Tuesday, February 5, 2013

East Side King at Liberty Bar - Austin, TX

Tuesday, February 5th, 2012

After a beautiful, perfect 80 degree day in Austin, Mitch and I decided it was a great night to enjoy a food truck dinner outside.  There are so many trucks to choose from in Austin, but we knew right away where we wanted to go.

We had heard of a place called 'East Side King' which has 4 different trucks in the city.  They were just recently featured on 'Unique Eats' on the Cooking Channel a few weeks ago, plus we had heard so many great things about the food in general.  Also, the chef/owner, Paul Qui, was the winner of Top Chef Season 9 and is a James Beard award winner.

Best of Austin - Best Food Trailer

Of the four locations, we decided on the truck located on the back patio of the Liberty Bar.  Each of the  truck's menus are slightly different from one another and we agreed that the food truck menu at Liberty Bar would be to both our likings.

All the East Side King trucks have hand-painted graphics.

Liberty Bar

The menu was great - short and sweet and everything sounded amazing.  We started ordering and listing things off that we wanted and, before we knew it, we managed to order almost $30 worth of food (this is a lot at a food truck!).

We ordered some beers at the bar and waited to have our food brought out.

What we got:

Tongue Buns (2) - Roasted beef tongue in steamed buns, home-made peanut butter curry, basil, cilantro, mint, onion, jalapeño.
Curry Buns (2) - Peanut butter home-made curry in deep-fried steam buns, basil, cilantro, mint, onion, jalapeño.
Veggie Meshi - Fried Brussels sprout salad and Liberty Rice.
Beet Home Fries - Deep-fried roasted beets, kewpie mayo, schichimi togarashi, green onion.
Yaki Imo - Roasted Japanese sweet potato, butter, ginger, garlic, soy sauce.

Beef Tongue Buns

Curry Buns

Veggie Meshi

Beet Home Fries

Yaki Imo

Everything was SO GOOD!  

Mitch was very excited about the Tongue Buns - they were roasted perfectly and Mitch said "the consistency reminded me of pork belly but....pork belly made of beef! :)".  Plus you could put anything in a steam bun and Mitch would eat it and be happy. 

The Curry Steam Buns were crispy and sweet with just the perfect amount of jalapeño kick.  The Veggie Meshi was fresh and hot - it was an awesome combination of spicy and delicious, and the Brussels Sprouts were cooked perfectly.  The Beet Home Fries were to die for - crispy fried and served with an amazing Kewpie mayo.  Beets are my favorite food and these will be worth going back for!  The Yaki Imo was sweet and savory at the same time - a perfect comfort food.  

We are so excited to try out the other East Side King trucks, although this particular truck definitely won us over and we can't wait to go back!

Nom.  Beets. Brussels Sprouts.

Mitch and Laurel

Monday, January 21, 2013

Tacos and Donuts - An Typical Austin Food Truck Dinner

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

It's been a while since we ate at a food truck, so, because it was so beautiful out in Austin today (70 and sunny!), we decided to eat outside at a food truck for dinner.

I checked out www.bestaustinfoodtrucks.com to find a food truck near our house in South Austin.


'Like' them on Facebook!

Mitch was in the mood for tacos (Mitch is always in the mood for tacos), so I found a place on the website called 'Mellizoz Tacos' that was open 7 days a week (many food trucks aren't), had great reviews, and was only about a mile from our house.

'Mellizoz Tacos' truck and eating area.

Mitch with Tony (owner) and Rick.  Awesome guys that were very nice and were very happy to give us Food Truck ownership advice!

The menu looked amazing and there were so many items we wanted to try.....

What we got:

Fried Avocado Taco - Tempura battered avocado with arugula, tomato, cotija cheese, and chipotle sherry vinaigrette
Padre Taco - Braised carnita pork, avocado, pineapple, and salsa fresca
Queso with Chips
Tempura Shrimp Torta - Fried shrimp, slaw, pickled red onion, and cilantro lime aioli served with garlic french fries

Total (with tip): $20

Fried Avocado Taco

Padre Taco

Queso with Chips
FYI - The only reason the cheese started to get the cooled off 'film' on the top is because we were talking to the owner for quite some time before we finally sat down to try it, not because it was served that way!

Tempura Shrimp Torta with Garlic Fries

Everything was so delicious!  The queso was served immediately, but the tacos and torta were prepared  and then brought out to us.  The Avocado Taco was fresh and tangy, and the fried avocado melted in my mouth!  The Padre Taco was braised to perfection and was slathered in freshly sliced avocado.  The queso was one of the best one's we've tried in Austin (queso is everywhere around here) - it was so spicy and yummy.  We finished our meal by splitting the shrimp torta and fries - the bilillos bread that it was served on was amazing and fresh, and the chipotle lime aioli was the perfect accompaniment.  All in all, a perfect fish sandwich that I can't wait to eat again!  To top it all off, the torta was served with delicious, crispy fries that were tossed with chopped garlic.

