent you!


December 15, 2010

Trailer of Lights: Cancelled

Hi guys, With all the last minute red tape from yesterdays walk through, we are not in a position to proceed for the trailer of lights this year. While I admit I'm disappointed, my chin is up and for those of you who know me well, you know I'm busy making lemonade. No one loves the trailer food scene more than I do. The trailer food scene exploded overnight in Austin and I have been there documenting it every step of the way with my company Trailer Food Diaries. Austin is becoming as much a destination location for the food vendor culture as the live music scene and I remain optimistic in the future successes of this industry. Thank you for your patience, support and understanding. Please feel free to call and email me. Emailing's a little easier right now if possible just due to the influx :).

My official statement:
We are cancelling the Trailer of Lights of event, unofrtunately because of existing contradictions in policy between our fire code and health department that the event cannot sustain. While this may look like a hassle of red tape, ultimately, once we all know and understand the playing field, these are the regulations that will set our city up for success within the mobile food vending industry.

Happy trailers,
Tiffany Harelik, MA

December 8, 2010

Trailer of Lights is ON: Dec 18th

Exciting!  Trailer Food Diaries and partners are bringing another unique event to Austinites and those visiting our city during the Holidays.

If you're in need of family-friendly Christmas nostalgia in a funky Austin setting, come check out the first-annual Trailer of Lights event at Seaholm (the Power Plant) just off Ceaser Chavez. Trailer food vendors will be there to offer you samples from their menus at $5 or less and local artisans will provide you with some unique gifts for a fun shopping experience. Rumor has it we will be playing a classic holiday film between small sets from local musicians. Experience the swanky light display and come get your hot cocoa on for an eco-friendly celebration all for a good cause.

Saturday, December 18th

Seaholm Power Plant

*Free to the public; suggested donation of 1+ canned food item benefitting the Capital Area Food Bank

Please help us plan by with your support on Facebook: Trailer of Lights

Contact if you would like to be an artist vendor or trailer food vendor.

A current list of trailer food vendors includes:
Hey Cupcake
Torchy's (trailer repair willing)
Austin Daily Press
Crepe Crazy
Sugar Shack BBQ
Short Bus Subs
Colibri Cuisine
the Peached Tortilla
Kate's Southern Comfort
the Flying Carpet
Cutie Pie Wagon

Video Clip from Gypsy Picnic

Check it out!

Password: tfd

November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving at the Trailers

They may not be open for business on Thanksgiving day, but I bought my Cajun-fried turkey from Kate's Southern Comfort on Barton Springs Road this year and man oh man it smells divine.  Easiest $40 I've spent all month and it will feed my family for the next week.  While I was at it, I talked Katie into whipping me up a full pan of her Cajun bread pudding with Sailor Jerry Sauce.  Like a good daughter would, I went ahead and broke my diet to try a bite for quality control prior to bringing it home to my folks.  A quarter of the pan later, I told Kate she may have just got me an allowance with this savory spin on a southern tradition. 

Another Thanksgiving favorite this year has been the Turkey Mole tacos at Torchy's Tacos.  Torchy's recently won the meat category at the first-ever Gypsy Picnic with their green chile pork.  Other fan favorites include their fried avocado taco.  However, I am here to tell you that the Turkey Mole is hands down the absolute best taco I've had at Torchy's (and I sample them often).  Get your passport - this taco envelops Texas fried turkey in a Oaxacan mole sauce with Mexican rice, avocado, queso fresco, and fresh cilantro served on your choice of tortilla.  All that taco for a cool $4.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours from everyone on the Trailer Food Diaries team!

November 12, 2010

First-ever Gypsy Picnic

photo credit:
The seed for the Gypsy Picnic was planted in February 2010 when I went on my first trailer food crawl with some girl friends.  We started the day with some local/bistro sandwiches with Victoria at La Boite.  We then set out on the trail to hunt down some vietnamese sandwiches at lulu b's, but she was closed.  Still determined we drove down lamar to the Odd Duck, who was only opened for dinner.  We struck gold with Gourdough's where we finally caved in to not really knowing who was open or where to go next and sat down for some big fat doughnuts, Tecate's and Lights/Menthols.  It was Sunday brunch in Austin afterall.  So after this experience of trail blazing a trailer crawl back when the trailers were first thriving, I decided once and for all someone in this city was going to have to take notes and report back.  Trailer Food Diaries was born and I began blogging about the stories behind each of these vendors. 

