By Laura Roberts | ShoeStringAustin.com
Austin, as you may already know, loves its food trucks. There are special little lots devoted to these meals on wheels, down on South Congress, and there are various pop-up eateries popping up all over the city every day.
Well, guess what? A really great one just popped up in our neck of the woods, and boy, are we excited!
The Giggling Goat is located in South Austin, and it’s currently stationed just outside the AMLI apartment complex at 1620 East Riverside. Celebrity Intern and I have been driving past it for weeks, wondering when it might pop open its magical hood for some lunchables, but after consulting the all-knowing Internet, we discovered that they are only open for dinner.
So, first word of warning: don’t go looking for some sweet lunchtime eats, just yet. Perhaps, in time, this will be a swinging spot for the mid-day meal, but for current operations their hours are 4 to 9 PM (Tues-Thurs), and they’re open until 10 PM on Fridays and Saturdays (i.e. they’re closed Sundays and Mondays, too, so plan accordingly).
Great! So now we know where they are, when they’re open, and they’ve got a menu posted, so we notice they’ve got some hot bistro style foods on the menu: the much-recommended Cabrito Burger ($7), the Yelp!ers delight Soft Shell Crab Sandwich with Eggplant Fries ($7.50), and a Grilled Vegetable Napoleon for the veg-lovin’ types ($6.50). All of the items on their menu are under $10, despite their gourmet snob-appeal, so this interests us broke-ass foodies. We follow our noses down by the water on Saturday night to sniff what there is to sniff.
Parking is a little jammed, being that the AMLI residents are taking up most of the spaces (bummer, but I guess they live there and all…), but we snag a spot by the Radio Shack and mosey on over. We sniff. We sniff again. We smell delicious things and consult their chalkboard menu to confirm our selections.
Celebrity Intern ordered the Soft Shell Crab Sandwich, but was disappointed to learn they hadn’t any crab defrosted. Doh! I had originally planned to order their Sautéed Crawfish on a pan-fried squash cake, but reconsidered and ordered up one of the Cabrito Burgers instead. The owner/chef Chad Nunez was on hand, and offered us samples of a skirt steak with pumpkin risotto while we waited, so Celebrity Intern switched his order to that. We were impressed by the risotto, even by the spoonful, and I told him I was totally going to be stealing bites.
It was a chilly night, so we got our meals to go, and told the chef we would definitely be back for seafood delights (especially having accidentally bought a bottle of white wine in anticipation!), and zipped home to taste our morsels.
Chef Chad warned us not to give him a bad review without letting him know what we disliked, as he said he wants to make all his customers happy and will make everything right so long as you let him know what was on your mind. This is truly a great attitude! Plus it helps that he has nothing to fear, as his food is delightfully delicious. I think we may have even licked our take-away boxes clean…
WARNING! Photo does not accurately convey the tastiness of this Skirt Steak and Pumpkin Risotto (risotto is buried beneath the steak, but finger-lickin’ good!)
Celebrity Intern gives his Skirt Steak/Pumpkin Risotto combo an A++ and is busily attempting to reverse-engineer it in our kitchen for his own gastronomic pleasures. Personally, I’m more interested in the Pumpkin Risotto, which offered a creamy blend of caramelized onions, pecorino cheese and green onions folded into a tasty rice and pumpkin mixture. Mmm.
My Cabrito Burger was a densely-packed steaky burger slathered in honey mustard (which, incidentally, Celebrity Intern hates, but which I happen to love), a mild white cheese (white cheddar? mozzarella? I think I may have actually inhaled it before I really processed this, but I was happy to see it was NOT orange!), and sunflower sprouts, along with some salsa-sized chopped tomatoes and sweet pickles. The burger was definitely one of the tastiest I’ve had from a restaurant (we do like our home-style burgers with stinky cheese, after all), and I really enjoyed the sweet-and-salty combination of the sweet potato fries. Yum.
VERDICT: Give the Giggling Goat a whirl for dinner some evening. We’re definitely going back to try the Soft Shell Crab Sandwiches, one of these days, as we were impressed with their simple but tasty take on these dishes. We also look forward to warmer weather so we can laze in their trailer park with a bottle of wine and watch other customers enjoy their meals. We predict good things for this little goat, so get down to South Austin so you can say you’ve been giggling since the beginning!