Although we were quite full by this time, for the sake of the blog (and not the delicious scent of donuts), we walked to the food truck next door call 'Gourdough's,' a gourmet donut truck, to get something for dessert.

"Gourdough's' - an awesome airstream converted into a donut truck!

The amazing donut menu.

Waiting in line to order.

After deliberating over the menu for several minutes (we were so full we almost considered not even getting one and coming back another time), we finally decided on something very simple, a chocolate and raspberry donut. 

What we got:

Razzle Dazzle

Total (with tip): $5.50

The Razzle Dazzle Donut

Although we were not able to finish it, the donut was wonderful.  It was a fresh made, warm donut that melted in your mouth, topped with chocolate icing, raspberry sauce, and chocolate chips.  It was so rich and smelled awesome.  We can't wait to go back and try some of the other donuts!

Full and happy.  Just one of the many food truck parks in Austin!

What a great night to sit outside and enjoy some awesome food truck food!  

Mitch and Laurel

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Road Trip Map

We wish we could do it all over again!!!  Let the next trip planning begin!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

DAYS 33-35: Denver and HOME!


FYI: These events took place in October.  After driving from Denver to Wisconsin and arriving home at the end of our trip on October 26th, 2012, we were exhausted and just wanted to enjoy being with family, celebrating my birthday with friends, deep-cleaning the filthy camper from being on the road for over a month, and packing everything up for our big move to Austin, TX the following week.  

Once we arrived in Texas, we got settled in to our new home, began working and enjoying  Austin, and I've finally found the time to write this blog entry from events that took place almost 2 months ago!  It's hard to believe we've been living in Austin that long already, but we love it and have been so busy!

From here on out, we plan to continue to document all of our food truck dining experiences to share with you, whether it be more trucks in Austin, or trucks we stop at while traveling.

Thank you again for all your support and for following our blog!!


Thursday, October 25th - Friday, October, 26th, 2012: Denver and HOME!

Luckily, when we woke up on Thursday morning in Silverthorne, CO, the snow had already begun to melt and the roads were already plowed.  We started heading to Denver around 11am.

Driving from Silverthorne to Denver.

We quickly got to Denver after a beautiful drive through the snowy mountains and into the city.  We easily found a food truck called 'Hey! PB&J' on Facebook, but with no exact address where it was located, we decided to follow directions to where Google Maps said it was.  Once we arrived, it was clear that we had been directed to the actual home of where (we were assuming) the owner of the truck lived.

Belafonte in the rearview.

We finally figured out where the food truck was parked that day and continued driving.  This took us to Auraria College Campus near downtown which is home to three universities in Denver.  It took a while to find parking, but we easily spotted the dozens of food trucks parked in the center of it all.

Driving into downtown Denver.

Auraria Campus - Denver, CO

We found 'Hey! PB&J' almost immediately with it's hard-to-miss bright purple truck.  It was a beautiful truck and you could tell the owners really took pride in it.  Speaking of the owners, they were wonderful and truly interested in our trip.  They gave us tons of advice, let us look inside the truck, and even gave us a free sandwich!

'Hey! PB&J' food truck.

Gourmet Grilled PB&J menu.

Myself with the owner and the nice guy who worked there.

It took a while to figure out what I wanted, but I finally decided on the 'Cranberry Pecan.'  Mitch was going to wait to order something from another truck that caught his eye, but the owner insisted she make him something on the house!

Cranberry Pecan Sandwich - Pecan butter, fresh and dried cranberries, white chocolate, and cream cheese.

What we got:
Cranberry Pecan Sandwich
Blackberry Jalapeño Sandwich (Sorry, for some reason we didn't take a picture of this one! :( It had homemade peanut butter, charred jalapeños, homemade blackberry jam, cream cheese, and bacon!)

Total (with tip and a free sandwich): $10

Both of the sandwich's were to DIE FOR.  Oh wow, they were so delicious!  I was stuffed after finishing mine, but Mitch still wanted to check out another truck before we left.  Thank you again to the kind owner (I wish I could remember her name!) for the free sandwich and for her hospitality and advice!

Next we stopped at a truck called the 'Pink Tank' where Mitch got to talking with the owner.  He was an very interesting guy who told us that he just decided he wanted to open a food truck one day.  His wife thought he was crazy, but he bought a truck, rebuilt it, and never looked back.

