February 29, 2012

SXSW: Food Trucks in Austin

Welcome to Austin SXSW-ers!
Check back frequently for updates to this post with SXSW food truck info
Austin isn't just the live music capitol of the world, it's the trailer food capitol of the world too.  Our food truck scene has much to offer by way of creative gourmet cuisine and rich histories that speak of the American Dream.  There are several pods of food trailers spread throughout the city, and several of them have moved temporarily for SXSW entertaining.  The closest naturally forming pods from the Convention Center are going to be on East 6th, just a pedi-cab ride away:

Look for the mustard-colored TFD shirt-wearing pedi-cabs to get you to any of the trailers...
Specifically, they are featuring rides to:
Way South Philly on E6th and Waller
Lucky J's Chicken and Waffles on E6 and Waller
That's Amore on E Riverside
Boss Hog's Kitchen on W5th
The Peached Tortilla - roaming
Yume Burger - roaming

I will be posted at the NBC Today Show Food Truck for the morning shifts on 4th and Trinity starting 3/10-3/13 8a-noon giving away free trailer food! 

Helpful articles: 

Take home a Trailer Food Diaries Cookbook: Austin Edition as a souvenir, written by yours truly, a 4th generation Austinite who co-founded the Gypsy Picnic trailer food festival.  You can pick up a copy locally at Book People, Whole Foods, Book Woman, all of the Torchy's Tacos locations and several other spots around town.  You can even snag one at the airport on your way out of town.  This edition is full to the brim with eccentric recipes and interesting stories about the trailer food vendors.

Keep up on twitter: 
  • Food Trailers Austin is providing a live twitter feed for the #SXSWtrailer Food Trailer Roundup
  • A few of us in the trailer food community are using #SXSWtrailer on twitter - follow me at @trailerfood and watch the #updates.  
  • Also keep your eyes on @foodtrailersATX (Tony Yamanaka), & @austinfoodcarts (Mike Krell) for trailer food activity.

Trailer Location Updates 
(Please email me if you'd like me to post info - tiffany@trailerfooddiaries.com)
  • Colibri Cuisine (@colibricuisine) is open daily 11a-3a at their location on w 6th and Nueces until the 18th of this month 

February 24, 2012

Via 313: Authentic Detroit Style Pizza

Brothers Brandon and Zane Hunt opened Via 313 food trailer with a concept from back home: Detroit-style pizza.  After several years in the service industry the brothers Hunt went to San Francisco and trained under Pizzaioli and Master instructor Tony Gemignani, an Italian chef who gave them VPN certification.  They make the dough fresh daily and while hot slices are readily available, each pizza is baked to order.

So let me answer your burning questions: what exactly is Detroit-style pizza and is there room for another pizza joint in Austin?  Well, the answer to the latter is absolutely!  I love square-shaped pizza with cheesy edges and the sense of humor flying around the trailer was bonus.

“People living in Detroit don’t really know that other people are calling it Detroit-style, it’s just the way the pizza is up there,” Brandon tells me.  “The pans are industrial steel pans used for automotive parts in Detroit.  They hold heat perfectly.  The bread comes out like a focaccia, with caramelized cheese all the way to the edge of the pie.  And the pizzas are square, with sauce on top.” 

The Cloverleaf is a Detroit establishment from the 50’s era known best for it’s desirable square-shaped pizza.  The first franchise owner of the restaurant coined the phrase ‘Detroit style pizza’, we think.  In addition  to the Cloverleaf, the brothers Hunt are inspired by great pizzas from their youth in the Motor City: Buddy's, Loui's and Niki's.  

You can currently find the Via 313 pizza trailer located outside of the Violet Crown bar on East 6th and Waller, or find them online: http://via313.com/ - they are delivering in the '02 and open Tuesday - Saturday for dinner and late night grubbin'.   The '313' business was Detroit's first area code, in case you were still wondering.

February 16, 2012

Austin City Guide: East Austin Food Trailers

What some are calling the last bastion of iconic food trailers, the "East Side" offers more than twenty classic food trailers, housing everything from original classics to up and coming street food chefs.   As part of the 2012 Austin City Guide compiled by the Austin Food Blogger Alliance, this article aims to feature some of the best of the best of the East Austin food trailers.

Although there are ample really good trailers to choose from, the Austin Food Blogger Alliance (AFBA) has spoken.  East Side King reigns supreme, taking home the most votes in the 'East Austin Trailer' category from a recent annual survey.  True to the popular trailer's slogan "So good, make your eye roll back," the Brussels sprouts are what does it for me personally... but you don't have to take my word for it.  At the second annual Gypsy Picnic trailer food festival they won both the fan favorite as an overall festival favorite award, and the critics choice award for best item on a bun with their roasted pork belly buns.   Making appearances on popular chef series such as Bourdain's No Reservations, as well as Eat Street, this trailer is surely one you won't want to miss.

Bits and Druthers came in second in the survey, best known for their fish and chips, but if you ask Eat Street this trailer takes the cake with another special dish.  Eat Street Producers were in Austin last Fall filming for season four of their popular street food show which airs on the Cooking Channel via Food Network Canada.  They waxed poetic regarding the Wednesday special Bits and Druthers puts on, naming their Beef Wellington one of their favorite meals in the country.  This trailer is located at 1001 East 6th.  Other yummy trailers in this pod include Mati Greek trailer, Pig Vicious, Pueblo Viejo, Firefly Pies, Love Balls,  and please forgive me if someone has moved since I last biked by.

