May I say that I would deem the 1st Gypsy Picnic Trailer Food Festival a success! This kind of festival is exactly what represents Austin. A free outdoor event to enjoy the gorgeous weather and celebrate a love of food and specifically the new food trailers that have been cropping up around the city. The lines were already ridiculous when we were leaving around 2pm and I heard that they were crazy until closing. Waiting in line took about an hour for some places. The festival was great and I’m so glad I went. 😀 There was so much to see that I am actually splitting this article into two. This first part will cover the savory dishes and the second part will cover the desserts.
First off, definitely come early. The lines were super long and grew ever longer as the day went on, but the lines were going smoothly. Some places even had to close down since they ran out of food. Places like Chi’Lantro, Cutie Pies and Mighty Cone had long lines right from the beginning and deservedly as they were all delicious. The Gypsy Picnic Trailer Food Festival is actually part of Trailer Food Diaries, a blogging site that has been expanding with the increasing popularity of food trailers in Austin and across the U.S. Tired of not grabbing life by the horns, the fourth-generation Austinite decided to pursue her passion and became involved with food trailers. Now, we have the Gypsy Picnic Trailer Food Festival that was an awesome culmination of foodie Austin and will hopefully continue in the future. With this in mind, maps were graciously given out to map our foodie experience by Austin location of the trailers and a pamphlet containing stories about the different food trailers so we could make informed decisions about where we wanted to fill our tummies. There was also info on the judges for the cook-off and even tips on opening your own food trailer! This was the place to be to experience Austin trailer food for the day.
The first place I tried was Mmmpanadas. I got the $1 soy chorizo and brie empanada. It was definitely different and I quite enjoyed it. The crust is amazingly flaky and thick and a definite positive of the trailer. I enjoyed the brie’s unique taste and stringiness in the empanada, but the soy chorizo did not settle very well with me. It was obviously not similar in taste to chorizo and would overpower the brie in some parts. Overall, a good attempt and it’s great to see a place that is thinking out of the box with its creations. We also tried a pumpkin empanada from the place and that was yummy as well. However, it was on the sweet side and may not be a favorite for people who don’t like things too sweet (your mileage may vary). Mmmpanadas is a place I would like to try again, even if it was just for the amazing empanada crust alone. However, I can see that their savory empanadas have potential and they can do a good sweet empanada. Rating: 😛 😛 😛 😛 for the crust and unique flavors available as well as a good sweet empanada.
I had heard of the Flying Carpet, a new Mediterranean trailer that is supposed to be one of the better Mediterranean food places around. I bought the lentils and beans and, admittedly, I wasn’t completely impressed. It was tasty and the beans had a crunchiness to them while still being thoroughly cooked, which was impressive. However, the chicken wasn’t spiced especially uniquely and overall a rather tasteless dish. Admittedly, maybe lentils and chicken would be boring, but I expected perhaps a burst of spice or unique taste that would differentiate this dish. There was also no evidence of the tomatoes, onions, and cilantro as promised on the menu. However, one of my friends did try the other dish offered, beef kefta, and she found it quite delicious. I also have to admit how super friendly and nice the people were there. The food wasn’t great, but the people were and I’m willing to give this place a second try if I ever see it in the future. Rating: 😛 😛 😛 for decent lentils and chicken and super nice employees. May deserve a second chance as other people seemed to like it.
Mighty Cone will definitely be my favorite of the food festival. It was delicious breaded chicken in a kind of panko crust that was a little sweet and very hot (temperature-wise) and crunchy. The sauce was creamy and slightly spicy and the cole slaw added that little crunch and sweetness that made the whole concoction one of the tastiest trailer foods I’ve ever eaten. I now really want to visit this place on just a normal day. I had the Hot n’ Crunchy Chicken cone, but I’ve heard the chicken and avocado is even better so I can’t wait to try that out. The line was already long when I got there near the beginning of the festival, but it was definitely worth it and I quickly ate it up. Rating: 😛 😛 😛 😛 😛 for a winning combination of crunchy chicken with sweet coleslaw and a slightly spicy sauce (not unlike dressings used at Japanese restaurants).
One of the favorites of our group was the pierogi (spelled perogi by the trailer) from Pick Up Stixx. The place was definitely interesting with many types of foods offered, but the pierogi was certainly one of the most delicious and best bargains at the Food Fest. The pierogi was filled with potato and a little onion. The dough wrapper actually appeared like an egg roll wrapper, but it was pleasingly chewy and a slight crunch on the outside that made an enjoyable texture of the softness of the filling with crunchy onions to coincide with the chewy and slightly crunchy wrapping. Rating: 😛 😛 😛 😛 for the pierogi alone as well as generally nice.
Another friend tried both the seitan tofu wrap from Conscious Cravings as well as a sandwich with pickled apples from The Jalopy. Both were delicious from her tastings and the little bit she gave me to try. The seitan tofu wrap had a tasty dressing and the tofu was perfectly fried. The sandwich was very interesting with caramelized bread instead of toasted and the pickled apples were quite tasty. Altogether, a different combination and her personal favorite of the Food Fest. Rating: 😛 😛 😛 😛 from what I was told as well as the little I tried, flavorful and vegetarian friendly!
There were so many places I wanted to try, but my stomach was just too small. Some other highlights from friends (and comments on the first Gypsy Picnic post) who ate at the Food Fest were The Best Wurst, Man Bites Dog, Torchy’s Tacos, and Zubikhouse. However, I’m sure there were many other tasty trailers we didn’t get to and I definitely hope this Food Fest will continue in the future. It was definitely a foodie’s dream to have so many tasty Austin trailers in one spot and to have discounted samples of all the food.
Please stay tuned for Part 2 of Gypsy Picnic Trailer Food Fest where I will be covering the desserts. You have not experienced Austin until you’ve tried the unique desserts from Austin trailers.
Rating for Gypsy Picnic Trailer Food Fest: 😛 😛 😛 😛 😛 for TONS of food, affordable prices, and limited selection.