Fun Fun Fun Food
14 essential eats and treats to try at Fun Fun Fun Fest
While the sky may still look threatening, these gray clouds won’t stop over 20,000 indie rock fans from descending on Auditorium Shores this weekend for the 10th anniversary of Fun Fun Fun Fest. From humble beginnings as a one-day fest featuring Spoon and The Black Angels, the homegrown music event now spans an entire city park for a full three-day weekend of comedy, metal, hip-hop, and indie music.
Like the festival itself, the food offerings for your weekend have grown exponentially. If you’re overwhelmed by your options and short on time, here are our picks for a great weekend.
Coffee: Wright Bros. Brew and Brew
“Music festival coffee” usually implies something brewed a couple of days ago or something from a supermarket shelf. Enter Matt and Grady Wright to save the day. East Austin’s Brew and Brew will serve espresso from Portland’s Heat Coffee and drip and toddy offerings from Austin’s Flat Track. The upshot: You can chug a coffee before you go, but it’s no longer mandatory. Real, actual coffee is onsite.
Grilled cheese: Burro Cheese Kitchen
At the recent Formula 1 race day, no food truck drew bigger lines in the cold weather than Burro. It’s easy to understand the root cause: Doesn’t everyone want a toasty grilled cheese in the cold? Regardless of temps, the truck’s offerings are creative in both name and composition. The Waylon & Willie adds caramelized onions, pepperoncinis, and maple bacon sauce, and the Big Kahuna opts for King’s Hawaiian bread and a serrano-pineapple salsa. For comfort food, it’s tough to match.
Kebabalicious falafel is our go-to FFF Fest meal on the go. When doing a music marathon, too much meat can weigh you down, but the marathon of standing and walking also means you get truly hungry. The smartly prepared falafel wrap solves this problem with ease. The falafel gives the wrap some heartiness; a generous sprinkle of tomato, lettuce, and onion gives you a small serving of veggies; and a duo of tzatziki and spicy red sauce give the dish more punch than your average sandwich.
Tacos, part one: Chi’Lantro
If you’re cool with heavier food, the Korean-fried chicken from Chi’Lantro is a sure bet. The spicy treatment comes with gangnam (pepper) sauce and Korean coleslaw.
Tacos, part two: El Chilito
A casual dining mainstay, El Chilito is covering all the bases here for FFF. Carnivores can opt for carne asada or pollo asado tacos, each of which comes with grilled onions. Our pick here is the FFF Veggie, a more thoughtful vegetarian taco than you’d usually find at a festival. Grilled portobellos, nopales (cactus), carrots, poblanos, onions, and queso fresco are in the mix, making for a complex and satisfying taco snack. Note that El Chilito tacos will also be flying out of the FFF taco cannon, so catch one to save a few bucks on your concessions.
Veggies, part one: East Side King
ESK’s Brussels sprout salad isn’t just a good festival snack, but something we grab at the truck on a regular basis. The fried Brussels look simple, but there’s a lot happening here. Accent ingredients include cilantro, mint, onion, cabbage, basil, and jalapeño. Add sweet and spicy sauce for a filling veggie dish that’s perfect with a beer and not too gluttonous for a long day.
Veggies, part two: Cazamance
Cazamance has two vegetarian offerings on the FFF menu. A vegan option combines a curry with a coconut reduction, couscous, and paprika, while a second dish puts mixed seasonal veggies in a rich peanut butter broth. Cazamance’s flavors are smart and subtle, and these are both easy wins.
NadaMoo digs chai tea, in fact, it has even released a Vanilla Cha Cha Chai flavor. So when Austin’s coconut milk ice cream expert offers chai teas, you’re in good hands. The options are plentiful: You can grab a standard hot tea, opt for an iced version if the weather warms, or even do a chai tea float with NadaMoo vanilla if you prefer the dessert angle. Build-your-own whoopie pies are also available here.
Burger: Black Sheep Lodge
The Black Buffalo burger has been named a top Austin burger by us here at CultureMap, Fed Man Walking, and Thrillist, so it’s nice to find it in the FFF food court. An Angus chuck patty anchors a burger topped with Gorgonzola cheese, Frank’s RedHot sauce, lettuce, tomato, and onion. This is heavy stuff, but it should go with that Shiner IPA pretty nicely.
Fries, parts one and two: Chi’Lantro and Haymaker
Fries are delicious, and mostly terrible for you. If you’re all in, though, why not go strong? Chi’Lantro’s kimchi fries are topped with beef bulgogi, kimchi, onions, cilantro, sesame seeds, and Sriracha. Yes, all of that in a single french fry dish. Alternatively, go Canadian with Haymaker’s poutine, which is available in two versions. A traditional version comes with country brown gravy and cheese curds, while a “Texas” version opts for green chili queso. Share this with your friends, and let everyone feel guilty collectively.
Hot dogs: Frank
Frank’s secret hot dog and sausage offerings are the stuff of FFF lore: one past Judas Priest-themed dog came with $500 cash and an “unlimited hot dog” VIP card. This year, the ingredients are secret until fest time, but there will be thematic riffs on Wu-Tang, Cheap Trick, and metal titans Venom. If the previous two fries descriptions weren’t enough, you’ll also find Frank’s popular waffle fries here.
Shiner’s beers have taken over the FFF drink stands. Five options are available to choose from, but two offerings stand out here. The Ruby Redbird clocks in at 4-percent ABV, contains ginger and grapefruit juice, and is a great beer for people who don’t generally drink beer. It’s almost shandy-like in flavor. The other is Shiner’s new Wicked Ram, a hoppy but approachable IPA clocking in at 6-percent ABV and utilizing Crystal and Bravo hops. The result is easygoing and just fine for a festival set.
Dessert: Cold Ones Pops
There is a mulled Austin Eastciders popsicle available at this stand. Do we have your attention now? Fun offerings include the delicious cider popsicle, along with flavors like Thai-iced tea, five-spice pear yogurt, and Syrian lemonade that combines lemon and mint flavors.