Potato chips and tres leches ice cream? It works. Fried japanese rice balls and French wine? Delightful. Indian crepes and agua frescas? You bet.
All of these seemingly disparate dishes and drinks reflect pairings conducted for the Booze a la Cart series that opened my eyes to some of the exciting possibilities our local food trailer and beverage scenes have to offer.
Booze a la Cart emerged out of a need for more trailer food coverage onaustin360.com. With former food critic Mike Sutter venturing down the freelance path, and current restaurant critic Matthew Odam covering both the restaurant criticism and movies beats, the features department needed someone to step up and help carry some of the weight.
With a healthy knowledge of the local drinks scene through writing for Liquid Austin, I always consider what I am drinking just as much as what I am eating regardless of location, so it seemed natural to integrate beverages into coverage of our food trailer scene.
One of the best discoveries that’s come out of conducting this series is that you don’t have to shell out $100 for a pairing dinner at a fancy restaurant to experience some of the best eats and drinks Austin has to offer. It can be as simple as grabbing a six pack and hitting up a local food trucks with friends (as long as they are located in a BYOB-OK zone; always check with the trailer first to be certain).
At it’s core, the series is about about experimentation and discovery. It’s about diving deep into the roots of the local food and beverage scene and digging up undiscovered culinary offerings with experts from both food and beverage industries in tow to lend an educated palate and opinion. It’s been about becoming more familiar with how food pairs with alcoholic beverages, and getting to know some of the personalities behind the production.
Going forward, I would like to get more coverage of the people behind the food trailers, hear more from Austin’s culinary experts about what trailers they enjoy, and would love to hear from readers about what treasures they have found, or what pairings they have enjoyed.
My personal favorites? I will certainly be revisiting the fresh banh mi sandwiches at Bahn Bahn with a light wine in tow, the delicate wraps at Flip Happy Crepes with a yeasty farmhouse ale, and lavishly decorated meat tubes at Honky Tonk Hot Dogs with an ice cold brew. There’s also an upcoming episode where I feel like I might have found the best Pad Thai that I have had to date in Austin, which surprisingly pairs excellently with Belgian-style bottle-conditioned brews.
At the rate that Austin’s food trailer scene is blossoming, I have no doubt that it will be a long time before I struggle to find a place worth featuring.
You can find Booze a la Cart published every other Monday on austin360.com at www.austin360.com/s/food-drink/trailers, and www.austin360.com/liquid. Have an idea for a great pairing? Contact Emma Janzen firstname.lastname@example.org.