'Pink Tank'

'Pink Tank' menu.

I wish we would have asked him the meaning behind the name of the truck.  It had an eclectic menu and Mitch easily chose the chicken and waffles, which was one of his favorite menu items on the menu from his restaurant in Milwaukee.

Chicken & Waffles - 3 crispy fried chicken legs with homemade hot sauce, topped with bacon crumbles, served on a buttery, beer-battered waffle with maple syrup and hot sauce ice cream.

Enjoying his chicken & waffles.

What he got:
Chicken & Waffles
'The Benz' (The owner included this for free!)

Total (with tip and a free 'Benz'): $12

'The Benz' - a burger with grilled ham and a fried egg, topped with Havarti cheese and maple hollandaise sauce, served on a croissant.

Mitch with the 'Pink Tank' guys.

More trucks parked at the campus with the beautiful snow.

After stuffing ourselves silly, we got back in the Jeep, got some gas, and stopped at coffee shop to use the free internet so I could write the previous blog entry from Seattle.  We finally got back on the road around 4pm and decided to drive as far as we could that night.  

We wanted to drive to Wisconsin without stopping, but, at around 4am, we were exhausted.  I wanted to stop at hotel for the night instead of camping (the temperatures were in the 30s!), but Mitch insisted that we camp one last time on the very last night of our trip.  After much pouting, I gave in and decided he was right!

Last day driving.  Leaving Colorado :(

Beautiful bridge in Iowa.

After a long drive through Colorado, Nebraska, and into Iowa, we finally stopped at a KOA campground in Des Moines.  We were so cold and tired that we didn't even take any pictures to document it!

Wisconsin!  We made it!

We got going around 11am the next morning, excited about our drive home.  Looking back at our trip, it went by WAY too fast and we were so sad it was over.  What a whirlwind!  This road trip was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us and we will remember it for the rest of our lives!  We got to see so many friends and family members that we hadn't seen in so long, we met so many wonderful and generous people along our way, and we saw some of the most beautiful corners of this country that not many people get to see unless they take the time drive through them.  

We feel so fortunate that we were able to take this trip and gain the experience necessary for the next chapter in our lives living in Austin, TX.  Our ultimate goal is to open our own catering/food truck business which is already well under-way.  Mitch has been booking catering events and we will continue to save our money to purchase the perfect truck for us without going into a huge amount of debt.

Last sunset of the trip just minutes before pulling to Mitch's parents house in Wisconsin.

Total Food Truck Spending for 4 Days: $22 (under budget)

Total Spending:
Gas: $289
Des Moines KOA Campground: $32
Coffee Shop in Denver: $4
Colorado Gift Shop: $22
Lunch on Friday: $13
Food truck food: $22

Total for 3 Days:  $382 (under budget)



We made it under our budget by $3!  We thought for sure we were going to go over $6000, but we didn't!  We weren't even trying that hard to make under during the last couple days!  

And that's our trip.  So sad it's over, but so excited for the future!

Thank you everyone for following us and supporting us!  Stay tuned for more blog entries to come documenting our continued love for food truck food in Austin!

Mitch and Laurel

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Photo Book

Click here to view this photo book larger

Shutterfly photo books offer a wide range of artful designs and embellishments to choose from.

DAYS 28-33: Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado

Sunday, October 21st - Thursday, October 25th: Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado


We woke up early at Krista and Ryan's and started our drive east.  The drive out of Seattle and through Washington was absolutely gorgeous.  Unfortunately, there were no food trucks anywhere that we could find.

We made a stop at a place called 'Fred Myers' to get some groceries and some books for me for the long drive.  We continued through Washington and into Idaho.  We stopped at a campground in Boise, ID for the night.  It was super late when we got there, so we cranked the space heater and went to bed.  I'm sorry to report that we didn't eat a single noteworthy thing this entire day!  No food trucks to be found, no gourmet cooked dinner at the campground - only leftover food that we had in our cooler.

Boise, ID - very pretty, but no food trucks:(


The Boise campground was by far the weirdest campground we've stayed at.  It was clear that there were more permanent residents staying there than temporary overnight campers.  The lady in the office was so confused when I wanted to check out in the morning.  She even asked why we were moving and where we were going to.  I explained to her that we were just there overnight and we got in very late.

Homemade pumpkin bread from Krista for breakfast :)

We stopped for some coffee and to get an oil change, then we were off towards Utah.  We stopped at local diner in Twin Falls, ID to get a late lunch/early dinner.  Again, there were no food trucks anywhere, so we had to settle for a restaurant.

The restaurant was called 'Idaho Joe's' and it was surprisingly very good!  

