The Mighty Cone and Torchy’s Tacos are two of Austin's founding trailers starting Austin’s trailer food movement close to ten years ago. As the 2011 Austin City Limits Music Festival (ACL Fest) rolls into town this weekend, I wanted to pay special homage to these two trailers who will be serving their fan favorites at this year’s festival.
Whether it’s your first rodeo or you’re a seasoned vet of ACL Fest, you’ll want to get your hands on a Mighty Cone. What you might not know about the Mighty Cone is that they are an offshoot from Jeff Blank’s fine dining restaurant Hudson’s on the Bend.
In 2002, ACL Fest contacted Jeff to help them create a fun festival menu with gourmet grub. With continued overwhelming success at the festival every year, Jeff opened the Mighty Cone trailer in 2009. It sits as a beacon for foodies on the popular strip of trailers nestled on South Congress. In his words, the trailer is “low brow fun with a high brow attitude.” True, the trailer was a great mini-restaurant experiment to create a menu for people who wanted the quality of Hudson’s food, but who didn’t want to pay the higher ticket price.
The Hot and Crunchy Chicken Cone is their namesake and best-seller. Essentially, it’s fried chicken that is both hot and (yes) crunchy, served in a tortilla-in-a-cone with mango jalapeno aioli and spicy ancho chili sauce. At the festival, you can get your hot and crunchy cone on in several varieties: chicken ($7), chicken and avocado ($8), shrimp ($7), shrimp and avocado ($8), or avocado ($7). As a nod to their home base, you can snag a venison sausage wrap ($7) or perhaps be persuaded to partake in death by chocolate ($5).
Torchy’s Tacos, founded in 2006 by Chef Mike Rypka, will be serving ACL Fest fans for their third consecutive year. For five hot dollars, you can get Torchy’s famous Green Chile Pork: slow-roasted pork carnitas simmered with green chilies and topped with queso fresco, cilantro, onions and a wedge of lime. Also at the Torchy’s booth you can find their Baja Shrimp and Fried Avocado tacos (each $5). If you miss them at the festival this year, you can get your taco fix from any of Torchy’s eight different locations in Austin.
To what do they owe their taco awesomeness? Their fans will tell you it’s the food that brings them back. But Chef Mike will tell you it’s the love that goes into every bite that is the secret to their success. The newest location in Anderson Mill will be opening on September 30th. If you roam, Torchy’s has also expanded to Dallas and will be launching in Houston soon. You can also order online.
Look for recipes from Torchy’s Tacos and the Mighty Cone in the Trailer Food Diaries Cookbook: Austin Edition, coming this October. And stay tuned at the Trailer Food Diaries for more ACL trailer news.