By Andi Haughton 

Photography By: Courtney Pierce and Hayden Walker

Look guys, no one likes idiot drunks stumbling everywhere. If you don’t eat, and don’t eat properly – this will happen to you. Worse, you pass or black out and miss the music. Don’t be that person, everyone loses. On the flip side, you don’t want to eat so much you need a nap or feel worse than Fat Bastard. You also don’t want to eat things that aren’t going to agree with your system. Who wants to miss jams and dance parties to hang out in a Port-a-John? #out Sorry to stress reality: if gluten or fried food makes you sick in real life, it’s going to make you sick in ACL-Land.

Austin Eats has come a long way over the years (thanks Mighty Cone). Heck, ACL Festival 2014 features a Chef Showcase, which a fan-flipping-tastic idea. Our city and our festival finally boasts some great food, let’s showcase that? #in

As diversity and quality continues to proliferate at our beloved festival (thankfully since you are trapped inside and confined to the options available), there truly are options for everyone. Kids have ice cream, pizza and French fries (if you feed your kid that sort of thing). Veggie-heads have a ton of really tasty and satisfying options – so good are they, that non-veggie heads will certainly be crowding your line. Meat lovers have dynamic protein choices prepared by people who really know how to handle their meat. You can gorge yourself on fatty foods or the find more health conscious/restricted eaters can find options for lasting fuel.

 

Get the best out of your festival experience noms (and bevies), by keeping the following in mind:

  • Eat enough to keep your energy up, but not so much you need to unbutton your pants. Making the wrong decision because there is a shorter line could cost you serious dancing time.  Plus, nappers get stepped on.
  • Eat a good breakfast beforehand. Seriously. Do it. Food inside the park is expensive and the waiting, eating and walking seriously cuts into your music time. You need it, but you don’t have to spend your whole festival there.
  • Eat something with flavor, it will make you happy and you’ll be less likely to go back to the food court to stave off your non-satiated cravings.
  • Never underestimate the power a refreshing fruit juice or meal can lend to a rally attempt. Never!
  • I mean NEVER!
  • You have as good a chance that your food has been sitting out as it has been freshly prepared. Fried food doesn’t hold up as well (under any circumstances). Things might be colder than normal and you might not be able to get as much extra sauce as you normally prefer. If you have a different experience than at the brick’n’mortar, don’t place blame – they are doing their best out of temporary cooking apparatuses surrounded by 80,000 hungry drunk people in a field all whilst sweating their butts off.
  • Identify a good time to go to the food court. Look for gaps in your schedule to see where you have enough time to take 30-45 minutes to get your supper. If you won’t stand the wait, go in when the bigger acts are on and lines might be shorter. Realistically speaking eating hearty breakfast around 10/11:00 a.m, snacking on Kind bars and nuts at the festival (let your nuts loose in your bag – perfect snack) or splitting a taco dish around 2:00 p.m., eating a good dinner at 5/6:00 p.m. then chowing at home is a great timeline for maintaining yourself through the ACL marathon.
  • On that note, ACL is a marathon not a sprint. It is three days of glory if you drink accordingly. It’s three days of hangover Hell if you screw it up. If you are over age 27, factor in one extra recovery day per year.
  • Tip the food slingers. They are working hard to make sure you don’t turn into a hungry puddle of mush during Calvin Harris. Thank them for their consideration.
  • Drink Fireman’s Four and appreciate it – we used to be stuck with Amstel Light and Heineken. The beer hall is always a welcome addition for craft brew lovers (and football lovers since they will be airing UT’s games #hookem).
  • Don’t drink bottomless mimosas before you head to the field. I don’t like visiting the bathroom after you’ve experienced the aftermath of that sugar.
  • Don’t drink and drive.
  • Ever.
  • Use your Uber promo card courtesy of ACL Festival. Or any other means of transportation. Sub-par as Austin’s options are, they are infinitely superior to endangering everyone…or sitting in a jail cell.

 ACL Eats

ACL Food LineupEat this not thatno seriously

 

Jack and Bryce Gilmore

Jack and Bryce Gilmore

Who: Bryce Gilmore/Jack Allen

What: The whole kit’n caboodle

Where: Chef Showcase, Friday (October 3) ONLY

When: Breakfast (Kolache)/Lunch (Quail)/Snack (Kolache)/Dinner (Tacos)

Why: I love everything about the #goatrevolution and what these guys do with this delicious protein. I also love quail – Odd Duck’s quail is one of my fave dishes in the city. Jack’s not in the business of making disappointing noms, so the fish tacos are probably going to be a great filling-but-not-heavy option for sea-foodies.

Who: The Peached TortillaPeached Tortilla Pork2

What: Brisket Tacos or Bahn Mi Tacos

Where: Austin Eats Food Court

When: Lunch/Snack/Dinner

Why: I’m a longtime fan the bahn mi taco. I wish I could custom order a brisket bahn mi taco, but will settle for getting an order of each.

 

Who: The Woodshed

What:  Chile Spiked Watermelon

Where: Austin Eats Food Court

When: All day, every day.

Why: Hydration, refreshing watermelon and a kick? You’re going to see a lot of me, Mr. Tim Love.

 

Who: East Side King

What: Brussels Sprout Salad, Thai Chicken Kara-age

Where: Austin Eats Food Court

When: Lunch/Snack/Dinner

Why: Because Paul Qui. If you are looking for more encouragement, this classic Paul Qui sig is flavorful, light and darn tasty. You can’t go wrong. Combine it with the Thai Chicken Kara-age and you have a perfect sustenance sesh for two without a food coma.  I want it always.

