That’s some Odd Duck, right there. Photo: jmpk
IF YOU HAVEN’T been to Austin before, you might want to sit down before reading this. Austin is a pretty bad-ass destination and the city wears this badge in their own distinct style. By style, I mean weird. Not eccentric, but weird. If you don’t believe me, just check out some of these classic Austin dishes that might make you blush when ordering.
Dirty Sanchez at Torchy’s Tacos
You sensed something wasn’t quite right when you saw that smiling devil on the Torchy’s Tacos sign welcoming you to their establishment, but you ignored it when you saw the huge line and knew something was good here.
Torchy’s tacos are tasty-goodness (well worth the wait), but I dare you to go and order a dirty sanchez. You giggled just reading this, didn’t you? Get your mind out of the gutter. And since you were probably desperate to know, a dirty sanchez (at Torchy’s anyway) comes with eggs, poblano peppers, cheese, carrots, and ranch sauce.
Baingan Bartha at Graj Mahal
The Taj Mahal has its touts and tourists, while Austin’s Graj Mahal has its baingan bartha. (I’ll leave you to work out what it’s colloquially named.) The baingan is a spicy eggplant dish and a popular choice even with carnivores like myself. Wash it down with a slice of the Graj’s garlic naan, light and fluffy perfection.
Oh, and just because it’s a trailer doesn’t mean they aren’t properly equipped: This airstream even has a tandoori oven, so if you want curry, then you want the Graj. Mmmmm.
Red Velvet Cakeball at Holy Cacao
It takes either a genius or a total nutjob to decide to put make cakes and serve them like lollipops. Actually, let me reconsider that: the cakeballs served up at Holy Cacao are actually more like cookie dough (e.g. raw batter), so it must have been a genius, because they are damn good.
Don’t worry though; just because these cakes aren’t fully cooked doesn’t mean they aren’t without icing. After all – it’s really easy to put the icing on a lollipop, right? Dip, let cool, eat. Wash rinse repeat. You can’t go wrong by ordering a cakeball, but if stuck I strongly suggest the red velvet. Divine.
Mother Clucker at Gourdoughs
Out of these six dishes, the Mother Clucker is without a doubt my personal favourite. Gourdoughs is a doughnut trailer, but the old yeast or cake debate was far too passé for these guys. Instead they’ve upped the game so far that Dunkin Donuts doesn’t even know what hit ‘em.
Gourdough’s signature dish is The Mother Clucker: a gooey, hot doughnut topped with spicy fried chicken and honey butter. If you think reading that is an eye-opener, try eating it: pure calorific heaven.
Pork Belly Slider at Odd Duck Farm to Trailer
The guys at Odd Duck Farm to Trailer mean serious business. When I say that, I refer less to their commitment to locally sourced ingredients (which is noble), but these use the entire animal when preparing up their various concoctions.
Their pork belly slider sounds like a voyeuristic event at a state fair until you realise that a slider in Austin is simple a small, hamburger-like object. Odd Duck changes their menu on a daily basis, so you’ll get whatever is fresh – meaning yes, they might have just killed it.
Poor Qui’s Buns at East Side King
The kind folks running the world class East Side King are open late into the night – after all, who doesn’t want a fresh pair of steamed buns after a long night out on the town?
These buns are stuffed with pork and are drenched in Hoisin sauce, so if that’s your kind of thing, be sure this place is on your menu. All kidding aside, the dishes are fab, right down to the homemade cookies that are a must-do for dessert.
Sweet tooth? Be sure to check out our Dessert Lover’s Guide to New York City, as well as many of our other often wacky food articles. If trailers are more your thing, consider how to get off the grid in a vintage trailer.