ACL Eats

10 best things we ate and drank at ACL Fest this year

10 best things we ate and drank at ACL Fest this year

ACL Eats food court Austin City Limits Music Festival 2016
Better fuel up for ACL Fest. Photo by Daniel Cavazos

All that festival-going sure does work up an appetite, so stay well-fed and hydrated throughout the weekend. Here are 10 of the best things we ate and drank on the ACL Fest grounds.

Bananarchy: frozen banana with chocolate and toffee
A little something sweet never hurt anyone, especially when it’s this good. What better dessert to beat the heat than an ethically sourced frozen banana coated in chocolate and toffee chunks. Small appetites can order a halfsie, but we recommend getting a whole and sharing with someone you love.

East Side King: Thai chicken kara-agé
Can’t go wrong with one of Austin’s best fried chicken dishes, right? This Thai-style version of the Japanese classic offers chicken thigh cubes marinated in savory spices then fried to golden perfection; drizzled with a sweet and spicy glaze; and topped with fresh basil, cilantro, mint, onion, and jalapeño slices. This is an ACL must.

Hat Creek Burger Co.: chicken flashers
Holy smokes, these things are addicting. Don’t dismiss them as just chicken nuggets — these are real chunks of tender white meat coated in a well-seasoned batter. The Hat Creek crew must be frying them constantly, because they're crunchy and hot, not cold and soggy. The savory honey mustard drizzle is merely the icing on the cake. Get two orders if you plan on sharing.

Lamba’s Indian Kitchen: chicken tikka masala wrap
Contained inside fluffy naan, the savory chicken stew was easy to eat on the go. It is a satisfying, savory, and spicy dish that will fill you up while making your taste buds dance — definitely one of our favorites of the weekend.

Micklethwait Craft Meats: smoked chicken salad sandwich
This simple sandwich offers all the smoky goodness of barbecue in light packaging. The bite-sized cubes of juicy chicken come tossed in a mayo-based dressing with slivered almonds and pickled green grapes, topped with fresh arugula, and served in a poppy seed bun with potato chips on the side.

Tino’s Greek Cafe: gyro
This light yet immensely satisfying classic hit the spot on Saturday afternoon. Served atop a warm and soft pita, the succulent lamb slices come topped with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, and homemade tzatziki sauce. Non-meat eaters will enjoy the vegetarian platter — we could eat that hummus with a spoon!

Way South Philly: tots
Yes, tater tots. Not loaded, not truffled, not sauced — just plain golden deliciousness, perfectly crispy-fried and served piping hot. Because sometimes the simpler things are the most satisfying.

Juiceland: Twerquoise Battle Juice
Don’t be turned off by the intense turquoise color of this drink. It is not the result of some artificial ingredient but of the blue green algae that gives it its energy properties. Blue green algae oxygenates the bloodstream to keep you going despite the weekend’s excesses. Add pineapple, ginger, and lime for flavor, and you have yourself a tasty pick-me-up.

Love and Hope Rosé 2015
A splendid collaboration between winemaker Austin Hope and chef Tim Love, this lush and succulent wine features Mourvedre, Syrah, and Carignan grapes grown in Paso Robles, vinified in the saigneé method to produce a lovely salmon color. The juice is bright, with hints of berries and tropical fruit, with a perfectly refreshing dry finish. We’re calling it the official wine of ACL.

Sierra Nevada: Otra Vez
This is the perfect ACL beer. Light and refreshing, Otra Vez is a gose-style beer with prickly pear and a hint of grapefruit for a tangy, light-bodied brew that is a great match for any and all food at ACL. It proved an excellent companion as we walked around listening to bands and taking in the sights.