Austin’s South by Southwest (SXSW) festival is embracing a much more prominent culinary element this year with SouthBites, a curated line-up of gourmet food trucks and trailers. Paul Qui, executive chef/owner of East Side King and the yet-to-be-opened Qui, is in charge of orchestrating the new event.
According to the SXSW website, “SouthBites is operating for all nine days of SXSW (March 8-16), open to the public and located right across the road from the Austin Convention Center. It will be an essential destination for thousands of hungry music, film, and interactive fans and industry players.”
When Thax Douglas walks into IHOP, they already know what he wants. He sidles into the booth in his uniform of a stained thermal shirt, puffy green coat, and a trucker hat covering the top of his wild grey mane. The young waiter says “Swedish Pancakes,” before Douglas can get a word out. The 52-year-old indie-rock poet is a regular here, because the art gallery he’s crashing at doesn’t have a kitchen. If he wants to eat, it’s IHOP or whatever dried food he can make in the microwave, since there’s no refrigerator either.