This week on The Great Food Truck Race the food truck rookies found themselves moving from the Southwest into the heart of Texas. Because Austin is known for “keeping it weird,” Tyler Florence decided to pull some interesting tricks on the teams. On Day One he had them partner up, which produced some odd pairing, e.g., Let There Be Bacon and Middle Feast. Later all the teams moved to a dating event, where they had to work their charms on selling food to singles, which had some mixed results. And in one final eccentric challenge, Tyler instituted a Truck Stop truck swap. You can imagine how weird that was for the teams.
In the end, many of the teams found it difficult selling in Austin, just because they were competing against some of the best restaurants and established food trucks in the country. And Austin has got a little bit of everything in that regard: tacos, barbecue, comforting classics, international specialties and more. Find out all that Austin has to offer.
At Green Mesquite, the BBQ gets its spectacular smoky flavor from the spot’s namesake: mesquite wood that is seasoned. The popular ribs are made with brown sugar, paprika, cayenne, onion and garlic. Other favorites include brisket, pulled pork and chicken-fried steak.
At Foreign & Domestic, it’s a culinary wedding of flavors. The husband-and-wife team has been turning foreign dishes a little domestic and vice versa. The result is a menu with savory, eclectic standouts, like fideos pasta with eggplant butter and their signature Gruyere Popovers.
At this sandwich shop, the meat is smoked on-site and the bread is baked fresh daily. The duck pastrami has the perfect balance of fatty and smoky flavors. The signature sandwich, The Noble Pig, is made with bacon, ham and pulled pork. The Knuckle Sandwich is dipped in au jus.
At this food truck, you never know what kind of sandwich you’ll get. There’s The Rabbit, made with rabbit meat, tater tots, kimchi, Sriracha and their secret sauce. The Shrimp sandwich has a tasty shrimp patty paired with blue cheese, baby spinach, onions and apples.
This late-night spot is home to one of the best burgers in town. Juicy and tender, the 12-ounce monsters come topped with everything from cheese and thick-cut bacon to roasted serrano peppers and Texas-hot Buffalo sauce. For a spicy side, pair your burger with Verde Chili Fries.
A cozy, comfortable diner, Counter Cafe specializes in comfort food like pancakes, burgers, and biscuits and gravy. In addition to the classics, the 26-seat eatery offers up scratch-made Curry Chicken Burgers and a one-of-a-kind breakfast combo of quail and eggs.
Locals can’t wait for Magnolia Cafe’s giant gingerbread banana pancakes, and lucky for them, they don’t have to. The menu is packed with everything from chipotle hollandaise sauce on eggs Benedict to jambalaya stuffed in red peppers.
Austin’s 24 Diner is, as the name implies, open 24 hours a day, but the chef-inspired, locally sourced comfort food is far from typical around-the-clock fare. Try the boneless fried chicken, served on a plate-sized waffle with brown sugar butter and real maple syrup.
To taste the funky and weird side of Austin, visit Taco Xpress, with its bright murals and good cheap eats. In the morning, order the popular migas breakfast tacos. But for dinner, it’s all about the Pollo Guisado Plate: chicken tacos made with a smoky chipotle sauce.
Try Flip Happy’s Strawberry Nutella Crepes, it’s one of their most popular. They also offer savory crepes with ingredients like tarragon mushrooms and caramelized onions. The crepes here have become an Austin landmark, and the eatery has turned into a go-to spot for both tourists and locals.
Find more recommended restaurants around the nation with Food Network On the Road.