But there was more to it than that.  I had recently quit my job (the previous December) and was looking for a true career experience that would allow me freedom to work from home, travel, and the general ability to wake up happy and excited about my day.  As the stories behind the trailer vendors began to unfold I realized we had a lot in common:  we wanted to work for ourselves, wake up inspired, and be involved in the food community here in Austin.  Then it dawned on me that this trailer food business was actually part of my heritage, as my great-grandfather came to this country from Russia and began his pursuit of the American dream with a banana cart which evolved into 5 general stores (and some really cool progeny).  (Insert 'ding' light bulb sound)

While I was talking with the vendors about their stories, I began asking them if they had ever entered a cook-off.  Partly, the question was to reflect to them how proud they were of their food and to see if they honestly thought their cuisine would stand out in a competition.  I had 100% response rate that yes they would like to do a cook-off. 

By some twist of fate my idea fell into the right circles at the right time and I found myself in the office of Roy Spence at GSD&M one morning, followed by a meeting with Charlie Jones of C3 Presents.  Both companies took various aspects of the project under their wings and Trailer Food Diaries began to soar. 

We started planning the Gypsy Picnic in May of 2010 and executed the first-ever Gypsy Picnic Trailer Food Festival in Austin last November 6, 2010.  As a fourth generation Austinite, I felt very proud to have been a part of something that is a fun and quirky contribution to the city that I hope will outlive me.  When I'm an old woman, I want to hear people say 'remember that first Gypsy Picnic?'  just like I hear people talking about Aquafest. 

We had 30 trailers pile in at auditorium shores and we told them to prepare at least 1,000 units of food in anticipation a crowd of 10,000.  We had more than 15,000 show up (it was  free, dog-friendly, kid-friendly event) on a gorgeous day in Austin and many of the vendors sold upwards fo 3,000 units.  The music was great and my friend Barbie volunteered her signing services so the deaf community could participate in the shows.  The sideshow had fun entertainment acts, stories from Book People and more.  Behind the scenes a cook-off was going on with 10 local judges who are highly esteemed in the foodie scene. 

In addition to having a really fun and successful event, I launched the Trailer Food Diaries Magazine which featured the 30 pioneer gypsies and some of their recipes.  We gave away 5,000 copies and ran out by 2:30pm.  Don't worry, I saved a handful for stocking stuffers.  I also started filming the pilot for Trailer Food Diaries TV series.  All this on November 6th, one day before my 30th birthday.  And all of this stemming from one thought on one day at a relatively unsuccessful trailer food crawl, half-depressed, half-buzzed with some friends.

The Gypsy Picnic and Trailer Food Diaries projects represent the spirit of unique entrepreneurialism here in Austin.  Over the last several months I have enjoyed getting to know the vendors, their stories and try their cuisine.  Although not all of the trailers I started out interviewing are still open, the trend overall is still growing.  In fact, I think it is soon becoming a point of interest for travelers visiting my hometown.  I'm humbled and excited about the success of the trailer food vendors as artists, creative spirits and entrepreneurial souls.  If you ever get stuck wondering what's for lunch - try a trailer!

November 3, 2010

Grab Some Lunch at The Gypsy Picnic

As we prepare for the first annual Gypsy Picnic Trailer Food Festival, we are featuring the unique tastes you will have the pleasure of enjoying on Saturday, November 6th. Here is a look at the mid-day offerings from Gypsy Picnic trailers.
Continuing the exploration of one of the most popular questions I get asked, here is a question I personally ponder daily: What’s for lunch? Whether you have a friend in town that you want to share the trailer food scene with, or are just up for trying something new, I have you covered.

If you’re on South Congress, check out The Flying Carpet for some fresh and healthy Moroccan cuisine made with local love from the Souktouri family. While you’re in the area you might try the popular Mighty Cone, one of the landmark trailer businesses in Austin that offers a unique take of fried chicken with ancho sauce in a tortilla wrapped to go. Turf n Surf Po'Boys is another popular downtown trailer vendor who has a killer shrimp po’boy. You can enjoy eating it outside the trailer Ralph Gilmore green-built himself at their 2nd and Congress Av. location. Nick Patrizi, owner of The Jalopy, will slide you a gourmet rotisserie chicken sandwich from the top of his big rig that is as much a mural as it is an eatery over on 15th and San Antonio. For something south of the border, Kronic Krave Arepas is serving traditional Colombian arepas on 5th and Colorado.

