I’m convinced I live in the greatest place in the USA. I’m not talking about my highly annoying “Yeah, I’m from Texas and it rocks face!” attitude (GO TEXAS!), I’m talking about the fact that Austin, Texas is at a culinary crossroads. Mexican food, Hatch Chiles from New Mexico, Deep Southern roots, and Cajun from our neighbor Louisiana all make their way into a melting pot filled with food that goes into my pie hole. This week, Shaun and I chose to indulge in a little bit of New Orlean’s style at Nettie’s Place at the South First Food Court. If you’re looking for what to eat in Austin, make sure to stay on top of our Food Truck Friday.
Nettie’s Place is an unassuming purple, green, and yellow food truck tucked in the corner of the food trailer park boasting a small space with a big cajun taste. They couldn’t have been more right. Good friends Annie and Linette came from a background of Southern cooking, hailing from Mississippi and Louisiana. They decided to bring their passion for comfort food to the food trailer community in Austin, and it has been history ever since. There really is no better story than ending with full stomachs and meeting new people.
Now don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t consider this absolute authenticity when I’m talking about cajun food – as part of the crossroads you are expected to encounter some degree of fusion. But holy hell were we taken by surprise.
This time around we went about things a bit differently than our experience at The Mighty Cone. Instead of ordering what we wanted individually, we figured the best way to cover the most ground (and taste more!) was to order a whole bunch of items and share. I can say without a shadow of a doubt that this is how we will be moving on in the future until one of us shanks the other over the last bite of food. With a couple of suggestions from the ever so patient Annie (you should have seen how indecisive we were) we ended with this:
Atchafalaya Po’boy (Say that 5 times fast!): Blackened or fried catfish served on French bread and dressed (tomato, lettuce, pickle & tarter sauce or remoulade). With choice of french fries, sweet potato fries or potato salad. (We chose potato salad and fried catfish.)
Texas Gumbo Ya-Ya: A rich country-style gumbo made with local farm chicken and Andouille sausage topped with homemade potato salad using fresh, local eggs.
The Whistle Stop: Fresh Local Fried Green Tomatoes served with creamy sweet vidalia onion relish.
Shaun and I are kind of obsessed with anything that comes in a baguette or French bread so it comes as no surprise that a po’boy was on our radar. The batter was a cornmeal fry, perfectly browned and the fish delicate and light. I’m a firm believer in the bottom-sucker catfish awesomeness but I also realize that it is not in everyone’s repertoire of tastes. The crispy bread and oh-so-soft insides finished off with a nice crunch with the fish in a explosion of tasty delight. The potato salad is best described as really good egg salad with potatoes in it and had Shaun glowing for hours after.
I think I may be the only person in Austin that orders a cup of soup while it is 104F/40C degrees outside (and sitting in an outdoor patio) but I couldn’t help myself when I saw that they had gumbo. I regret not getting a bowl instead of a cup (although I’m sure my waistline was happy). The complexity of the flavors was perfect and the little dollop of potato salad inside really added to the hot/cold complexity of it as well. If you have never had gumbo before, I honestly have no clue how to describe it to you. Just eat it. NOW.
We also ordered the fried green tomatoes as Shaun, living in Texas for 16 years, had never had the pleasure of trying this culturally important culinary treat (seriously, what is wrong with him?). I honestly have no clue what kind of fry was used but it was nice and flaky with a LOT of flavor. Shaun was in heaven. I was almost scared he was going to drink the rest of the onion relish towards the end. WARNING: Annie fries these when ordered and they are VERY hot. Mouth scaldingly HOT.
Another really awesome thing to take into consideration when heading out to Nettie’s Place is that they offer free beer at the food trailer park on Thursday. Seriously. FREE BEER. No strings. To go with your Cajun food. NOMNOMNOMNOM I am the queen of the Cheap Booze Dates!
Ordered: 2 Sodas, 1 Po’Boy, 1 Cup of Gumbo, 1 order Fried Green Tomatoes
Favorite thing: Erica: Gumbo – Shaun: Fried Green Tomatoes
Least favorite thing: Lack of Mexican Cokes
Type of food: Southern Fusion, Cajun
Make sure to keep up with our weekly Food Truck Challenge!