June 30, 2011

Snow Cones! part 2: Sweet Caroline's

Let me tell you about David Mebane, born eating snow balls in New Orleans, who's love for fluffy Southern ice has turned into a full-fledged fleet of trailers you'll be able to find sprinkled throughout Austin in the near future.  It's a family affair that started when his grandparents would walk with him up to the snow ball stand on Roosevelt Avenue after dinner.  One of the recipes for chocolate cream was contributed by David's aunt, who found the recipe in the rubble after she lost her home in the wake of Katrina.  A special recipe no doubt, she received it from a friend who had worked at Hansen's (popular snow ball shop in Nawlins').  Sweet Caroline's namesake is David's daughter (Caroline), and the Wild Weston snow ball is named after his son (Weston).  Since kids like to order by color (as opposed to flavor), Weston's preference is rainbow - therefore, the Wild Weston has Red (strawberry), Yellow (pineapple), and Blue (blue raspberry). 

The 'Pink Lady' is David's favorite - which utilizes a special nectar cream flavor.  In fact, the cream drizzled on top of flavored ice is what makes a New Orleans snow ball a little different than the snow cones we grew up with here in Texas.  Another interesting menu item from Sweet Caroline's that migrated it's way to Austin is the stuffed snow ball.  It starts with ice and syrup in the bottom, followed by a scoop of Blue Bell Vanilla ice cream, and then topped with more fluffy ice and flavor-dy goodness-sakes!

Eco-conscious, these guys do not use styrofoam.  Rather, you can carry your treat out in a chinese paper to go square container.  Now thats what I call Sno-Ballin'.  Check them out: www.sweetcarolinessnowshack.com

June 19, 2011

Snow Cones! .... Part 1

It's hot here in the capitol city and one of our favorite summer past times is to stop for a snow cone to cool off.  In efforts to provide you with the city's best snow cone, I took a quick text-poll to see what my friends' favorite flavors and trailers were.  The results?  Everyone loves the watermelon snow cone at Sno-Beach on Barton Springs Road. 

Jared Tennant Photography: JTpics.com
Now I'll be honest.  I've never ordered a watermelon snow cone.  The thought hadn't crossed my mind.  But now that friends from all walks of life are telling me it's their favorite, I'll be on a mission to find the best watermelon snow cone of the season.  My personal favorite has always been the creamsicle, and I can be found ordering it at the little stand in Tarrytown.  If your snow cone trailer doesn't have creamsicle, don't worry - you can create it using half orange and half vanilla flavors.  Here are some more of the local favorites:
  • Fan favorite:  Watermelon from Sno-Beach
  • Other Sno-Beach favorites: Blueberry, Tiger's Blood, Cherry, Mango, Blue Coconut, sugar-free Grapefruit, Strawberry
  • Jim Jim's: Strawberry Lemonade, Mango, Watermelon, 
  • Kasey's New Orleans Sno Balls:Strawberry & Banana with cream
  • South Austin Sno: Sour Grape
  • Moonieburger in Pflugerville: Watermelon
  • Disch-Falk Field: Dreamsicle (that's from my UT-baseball-lovin' Aunt Tootie!)
Go ahead, sing it - 'The Heat is ON! The Heat is ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-on, the heat is.... ON!" 

June 12, 2011

Catch the Peached Tortilla at Films for the Forest: June 16th

Eric & Tiffany during SXSW
If you haven't tried the Peached Tortilla at their regular locations, here is an opportunity to try gourmet trailer food at a swanky street party in the Rainey District.  The Peached Tortilla truck will be posted outside of local NPO, Rainforest Partnership, during their annual event: Films for the Forest.  This film festival, free to the public, showcases international short films.  This year's theme is Breath of the Planet.  Entries are judged by film professionals Rick Linklater, Ed Begley Jr., Paul Steckler, & Elizabeth Avellan.  In addition to great food and films, guests will experience music, art, panel discussions and more - all in the street!  This event supports local efforts to protect rainforests in Peru and Ecuador. 

When: June 16th  6p-10p
Where: 505 Willow St. ATX/78701
Web: www.filmsfortheforest.org/ or www.rainforestpartnership.org
It's FREE, but RSVP here: http://filmsfortheforest2011.eventbrite.com

More on the food - the Peached Tortilla is a fusion concept that blends Asian food and Southern Comfort Cuisine.  Owner Eric Silverstein spent his youth in both Japan and Georgia.  As such, his food concept was born.  His delectable sliders are served on Hawaiian sweet rolls ($2.50).  My current favorite is the Pad Thai taco ($2.25) which includes chicken or tofu sauteed in traditional pad thai sauce, bean sprouts, peanuts and a lime wedge.  Check out the menu online: http://thepeachedtortilla.com/menu

Hungry for more? Here is a recent Trailer Food Diaries review in the Austin Man.


June 2, 2011

Peruvian Street Food: Comida de Paso

I had a wonderful week in Peru discovering some of the country's most beautiful food and adventures with one of my good friends Maurine, who works to save the Amazonian Rainforest in that neck of the woods.  From boat tours to the sea lions and penguins in Paracas, sand-boarding in Huacachina, hiking on the Incan trail up to Machu Picchu, flying over the Nazca lines - it was the Amazing Race meets the History Channel, in Spanish - Trailer Food Diaries style.  We had street food ("trailer food") at each point of interest and I gathered some recipes along the way.

Our first street food effort was made here in Lima.  We had avocado ("palta") sandwiches and apple-quinoa soup for breakfast before boarding the bus to Pisco.  Quinoa, along with corn and potatoes are the country's staple food.  Traditional plates also include Cuy (guinea pig), and alpaca (llama).  The Avocado sammies were an instant hit and we made them a bunch throughout the trip for snacks.  Just fresh baked rolls, sliced avocados and salt. 

And here is where we bought the fresh avocados and rolls from street food vendors at the market in Pisco:


Fresh fruit was a common thing for street food vendors to sell in each town.  I was surprised to learn that many of the vendors were not growing their own fruit, but shipping it in from other parts of Peru.  One of the ladies in this market was making fresh pestos.  Some were from aji (their version of the jalapeno - yum!), another was cilantro-based.  She suggested using them with a little milk to make a creamy sauce for chicken.

The purple corn in the middle/top of this photo is what is used to make "Chicha Morada" - a corn-based purple juice/drink that is served hot.  It is typically non-alcoholic, although, you can ferment it I'm told.  Another popular Peruvian drink is the Pisco Sour. Pisco is an alcohol made from a white grape, but not the same grapes used for wine.  We flew over some of the Pisco vinyards on the Nazca tour, but I didn't have enough time to go explore the grape up close.

Confession: my favorite meal during the Peruvian adventure was not street food.  This was breakfast in Nazca. Potatoes with cheese and herbs and coca tea.  Coca leaves are used widely in Peru for tea, or to chew (tobacco-style).  The intent when using coca is to clear your head or to remove pain.  Indeed...
 Award: Coolest Place to get Street Food - at the base of the mountain at the Pisac ruins. This chick makes a mean fresh OJ!

Look! A mobile food vendor, who's a little more than the average Peruvian-street-food-bear.  This guy sets up in Cusco ("the belly-button of the world" to the Inca's) and fires up his oven inside the truck to cook pizzas and hamburgers for the tourists.

Among other foodie interests, this area is also known for it's Ceviche and Salt.  We passed the main salt island mine in Paracas, which is a major export for Peru along with - um - guano... different islands but remarkably close.  Funny quote from the tour: "Guano was used in the 1800's for explosives.  Now it's used for agriculture."

Stay tuned for the recipes!

TFD and Gypsy Picnic representin'!