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Mar 29, 2011 10:55 AM

Calvin Trillin Is Coming To Austin. Here's Where His Handlers Should Send Him

If you haven't read American Fried by Calvin Trillin you need to stop what you're doing, purchase it then sit back to read one of the great books about American food.

It's part one of what has become known as the "tummy trilogy", Trillin's three part book series on eating in America.

Craig Claiborne referred to Trillin as the "Walt Whitman of American Eats" and it could not be more apt of a descriptor.

Trillin is the preeminent man of American food letters and one of the great writers still alive and typing.

And he's coming to Austin April 11th for the Book Festival

Mr Trillin is famous, or infamous, for his love of the tiny little wayside diners and backroads eats of America so put you're thinking cap on before you respond.

This man loves his food and was writing hilarious accounts of eating when Bourdain was still matriculating at Vassar and decades before the current food mania held the world in its' grip.

Where should Calvin Trillin eat while he's in Austin?

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  1. Foreign & Domestic is funky, homey, and refined enough to impress, IMO. He would also probably want to check out Franklins, as he's an avowed 'que fan. Finally, though it might be slumming, I bet he would dig Southern Hospitality on Lamar.

    Foreign & Domestic
    306 E 53rd St, Austin, TX 78751

    1. The Tummy Trilogy holds top spot in the food-centric section of my library (next to MFK F), and this is great news! I love his take on regional BBQ, and he even made the trek to Snow's, IIRC. Think Franklin's might be a must for him. Might be a must? Must be a must!

      5 Replies
      1. re: reinadetostones


        Calvin's article is here:

        I concur, obviously, and my favorite briskets were surprisingly unseated some time ago by this humble usurper. Thanks for the info, as I hadn't read the article.

        1. re: tom in austin

          Maybe he can run down to Louise Texas and hit Mustang Creek?

          Robb Walsh says it's the best barbecue sandwich in the state.

          Maybe Walsh and Trillin can ride down there together?

          1. re: scrumptiouschef

            Never heard of Mustang Creek, sounds awesome. The sandwich picture reminds me of the Turbo T-Man from Bert's -- take everything we make, chop it up, throw it on a bun. (Or in Bert's case, a paper bowl.)

            I haven't been to Snow's in a while. Back when I was hitting it, I just got up on Saturday like it was a workday, stumbled into the car while it was still dark outside, and drove there. Never had a problem getting fed. I think most folks who have problems try to get there after 9 AM, something I've never done and thusly can't describe.

          1. re: TroyTempest

            MFK Fisher. One of the most significant food writers of the 20th century. 'The Art of Eating' is a good place to start.

        2. I was lucky enough to attend a talk given by Trillin in NY several years ago that featured six of his favorite hole-in-the-wall dishes, including dumplings from Chinatown and lagman, an Uzbek noodle soup. He's just as fun in person as on the page.

          As for Austin recommendations, aside from the obvious 'cue spots, most of which he's already visited, I'm drawing a blank. Franklin's, yes. Otherwise, maybe something with a bit of history. A worthwhile institution, possibly featuring a great CFS or fried catfish or tacos.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Steven Dilley

            Oooohhhh....I'm jealous! What a great opportunity!

            I have never been, but I think Arkie's got some fried chicken love on this board....might be a worthwhile institution but I think, particularly in light of your recent bent, Mr. Dilley, that perhaps tacos might be the place to steer him.

            And toward that end, I would like to concur with a 'hound I can't recall at the moment, that Mi Ranchito's deshebrada is wonderful. Glorious - and their salsas cannot be beat - both shades of green, and the incredible roasted salsa.