 

Who: Sway/Alexis ChongSway

What: Salt and Pepper Shrimp, Vermicelli Chicken Salad

Where: Chef Showcase, Sunday, October 12 ONLY

When: Lunch/Dinner

Why: Alexis Chong made the ‘Son in Law’. When Alexis Chong makes food, you eat it.

 

Who: Mighty Cone

What: Hot and Crunchy Chicken and Avocado Cone

Where: Austin Eats Food Court

When: Lunch/Dinner (Snack if you’re splitting or have a great metabolism)

Why: Mighty Cone that put Austin Eats on the map. It’s delicious, filling and lends nice texture to offset the liquid-heavy calories you are consuming.

 

Who: Lonesome Dove Western BistroTim Love ACL 6

What: Rabbit & Rattlesnake Sausage

Where: Austin Eats Food Court

When: Lunch

Why: Because rabbit is one of my faves. Because rattlesnake is a total foodie check. Because Tim Love helped found the Austin Food and Wine Festival and generally, I like his food as much as I like playing random ping-pong with him, so I will venture out with him on that innovative limb.

 

Who: JuicelandJuiceland

What: Watermelon Aqua Fresca and Peachy Green Smoothie

Where: Austin Eats Food Court

When: All day. Every day.

Why: The aqua fresca is this KetelOne/Dripping Springs devotee’s go-to drink every year it has been offered. It is perfectly refreshing and only slightly sweet. It also comes with ice, which is a huge bonus because you can’t find it after 4:00 p.m. The Peachy Green Smoothie is a perfect snack. The sugar will keep you going, the chill factor will cool you off and you won’t be weighed down or dying of starvation by the 8:00 p.m. dinner break.

 

Who: GoodPop

What:  Hibiscus Mint Pop

Where: Austin Eats Food Court

When: Times when you need to cool off or suck on something delicious.

Why: For basically the same reasons as the watermelon aqua fresca if you keep your cup and let it melt. And…because it can hold up to its own amazingness at a festival.

 

Who: JuJu Juicejuice

What: Kale, Cucumber and Lemon Juice

Where: Austin Eats Food Court – Hope Farmer’s Market

When: All day. Every Day.

Why: Continuing on the theme of numbers eight and nine JuJu Juice’s Kale, Cucumber and Lemon Juice a necessary and detoxing mixer refreshment for all those obsessed with green juice (guilty).

 

Who: Lamba’s Indian Food

What: Chicken Tikka Wrap or Chicken Curry

Where: Austin Eats Court – Hope Farmer’s Market

When: Lunch/Snack/Dinner

Why: I buy Lamba’s creations at the farmer’s market every week. They are #bombassnoms. Though I have never had a composed dish, I am willing to chance the unknown. If you’re an Indian lover, bet on Lamba’s.

 

Andrew Wiseheart and Ben Edgerton

Andrew Wiseheart and Ben Edgerton

Who: Chef Andrew Wiseheart

What: Everything

Where: Chef Showcase, Friday, October 10 ONLY

When: Lunch/Snack

Why: Garnder and Contigo have incredibly satisfying veggie dishes. Even this meat-lover is stoked for some Wiseheart greens.

 

ACL David Bull

Chef David Bull – Photo by Hayden Walker

Who: Chef David Bull

What: Pork Belly Bahn Mi, Truffle Pomme Frites

Where: Chef Showcase, Saturday, October 11 ONLY

When: Lunch/Snack/Dinner

Why: After an experience involving some salty ACL chicken bahn mi (see bullet point five), I’m excited to give one of my fave bahn mi’s in the city a second ACL chance. To be fair, I truly believe it was just the one batch and eat it all the time at the restaurant. Also, everyone raved about them that year. Bull’s one of the first ATX chefs to gain national attention and a long-time love of mine – “disappoint” isn’t in his vernacular.  This bahn mi is a hearty, tasty fuel for nighttime dance parties. The bread helps soak up beer and the flavors are a nice break for your taste buds.  His pomme frites are the only fries you should be consuming in the park. Period.

 

Who: Tino’s Greek Cafe

What:  Gyro Wrap, Falafel Wrap

Where: Austin Eats Food Court

When: Dinner

Why: I am a firm believer that gyros are the perfect festival food. They are substantial enough to keep you going and not so filling that you want to die… for meat-eaters and vegetarians alike. While I am still personally lobbying for Southernmost Falafel to finally make ACL appearances, Tino’s is usually a pretty great choice if you want a wrap on the run to the next show.

 

Who: Skull & Crossbones

What:  Ginger Beer Cupcake

Where: Austin Eats Food Court – Hope Farmer’s Market

When: When the sweet-tooth hits

Why: Because sweet-teeth are real and cupcakes are delicious.

 

Non-Foodie Advice

  • Charmin Wipes/travel Kleenex/Sanitizer/Suncreen will change your festival life. Promise.
  • Drink H20. Every chance you get.
  • Dance your pants off.
  • Go to bed by 4:00 a.m. Then #riserinserepeat

 

So now, don your party pants and go forth and eat, the festival is your oyster (which ironically is not available without a VIP wristband).

 

 

Photo By: Reagan Hackleman @chrphotos

About The Author

Hayden Walker
Executive Editor | Co-Publisher
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Hayden Walker is the Editor in Chief and Director of Operations for Austin Food Magazine

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