ACL 2015: Austin EATS Top Picks

Festival regulars know that when it comes to the food, nothing quite compares to the gourmet eats at Austin City Limits. But with so many options from which to choose, deciding which Austin EATS vendor to visit can be almost as difficult as deciding between music on the main stage. In order to help navigate through the multitude of mouthwatering offerings, I’ve put together a few tips and tricks to ensure you discover the best bites at this year’s Austin City Limits Festival!

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Cure Those Cravings

There are few dishes that have reached the local cult status quite like the fried Brussels sprouts from East Side Kings. The salty-sweet salad is hard to beat but for something a little heartier, you can’t go wrong with an order of ESK’s spicy fried Thai Chicken Kara-Age.

For a match made in food fusion heaven, be sure to pick up an order of Chi’lantro’s spicy kimchi fries topped with bulgogi beef. The local food truck is known to cure many an Austinite’s late night craving but does the trick any time of day.

However, if a day of walking from one end of Zilker to the other has worked up a hankering only a cheesy comfort food can satisfy, then I recommend beelining it over to either Burro Cheese Kitchen for The Waylon & Willie grilled cheese filled with gooey cheese, bacon and pepperoni or Frank for some waffle fries smothered in queso goodness. Finally, for those suffering from a serious sweet tooth, there is nothing better than an order of warm, freshly baked cookies from Tiff Treat’s.

Eat Like a Texan

If you are visiting from out of town, be sure to get a taste for our great state by eating like a tried and true Texan at this year’s fest.

It’s no secret Texans love them some BBQ, and no Austin EATS lineup would be complete without a little ‘cue. You can’t go wrong with either the sausage wrap or the chopped beef sandwich at The Salt Lick – just be sure to smother on that famous sauce. If brisket is what you are after, head to Stubb’s Bar-B-Q for an order of jalapeno brisket. For some gussied-up BBQ, Chef Tim Love is offering BBQ Pork Ribs at Woodshed Smokehouse.

It’s a well-known fact that Austinites fueled largely by the unofficial food of the city, tacos. Live like a local by picking up a couple Green Pork Chili Tacos from Torchy’s Tacos. I recommend throwing in an order of Mexican Street Corn for good measure – extra napkins recommended!

For a quick grab and go in between sets, I recommend getting a little Tex-Mex at mmmpandas for mini pie stuffed with Green Chili Chicken or Tamale Addiction for tamales stuffed with fillings like chicken mole and black bean and cheese.

Finally, no festival is complete of course without a visit to the Austin EATS OG, Mighty Cone, for one of those famed Hot & Crunchy Cones.

Refresh & Revive

With three full days filled with music, sunshine and cold beer, Austin City Limits is a marathon, not a sprint. However, pacing oneself is not always easiest of tasks. Maybe you danced just a bit too hard at Disclosure on Friday or perhaps your tried to keep up with Drake’s Energy on Saturday; no matter the ailment, this year’s Austin EATS lineup has a number of options to get you back on your feet.

Need a quick way to quench last night’s unquenchable thirst? Pick up a cold glass of Strawberry Lemonade from ShadeTree or stop by El Cruz Ranch Café at the HOPE Farmer’s Market for a Horchata Agua Fresca. Or, better yet, rehydrate and recharge with a vitamin-packed smoothie from Juiceland.

While one can’t go wrong with shaved ice from summertime staple Snowie’s or a Mexican Vanilla Milkshake from Amy’s Ice Cream, I recommend making a beeline for personal favorite GoodPop Popsicles to escape the midday heat. With unique flavors like Watermelon Agave and Hibiscus Mint, these all-natural popsicles are hard to beat.

If in need of something a little less green and little more grease, I recommend picking up a failsafe favorite such as a Hat Creek Burger Co. Cheeseburger and Fries or a pepperoni pie from Southside Flying Pizza.

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