Story by Joanna Steblay
Here’s the Situation: It’s 5 p.m. at Austin City Limits Music Festival and you have an hour to kill between your favorite performers. The sun beats down and as your festival face paint and flash tats sweat off — your friends all suggest “FOOD COURT,” simultaneously. But, as you look down at your new crop top and denim cut offs, you begin to realize that fried chicken and gourmet ice cream sandwiches aren’t really the dream team combo you had in mind for refueling. Does a healthy bite even exist at ACL? Would you have better luck running into Hozier than finding a salad?
Fear not: After dedicating ACL weekend one to scanning all that the Austin Eats Food Court had to offer, I’ve composed a list of top picks for lighter festival feasting.The downer? There are limited food options that aren’t fried, greased or sauced. All hope isn’t lost however, and with these few tasty yet lighter recommendations you’ll stay energized all weekend long.
The Veggie Plate — Tino’s Greek Café, $8
This plate consists of fresh Hummus, Tabouli, Pita Bread, Tzatziki Sauce and Stuffed Grape Leaves. Though I found the Tzatziki is on the creamier side, everything is left open faced and separated, allowing you to control how much you want. The Tabouli is fresh and not overdressed with oil. Many people ordering the plate found it to be one of the few healthy and cold offerings they find.
The Green Drink — JuiceLand, $6
Loaded with plant-based kale protein and refreshing cucumber, this juice will fulfill all your sweaty and starving ACL dreams. Festival goer Fidel Defreitas ordered the Green Drink because his daughter and wife are health conscience.A few sips in and he publicly announced that it was, “AWESOME.” The green drink is worth a try and foregoing the waffle fries.
The Veggie Burger — P. Terry’s Burger Stand, $6
Though the bun-less lettuce wrap option is not available at the ACL stand like at the brick and mortar locations, this dish is still one of the better options available. Lose the top bun and try it open faced to make the dish even healthier.
Brussels Sprout Salad — East Side King, $9
Alas, an ACL salad does exist. The only draw back? The menu reads that the dish is “lightly fried.” After investigating the brussels sprouts, I would find “lightly sautéed” to be a better description. Not fried to a crisp, they were actually quite light but flavorful and complimented by fresh cabbage and basil, and that the dish didn’t leave me feeling heavy.
Festival goers can attend ACL this year and still stay true to their healthy lifestyles. It will be interesting to see how ACL menus expand as Austin becomes a more health focused city. In the meantime, check out the healthier options above, and be mindful of easy substitutions on other dishes, like skipping a bun, or splitting a dish with a friend. You’ll be grooving the weekend away — crop top and all.