I will be in Austin soon for a few days and need some help exploring the mobile food vendor scene. I'll be staying on 35S but I know my way around the city and will have a car and don't mind driving. I know what brick and mortar places I want to hit but am new to the cart scene there so I would appreciate recommendations for the best choices for three meals/snacks, with these limitations:
I'm not interested in typical taco truck fare, we have plenty of that here.
I'm not interested in hot dogs.
Unless one of the mobile vendors does bbq better than Lockhart/Luling/Taylor, I'll pass on them.
Other than that, any cuisine.
Evenings are spoken for and I'm not interested in late night fare so they have to be in operation during the day on weekdays.
I hate to revive old discussions but I was really glad to hear some awesome responses. Appreciate it all, it helped out immensely. I whittled my list down to 3 trucks/carts for an upcoming trip: Odd Duck, East Side King, Franklin BBQ.
I do have a request for some more information. I saw Liberty Bar is where East Side King is located, and read they were the first stop for the St. Arnold pub crawl earlier this year. Now I am pretty familar with a lot of the other beer bars in Austin (Saucer, G-Man, NXNW, Uncle Billy's etc), but have never been to Liberty. Can anyone tell me more about what to expect there in terms of atmosphere, is it divey, emphasis on good cocktails or interesting drafts/bottles, any particular specials, etc?
Tattoos and piercings for the Gap crowd.
Brand new Docs on kids drinking PBR who rolled up in a Lexus listening to the new Drake on their ipod.
"You simply must try Jagermeister, it's the best". Overheard recently
Doubtful that anyone misses the old scene at Sapo Verde, it's previous incarnation, where 5 bucks would get you an ice cold butlight and a dance with the lady who coaxed you into buying it.
The owners are good guys who paid some serious dues working their way up the Austin bar food chain.
Neck beards and fedoras, young chubby girls with lip piercings and tattoos they'll regret. The hipsters were overrunning the place. I like the description of tattoos and piercings for the Gap crowd. Pretty apt.
The food was just OK for me there, but stopped on a Thur night on my way back from the airport and was perturbed with how long it took. Beets were underdone, Pork belly was good, not great, but to each his own.
A few options: G'Raj Mahal for Indian: http://austinfoodcarts.com/2009/12/02/graj-mahal/
East Side King for Asian-influenced: http://www.eastsidekingaustin.com/
Flip Happy Crepes: http://www.fliphappycrepes.com/
Lulu B's for banh mi: http://www.myspace.com/lulubssandwiches
Gourdough's for donuts: http://www.gourdoughs.com/
And, in the same lot as Gourdough's, Odd Duck Farm to Trailer: http://www.oddduckfarmtotrailer.com/
Also, one that's gotten a lot of buzz-- Lucky J's chicken and waffles: http://www.luckyjs.com/
These are not all technically carts; they are, however, hypothetically mobile. More information is available through searching this and other websites. Also, I apologize, but I just saw your criterion regarding hours of operation. The websites should have hours posted, but I can't guarantee that all of these trucks/trailers/carts will be open during the day on weekdays, though most are.
Odd Duck springs to mind
I haven't been but have received good reports from afield.
Also have heard good words about Eastside King,the new Japanese food trailer from some Uchi alumni.
Then there's the new cart dishing up the foods of Goa:
That would be a good start. I've also had good Honduran food of late from a cart over off Pleasant valley:
Good fried chicken is available as well as a thicker, Honduran version of flour tortillas-and don't skip the beans,they're among the best I've had lately.
Your first three are my top three, and I have been to all of them at least twice. Odd Duck Farm to Trailer, East Side King, and G'raj Mahal. HOWEVER, I think only Gra'j Mahal is open during the day, and I'm not even sure about that. I'd still cancel my plans for any brick-&-mortar restaurant one evening and head over to East Side King. Get the chicken karaage, the Poor Qui's Buns (pork belly) and the fried beets. My friend also raved about the brussels sprouts salad, but I didn't get a taste of it.
If you want dessert, Gourdoughs's is fun (although I did once get a doughnut there that was still a bit raw in the middle). Avoid Hello Cupcake at all costs.