trailer food diaries
It’s Mardi Gras time and you have some incredible Cajun treats to choose from if you’d like to celebrate this Louisiana holiday food trailer-style. Mardi Gras, “Fat” Tuesday, falls on Feb. 21 this year and in preparation for the Carnival season I’ve put together a banner list of Cajun-centric food trailers for you to try (in no particular order).
And as any good Cajun would holler: Laissez les bons temps rouler!
Lee’s Hurricane Party (1901 Rio Grande)
Gumbo replaced a traditional turkey and dressing at Christmas in the town where trailer owner Lee Warren grew up, just 12 miles from the Louisiana state line. It was when he was working for a restoration company in New Orleans, “when it was still soupy after Katrina”, as he puts it, that he fell in love with the big city.
“We chose our name because of what all a hurricane party represents: a time where community, family and friends came together in the face of the storm.” His 31-foot 1973 Airstream trailer sits in the Longhorn food court close to campus and boasts a covered lit patio and direct TV satellite for sports. “We love the Louisiana teams almost as much as the Texas teams. After all, we are East Texas proud,” Lee says.
What to get: Although his menu evolves, they will always have fried catfish and gumbo. The evolving menu includes traditional favorites like jambalaya, pistolettes, po boys, red beans and rice and etoufee. One of their fusion favorites is the crawfish taco.
The Original New Orleans Po-Boy and Gumbo Shop (1603 South Congress Avenue)
Big Chief Darold Gordon of the Young Navaho Mardi Gras tribe became an Austinite from New Orleans by way of Katrina. He has made a name for himself by catering uniquely flavored creole cuisine for over 20 years. Nestled in the iconic trailer park on South Congress, just behind the popular Mighty Cone, Darold’s trailer plays zydeco or otherwise enjoyable swamp music.
What to get: The authentic New Orleans style po boys come fully loaded with mayo, lettuce, tomato and pickles on French bread. You can select from a variety of fillers for your 12-inch po boy, but the shrimp-fish-oyster combo is Darold's bestseller. He boils crawfish every Friday, Saturday and Sunday (when in season) and specializes in catering crawfish boils.
Kate’s Southern Comfort (1604 East 6th Street)
Kate Bellinger opened her food trailer with more than 20 years of chef experience in Austin. Raised in East Texas on bland casseroles, she made it to Austin by way of Louisiana, and all of her former homes are inspiration for her “Louisiana Fried Pies.” After making the rounds in South Austin, her beautiful Airstream can now be found on the East Side next to Regal Ravioli. She has loyal customers who have had to call their Mimi's back home in Louisiana to explain someone else is cooking it up just as good right here in town.
What to get: All the fillings are made from scratch with love. The “Nak.i.tish” is a savory and peppery pork filling, while the “Humble Pie” contains mustard and collard greens with sweet potato. Originally an accident, the “Bleudan” made it's way to the permanent menu; it is filled with boudin sausage and bleu cheese. Occasionally, she dishes up a green chile chicken and cheese fried pie and has been known to fry a mean Cajun turkey around Thanksgiving.
Turf N Surf Po Boys (2nd and Congress Avenue)
His combined history with experience in the restaurant industry, as well as time spent designing and building custom homes and choppers, brought Ralph Gilmore to open Turf N Surf Poboys in April of 2010. The majority of his trailer is decorated with recycled items, contributing to the overall organic feel of his concept. Located downtown, on the block of 2nd and Congress, his trailer is a popular location for local businesses and visitors alike to dine al fresco in the heart of the city.
What to get: The fried shrimp po boy is his bestseller, but you’ll want to try the Gumbo or Ralph’s dirty rice with fresh blackened fish as well.
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