Street food SXSW: The After-Action Report

Screen Shot 2014-05-22 at 12.48.15 PM   During the hipster invasion most commonly known and South by South West (SXSW) we embarked in a reconnaissance mission of sorts looking for great street treats. We saw amazing shows, the new, the unknowns and the popular. Armed with a “Secret” food crawl map on hand, we dusted off our bikes and zipped around Downtown Austin bouncing from music venue to music showcase, and snacking in between.

Birds of Tokyo

We tried the good, the greasy and the popular, and here’s our top picks.

  1. la Barbecue
  2. 313 Detroit Pizza
  3. Peached Tortilla
  4. East Side King
  5. Mulberry
  6. Tiniest bar in Texas

la Barbecue

La Barbecue –  Go here, not there.  ‘Nuf said. We did a head-to-head Battle of the Brisket between them and Franklin’s BBQ.  It was a glorious day filled with ridiculously long lines and incredibly smokey-juicy meaty goodness.  I can die happy now. 313 Detroit Pizza – Best thick crust Pizza in Austin… and it comes from a food truck. Really! It’s so good, there were rumors Jay Z fed his entire entourage while in town for SXSW.  This Square pizza has cheese all through the crusty edge.  The dough is plump, bouncy but very light, and these guys use the “best-est” of ingredients + crazy awesome combinations (sweet and salty, super meaty, high quality cured meats like Coppa).  This thing will make you wiggle in your seat as you eat. Try the Detroiter—and ask for extra cheese. Peached Tortilla –  How can you go wrong with Pork bahn mi tacos?  The cutest, girlie-est looking truck at Paul Qui’s South by South Bites park @ Rainey Street. There’s been all kinds of buzz thanks to their fantastic tasty sliders.  The formula is simple:  really innovative fusions with great flavors and fresh ingredients.

Peached Tortilla @ SXSBites Food truck park

Peached Tortilla @ SXSBites Food truck park

East Side King – Like you haven’t heard of them yet?  This review is overkill since everyone has written one thing or another about the super creative team lead by Paul Qui.  Ah, so this is Qui’s food truck?? Yes!  But don’t try to be-friend him on FB, the system will automatically rejected it.  I guess FB limits the number of friends one can have, and he’s got the max.  Who knew he was so friendly? Anyway, a few musts from this place:  fried brussels spouts & tongue steam buns.  But try everything if you can. It’s all THAT good. Mulberry – This is a very small wine bar with a super tasty menu. ALL great.  I’ve never had a bad meal there.  Solid brunch menu with a quaint patio on a quiet street.  Must order the Bacon wrapped dates. Nuggets of sweet, salty, crunchy and oozy goodness.  yea-huh.

Bacon Wrapped Dates at Mulberry WineBar and Bacon-ey  Brussels Sprouts  from Second Bar + Kitchen

Bacon Wrapped Dates at Mulberry WineBar and Bacon-ey Brussels Sprouts from Second Bar + Kitchen

Tiniest bar in Texas –  Basically its a tiny tiny bar with a giant patio. No food here outside of a sandwich truck, but this made the list as a destination for solid cocktails (Moscow Mules, anyone?) and it still has ‘proper Texas prices’, and a great atmosphere. They play vintage (ok, 80s) movies and live music sometimes.   Thanks to SXSW, we saw the coolest Korean rock band there. So yea, we ate, we rocked, we walked a ton, I thank my friends for sticking with me through it all…  got some good ideas after our “South-by” adventure.  I’m onto you, stove… we’ll be making tasty “music” together pretty soon.

Y tu abuela, donde esta?

Hola!  Here’s a little intro post to kick start this adventure.  Sofrito Chic  incorporates two words that inspired this journey and what my social cooking is all about:  Good Puerto Rican soul food with a twist of chic.  Sprinkling ingredients and tricks here and there taken from my travel experiences adding that eclectic twist my kitchen has always had.
I grew up  between the mountainous jungle where my grandmother was born, and the busy and colorful microcosm of the capital city of PR, San Juan, hiding under my grandma’s “muumuu” playing with corn fritter dough stuck between my fingers.
I learned my best tricks by helping her cook almost every day from the age of 4 until my college days when she prematurely passed away.  Her approach to food and her attitude of never taking shortcuts in the kitchen taught me that hard work always pays off at the end.   As a city kid, my mom understood the importance of keeping us grounded and connected to our culture and past, so we often visited our close relatives in the country side, running around fields of coffee bushes,  plucking chicken feathers, or feeding baby piglets at my grandfather’s pig farm, all before heading home to traffic lights and MTv.
Abuela Goyita making pasteles on the kitchen table

Abuela Goyita (left) making pasteles on the kitchen table with her daughter Titi Margarita

My grandma and my mom instilled in me a deep appreciation for home-grown, fresh produce and the strong connection our food has to our  roots and the island culture.   As I  became young woman, I left my little island-universe and  found myself in far and away places exploring new parts of the world and picking up tricks and flavors in between never forgetting the lessons in life my grandma passed on to me.

Styling Abuela's hair was one of my favorite things to do

Styling Abuela’s hair was one of my favorite things to do

From the Plaza del Mercado in Rio Piedras, PR to the food market on the side of a small road in Krabi, Thailand; Sofrito chic documents the journey of that little girl with golden locks helping grandma pick pigeon peas from the back yard, to the woman I am today.   Infusing these flavors into every day meals, sharing them with friends from my small home in Austin, Texas.
Here’s a humble piece of me, and a bow to all the strong and amazing women that came before me.  I am happy to share the bits I’ve learned from my adventures in life with the hopes it makes you eat well and smile along the way.

Today is the 18th anniversary or your passing, so here’s a toast to you Abuela.  I miss you.