For 40 years, Top Notch Hamburgers has treated guests to a nostalgic dining experience with carhop service and a menu of charcoal-grilled burgers, fried chicken, shrimp, and more. Order right from your roadster while tapping a toe to Top Notch’s reminiscent radio, selecting a burger such as the Longhorn Special ($4.79), which pairs two beef patties with secret sauce, or choosing to chomp on a chicken-fried-steak sandwich ($3.39), which comes with a side of unlimited wealth. Eaters can also head inside and propose to a second burger with a small order of golden onion rings ($1.99) before devouring the five-piece shrimp dinner ($9.59) or inflating their cheeks with a three-piece, crispy fried chicken dinner ($6.39+) chaperoned by a tasty trio of fries, slaw, and Texas toast. A medium vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry shake ($2.79) completes the old-fashioned dining event.
Cake balls combine the airy, familiar texture of cake with the appearance of a large truffle, just like a PBR can stuffed inside a pheasant. The lineup of deadly good delectables includes red velvet with sweet-cream buttermilk and Valrhona cocoa, an Italian crème shaggy with coconut and diced pecans, and Montmorency cherry almond. The availability of some flavors may vary based on demand.
In the North Austin Trailer Yard, a towering T. rex watches over a handful of picnic tables and a school bus painted gray. A giraffe and an ostrich loom in the distance, and the scent of roasted meats wafts from the windows of the parked bus. Inside the converted vehicle, Snarkys' culinary gurus cook the fillings for internationally inspired sandwiches such as a torta, a caribbean jerk sandwich, and a banh mi. These worldly portables share menu space with the staff’s own creations such as the Pig in a Prom Dress, which tops three types of pork with habanero-peach jelly. To punch up the flavor, Snarkys blends its own sauces, including a honey mustard for the cheesesteak, a smoky mustard for the cuban, and a gingery sauce for slathering on the banh mi.
Snarkys sweetens its offerings with elaborate gourmet donuts. The brunch donut pairs bacon bits with whipped peanut butter and a mild hangover, and the s'mores donut swirls mini marshmallows, graham-cracker crumbs, and cream-cheese icing.
It’s Tuesday morning, which means the members of The Yogurt Experience’s staff are loading up the trailer with cups, waffle cones, drinks, and frozen yogurt for another day of cooling off the city. Once the trailer is stocked, it accelerates toward the North Austin Trailer Yard to nab a parking spot amid the 10,000-square-foot traffic jam of food trucks. Typically, the staff selects a few frozen-yogurt flavors to highlight each day, from thin-mint cookies to blueberry-acai tart to cheesecake made with no added sugars. They repeat this process every day except for Monday, returning their non-fat, low-fat, and sorbet treats to the storefront each night so no kiddie cones get arrested for breaking curfew.
27 years ago, El Mercado came into being as a small operation selling breakfast tacos from a front porch on South First Street. Although the Mexican market they were once part of has disappeared, El Mercado has grown to three locations, with breakfast tacos remaining a staple of their menu. In the kitchen, cooks sauté onions for barbecue chicken enchiladas and rub beef with a secret spice mix before adding it to brisket tacos. Beans and sauces made without meat products can satisfy the cravings of vegetarians and giant carnivorous plants trying to change their ways.
A French-trained chef and a Mexican restaurateur pool their talents at Brown Bag Delivers, designing healthy, affordable cuisine for clients seeking to stockpile easy-to-prepare meals. The menu of entrees and sides rotates every week so the chef can incorporate new, seasonal ingredients. Each meal comes with simple instructions for reheating and can stay fresh inside clients' refrigerators for as long as six days—which is the exact running time of the Ken Burns documentary on leftovers. Although pickup is an option, the staff will also deliver orders to homes or workplaces throughout the Austin metropolitan area.