I had the fish fry with baked potato, side of vegetables, a salad, and cornbread!  

Mitch had a mushroom and blue cheese burger with fries.

'Idaho Joe's' - Twin Falls, ID

We continued our drive into Utah, by-passing Salt Lake City, through some treacherous mountains in the pouring rain, and eventually made our way into Wyoming.  We decided to stay the night at a campground in Rock Springs, WY.  

The only picture we took in Utah!
Life elevated.

During our drive that day, we stopped at gas station called 'The Middle of Nowhere' that was literally in the middle of nowhere - nothing for miles and miles and miles!  The best part of this place were the ALPACA'S that were fenced in front of the convenience store of the gas station just hangin' out!

They were the cutest alpaca's!  Kingsley hated them.  Typical.

A cool tunnel we drove through in the mountains of Wyoming.


We were very excited for today!  Today we were driving into Colorado to visit Mitch's brother and cousin for two nights.  We woke up in Wyoming to light snow flurries and temperatures in the 30s, but it got nicer out as we drove down into Colorado.

This guy was parked next to us at the campground when we got up to leave in the morning.  Antler christmas tree AND they were from Wisconsin!  

Welcome to Colorful Colorado.

Approaching the Rockies.

Mitch's brother, Collin, and cousin, Matt, live together in Silverthorne, CO, near Dillon, Frisco, Breckenridge, and Keystone.  We stopped for lunch in Steamboat Springs, about 45mins from Silverthorne.  Once again, there weren't any food trucks, so we stopped and asked some cool looking dudes where we should get lunch.  They recommended a place called 'Black Country Provisions' for sandwiches.

'Black Country Provisions' - Steamboat Springs, CO

What we got:
Tuna on a Baguette with Chips and Izze Blackberry soda.
Turkey, Avocado and Bacon with Chips and Izze Blackberry soda.

Total: $29 (is it me, or is that a lot for some sandwiches?)

Tuna sammy.  Mitch didn't seem to think getting my smiling mug in the picture was important.

Turkey sammy.

We arrived at Collin and Matt's house around 5pm.  Mitch made dinner for everyone and we hung out at the house for the night.

I had 3 sweaters on in this picture - I'm not used to this cold weather!
T-bone steaks for the guys (clearly I was NOT thrilled with the choice of dinner)... with rosemary potatoes and sautéed mushrooms.


Today Collin and Matt both had off of work, so they drove us around to show us where they worked and to get lunch.  We stopped in Frisco, CO at a place called 'Pika Bagel Bakery & Cafe.'

'Pika Bagel Bakery & Cafe' - Frisco, CO

What we got:
Hummus and veggie bagel sandwich with chips and a hot tea.
BLT bagel sandwich with chips and coffee

Total: $24

Hummus bagel.

BLT bagel.

We are very happy to report that we found a roadside stand/food truck selling homemade venison jerky's, all kinds of produce, and jelly's, called 'Uncle John's Farm Stand.'  We stocked up on stuff to make for dinner that night.

What we got:
Spicy Buffalo Jerky 
Raspberry Jelly
Corn cobs

Total: $31

'Uncle John's Farm Stand' - Frisco, CO

This was the last week they were open for the season, so we were lucky to find them!

The goods.

We did a little more sightseeing, including going to the local 'Breckenridge Distillery' for some complimentary bourbon shots and a tour of the facility.

Collin and I and a lot of whiskey.

Scenery shot.

The guys - Kingsley, Mitch, Matt, and Collin.

It was starting to get very cold, so we headed back to the house.  Before we knew it, it was snowing!  And it didn't stop for the rest of the night.  We wondered if we were going to be able to leave in the morning!

The Belafonte's first snow!

23 degrees and snowing.

Mitch made dinner again for everyone....

Spaghetti squash, roasted potatoes, jasmine rice, and sweet corn succotash.

Tomorrow morning we are leaving to start our trek back to Wisconsin.  We're going to stop in Denver for the afternoon to eat at some food trucks (I guess there's a ton there), then drive as far as Des Moines, IA to camp overnight one last time before our trip is over!  

Total Food Truck Spending for 4 Days: $31 (under budget)

Total Spending:
Gas: $464
Idaho KOA Campground: $33
Idaho Joe's restaurant: $33
Starbucks: $11
Wyoming KOA Campground: $35
Food Stand: $31
Black Country Provisions: $29
Pika Cafe: $24
Fred Myers: $46

Total for 4 Days:  $706 (under budget)

Tomorrow, Denver.  Then through Nebraska and Iowa before returning to Wisconsin for a week.

Mitch and Laurel