Coat and Thai (Austin, TX)

Update: Recent intel has confirmed that Coat and Thai are still active on the Austin food truck scene. These days most often sighted at the East Side.

Well, our third day in Austin ended up primarily being BBQ: one visit to a new place for me (Black’s) and two visits to favorites from last year (Kreuz and City Market). After all that, and a quick refreshment break at Dairy Queen in Lockhart (another part of the annual Austin tradition), we headed back downtown for some more food truck action.

The interesting thing about the food truck scene is that it’s always in a bit of flux. Indeed, almost every food truck I had visited in 2011 had either relocated to a new spot (indeed, the two major “food courts” from 2011 had both been sold for development, in what’s likely going to be an ongoing phenomenon in the mobile food business, so Gourdough’s and Love Balls found themselves uprooted), turned into a brick and mortar restaurant (like Odd Duck), or just plain gone out of business (I’ll miss you, Bits and Druthers). So we ended up going to a new (for us) food truck venue, the South Congress Strip.

I went to South Congress with one particular food truck in mind: The Best Wurst, which sells all sorts of great sausages and such from the South Congress Strip. They get great reviews and people like them. They also sell out early, they had finished up for the day at least an hour before I got there. However, I found myself lured in by the sights and smells of the nearby Coat and Thai food truck.

Like so many other items that can be had from food trucks in Austin (including the guy making torched to order creme brulee, which wasn’t particularly popular that day for some reason) I’m not used to ordering Thai food from a truck. But the smells coming from the truck were truly ambrosial, with really strong pepper, lemongrass, and coconut smells wafting out of the back of the truck. And the line was long, which is generally a good sign with the Austin crowd (I’ve noticed that most of the Austin crowd will choose to wait in the long line for the “best”, instead of skipping the line for the 95% as good “second best”). So I got in line, and started to look over the menu. While I was tempted by several of the Pad dishes, like Pad Thai or Pad Prik Pao, I decided I was distinctly in the mood for something really spicy, so I went for the green curry with chicken.

Served up about five minutes later, we grabbed our order and headed over to the picnic table, where we enjoyed our meal washed down with a Topo Chico (for that nice multi-ethnic approach to dining). In short, this was a good green curry. Very strong cilantro, lemongrass, and thai green chile pepper notes made for a bold (but not overwhelmingly spicy, in fact, I prefer my green curries a bit hotter, actually) curry sauce that worked quite well with the vegetable mix (bamboo shoots, basil, green beans, red peppers, and zucchini) and the seared chicken. Aside from the typical chintzy takeout containers that seemed to be on the verge of failure, this was the sort of green curry that I’d happily enjoy inside of a nice Thai restaurant. That it came from a food cart? All the better.

Overall, Coat and Thai was a pleasant dinner that gave a nice counterpoint to all of the barbecue consumed that day, and is putting out some good Thai food. I’d love to come back and try out some more of their extensive menu.

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