One of the biggest struggles of going to a music festival is deciding what to eat from the mass of delicious food vendors. When you’ve only got a few minutes in between shows and the lines are longer than the Nile River, you’ve got to make quick decisions and may miss out on some amazing local food. Here’s a guide to finding the yummiest and most unique food vendors at the ACL Eats Food Court this year.
By London Gibson
Lunch: East Side King
The words “Brussels sprouts salad” rarely incite tummy-grumbling, but East Side King’s Japanese-style soul food somehow manages it. Fried Brussels sprouts, jalapeños, cabbage and other ingredients tossed around in a sweet-and-spicy sauce and placed on a deep-fried bun, this “salad” is delightfully unique, and we’d like it to stay that way.
Snack: Chi’Lantro BBQ
Chi’Lantro BBQ found its claim to fame in Austin six years ago with the creation of the original Kimchi Fries, and the fries are a must-try if you’re hungering for a savory snack at ACL. The fries, drowned in caramelized kimchi, are also covered in a “magic sauce” that makes them absolutely mouth-watering. You’d be well advised to grab some extra napkins for this one.
Dinner: Tamale Addiction
Tamale Addiction’s Pork Tomatillo tamales are a healthy alternative to the traditional tamale. Tamale Addiction ensures that their food is made with organic non-GMO corn masa and all of their meals are gluten-free. The Pork Tomatillo tamales are just a combination of pork carnitas and a medium tomatillo sauce, but simple never tasted better.
Lunch: The Peached Tortilla
Asian and southern cuisines are almost never combined, but the Peached Tortilla’s Crunchy Fish Tacos are a perfect blend. This traditional food takes on some non-traditional ingredients like creamy apple slaw and chili aioli. Bonus: it’s gluten-free!
There’s almost nothing better on a hot day at a festival than a popsicle, and there’s almost no better popsicle than a GoodPop popsicle. Starting small at an Austin farmer’s market in 2009, GoodPop has become a national business. The Coldbrew Coffee popsicle is the perfect sweet, creamy and refreshing choice for all the coffee lovers attending.
Mmmpanadas are a locally-owned traveling food truck that makes traditional empanadas and some empanadas that are a little more unique. The Argentinian empanada is the go-to empanada, filled with ground beef, egg and olives. Even though it’s a basic choice, Mmmpanadas somehow makes it stand out — maybe it s due to the fact that the empanadas are handmade from scratch, ensuring a yummy finish.
Lunch: Wholly Cow
Sometimes you just crave a juicy burger, and Wholly Cow’s got a burger for you. Made with local, organic, pasture-raised grass-fed beef and dressed with locally-grown organic produce, these burgers are environmentally friendly, healthy and delectable. While their burgers are delicious, Wholly Cow has other yummy options as well, like Philly cheesesteaks and chili.
Snack: Skull & Cakebones
Skull & Cakebones, featured on the Cooking Channel’s TV Show “Unique Sweets” makes amazing treats. If you’re craving something sweet to counteract the bitter sun’s heat, try a Birthday “Cakewich.” Creamy, smooth vanilla ice cream packed between two slices of Skull & Cakebones’ vanilla birthday cake and covered in colorful sprinkles, this ice cream sandwich will take you back to childhood with its whimsy, and you won’t be sorry.
Dinner: Southside Flying Pizza
Southside Flying Pizza makes their pizza from scratch, even in the park. Austin’s known for its good, Texas-style barbecue, but there are some fantastic pizza places in the city as well, and Southside Flying Pizza is one of them. Grab a slice on your way to LCD Soundsystem — we can’t promise that it won’t be messy, but we can promise that it will taste amazing.