Austin Food Trailers; Texas Cuban, La Boite, and The Frigid Frog

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The one thing I did not know about Austin is that it is famous for its food trailer culture. Strewn about town are hundreds of converted trailers, Airstream campers, and shipping crates, all serving specialty food. Not necessarily located in any one particular spot, there are trailers parked on corners devoted to Banh-Mi, BBQ (no surprise there), cucpcakes, and doughnuts. In some cases, two trailers share a small spot adjacent to a strip mall and in other cases, there are rows and rows of trailers, stacked up against one another on main streets. Driving along Lamar Boulevard we passed one under a tree, then three blocks later, a cluster on an empty lot. Musicians set-up and perform, families gather for picnics, and college friends meet over gourmet coffee. With Austin being the college town that it is, I am jealous they have such a fabulously accessible amount of food at such great prices.

The original intention was to hit Gourdoughs for Fried Dough Ho, but unfortunately, they seemed to be closed in the afternoon. No worries, we are going to keep trying! Instead, lunch beckoned in the form of a classic Cubano sandwich from The Texas Cuban. Hot pressed and grilled on garlic Cuban bread was ample grilled pork tenderloin, ham, swiss cheese, provolone cheese and pickles. The guy who is part owner asks if you want regular mustard, spicy mustard, or mayonnaise. What was really cool for me was the availability of REAL Dr. Pepper — known as Dublin Dr. Pepper — as it is the only plant left which still makes Dr Pepper with real sugar and not corn syrup. A truly spectacular sandwich, we ordered the $12 version which was advertised to feed two while it easily could feed three (we both took home parts of our uneaten sandwich). I can’t remember the last time I ate a Cuban sandwich this good. Served alongside three sliced, fried plantains, the crunch from the bread complemented the creamy melted cheese and two pork products. I loved the snap of the pickle inside as well. The pork was well-prepared, tender and in small, moist chunks. The entire sandwich was juicy and moist — versus so many Cubans I have had which were ultimately on the dryer side. Despite getting full, it made me coming back for “one more bite,” even though I had designs towards saving half of it for breakfast the next day.

Right next door to The Texas Cuban is La Boite, a small pastry shop. Stylishly situated within a shipping crate, this unassuming stall offers the best macarons I have ever tasted. Sadly, my pictures did not come out but Jane and I shared a total of four flavors; blueberry, lemon, caramel with fleur de sel, and peach. We started with the lemon which was a mistake only in that the use of lemon balm in the cream made the blueberry, tasted immediately afterward, less pronounced. But even in San Francisco — amongst die-hard foodies and gourmands — have I not had a macaron quite this spectacular. By the time we got home, our two other flavors, the caramel and peach were close to destroyed but still exceptional. Jane even scraped the caramel out of the bag to get every ounce.  The macarons at La Boite (versus those I have had in San Francisco), were slightly larger; both in width and height. They were significantly lighter with a better tooth to the foot. The lemon cream was the standout with its brightness and tanginess and Ive never had a caramel macaron which was actually comprised of CARAMEL (versus a caramel-flavored cream). The blueberry was a draw to the beautiful swirled colors in the meringue itself, even if the pungency of the blueberry cream was not as strong as I would have anticipated.

Our last jaunt was on a strip of trailers that contained an even larger selection; cupcakes, pies, tacos, and our last tasting of the day, the Frigid Frog Hawaiian shaved ice. With bizarre flavors like Tigers Blood and Spiderman available, on our 90° day was capped perfectly by a small offering of shaved ice. I ordered a mint mojito which, while a tad on the sweet side, was still greatly enjoyed on this windy, sweltering day.

Texas Cuban:
The Texas Cuban on Urbanspoon
La Boite:
La Boite Cafe on Urbanspoon
Frigid Frog:
Frigid Frog Hawaiian Shaved Ice on Urbanspoon

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