We know most ACL food decisions are made on the basis of time. If St. Vincent is going on in 20 minutes, most hungry fans will just head to the shortest line. But with a little planning, the annual festival can be as much a treat for the tastebuds as it is for the ears. Instead of leaving things to chance, follow our guide to the best bites in the park paired with this year’s hottest headliners so you can make the most of all three days.
Alvvays: Micklethwait Craft Meats
Maybe this Canadian band’s hazy indie pop isn’t exactly at peace with one of Austin’s finest purveyors of Central Texas-style barbecue, but fans are going to need something substantial if they plan to bop their way through their set. Besides, we just couldn’t resist the chance to spell out Micklethvvait. To be honest, one of its smokey chicken salad sandwiches would pair just as well with Chvrches.
Camila Cabello: Shade Tree Lemonade
Since this breakout star broke up with her former group in late 2016, there has been discord in Fifth Harmony. From side swipes in interviews, to the now quartet's famously salty performance at the 2017 VMAs, there has been enough shade thrown back and forth to cause an eclipse. Sate all that thirst with a cool sip of organic lemonade. It’s important to stay hydrated if you want to wiggle to every last “ooh-na-na” in “Havana” — and to see if pop’s juiciest feud continues at Zilker Park.
Lil Wayne: Blenders & Bowls
We can’t vouch for Weezy’s dining habits, but he sure seems to be an experimental gourmand. Over the years he has claimed to eat everything from other rappers to cake off other people’s plates. But we like to believe the message in 2007’s “Put Some Keys on That” where he professes, “I am a vegetarian, man I only eat beats.” With such a plant-based attitude, surely he would appreciate Blenders’ refreshing mix of acai and other tropical fruits. Besides, these smokin’ bowls are very much on brand.
Metallica: Torchy’s Tacos
Although the punsters in the crowd might head over to Flyrite (think: enter sandwich), the heavy metal legends deserve a pairing that celebrates their dark legacy. Since generations of finger-waggers have accused Metallica of worshipping the devil already, they might as well embrace Austin’s diabolically delicious taco joint. Try the green chile queso, but be careful to not get it on your black jeans.
Paul McCartney: Tamale Addiction
The world’s most famous vegetarian deserves to feast on this fest fave’s gourmet tamales made with organic masa and innovative fillings. Although the eatery hasn’t released this year's menu, expect fillings like black beans with epazote and local goat cheese and spinach with caramelized onions. They also offer plenty of meaty options. We’ll just let that be.
Call them indietronica or future bass, but all of this Washington State duo’s jams have one thing in common: chill. Double up on the bliss by swaying along with one of the Capital City’s finest frozen treats, all made without artificial and GMO ingredients that might kill the vibe. The watermelon agave flavor is highly recommended, best enjoyed on its own or dipped into a rosé from the ACL Wine Lounge.
As evident on their six albums, these suave Frenchmen seem to mostly traffic in charming nonsense, but fans can find a few dinner ideas from the inscrutable lyrics. After listening to “1901” on repeat how could anyone not obey the constant demand to “fold it, fold it, fold it, fold iiiit” by seeking out South America’s signature crimped treat — the empanada? ACL mainstay Mmmpanadas makes them with just the right dough-to-filling ratio. And they are easy to hold on to when the front row starts to bounce.