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Review: East Side Kings (Austin)

East Side Kings Food Truck

East Side Kings Food Truck

So I learned the hard way that most food trucks in Austin are dark on Mondays. Thankfully, East Side King’s trucks still operate on Mondays so the food conquest wasn’t a failure. East Side King has three locations, but we settled on visiting the East Side Kings at Liberty Bar.

The space is located in a pretty quiet area of Austin, but it was still pretty busy for a Monday night. After looking at the menu, I ordered Poor Qui’s Buns, Thai Chicken Karaage and Derek’s Favorite Chicken Buns.

Something I love about food truck (and East Side King is no exception) is the fact that things are cooked to order. East Side King incorporates a lot of herbs into the dishes and all were fresh and crisp.

Poor Qui's Bun

Poor Qui's Bun

The first thing I tried were the Poor Qui’s Buns — roasted pork belly in steamed buns, Hoisin sauce, cucumber kimchi and green onion. Delicious. The pork belly was crackly and blended perfectly with the crunch and acidity of the cucumber kimchi. The bun was light and fluffy and didn’t distract from the overall taste of all the elements.

Next I sampled the Thai Chicken Karaage — deep fried chicken thigh with sweet and spicy sauce, fresh basil, cilantro, mint, onion and jalapeno. I’m willing to go on record and state that thighs are the most underrated cut of chicken. They have so much flavor and East Side King really brought out the flavor with the mix of herbs, jalapeno and the sauce. It was crispy, hot, cool and refreshing. The perfect dish for a warm night.

Thai Chicken Karaage

Thai Chicken Karaage

This dish also paired really well with my Shiner Bock. So don’t forget about the right beer.

Finally, I tried the Derek’s Favorite Chicken Buns. Once again, the chicken thigh pieces were crisped to perfect. This bun was composed of deep-fried chicken thigh, Thai flavored spicy mayo, fresh basil, cilantro, mint, onion and jalapeno. This turned out to be my favorite dish. The pillowy soft bun mixed with the herbs and crispy chicken provided a very textured, yet simple dish.

I’m a big fan of Asian cuisine, and East Side King can hold it’s own as a serious Asian dining experience — albeit outside of the standard brick and mortar. It’s no wonder Anthony Bourdain stopped by on his most recent visit to Austin.

Derek's Favorite Chicken Buns

Derek's Favorite Chicken Buns

The brains behind East Side King consist of former chefs from Uchi, one of Austin’s top Asian restaurants. They’re really onto something here as they’re now up to three truck — each with a unique menu. They’re also smart to open on Monday nights, they pretty much have a Monday night monopoly.

I’ll have to wait to continue my food truck conquests on my next visit to Austin. Just not on a Monday.

East Side King trucks operate outside of Liberty Bar, The Grackle and Shangri-La in Austin. Hours vary so visit the East Side King site for more info.

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2011 in Eatin'

 

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Review: Gourdough’s (Austin)

Gourdough's Food Trailer

Gourdough's Food Trailer

I’m not gonna lie, I was looking forward to the trip to Gourdough’s probably more than any other place we were planning on eating. In fact, Miguel and I spent roughly an hour during a Saints game a couple weeks ago perusing the website looking at all the pictures of Gourdogh’s menu. I highly recommend checking out their website, it’s well done and give you an accurate idea of what you’re in for.

The food truck/trailer scene in Austin is a truly unique culinary endeavor and Gourdough’s is one of the best ones out there in my opinion. Since we were a party of three (myself, Miguel and our gracious host Ashley), we decided to get four donuts to split. Word to the wise: these things are huge and are definitely dessert donuts, not breakfast. We didn’t eat every bite, but we wanted to sample as much as we possible. We decided to order the Mama’s Cake, Sara’s Joy, Funky Monkey and Miss Shortcake donuts.

Funky Monkey

Funky Monkey

I made the mistake of trying the Funky Monkey first. I say it was a mistake because it was so full of flavor, sweetness and goodness that I knew it would be hard for the other three to measure up. Funky Monkey is a donut topped with cream cheese icing, caramelized bananas and brown sugar. It was rich and decadent, but it exceeded my expectations somehow.

On a side note, I take issue with the name. This is definitely a Bananas Foster type donut. I was under the impression that Funky Monkey was banana and chocolate. Either way, I’m not complaining. They could call it dirt donut and I would still recommend it.

Sara's Joy

Sara's Joy

Next up, I sampled the Sara’s Joy donut. As insane as this may sound, this was the richest donut of the night. The chocolate and coconut mixed perfectly, but I think the amount of fudge and coconut topping exponentially increased the richness. That said, it was still an amazing donut. I think it would benefit from some almonds to give it a little more crunch.

Miss Shortcake

Miss Shortcake

Following Sara’s Joy, I tried Miss Shortcake, the donut with cream cheese icing and fresh strawberries. By this point, I realized Gourdough’s is just as focused on the quality of the donuts as they are with the quality of the toppings. The cream cheese icing is top notch and better than some of the icings I’ve had on cupcakes and other desserts. The strawberries were very fresh and had the perfect sweet to sour ratio. It was a nice acidity balance to the sweetness of the icing and donut.

Last up was Mama’s Cake, a yellow cake batter filled donut with fudge icing and cake batter topping. This is life in the South in a donut. It was definitely reminiscent of growing up on yellow cake.

Side story, as a kid, I once pigged out on yellow cake so badly that I made myself sick. Thankfully, that didn’t happen on my visit to Gourdough’s.

Mama's Cake

Mama's Cake

All in all, the trip to Gourdough’s was no letdown, in fact, it exceeded my wildest dreams. Having such a high-quality website for a food products usually means the bar is pretty high. But Gourdough’s definitely has the ability to meet and zoom past that bar.

The donuts are definitely big and fat, but more importantly, the donuts are cooked to order, delicious and crispy. You may experience a little bit of a wait while waiting for your donut(s), but I can assure you it’s worth the wait (and weight for that matter).

Gourdough’s is located at 1219 S. Lamar Blvd. and is open daily. Hours vary (including late night) so visit the website for details.

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2011 in Eatin'

 

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