March is a beautiful month to be a Texan. Winter, if there was one, is over, the bluebonnets are in bloom, and bands, techies, and filmmakers from all over the world are descending on Austin for South by Southwest (SXSW). SXSW started in 1987 with a music festival, but has since gown to also include education, interactive (tech), and film conferences.
Today was the first day that James and I attended this year’s SXSW events, and we did so with a specific eye on the culinary culture surrounding the activities. Many events are sponsored by major food and beverage brands hawking their newest products. This year it is possible to snag a new Doritos Locos Taco while double fisting a Miller Highlife and Monster Energy Drink vodka cocktail all free of charge. If that isn’t the recipe for a party I don’t know what is!
However, if you take time to look past the festival sponsors and the free products it is possible to catch a glimpse of Austin’s real food culture. Austin has been one of the centers of the country’s local food movement and, like every other crunchy hippie mecca in the United States, Austin’s menus are frequently veggie-centric. This is evident at the festival where it is possible to breakfast alfresco on an award winning migas taco at Tacos Veracruz, stroll the convention floor with a seared tofu and polenta sandwich, and munch on a Whole Foods vegan “chick’n” salad sandwich while waiting for admission to an official music showcase. So, if you are coming to Austin for SXSW, bring your sunscreen, concert ear plugs, and a healthy appetite for delicious vegetarian fare.