Skipping over to South First, if you dine with 4th generation Austinite, John Galindo, at Izzoz, he’ll be sure to remember your name and order the next time you stop by for his tacos. Down the street from John stands the South Austin Trailer Park and Eatery: home to Torchy’s Tacos, Holy Cacao and Man Bites Dog. There you can sample tacos, cake balls, and hot dogs  - all in one spot! Further down South 1st stands Pick Up Stixx, home to chef, Cowden Ward, who is developing multiple sauces for his unique fare. Down on Barton Springs, you can catch some Louisiana fried pies at Kate’s Southern Comfort, where even folks from New Orleans come crawling back for more. Last but not least, if you are up in Pflugerville, be sure to check out the Multi-tasker sandwich from 86 This, which has slow roasted brisket with cheesy mashed potatoes.

Lunch on the fly? Austin is also home to many roving units that will post their locations and hours online or via social media. Try finding Chi’Lantro for a Korean/Mexican fusion experience or Mmmpanadas for, you guessed it, empanadas. Short Bus Subs offers hot, toasted sub sandwiches on freshly baked bread out of a short yellow school bus.

Can’t get out of the office? Most of these vendors will cater upon request, but ALL of them will be at the Gypsy Picnic, showcasing up to three of their favorite menu items. If you’re still wondering "what’s for lunch?" post-picnic, you can keep a Trailer Food Diaries magazine, featuring a guide to all the vendors in Austin, in your car. We are giving away 5,000 sample copies at the picnic and will distribute a full size version in time for SXSW. Happy eating!

October 22, 2010

Conscious Cravings

- Location:  Longhorn Food Court - 1901 Rio Grande St. - @Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
- Hours: Monday -Saturday: 11 AM - 8 PM
- Telephone: 512-782-0546
- Website: / Facebook: Conscious Cravings / Twitter: ConsciousCrvngs

- Cuisine: Vegetarian

Rishi Dhir spent four years as an auctions trader on the Philly stock exchange before looking for something more laid back to do.  As a vegetarian, he had created unique recipes based on his own dietary needs and thought he had something that might hold up with the general public.  As such, he heard about Austin and the trailer food scene and opened Conscious Cravings in August of 2010.  His menu is mostly hot wraps and cold sandwiches.  Rishi loves to eat the Black Bean Slider Wrap, and his customers report the Chimmichurri Seitan Wrap is sure to please.

The name Conscious Cravings was developed to inform people the food is healthy while also being short and catchy.  What does Rishi say the best part about Conscious Cravings is? “The fact that I’m allowing people to have affordable healthy tasty food that is not offered widely.  It’s cheap, healthy, organic, and environmentally food.”

the Zubikhouse

Location & Hours: 
  Tuesday - Friday: 8 AM - 2PM - 3447 Northland Dr.  
  Saturdays: 9 AM - 1 PM - 4th and Guadalupe @Austin Farmers Market
- Telephone: 512-751-1989
- Facebook: The ZubikHouse
- Cuisine: Texas Czech - kolaches, sandwiches, dessert

Andy Zubik and his brother Jason have been in business with the Zubikhouse in October or 2009.  With over 20 years of experience in the food industry roaming from Austin to Durango, Houston and beyond Andy came up with a mouth watering menu for his Texas Czech cuisine.  So how does he make this seemingly contradictory fusion work? “Kolaches and other traditional items that are a pretty big staple in Czech cuisine have a lot of weight to them. German/Polish/Hungarian winters are so long that they eat a lot of meat potato dishes.  But when you get to Texas and have 7 months of heat, it doesn’t translate as easily.  You have to be more creative with the heat.  For example, we do fried strawberries and chipotle pecan pie ice cream.  At some point the chef goes back to their roots –what they grew up with, what they started cooking.”

Andy is a big advocate for local business and leads by example by buying from local farms such as Full Quiver, Richardson, Fredericksburg beef, Slovacek and Kocurek.  He says, “If you want a good strong economy you have to have a strong local economy – I can do my part with my business by buying local products.  If I have my way, we will get nothing but local products and keep those dollars here and not sending them overseas or far away.”

