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Chowhound Assignment:Late Night-Streetside.Downtown Austin Texas.

Let's get to the bottom of the matter.

A lot of new food carts are popping up downtown after dark.

How good are they?

Who can give the Best Wurst guy [ who,aside from the stale buns,is good] a run for his money?

The other night when I got my Al Pastor taco from El Rapido [ formerly good ] the guy put cheese and lettuce on it and I had to restrain myself from lunging into the cart and giving him a good thrashing.Blasphemy.The taco was bad bad bad.It wouldn't have been good adorned with what the gods of cookery ordained are the standard garnishes[Cilantro,Onion and Lime]but it was angeringly bad with lettuce and cheese....on AL PASTOR? Come on.

Hoeks streetside is gone.Relocated to the punkrock treehouse 3rd floor of Headhunters so they're off this map of discussion.

Let's lay down some physical boundaries:The Eastern Border is I-35.The Western Border is Guadalupe.The Northern Border is 8th Street.The Southern Border is Cesar Chavez.

If 10pm is "getting kind of late" you are excused from this discussion.However,I've noticed there are a few hounds who regularly post around 2 to 3 o'clock in the morning and this assignment should fit nicely in their world of late night liquor and food based revelry.

After this post garners a good 30 or 40 responses we'll move East of the highway where MPH can weigh in with extreme gravitas on the Eastside Taco Cart Wars of 2007.It's my favorite food zone as well but lately I've found myself on the Westside quite a bit at bartime and I need some guidance on this important matter.

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  1. Dogs / Sausages from the truck (on the weekends, at least) right outside of Red Eyed Fly on RedRiver @8th...fantastic Venison Sausage on a chewy/fresh sub roll, lots o'toppings choices, $4.00 !!! Yum. Many other tasty-looking choices...

    1. Kebabalicious is on 7th one block west of Red River. Insanely good gyros, with their lovely tzsatzikiszsz/cucumber-yogurt sauce (veggie friendly too). It's our new favorite street stand lately.

      I second the hot dog truck next to Red Eyed Fly on Red River. REF sucks, but that hot dog stand is great.

      Also worth mentioning, even if it isn't a cart, is Go Bites, on Red River between Emo's (Inside) and Emo's Lounge. OUTSTANDING sliders and fresh cut fries. Also veggie friendly with well tought out grilled cheese and other options. Haven't been there in a couple months but I've been about 10 times since they opened during SXSW and have never been disappointed. I believe the owner was a former chef at Central Market, if I recall correctly.

      btw, this thread was a great idea.

      1 Reply
      1. re: skechada

        I had high hopes for that Go Bites counter, but ended up sacrificing most of my grub to the garbage gods. Can't remember what 3 sliders I had, but they were all literally burnt. I felt like I was eating a hunk of charcoal off the grates of a gas-grill. The worst was the slider with bacon, because the bacon was terribly overcooked too, doubling my burnt pleasure. After taking a bite of each burger, it finally made sense to me why it took at least 10mins to prepare. 10 minutes is a long time when you're rowdy and have places to go at 2am.

        I guess my experience could be an outlier.

      2. Don't forget the often touted burgers (which are excellent) and the fun, funky atmosphere of Casino el Camino. It's my only regular stop on Sixth.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Greg Spence

          I second the Casino vote. Sure you'll wait up to 45 minutes for one and you may have to literally fight a vampire lurking in a dark corner to get one, but it's worth it.

        2. I agree with the Kerbalicious vote... insanely good gyros at a great price. Had a chance to speak with the owner and we exchanged some friendly banter about our love of Greek food and the overwhelming lack of it in the Austin area. I could tell that he was dedicated to what he was doing and had a true love for the cuisine which was surprising considering he looked like a just-graduated college student. Probably my favorite truely late-night food fix downtown.

          I think most people who enjoy a real beefy hamburger will like Casino El Caminos... it's tied at first with Hut's as my favorite Austin hamburger. Juicy, All-American patty with a nice almost deli-style bun, cooked to perfection. The wait is ridiculously long but it's well worth it. The jukebox is a winner too.

          Jackelope on 6th street also has some pretty decent food offerings. I had a fried catfish poboy and they put a damn-near entire catfish on a bun for me. The batter didn't have much taste but the tartar sauce was delicious, as was the bread it was served on.

          I'm really saddened to hear about Hoek's on 6th... despite my slight favoritism because of their musical offerings I still stand by the statement that they were my favorite pizza joint on 6th street. Greasy, cheesy, and a nice crust--everything a post-vodka evening meal should be.

          1. Often with SXSW blazing so hard food becomes 2nd on the list,shouldered out of the way by Film for a few days anyway.So it is with a heavy heart that I find myself walking into Torchys new location on 6th st next to Flamingo Cantina.I have a few moments between movies,not enough time to eat properly but plenty time to grab a taco and a bowl of Queso.

            Right up front I gotta say the Green Chile Pork Taco is delicious.It's Carnitas under a different name and they are fine.The taco arrives enormous,garnished with Chopped onions,Cilantro and Cotija Cheese,the tortilla is store bought and decent but the meat is very good.The Queso is thin[my preference] filled with Green Chiles and garnished with a chunk of Avocado...the chips are thin,salty and house fried...nice and greasy.The tariff is $7.50 cents an outrage to be sure but this is the high rent district and the guy could probably charge more and get away with it.

            I'm not a big Torchys fan.I get my tacos from the ladies working the carts on the Eastside and truth be told they are better and cheaper but...If you're starving on 6th st this is one of the better options available.