Other honorable mentions from the AFBA survey include shout outs for Love Balls, Three Little Pigs, Arlo's, Way South Philly, Ice Queens, and Purple Bean. All really good, noteworthy trailers.

Japanese Pancake from Yoko Ono's
Ceviche from Pachamama's
1/2 chicken: el Pollo Rey
The majority of East Side trailers are located on East 6th in two major pods, but there is one group of trailers on East 1st (Cesar Chavez) that offer a world tour of tastes.  If you find yourself down this way, stop at the East Side Food Park at 2209 E. Cesar Chavez for some unexpected gems.  El Pollo Rey is doing chicken justice with their char-grillin' goodness.  I unwrapped the 'half chicken' to find a luscious charcoal-kissed onion and some yummy green sauce along with the package.  There's also Yoko Ono Miyaki, serving up Japanese pancakes.  I had the vegetable based one, but there are delectable versions that include brisket or pork belly and served with bonito flakes.  Pachamama's Peruvian Creole Cuisine has a large menu full of wonderful South American traditional favorites, but his ceviche is the dish to die for.  Last but not least, the Coffee Spot offers you guessed it - coffee, smoothies, and generally speaking good drinks.

One of the popular new-comers to the trailer scene, Via 313 Pizza is dishing out authentic Detroit style square pizza right outside the Violet Crown Social Club on East 6th and Waller.  They deliver in the '02 zip code if you can't make it out for the full trailer experience.

Right across the street is one of the more famous East Side trailer parks that has housed a variety of trailers over the years.  It's home to Way South Philly Authentic Cheesesteaks, where you can get hitched with your meal of two philly cheesesteaks for under $40.  Currently in the lot with Way South Philly sits Lucky J's Chicken and Waffles CoolHaus Ice Cream SandwichesVeracruz All Natural Tacos5th and Chips, Spartan Pizza, and Evil Weiner.

Kate's Gumbo and Meat Pie
Regal Ravioli
A little further East of this lot you can find Kate's Southern Comfort dishing up Cajun meat fried pies next to Regal Ravioli where it's Pasta la Vista baby.  They sit at 1602 East 6th in a lot across from Cisco's.

Also on the East side, be sure to visit Hill Country Pierogi, on the corner of 11th and Lydia across from the Longbranch Inn.  Known for their pierogi's, they also have a weekend brunch from 11a-2p.  They also deliver to downtown and East side areas.   Last but certainly not least, don't forget East 12th, with Hoover's Soular Foods Trailer with his garden to table Southern classics at 1110 East 12th Street with additional trailers joining him at the lot.

Stay tuned to this blog for more updates in trailer land across the US: www.trailerfooddiaries.com

February 10, 2012

Dock and Roll

Trailer foodies, if you know me at all you know my heart is to inspire entrepreneurs to live the American Dream.  Man was my heart (and belly) full when I left the Dock and Roll trailer earlier this week.  I met with native Austinite's Lee Krassner, Adam Lewis and Daniel Dennis who opened the Dock and Roll trailer after most of the summer heat had passed last fall (August 2011) with the only lobster roll food truck concept in town.    With Lee as the culinary expert, Daniel in personal training and Adam in real estate, these home town boys are the perfect storm for greatness in the trailer food industry.

The Maine Event is naturally their best-selling sandwich.  Although Adam does lobster and conch dives in the Bahamas every year, their sandwiches feature a mixture of wild caught lobster from the North East and lobster from Austin Seafood tossed and seasoned with their signature mayo and topped with chopped chives.  It had huge chunks of meat (no shreddy business) and with the addition of an Old Bay lemon butter melted in the fresh baked bread from (local) Swetish Hill, I'm just not sure it's possible to make a better tasting lobster roll.  Adam and Lee were adamant I tell them the 'truth' of how it tasted.  They are passionate about having a product you will love, so public commentary is welcome.    

Not into lobster? That's cool. Go for the Infidel Castro or the Blue Bahn-ett if you like pork, or try the SouthWestlake for a chicken-inspired sandwich.  Their jalapeƱo mac n cheese poppers are quite a side attraction and of course, they offer a bacon love sandwich for you bacon lovers.

THEY HAVE THEIR OWN GARDEN! How Austin-appropriate, right? Their Gypsy Habanero Sauce, made from homegrown Gypsy and Habanero peppers took third place in last year's Hot Sauce Festival.

On a personal note, I was amazed to learn that Adam's heritage was also Russian Jewish.  His ancestors undoubtedly did business with mine, as they both came in through Galveston in the late 1800's and were both involved in the banana trade.  I'm a little longer in the tooth than Adam, so we didn't know each other growing up, but we went to the same schools.  My great-grandfather was much of the inspiration behind Trailer Food Diaries because he took a leap of faith to start a new way of life and it all began with a mobile food cart.  I see the same spark with all the trailer food vendors out there taking a leap of faith to pursue happiness.  The Dock and Roll guys are a great example of good people living their version of the Dream.  Go give them your business and tell them Tiffany sent ya.