Turf N Surf Po'Boys

- Location: Downtown - 2nd St. & South Congress Ave.
- Hours: Sunday - Wednesday: 10 AM - 3 PM
               Thursday - Saturday: 10 AM - 3 PM / 5 PM - 3 AM
- Number: 512-965-4679
- Website: / Facebook: Turf N Surf Po’ Boy
- Cuisine: Sandwiches - po'boys, to be exact

photo credit:
I liked cooking before cooking was cool,” states Ralph Gilmore of Turf n Surf Poboys.  Ralph brings his background not only in the restaurant industry but also his experience in designing and building custom homes and choppers to the table as the designer and chef of his trailer that is currently located downtown.  After buying the most raw and rustic unit he could find, he began molding the cart with a turf and surf feel.  The majority of the items on his décor are recycled and he used less than 5% of wood in his build-out.  Continuing with the overall green feel of his food trailer, Ralph buys his produce locally.  “I just wanted to do something that gives back to the people,” he explains about his choice to buy from Austin-area farmers.  

Most proud of his fried shrimp, it is also his best-seller.  Having opened in April of 2010, he has some advice for new vendors: “Watch out for August.  The heat factor, getting back to school, and last minute vacations puts you in the hole if you don’t have the capitol to get through it.  But if it’s your dream, stay with it.”

I don't think Ralph is hiring, but as the sign states - I will work for poboys!
photo credit:

Short Bus Subs

- Location: Roving - follow website and twitter to learn location
- Hours: Tuesday - Saturdays: hours vary according to location
- Number: 512-535-7827
- Website: / Facebook: Short Bus Subs / Twitter: ShortBusSubs
- Cuisine: Sandwiches

Eric Klusman hails from a sandwich shop family in the Midwest but he got to Austin as quick as he could.  Alongside his brother Dane and business partner Ryan Campion, the three opened “Short Bus Subs” in August of 2009.  The concept to serve cleverly named quality sandwiches out of the window of a 23-foot school bus actually came to Eric in a dream.  After the economy had crashed, he decided instead of opening a shop he would do something a little less expensive so the Short Bus Subs idea was born.

“The Principal” is Eric’s personal favorite item and he claims to eat one everyday.  Similar to a club, it has swiss, bacon, ham, turkey, roast beef, Dijon, lettuce and tomato.  “The Bully” is probably their best seller, which is their version of an Italian sub.  With six vegetarian sammies to select, the “Hot Teacher” sells like hot cakes and includes a tomato/garlic pesto spread with mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, roasted red peppers, sun dried tomatoes, and marinated/roasted Portobello’s.  The bus does not have one location.  They roam freely to catering events and deliver to offices.

Sugar Shack BBQ

- Location: UT Campus area - 24th & San Antonio St.
- Hours: Monday - Friday: 7 AM - 7 PM
- Number: 512-464-1151
- Website: / Facebook: Sugar Shack BBQ 
- Cuisine: BBQ, breakfast tacos

Sugar Shack BBQ was started out of a love for 70’s retro music and back yard bar-b-ques by partners Mark Avalos and Mark Stimak.  If you’re thinking about joining Mark and Mark in the Trailer Food revolution, they have some words of wisdom, “Don’t get fooled by places that have a lot of car traffic.  That’s the number one misconception.  If you see a place that has a ton of cars driving by you think that place will do well – but really foot traffic is the key.”  Indeed, Sugar Shack gets plenty of foot traffic at their log-cabin-shack on wheels which is a favorite place for many students to eat just behind Dobie mall on UT campus.

Playing with the college environment and their theme, their menu includes fun items like the Notorious PIG and the Bama Jammma.  The Sugar Shack’s best seller is their pulled pork with a mustard base cole slaw followed closely by their chicken breast sandwich with a white BBQ sauce.   White sauce you say? That’s right, the guys at Sugar Shack love all kinds of BBQ, not just Texas-style.  Their white sauce is a mayo-based  Alabama-style BBQ-sauce along with 6 or 7 other ingredients.  Not available in bottles yet, their red BBQ sauce is also a fan favorite. 

