I was down near Austin over the weekend (not for SXSW) and decided to check out the South Congress food truck park, to get a little sense of what may happen in Dallas by 2027.
The food truck park is a testament to the best weirdness of Austin, as demonstrated by the musician just trying to earn a buck with his adorable kid chilling in his empty guitar case. There were also local vendors selling handmade jewelry, leather bags and pipes made of seashells -- my bother suggested that if you smoke one long enough you can hear the ocean -- and, of course, good and quirky food.
There were about 10 different food trucks in the park. Most operate on a month-to-month lease basis. We grabbed a hodgepodge of offerings and set up camp at a red picnic table.
For food, first up was the Mighty Cone, which is one of Austin's most popular food trucks. The idea for the hot and crunchy cone came from a chef at Hudson's on the Bend, a popular restaurant on Lake Travis. Thin filets of chicken, shrimp or avocado are coated in sesame seeds, ancho chili flakes, sea salt, sugar and corn flakes then deep fried, topped with mango-jalapeno slaw and ancho sauce, which is all wrapped in a tortilla and stuffed in a paper cone for easy transport. The picnic tables in front of the trailer even have cone-holder holes. These be tasty.
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Coat and Thai is a small trailer manned by at least four cooks, all of whom appear to be family. Per their Facebook page, co-owner Ninrat Kokpluai-Spurlock "learned to cook on her grandmother's knee in Udon Thani." I went with cashew chicken, which just seemed pretty pedestrian -- basically just sweet and sour chicken stir-fry with a few cashews. But it was fresh and tasty enough, and the truck was popular.
Short Bus Subs serves up some intensely flavorful subs on fresh baked bread that is a mix of whole grain wheat and white. Sandwiches include The Bully, Hot Teacher, Class Clown, Janitor and Spring Break. The Hot Teacher had roasted portabella mushrooms, sundried tomato, red peppers, mozzarella, cheddar and sun-dried tomato pesto.
There's also The Best Wurst, Hey Cupcakes and a handful of other trucks, but I can't find a complete list online, so you'll just have to be surprised if you get down there soon. Regardless, it's a prime location along a corridor of shops, bars and more bars. Great for people-watching and sustenance for whatever hoopla you might be heading from or toward.
Most of the trucks in the park serve grub from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.