There was a moment on Sunday when I echoed the words of Detective Roger Murtaugh in Lethal Weapon(Danny Glover’s character) “I’m getting too old for this s***” but that probably means I’ll do a better job of pacing myself for weekend two. I hit the ground running with the ACL Eats at this year’s Austin City Limits Music festival. Here is where I went:
the spot:Cuantos Tacos 1108 E 12th St, Austin, TX 78702 // @ACL Eats Main Food Court
the eats: Tacos
the bucks: $5 each
the full nelson: Mexico City style tacos at ACL Eats
It took me a bit of will power not to eat at Cuantos Tacos more than once. The Mexico City style tacos were by far best tacos I’ve had at the festival over the years. A big reason for that is their nixtamalized corn tortillas. I tried the suadero(confit brisket), carnitas and the mushroom. The fungus ended up finishing first in class.
the spot: Salt & Time 1912 E.7th St, Austin, TX 78702 // @ACL Eats Main Food Court
the eats: Smashed Burger
the bucks: $16 for the double cheeseburger
the full nelson: The best artisan butcher shop in Austin serves Smashed Burgers at ACL Eats
I’ve been a long time fan of Salt and Time’s burger ever since I tried the Butcher’s Blend back in 2019. Given the realities of serving burgers at a festival like ACL Eats, I know this burger could be even better but what I got easily lived up to lofty expectations. I might go back and try the single to see if the meat to bun ratio is perhaps better but it’s hard to go wrong either way.
the spot: Underdog 1600 S 1st St Suite 100, Austin, TX 78704 // @ACL Eats Main Food Court
the eats: Fried chicken wings
the bucks: $15
the full nelson: The best bite I had at ACL Eats
Austin Monthly declared Underdog has the best fried chicken in Austin and I can’t say they don’t belong in the conversation. I actually think the wings are best cut for fried chicken so this dish easily won me over for the best bite of ACL Eats. Getting these wings is as essential as hitting the craft beer tent.
the spot: Shake Shack all over the world // @ACL Eats Main Food Court
the eats: Double Shack Burger
the bucks: $18
the full nelson: It might be too easy and overpriced but it’s always good
Even with soggy lettuce and a barely recognizable tomato, Shake Shack delivers their star smashed burger patty quite well in all manner of environments: parks, airports and live music festivals. The only downside is the price which makes regular Shake Shack seem . . . reasonable? For out of towners I’d point you to Salt & Time for a local burger experience but Shake Shack hits every time.
the spot: Mama Fried 10106 Menchaca Rd, Austin, TX 78748 // @ACL Eats Main Food Court
the eats: Chopped Beef Nacho Fries
the bucks: $16
the full nelson: Essential loaded fries that has been proven to fight hangovers
I tried Mama Fried at last year’s ACL Eats and knew it was gonna happen again. On the surface loaded fries seems like typical fare for a concert but there’s a little more happening with this Mama. The chopped beef is from sister food truck Leroy and Lewis who slings some of the best barbecue around. This one is meant to share and it’s a hangover cure in my book.
the spot: Redfin Food Truck moving food truck in Austin, TX // @ACL Eats Main Food Court
the eats: Gumbo
the bucks: $9
the full nelson: EThe best deal at ACL Eats and second fav bite at ACL Eats
My last meal at ACL Eats 2023 Weekend One was from a food truck I had never heard of before. Apparently Red Fin parks it over by Tesla HQ which makes me consider taking a trip to Elon’s office to get my gumbo fix. At $9 it is a steal and the gumbo was solid though a touch salty. The basmati rice was a perfect al dente. There is a high probability I might get this again next weekend.
Once again ACL Eats showed off Austin’s reputation of being a food centric city. I walked away with new favs like Redfin, evergreen concert fare pleasers like Underdog’s fried chicken and sated my burger craving twice over. And there is still another weekend to go . . . .