Austin has been circling the food wagons for some time – food trucks have become such an institution in the capital of Texas that they’ve prompted innumerable blogs and even a next-generation fashion truck called Bootleg, which is a shoe shop in an Airstream trailer featuring hard-to-find labels.
We go to Austin every summer and every summer I love to visit the food-truck enclave on South Congress. The trucks are all around the city, but the original Austin food trailer The Mighty Cone is based here, started by one of Austin’s star restaurants, Hudson’s on the Bend.
While according to some food trailer blogs, this isn’t even the best place to get “truck food”, I like this location. Back when I lived off South Congress this was a decidedly less cool part of town to say the least. (Think: a surfeit of porn shops – yeah, that’s a vintage sentence.)
Now it’s crawling with hipsters. One of the best burger places I’ve been to is just across the street (that’s a whole other post). There are other cool restaurants and shops that are busy day and night. Plus, you’ll find one of Austin’s premier live music clubs here: the Continental Club.
It’s a long, straight shot down from the capitol building and home to a wide range of trucks serving sausage sandwiches, thai food, cupcakes and more.
We tend to come in the middle of sizzling August afternoons for shaved ice, then sit on one of the picnic tables to watch the cars and people go by. Eating at one of these establishments just feels cool. Most of them are run by small independent traders, I’m told, and the funky vibe of these places just feels like Austin. The food is decidedly Texan. It’s cheesy, meaty, sugary…in a word, tasty. I can sit on a picnic table in the afternoon heat with sweat pouring down my face and feel a part of the spark of the city, even as it has transformed into a vastly wealthy, tech-focussed metropolis. It kinda’ reminds me of Austin the way it was, but with better food.
In the baking heat we never seem to be in the mood for barbecue or other big meaty sandwiches, but one day I hope to try them all. My advice for anyone visiting Austin and wanting interesting, fun food: Keep on truckin’.