ACL food review: Salt and Time, Daily Juice, Gardener's Feast

By Mike Sutter | Fed Man Walking | 09.16.11
The food program at the Austin City Limits Festival does a good job courting local tastes, but the Hope Market annex to the left of the main food court takes it a step further with cured meats from Salt and Time and tamales from a farmers’ market favorite called Gardener’s Feast.
At Salt and Time — known for charcuterie and carried by local places like East Side King and Black Star Co-op — a hot dog made with mortadella is a surprising exercise in subtlety and spice. It was grilled to order and looks like a thinner version of a backyard brat, but the resemblance ends there. This is as luscious as a pate in a casing, a refined crepinette on a dense hoagie roll with a slice of dill for $6, about what you pay for an artisan dog out in the world. The fresh chicharrones listed on the menu were nowhere in sight.
As much as I liked the $7 fried chicken from Olivia/Lucy’s, and as great a deal as it is for three shaggy pieces, the tamales from Gardener’s Feast at the Hope Market stand hold the crown for cheap food. Two big tamales for $5, rolled thick with masa in corn husks. I tried one with pork and tomatillo with a welcome spicy edge and thick shreds of meat and another with roasted poblano peppers and muenster cheese that lets the poblano do what it does best: act as the jalapeño’s less hot but more interesting cousin.
To cool down the hyperlocal lunch, I swung back over to the food court for a mint maté from the Daily Juice for $4. Maté is one of those mysterious global superfoods, an Argentinian leaf prized for its rejuvenating power. I don’t know about all that, but this is a smooth golden glass with a touch of sweetness and a mint finish. I felt refreshed, but that might have been a nod to the three-minute rainshower that swooped down like a mail-order mister.
(Photo by Mike Sutter © Fed Man Walking)