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Sep 23, 2008 05:12 PM

ACL food options

As if I didn't have enough trouble deciding on who to see, the food options seem beyond the regular festival fare. Has anyone tried the Hot and Crunchy Avocado Cone from Hudson's on the Bend , Aquarelle's Black Pepper Fries or Vespiao's Hoagie? Hopefully the food will be as good as the music but I would love recommendations.

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  1. Surprisingly, almost ALL of the food at ACL is good... but maybe that's taking the setting into consideration. The only thing I worry about when it comes to deciding where to eat is quantity since $8 at one booth can go a lot further than others.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Lixer

      From past experience, I recommend Hudson's chicken in a cone and Boomerang's Steak & Potato pie, and anything from Best Wurst. Some of the vendors are new to me. Jezebel? That's cool.

      Keep in mind you WILL be waiting in line for 20 minutes or more at the most popular vendors at peak meal hours. Sometimes convenience or a pressing show wins out. I agree that most of the food is pretty good. Avoid Stubb's.

      1. re: mkwng

        I've always wanted to try Boomerang's but a meat pie just never appeals to me after a day in the sun. I'll give it a try this year. I do remember Wahoo's fish burrito being a bit disappointing last year; heavy on the rice and about a fish stick amount of fish.

        Flipnotics iced coffee drinks were a sweet deal the first year they had them. (It says that they're new this year but I think they were there last year with Austin Java there the year before? )Maine Root ginger brew certainly had a good bite to it (sneak in some rum for a dark and stormy ;) and I can't wait to try the prickly pear lemonade.

        1. re: Lixer

          Lixer's got it right on the sneaking in part.Got a kid?Pack a compartment under the young'uns rump on the stroller with all kinds of goodies:A hoagie from Al Johns or Hog Island.A Po boy from Gene's or Lola's.A box of Fried Chicken from Top Notch and perhaps a handful of diazepam if you're gonna hit the Jason Spaceman show.A litre of Yukon Jack and you're ready to do some first rate parenting whilst rockin it.

    2. One of the great things about ACL is that they don't let the vendors rip off the customers like most sporting events or concert venues do. The bad thing is the heat and the unrelenting sun -- the year I was there it was between 105 and 107 each day, so food became an afterthought.

      I have two recommendations for after the shows: When in Austin, you have to have some Texas BBQ. Head to Sam's, a very casual joint, mostly takeout, to the east side of downtown. Excellent moist brisket, good ribs, and they serve until like 3 a.m. or so. Also, either on or near the main entertainment drag downtown on 6th, is a bar that serves what many think is Austin's best burger. Now I always get the name wrong -- Casino El Camino, or something close to that. They were profiled on Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives this year, and are often mentioned on this board, so you should be able to get the info. Also open very late/early a.m., though I don't know when they close the kitchen.

      Have fun, report back, and since my bro's family will be there, I'll be pulling for moderate weather, only in the 90s. If you don't have another band you're dying to see at the same time, hit Robert Earl Keen, a local country & western singer-guitarist who is a crowd favorite and puts on a really entertaining show. And definitely don't miss Beck.

      1. You simply can't leave ACL without trying the hot and crunchy chicken cone from Hudson's. It is, as they say, the only time you can eat at Hudson's for seven bucks. El Chilito is there for the first time and they're supposed to be having cochinita pibil, one of my favorites. Have fun.

        1. I worked at another booth last year, and we traded back and forth all day long, so I got to try many of the other booths' offerings. I loved both the crunchy avocado and crunchy chicken from Hudson's, but they did run out of avocado very early, around 3:00 pm, if I remember correctly, so you might want to keep that in mind. The coconut shrimp from Saba was also delicious--I think I ate 4 or 5 servings over the two days I was there.

          The one thing to avoid for sure is Austin Pizza--they did only mini pan pizzas last year, and they were incredibly bready and stingy with toppings, and most of them were scorched. I'm sure it's difficult to cook a quality pizza in a traveling pizza oven. The food they sold there was a big step down from the food at their shops.

          It looks like Royer's Round Top won't be there this year, which is a shame, because they had some delicious mini pies and a great wrap (I think it was chicken in chipotle sauce).

          1. I thought the food the Roy's booth was serving up last year was particularly bad especially compared to the food at the restaurant. It wasn't a good value compared to the other booths either.

            I'm curious how the food at the Vespaio booth will be this year.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Mike B

              What did Roy's serve that you disliked?

              1. re: amykragan

                It was some sort of nacho dish which was probably the first mistake I made.