Austin City Limits, a three-day music festival featuring 130 bands on 8 stages, comes to Austin every year. You know what that fails to mention? The copious amounts food. We’re not talking the standard burger or pizza, though there was plenty of that. Over the three days we hit up sixteen food vendors in and around the concert. Warning: This post might get a little long, so I’ll try to only touch on the highlights…
We walked into ACL Friday evening (Day 1) with the primary goal of seeing Robert Randolph and the Family Band (check ’em out if you aren’t familiar). We got there a little late to see Spoon just before, so we headed towards the Clear 4G stage to see RRFB when we were stopped in our tracks by the line of food stands that seemed to go on forever. That night we did some longterm planning to choose which places we would have to visit before the weekend was over. One of the first stops, and potentially best overall, was the Mighty Cone stand that offered a venison sausage wrap. Killer! I only wish this was part of their usual menu, because I’d have to go once a week if that were the case. On the way out we stopped by Kebabalicious for an awesome chicken kebab followed by dessert down the street at Bananarchy.
On Saturday (Day 2) we entered the festival around lunch time after a fast 18 miler, which meant I was prepped and ready to tackle some more food carts! On the walk leading up to the festival entrance, we stopped by Mmmpanadas for two of their, you guessed it, empanadas. Each one was good in its own right, but the green chile chicken is the one I’d go back for. After bouncing from band to band and stage to stage, we were feeling a little worn down. Rescuing us from the relentless sun was Casa Brasil with a fantastic iced coffee. For dinner we picked up a delicious BBQ pulled pork sandwich from Stubb’s BBQ and some chicken tacos from Guero’s Taco Bar. Far and away, the pulled pork sandwich was the winner for Day 2 dinner. We enjoyed it while listening to Muse, who really know how to put on a show. Highly recommend you go see Muse if you get the chance!
Perhaps the real champion of the festival was the ice cream sandwich from Cool Haus. Listen to this: you pick the cookie flavor (from 5-ish options) and then pick the ice cream flavor (from 12-ish options) and they make it to order!! Well my snickerdoodle cookie with coffee
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toffee ice cream sandwich was out of this world. It should be illegal, or at least on some sort of watch list. Now that was a good finish to a long day.
At this point on Sunday (Day 3) we were struggling to even make it to the festival. None of the bands during the day were calling us, and we hit most of the food spots we were eyeing. We eventually
mustard mustered the strength to head back to ACL. After picking up some food from Best Wurst and Aquarelle, we eventually made it down to Norah Jones and ate a chickpea and vegetable pakora (basically a stew) from Royal Indian Food. Finally some vegetables! We didn’t stay for The Eagles, but did get to hear Hotel California on our walk back to the car. Completely stuffed, we impossibly passed on any and all dessert temptations.
Seriously, Austin City Limits offered a great food line-up to compliment the music line-up. No doubt the success was from pulling in local favorites, rather than filling spots with national chains. I applaud ACL’s efforts to go local for an event that pulls in visitors from all over the country. It was a blast and I can’t wait to see who’s scheduled for next year… oh, and I’m sure the music will be good too.
Just to give you an idea, here are the 16 vendors and their offerings that we tried (in no particular order):
- Mighty Cone – Venison Sausage Wrap
- Kebabalicious* – Chicken Kebab
- Bananarchy* – Half w/ Peanut Butter and Oreos
- Wahoo’s – Blackened Fish Tacos
- Lonesome Dove Western Bistro- Tenderloin & Mushroom Skewer
- Tim Love’s Love Shack – Love Burger
- Casa Brasil – Iced Coffee
- Bess Bistro – Fish Sandwich
- Mmmpanadas* – Argentinian and Green Chile Chicken
- Cool Haus* – Snickerdoodle w/ Coffee Toffee Ice Cream
- Olivia – Baked Potato with Okra Creole
- Stubb’s BBQ – Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwich & Sausage Wrap
- Royal Indian Food – Chickpea and Vegetable Pakora
- Guero’s Taco Bar – Chicken al Carbon Tacos
- Best Wurst – All-beef Sausage Sandwich
- Aquarelle – Spicy Shrimp Sandwich
It sure sounds like a lot, but there were 32 food stands, plus a handful in the HOPE Farmers Market area, so we barely made a dent!
*not officially inside ACL, but in the walkable vicinity