There’s nothing quite like eating a soft-boiled duck egg outside a truck/glorified trailer on a sunny day. Houston may have an enviable restaurant scene, but to partake of the many delights of nouveau trailer cuisine you’ve got to head to Austin.
You can find a certain amount buzz around these trailers ever since Bon Appétit blogged Holy Cacao and included The Mighty Cone in an Austin travel story this year. This is fortunate because many restaurants in Austin seem to suffer from the college-town effect. Restaurants survive serving pricy mediocre food because of the sheer number of parents visiting.
That makes these trailers are a serious asset and seem to be springing up everywhere, clustering in parking lots or even in the midst of neighborhoods. You can find a wide range of pleasures that make you want to pull up your own double-wide and chow down. A set of the trailers, including Mighty Cone and the ever popular Hey Cupcake! can be found looking a little too trendy on South Congress. Why not venture out?
I was lucky enough to have a friend with impeccable taste to give me a guided tour of some of the best options in town Of course, you have to work your way up to great cuisine.
Make your start at Halcyon, which combines the best of a coffee house and a bar in a cool downtown space. There’s even a humidor for the cigar aficionado. Treat yourself to some gourmet hot chocolate and some S’mores. Bring a date: They’ll make enough for two.
You won’t want to linger too long before getting over to the blue and white trailer that hosts Franklin BBQ. Their meat is hard to beat, and while they say they’re open from 10 to 4 p.m., the lines start early and the meat often runs out early. The ribs, brisket, and sausage are succulent and the sides are no afterthought. Don’t miss out on the potato salad, and check out the pie. It’s a little hot sitting out at their picnic tables, but this food is absolutely worth sweating over.
If you’re feeling more wholesome you can head to Odd Duck Farm to Trailer, which features locally-sourced, whole-animal cooking by Bryce Gilmore. Small grilled plates go for $5-7 Tuesday to Saturday starting at 5 p.m. With soft-boiled duck eggs accompanied by grits, mushroom, and ham, beet salad with feta and sweet onion, and slow cooked rabbit leg on ciabatta, how can you go wrong?
When you’re ready to be bad again, just take a few steps from Odd Duck to Gourdough’s, which elevates the art of the donut to world class levels. When Gourdough’s refers to its products as big and fat, believe them. I had a “Mama’s Cake,” a donut made of yellow cake batter, cooked to a crispy perfection, and then drowned in chocolate fudge icing. Donuts come with fresh peaches, strawberries, and grilled bananas. You can even go savory with a “Mother Clucker,” which includes a friend chicken strip with honey butter.
If you’re still capable of walking after eating your fill at Gourdough’s, head over to the Rainey Street area for some the most atmospheric trailers. G’Raj Mahal (“garage mahal”) is like a block party with Indian food from 5 p.m. to 3 a.m., depending on the weather. You may not come just for the food, but this spicy trailer uses all natural ingredients and delivers to the local area.
Finish off with a snow cone from Baltimore Baller. It’s not even a trailer. It’s just a stand in some guy’s yard. And as you suck the last cool refreshment from your snow cone and stroll around Rainey Street, you might think that this is exactly what makes Austin so unique.