Torchy's Tacos

- Location: South Austin Trailer Park & Eatery - 1311 S. 1st St - @Elizabeth 
                   Other, various locations can be found on their website. 
- Hours: Monday-Wednesday: 7 AM - 10 PM / Thursday & Friday: 7AM - 11 PM / Saturday: 8 AM - 11 PM / Sunday: 8 AM - 10 PM
- Number: 512-366-0537
- Website: / Facebook: Torchy’s Tacos / Twitter: TorchyTaco
- Cuisine: Tacos - breakfast, lunch & dinner

Ask anyone in Austin where their favorite place to grab a taco is and you’ll likely hear “Torchys!” in response.  Torchy’s five founding partners are Bob, Farrell, Rebecca, and Jay with Mike Rypka as the chef behind the team.  Having been a chef at MTV, Dell, Chuys, Lucy’s Boat Yard and beyond, putting together delectable flavor combinations with tacos as the vehicle was right up his alley and his consistently good recipes are the reason behind Torchy’s rapid success.  In addition to their trailer, they now have multiple other brick and mortar locations and have expanded into other cities. 

Down at the South Austin Trailer Park and Eatery where Torchy’s trailer sits, you can enjoy tacos under the shade of the Live Oak trees that overlooks Bouldin Creek.  The names of their tacos are equally shady with such crowd favorites like the Dirty Sanchez.  In addition to their normal menu, you can look for such specialty items like their Turkey taco with mole during November.  What should you get?  The ‘brushfire’ and the ‘fried avocado taco’ is hot on my list.


- Location: Roving - follow website and twitter to learn location
- Hours: Roaming everyday - hours vary according to location
- Number: 512-743-7601
- Website: /  Facebook: COOLHAUS Ice Cream Sandwiches /Twitter: coolhaus_AUSTIN

- Cuisine: Dessert - ice cream sandwiches!

Christine Aldrich & Nathan Hathaway were friends for many years and partners in life before picking up the torch for Coolhaus, a choose your own ice cream and cookie adventure in the trailer food business in early 2010.   In a merge of food and architecture, Nathan made the 1984 vintage mail truck from Los Angeles what it is today.  With a background in food and a love for baking, Christine manages the flavors that are as non-traditional as they are delicious.

Despite Christine’s claims to be a baker-extraordinaire, since she is producing and selling in such large volume she doesn’t get to make the cookies and creams herself.  With personal favorite items on the menu like mascarpone and balsamic fig on snickerdoodle or coffee toffee on a chocolate cookie, rest assured many hours of quality control have gone into consideration of their super fine menu. 

Perhaps Nathan’s love to scream for ice cream was founded during his first job as a dishwasher at age 15.  He and crew purchased a 5 gallon bucket of mint chocolate chip that they would eat a heaping bowl every day in the pursuit of satiating their appetites.  Christine also has fond ice cream memories including ice cream socials on Sunday afternoons in Michigan, or the ice cream shop that her University ran via their dairy.  Regardless of where they got their sweet tooth, Christine and Nathan can be found roaming the streets and events of Austin with Coolhaus.

Juan Pelota Coffee Truck

- Location & Hours:
   Coffee Truck: Roves to sporting events - location & hours vary accordingly
   Cafe at Mellow Johnny’s: Downtown @4th St. & Nueces
- Telephone: 512-473-0222
- Website:  / Facebook: Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop / Twitter: juanpelotacafe
- Cuisine: Coffee

Affiliated with hometown hero Lance Armstrong, the Juan Pelota coffee truck made its debut in April of 2010 to fill a void in providing snacks and drinks at bike races.  The truck drove out to the Tour of Gila in New Mexico where it served contestants, staff and volunteers under a variety of weather conditions.  Post Gila, the truck went on to the AMGEN tour in California before making it’s way back to local triathlons and  bike race events such as the Mellow Classic at Lance’s ranch.  

The Juan Pelota coffee truck is an off-shoot of the Juan Pelota Café, which is located in Mellow Johnny’s bike shop by la zona rosa downtown.  The rustic yet modern building used to the be the old Pearl distributing center before blooming into a community bike shop and café where commuters can even bike in and shower before heading out for the work day.  In addition to races and special events, the coffee truck goes out to ‘the driveway’ every Thursday night just off 183.

