Let's start with drinks. I tried the two ciders featured in the Barton Springs Beer Hall. I have come to the conclusion I am just not a cider person, so I moved over to non-alcoholic beverages (it would be awesome if ACL would include gluten-free beers in the beer roster, but I doubt there would be enough demand for that). I tried both the Strawberry Limeade and the plain Lemonade from Shade Tree Fresh Squeezed Lemonade. They were both great, but the Strawberry Limeade was my favorite. A good combination of sweet and tart with a refreshing flavor. My husband's favorite craft beer (he is all about the beer) was the Breckenridge Agave Wheat. He found it easy drinking with a nice blend of spice, herb and subtle sweetness.
On to the food. Everything we tried was good, especially given the trying circumstances of a mobile kitchen at a festival, so kudos to all those mentioned below. We had an old favorite, the Rabbit & Rattlesnake Sausage with House Pickles and Mustard from Lonesome Dove. It delivered its reliable unique flavor as expected and was served nice and warm. On a side note, a friend told me she had their Smoked Goat Crepinette with Braised Lentils and Sorrel Salad and enjoyed it very much. We also had the Chicken Mole Organic Masa Tamales from Tamale Addiction. The tamales were wrapped in foil so they stayed hot for an extended period. The masa was fluffy and not greasy, while the chicken in the middle was well seasoned. This came with a green and red sauce on the side and there were two tamales to an order, so it is perfect for splitting because these tamales are very large. I would say this was the best value for quantity. We also tried the BBQ Pork Ribs & House Pickles from Woodshed Smokehouse. The meat was tender and the flavor was well conceived, made even better with the barbecue sauce served on the side, The ribs came wrapped in foil, so they stayed warm. Our only wish was that the size of the ribs were a bit larger or the portion was increased. Even for one person, it would serve only as a snack.
My top 3 bites are as follows: In 3rd place is the Spicy Lamb Curry with Rice from Lamba's Royal Indian Foods. The lamb curry nestled in the bed of rice was wonderfully seasoned, but not too spicy. The portion size was very generous and it was a comforting meal to wrap up the evening. In 2nd place is the Brussels Sprout Salad with Fried Brussels Sprouts, Sweet and Spicy Sauce, Cabbage, Basil, Cilantro, Mint, Onion and Jalapeño from East Side King. This is a dish I have had before, but it had been a while. The magical combination is always a winner and it isn't too heavy to weigh you down. I was also pleased to see that the use of jalapeño was done sparingly so the flavor of all the other ingredients were brought forward. The 1st place bite of ACL for me is The Waylon & Willie Sandwich with Sour Dough, Cheddar Cheese, Caramelized Onions, Pepperoncinis, and Spicy Maple Bacon Sauce from Burro Cheese Kitchen. I had never tried Burro Cheese Kitchen before so this was a real treat. First of all, their bread is the best gluten-free bread I have tried to date. All of the elements included in the sandwich were evident and it tasted like it came fresh off the grill--warm and gooey. Of course the musical reference in the name earned bonus points.
The one item I wish I had tried is from Skull & Cakebones--an Affogato Cakewich Coffee Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream, rolled in Almond. It was all the buzz on Twitter. Weekend 1 of ACL Music Fest has come to a close, but Weekend 2 is right around the corner. If you go, be sure to try some of the great food in the Austin EATS food court.