April 29, 2011

South Shore Eatery (Trailer Park)

Three's company at the south shore eatery and trailer park, which is home to That's Amore, Lil Mama's and the Giggling Goat. This is my kind of trailer park - three stellar options with a wide variety, some shade, close to the water and easy to find on the bike. They are situated at 1620 East Riverside Dr. (78741) right by the Amli off the hike and bike trail. I'll admit it, at this stage of the game it takes something odd or unique to get me excited. This trailer park is the newest must-do on my list.

This cannoli and panini to the left is from Angela Melia's 74' airstream 'That's Amore'.  I was fortunate to be there when both Angela and chef Josh Rippie were there to spoil me with some of the best Italian food I've ever had.  Ok fine, I'll go ahead and say it.  This was the best Italian food I've ever had.  Some of you know that I trained horses the majority of my life, and one of my teachers was from Rome.  We would go to her house for 'dinner' and start with wine, cheese and sausages. I would be completely full and half cocked by the time the first salad came out.  I somehow would get that down and then came the chicken.  Nibbling and at this point trying not to offend the Italian-only-speaking- alpha female, I would go on to eat her lasagne, souffle and dessert - all with wine of course.  Eating at Angela's trailer brought back those precious memories of being at an Italian home for dinner.  Their food not only tasted good and was made with heart (and tradition), it was big enough for two - typical Italian.  I had a wonderful panini, 'the Sicilian', which has italian sausage mixed with bell peppers, fennel and mozzarella.  I've been craving the house salad ever since I left.  (I think it was the creamy herb parmesan dressing).  The salad has a romaine and spring mix, with celery, tomatoes, hearts of palm, cucumber, pepperocini and kalamata and green pimento stuffed olives. I had a spoonful of the cherry pistachio cannoli and that was pretty incredible too.  Oh! and I snuck a taste of the pine nut gorgonzola spread (I'm a sucker for gorgonzola!)  Angela's menu is inspired by her Sicilian grandparents (all of which have an item named after them).  I can't wait to try everything else she offers and you'll be able to make her olive tapenade and basil lemonade at home because they are featured in the trailer food diaries cookbook. 

I'm equally excited about the Giggling Goat. I felt obligated to go with the Cabrito Burger (grilled and topped with tomato confit, baby greens, honey mustard, jack cheese and japanese fries) and was not disappointed.  Goat is a lean meat and because of it's lower fat content can easily dry out upon cooking.  But this burger was not dry at all.  If you're looking for an even livlier choice, Chad's menu contains such exotic cuisine as a soft shell crab sandwich, sweet breads, zucchini fries with a poblano ranch sauce and rabbit egg rolls, a little foodie parody containing local rabbit, cabbage, carrots and ginger.  Chad gave me the Cordero burger, which is a lamb burger to share with you all in the cookbook.

Speaking of good recipes that will be in the cookbook, Heather from lil Mama's has contributed her version of cheesecake and her grandmother's poundcake.  This gal started her dessert trailer because it has been a dream of hers since she was in middle school.  Heather started baking when she was thirteen and she has worked for Texas French Bread here in Austin as well Walt Disney World in Orlando where she was a baker and cake decorater.  You'll know her truly special breads and treats are made from the heart with the first bite. She's open Thursday thru Saturday 5pm to 9pm.

This trailer park is a triple win - check them out!

We did it! The cookbook is funded!

Just a quick note to say thank you from the bottom of my heart to those who helped promote and pledged toward the kickstarter campaign.  We did it! The production has been funded - the writing is done - you will all have a fun collectible cookbook for this fall.  I can't wait to show you the cover. 

April 24, 2011

Campaign to fund the Trailer Food COOKBOOK ends this Wednesday - (get you a copy!)

Most of you know I have bootstrapped my way through the last year as an entrepreneur in the trailer food scene.  I started my company, Trailer Food Diaries, with this very blog.  We expanded to co-produce the first annual Gypsy Picnic trailer food festival with C3 Presents (free).  We have printed two guides/magazines on trailer food in ATX (also free).  I have collected beautiful pictures from local photographers and oddly-gourmet recipes from all of our favorite street food vendors in Austin and pieced them together to create the first volume of the Trailer Food Diaries: COOKBOOK.  It is being published & printed locally through Greenleaf Book Group.   And this is where I need your help.  We created a kickstarter campaign so that you can prepurchase the cookbook while helping me pay for the production and printing of this fun project. 