October 4, 2010

Kronic Krave Arepas

- Location: Downtown - 5th & Colorado St.
- Hours: Thursday – Saturday: 7 PM – 4 AM
- Telephone: 606-369-5860 / 814.206.4090 / 512.968.0769
- Facebook: Kronic Krave Arepas / Twitter: kronickrave
- Cuisine: Sandwiches an arepa-pocket

Brothers Nicolas and Andres Pombo, along with their friend Juan Carlos Delgado, opened Kronic Krave Arepas in September of 2010.  In addition to providing traditional Colombian mouth-watering arepas, Nicolas sees their food trailer as a way to share something nice about their Colombian culture. 

If you were to travel in Colombia today, you would find many different versions of the arepas the young men grew up on depending on what region you are visiting. An arepa is a cornbread-South-American version of a pita pocket that contains whatever fillings and flavors the consumer desires.  For Nicolas and Juan Carlos, their favorite arepa is the “Blondie”, which combines pulled chicken, guacamole and Monterey jack for the filling.  Andres might say his favorite is the “Don Pablo” which has pulled chicken, kronic sauce, feta and sweet plantains, or the “Mystic” which has sweet plantains, guacamole and feta.  In addition to the three described, Kronic Krave also offers two pulled beef arepas: the “Mariachi” which is embellished with cheddar cheese, and the “Carribbean Craze” which adds sweet plantains to the mariachi. 

The two brothers grew up in Bogota with a population of 8 million people, and their partner grew up in Barranquilla, where Shakira is from.  They all came to the states for a college education.  Nicolas completed a degree in industrial engineering from Penn State and his younger brother Andres is currently attending the University of Texas for supply chain management.  They have a third brother, Miguel, who is in law school in Bogota, where their parents live as well.  The entire Pombo family enjoys water skiing as a hobby and Andres is on the UT ski team as a competitive sport.  Juan Carlos graduated with a degree in finance from Arizona State.

The political climate in Colombia is changing with the inauguration of a new President in August of 2010.  The effect has been a diminishing of the terrorist groups and guerilla activity, although displaced families due to drug trafficking remains an issue.  Nicolas remembers being in high school and offering mentorship programs as a service to a smaller school for displaced children.  In fact, if you are interested in supporting displaced families due to the drug wars in Colombia, please contact one of these organizations: UNICEF or ACNUR which are international organizations, or Antioquia Presente is a local one from Medellin.  The Pombo family as well as Juan Carlos would consider travel to Colombia safe at this time and hope you will take a taste of the Colombian cuisine as a positive thing from their beautiful country.

Hat Creek Burger, Co.

- Location & Hours: 
  Burger Bus: Roves to UT sporting events - location & hours vary accordingly. Follow website and twitter to learn location.
  Hat Creek Burger, Co.: 5400 Burnet Rd. 
- Telephone: 512-732-2025
- Website: / Facebook: Hat Creek Burger Co. / Twitter: hatcreekburger
- Cuisine: Burgers

Hometown hero Drew Gressett grew up here in Austin and graduated from the University of Texas before doing a fair amount of traveling between DC, Dallas and China with a real estate venture.  But he had always had a dream of owning a hamburger stand and decided it was now or never when he opened Hat Creek Burgers in October of 2008 with no regrets. 

Drew says his mom taught him how to make his first burger.  “She always cooked a typical backyard burger with thicker patty – but ours are thinner.  Manageability of a smaller burger, that’s our angle at Hat Creek.”  His favorite way to eat a “Big Hat” burger is with American cheese and ketchup only.  The size of the hat refers to the size of the burger: the “Big Hat” has two 1/5 lb patties while the “Little Hat” is one 1/5 lb. patty.  They offer four cheeses to choose from including American, Cheddar, Pepper Jack and Swiss.  Drew says the premise of their product is a super fresh hand-pattied burger whose meat has never seen a freezer.  “Freezers are for ice cream,” he says.  His burgers have fresh cracked pepper, and are all natural with no hormones, no antibiotics, all vegetarian fed beef.
While Hat Creek started out as a trailer, they moved into a brick and mortar building in 2009 and now use the trailer for special events such as UT baseball games.  Drew mentions a good point in that “the mobile trailer is such a great platform to eventually get into a brick and mortar, and then for a brick and mortar, it’s good to expand business with a mobile unit.”  Coach Barnes and Coach Brown are among two of Drew’s guests.  His employees love the burgers so much, that one of them commenced to eating a 10-patty Big Hat after clocking out. 

