Austin is a city rich in food trucks. VERY rich. And each truck has a unique story. Hill Country Pierogi’s story is filled with hard work, tradition, and the guts to challenge Austinites to try something unfamiliar.
Brit and Rob opened Hill Country Pierogi in October 2011. Located at E. 11th and Lydia, the setting is welcoming and comfortable, with picnic tables, shade, and great people-watching.
With roots in New York, Pennsylvania, and well, Poland, pierogi were a no-brainer. Because Austin had none! Seriously, I couldn’t even find any in the grocery store. So for their first foray into food service, Brit and Rob filled a pierogi void. Very smart.
But are they any good? Oh, hell yes. At a recent bloggers lunch, I was able to sample much of the menu. And it wasn’t just pierogi. We had jalapeño kielbasa as a starter.
Normally I can take or leave kielbasa, but this was really good. It was made locally by Smoky Denmark, and was paired with the perfect mustard, Fredericksburg Farms Texas Sweet Jalapeño Mustard.
The first round of pierogi consisted of Traditional Potato and Cheese, Spinach Mushroom and Gorgonzola, and Peppercorn Bacon with Caramelized Onion. The traditional was savory, comforting and just heavenly. The gorgonzola in the veggie pierogi gave it a rich, creamy taste that was the perfect offset to the mushrooms. And the bacon one was surprisingly sweet. It doesn’t seem possible to overpower bacon, but it happens occasionally. But I’ve never been known to turn down a sweet caramelized onion.
Next up was golabki, a stuffed cabbage roll. I can’t believe they even have these, because they are such a pain to make. But then again, so are pierogi. Stuffed with seasoned meat, rice and veggies, rolled in cabbage, cooked in tomato sauce for hours, these truly are a labor of love. And they were huge. I was getting really full. But it was time to power through more pierogi.
The next round brought it to a whole new level. Korean Short Rib and Kimchi served with Sriracha sour cream. What?! I know. And Maker’s Mark Pulled Pork served with a boozy, creamy delightful sauce. And a Pizza Pierogi served with marinara. These were all very nontraditional and to-die-for good. I’m heading straight back for those Korean pierogi for my next post-bar nosh.
What was really special about the bloggers lunch was the conversation. Lots of talk about grandmothers, holidays and family traditions. There was so much love, history and effort in every bite. I suggest you take a break from your favorite taco place and give them a shot.
I couldn’t help but think about what I would make if I was to open a food truck and honor my family with the offerings. Perfectly fried flounder. Delicate Christmas sugar cookies. Fruit smoothies. Cavatelli with cheese. Carrot casserole. Angel food cake with strawberries. All served out of a Volkswagen Rabbit.
Or maybe I’ll open the first truck that specializes in disgusting food from my childhood and just serve lima beans.