Sometimes you just happen into a place that feels like home. For Jason and I this is a place where food takes us back to memories. You are in the chef’s head. Inception but with restaurants on every dream layer. We eat their food and feel like we are in the their mind tasting it together. This is the flavor you get at Crossroads Farm to Truck. When eating Danielle and Wayne’s quinoa laab we felt like we were in Thailand with them, laughing and licking spices from our lips. The husband and wife team have a combined experience of more than twenty years and spent those years traveling and tasting the world. Their dishes have layers of flavors and texture that are balanced with talent.
6 am always felt so far away. Our crew was only three. We had our window person, grill person, and cold line. We had music blasting and a huge crowd outside. It’s 1:30 in the morning. What are we doing? Well it’s 2014 and we are working downtown on the Chi’lantro food truck. We are known as one of the best at what we do. Kimchi fry after Kimchi fry taco after taco. You dream about it. This is what we did. This is what we loved.
After interviewing these amazing chefs around Austin and letting you know about them, we also want to give you a taste of what they do. We asked Chef Darci for a recipe for her brighteningly sweet watermelon lemonade. After leaving I have to admit I left the watermelon slice in there, and it flavored my water all day as I refilled it.
Jason and I spent hours debating if we should go with the oldest food truck in Austin, or even the most popular for our first interview. To use our connections in the food scene for a sexy intro was against our idea of this blog. We do not want to feed you the same interview you have seen again and again. We want to show where the food scene was, where it is, and the grit of where it is going. We chose a food truck that tells the future, but has a strong beginning. Chef Darci was chosen for Austin Texas Food’s first interview because she embodies what we love about food. A passion for flavor and for where that flavor comes from.
Often people think that the chef’s way is the right way to enjoy food. Not knowing that the chef’s way is usually the cheapest way or whatever ingredients they need to get rid of. Some don’t have the mindset of, is this healthy? It’s usually how much of a profit can I make off of this ingredient? Or how many types of burgers can I have?
To know where your food comes from is such an empowering thing to have. To know what you put into your body. What the chef decided to thoughtfully create. Is magical. To think. This chef had a dream of some sort of what I’m about to eat. The chef thought long and hard about how just the smallest amount of salt is what is needed. They taught their staff that this is what I had in my dream. This is the story I want to tell.
We are so quick to visit the 30 second or less fast food joint. That we forget what we really are putting into our bodies. We learned from super size me what that type of food will do to our bodies. Yet they sell millions of pounds of food a day. And we keep wondering why we are having a hard time losing those last 10 pounds. Why can’t we do it? I mean we get the salad at McDonald’s. That’s healthy right? Well is it? Do you honestly know what’s in it?
Since 2015 I have lost over 130 pounds. I have carefully thought about what I eat. Yes I would be lying if I said I stayed true to my diet of the week. I am human. I have flaws. I can’t control myself sometimes. I fail. But I get back up. Fall 99 rise 100. I keep going. I forget about that cupcake. I think of meat. Good meat.
I have also been in the service industry for most of life. I am a Chef. It is who I am. Food is my passion. I love it. I give my all for the industry I love. I do best to make sure my last dish is my favorite. I’m not perfect at what I do. But I never give up. I want to do the best for you. Fight. Grind. Repeat.
Join us as we show you the real side of our industry. Told by those who cook your food. Serve it to you. Those who work hard for very little money. Those who work for their craft. We do everything we can to give you that experience you want. Knowing at the end of the day. We walk to the bus stop. Just to do it again the next day. But we are happy. And we love it.
Are you sick of food being qualitative? Like vomit out the words calories, and good for you and bad for you, level of sick? Or how we think eating five servings of fruit and veggies a day makes us think we can do four bananas with a kiwi and vodka and call it healthy. Think how rare fruit is to actually find. Without stores it would take a lot of searching and sweating to have it, and it rots fast so it would be hard to store. So it makes sense it could confuse our bodies to devour it all the time. Even if it is as vitamins.