The name Hat Creek refers to one of Drew’s favorite books and movies: Lonesome Dove, which contains the Hat Creek Cattle Company.  The real Hat Creek is a trout fishing stream in northern
California, and although he hasn’t been yet, Drew does love to fly fish when he’s not at the grill.

The Peached Tortilla

- Location: Roving - follow website, facebook, and/or twitter to learn location
- Hours: Tuesday - Saturdays: hours vary according to location
- Telephone: 512-761-3241
- Website: / Facebook: The Peached Tortilla / Twitter: peached tortilla
- Cuisine: Fusion Tacos

The Peached Tortilla is former lawyer Eric Silverstein’s mobile truck that is serving gourmet asian/southern fusion through the medium of street food.  Born in Japan, and having traveled thoroughly around Asia, Eric was exposed to a variety of cultures and cuisines.  At the age of ten, he moved to Atlanta, Georgia which offered a new range of ingredients and flavors.  “When I started that concept made sense to mingle those two cultures,” says Eric.  His personal favorite item on the menu is the Banhmi taco, which uses pork belly that is brined and braised served with a pickled daikon carrot salad with sirracha mayo and cilantro.

I asked Eric to explain the name, the Peached Tortilla, and he said, “It originates from Georgia roots because it’s the peach state.  The word “peached” is something that allows you to define it yourself.  To us, ‘peached’ is to get flavor smitten – we want people to get ‘peached’.  The tortilla ties in with tacos.  We also want to separate ourselves out from corporate America and this name was one way to do that. “

Eric represents the rebel version of entrepreneurs who aren’t satisfied working for someone else.  After discussing a
new city with his girlfriend and much research on his concept, Eric quit his job and three weeks later they moved to Austin and opened the Peached Tortilla.  Why Austin?  “We felt like it was a really open minded city open to eating from a food truck.  There was already a tremendous amount of growth in trailer food industry, the city is growing, the economy is doing well, my concept is different and Austin likes different.”  Currently, Eric is dishing up his gourmet fusion at multiple locations.

September 26, 2010

Recipe: Old School BBQ's Sedona Salad

From the famously meaty food vendors, Old School BBQ, comes this hearty recipe for a salad - full of greens and goodness! 

Old School BBQ's Sedona Salad


12 oz. Baby lettuce mix
8 oz. Chicken Breast
4 oz. Bleu Cheese crumbles
4 oz. Walnuts – chopped
6 oz. Mandarin oranges
¾ cup Red onion
4 oz. Balsamic vinaigrette


1.     Cut chicken into 1 ½” pieces and brown over medium-high heat with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
2.     Thinly slice red onion and cut slices in half to form crescents.
3.     Place lettuces, walnuts, chicken, onion and bleu cheese crumbles in mixing bowl.
4.     Add vinaigrette to bowl and toss thoroughly.
5.     Portion on serving ware and garnish with Mandarin Orange sections.
Serve with a crisp, dry white wine like Pinot Grigio and hot crusty bread for a flavorful, fully satisfying light meal.

Recipe: Lucky J's Breakfast Waffle Taco

What's that? Lucky J's shared the recipe to make their Breakfast Waffle Taco?? Mornings get real when breakfast is served in a waffle.  

Lucky J's Breakfast Waffle Taco

Waffle Mix
1 cup flour
1 tsp sugar
¾ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
2 T vegetable oil
¾ cup water
½ cup buttermilk
1 egg

Combine ingredients and allow to sit for 15 minutes before using

Breakfast Potatoes
1 cup red potatoes diced ¾”
½ cup red onions diced ¾”
2 oz vegetable oil
1 tsp season salt
½ tsp dried rosemary
½ tsp dried thyme

Heat oil to medium high and add potatoes and onions.  Sautees until the potatoes are crispy.  Drain any excess oil and toss with the seasonings.