Or - go to www.kickstarter.com and search: trailer food diaries.  The more you pledge, the more fun stuff you can get rewarded with.

Why might you snag a copy of this cookbook?
- you LOVE trailer food as much as I do
- you love Austin
- you love trailer food and austin
- you collect cookbooks
- you need some gifts for your peeps (birthdays, christmas, mothers day)
- you want to give your sweetie some ideas in the kitchen
- you want to support a hometown girl and her vision to help inspire entrepreneurs while eliminating childhood hunger while providing scoop on the trailer food scene
- you believe in paying it forward and good kaaaaarmaaaah (most days)

Recipe teaser: Homemade Basil Lemonade
Courtesy of That’s Amore on East Riverside by the Amli
  • 2 C fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 C basil simple syrup*
  • 2 C cold San Pellegrino sparkling water
*To make simple syrup:
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • 2 C sugar
  • 1 C water
Cook on stove top, bring water to a boil and add sugar and basil, stir until sugar dissolves. Place in a bowl on an ice bath. Run liquid through strainer when cooled.

To make lemonade:
Mix simple syrup into remaining ingredients. Serve over ice. Yield: 4 to 6 servings.


April 6, 2011


I had the great pleasure of sitting down with Iba, owner/creator of Cazamance food trailer in the Rainey district downtown the other night.  Iba is a self-taught foodie from South Africa who knows the importance of nutrition and relationships.  He practices being kind to all who come to his 'table', which is one of my favorite things about eating at the trailer - you get treated like family, and you get to eat really well. 

His menu is African influenced, and yet Iba develops the menu with his own creativity and persuasions.  For example, his recent options include a cinnamon rosemary smoked brisket, and a red curry smoked brisket.  A little Texas, a little Africa, and you've got a meal to be remembered.  He also likes to shop at the Asian market on North Lamar to utilize their wild spices in his creations.

We talked mostly about his Mafe' ('ma-fay'), otherwise known as Peanut Soup. It is an authentic dish from West Africa that he relates to mashed potatoes of the states.  It's a dish that makes you think of family and home, but each region will do it a little differently.  He gives the example of New Orleans mashed potatoes having different spices and flavors than perhaps the way New York does their mashed potatoes.  Same thing with peanut soup.  He did give me the recipe which will be featured in my upcoming cookbook - and I have to say I'm excited to start making this at home.  You'll have to wait for the publication to get the measurements, but one tip for home-chefs is to make sure the peanut butter is fully dissolved in water before adding it to the soup.

So what is Iba's version of African peanut soup?  He says, "My mom cooked it way differently than my recipe.  She slow cooked the vegetables like a stew, cooking them for hours.  But when you cook vegetables like that for so long, you lose the nutrients.  So I prefer to steam the veggies while cooking the body of the soup.  I make my soup in 30-45 minutes instead of 5 hours, and mine is healthier," he says with a genuine grin. 

Also on his menu is yassa, which is a dish that was developed from food they grow in Senegal: clear-water river fish, lemon, onion and of course the staple rice.  I have tried his delicious 'bunny chow' a few times, which is a beautiful plate of meat stuffed in bread. Iba told me this orginated during the Apartheid time when many poor blacks worked in the kitchen and would hide meat inside a loaf or piece of bread.  This way, when they were seen giving other blacks food, it just looked like bread.  They would add curry and beans as well, making a wholy delicious but secret meal. 

'The eyes eat first," he says, so everything that is plated at Cazamance comes out appealing to look at.  Every dish that walked by made my mouth water.

Eating at Cazamance gives you the full trailer experience of community, good food, and a friendly Austin vibe under the shade trees.  It's across the street from Clive bar (where you're sure to find a friendly bartender), and smack downtown off Red River and Caesar Chavez - super easy to bike to from just about anywhere.  Also, Iba is open on Mondays when most trailers are not - so if you're hunkering for something different and nourishing I absolutely recommend trying Cazamance at your next trailer outing.