Most nutrients the human body needs, and the ones Americans are most deficient in, are found in dark greens. Magnesium and iron, which the brain needs to function, are locked in its leaves. All the nutrients humans need are found in organ meat. Yet we eat bananas. Admittedly, those frozen ones with chocolate are even better than the shape they imply. Shout out to Bananarchy. I love the burst and juicy mind blaring that fruit gives us. But I think about what that love is, and if it is over blissful. The mind creates such a large release of feel good hormones, and we want those, but why? Maybe when the body ate fruit it knew it had to store it. That energy source was quick and faded fast, so to survive it has to eat a lot. We see it in other animals. Bears are known for eating honey. They store it and then hibernate.
Don’t be afraid of organ meat. It’s from the same animal the ground meat is from.
I want food and math and chemistry to form an equation. We need, not just the number of calories/energy found in our food, but the effective numbers it has on the brain. I want to know how many numbers caffeine is. I want to compute how many numbers are in wine, how much it depress the brain, what area it is in, and for this to be something we can qualitate into how it affects us.
It makes the brain skip these words. It makes the brain forget these sentences because it can no longer access this part of the brain.
It makes us forget pain and bad memories because it is -75 to the hippocampus and pain is at -95. Can you imagine the awesome mini robot that could tell you what exactly you need to balance your brain? It could tell you every nutrient you were low in. It could tell you what the liquid or solid you want to put in your body will do to it. But that’s the future.
But food. The way it connects us to itself and life…
It’s a form of viscerality the first time you truly taste meat.
The way you can taste different layers of flavor.
And you didn’t imagine it. You didn’t think up the way this tastes. It would be impossible. You did not create the flavor, the flavor signaled itself to you. Your brain has stored the flavor, the taste, so deep inside you that it was there when you were born.
I love food. I think having food with the right nutrients and care and love creates memories and ideas within us. It’s what our brain uses to function. We use it to move, to talk to people, and everything you can think of.
So if you’re swallowing these things and putting them inside you, don’t you think it matters how they were treated? Do unto food what you want food to do inside you.
I don’t recommend this. I would title this How Not to Spend $350 in Your First Week in Austin, but I don’t know how to do that yet.
Apparently foodie adventures can seem budgeted while you’re doing them, you know, that skipping a glass of wine or dessert, but those $15 meals and $4 drinks can make you feel like you’re playing Are You Smarter than A Fifth Grader? once you add it all up.
It’s just, once you taste Austin, and take a bite of cake from your Hey Cupcake Michael Jackson cupcake, then you decide that Austin is the true home of the Gingerbread House, and you will find it. You know it’s there, and there’s thousands of randomly flavored candies lining the trails, and plenty of Austinites to take on any Grandma.
I’ve tried Picnik, both locations, The Steeping room, both locations, Wholly Cow, Strange Brew, Independence Fine Foods, Violet Heart, Salt and Time, Peche, Pacha, The Irish Pub, Cuvee, Cenote, and spent hours in Whole Foods and Central Market. There’s plenty of posts to come on those, but I need to take better pictures before taking that leap. I’m still figuring out this camera.
The food here is just so divine, and weird, and wonderful like all of Austin. I love the thrill behind every person you see walking around here, and how everywhere I go I make a new friend. You feel a sense of home here because the community is so in love with where they live here.
I even went to Central Market to check it out because humans have been telling me about it for ages. It. Was. Incredible. Beautiful people, which are everywhere in Austin, a kombucha I haven’t found anywhere else but Sedona, Arizona and tons of veggies and fruits you choose as much as you want of. It’s like a farmer’s market.
Today I am forcing myself to stay in, not spend anything, do some writing, and then mayyyyybe go to whole foods to get coconut milk. I need it since I already have a starter. There’s coconut milk yogurt here 😉 I love the farmer’s markets.