Waffle Breakfast Tacos
4 waffles
1 cup breakfast potatoes
4 slices cooked bacon cut into 1” pieces
4 slices cheddar cheese

Combine breakfast potatoes and bacon on a hot flattop or in a nonstick sauté pan over a medium high flame.  Allow the contents of the pan to heat through thoroughly (about 1-2 minutes).  Add the eggs to the pan and stir occasionally so that the eggs ‘scramble’ slightly.  In the meantime, place a slice of cheddar cheese on each waffle.  When the eggs are thoroughly cooked (about 4 minutes or until there is no runny parts visible), divide into four parts and place in the center of each waffle.  Fold the waffles and serve.

Recipe: East Side King's Thai Chicken Karaage

A destination trailer for Asian food aficionados, East Side King shares their Thai Chicken Karaage recipe with those equally adventurous in the kitchen to attempt a re-creation. Enjoy!

East Side King's Thai Chicken Karaage
Serves 4-6

3 lbs Chicken legs - Boned and cut into large bite size chunks
8 oz Thai Chicken Sauce (recipe follows)
4 oz white onion – Sliced thinly
2 oz Jalapeno – Sliced into thin rounds
3 oz Cilantro – Picked and washed
1.5 oz Mint – Picked and washed
1.5 oz Thai Basil – Picked and washed
2 C Corn Starch
4 cups Vegetable Oil
Method: Lightly toss the cut chicken in the corn starch, until each piece is evenly coated and there are no moist spots.  Preheat your oil to 375.   Fry chicken until golden brown and cooked throughout.   Move the hot chicken to a large bowl, add the onions, jalapeno, and herbs, and add the sauce.   Toss gently in Thai Chicken Sauce, and be sure to coat all the pieces well. Transfer to a serving dish, top with Sweet Chili Sauce, and enjoy!

Thai Chicken Sauce
4 oz Water
4 oz White Vinegar
4 oz White Sugar
1 oz Sweet Chili Sauce
2 oz Fish Sauce
1.5 oz garlic/thai chili – minced
Method: Combine in a bowl and whisk until all ingredients are fully incorporated.

Sweet Chili Sauce:
4 oz White Vinegar
2 oz White Sugar
1 oz Chili flakes
Method: In a small sauce pot combine the vinegar and sugar.   Allow the mixture to come to a boil without stirring.   Add the chilli flakes and stir.  

September 8, 2010


- Location: East Side Drive In - 1001 E. 6th St. - @San Marcos
- Hours: Tuesday & Wednesday 8 AM - 2 PM
              Thursday - Saturday: 7 PM - 3 AM
              Sunday: 11 AM -2PM
- Telephone: 512-799-6764
- Website: /  Facebook: #19

- Cuisine: Sandwiches - of the cheesesteak sort

From working in an engineering firm to owning a hair salon to managing a deli, Tim Lasater has a background as colorful as it is diverse.  It was when he was touring in Philly with his band Pop Unknown that he had the realization no one was doing a good cheesesteak in Austin.  Tim tells the story: “I had some business partners that were opening a beer and burger joint on the Eastside and the lease fell through.  While we were looking for another brick and mortar I found the bus on craigslist, but the investors were not interested.  I was talking with my old bass player and he said he would find the money.  He called me the next morning and said he found the money so I drove down to Dripping Springs and got the bus.  Driving the bus, I thought I had lost my mind.  We forgot to measure the height and I didn’t know if it would even fit under a bridge.”

The bus was originally built as a tour bus for the Cheshire Inn, a hotel in Saint Louis in 1975.  It’s the only factory made double decker bus in the US.  And as far as the name, Tim wanted something simple that everyone could remember.  He remembered the Clash’s song about a bus route that was number nineteen.  The history behind that was that in the UK, the 19 was a double decker bus route that would take people home from live music venues and bars.  So with his background in music and new found double decker trailer food business that serves lunch and latenight, the #19 was a natural fit.

For his best-selling cheesesteaks, Tim uses rolls and meat from Philadelphia, but he twists it up with some mushrooms and cheese.  And his brother Ryan, who is also a musician works the bus too. Tim says of Ryan, “He’s an assistant manager.  That’s what I tell him anyways, it makes him get up a little earlier in the morning.”  And on why he picked Austin as the spot for the #19: “After traveling Europe with the band and working in Yellowstone and Jackson hole, I met a lot of people and went to a lot of cool cities – but I love the laid back atmosphere and vibe in Austin.  You don’t have to dress up to go to the great spots.  Its got the best of all the worlds of music, rivers, people, put together –not too small and not too big.”