Hangover Helper: Frito Pie at Lamberts in Austin, TX
Growing up in Texas, you learn that some of the best foods to eat when you are sober are also the best for your hangover. Nothing better sums up Texas eats for me than these three items: brisket, queso, and Fritos.
The first two I recommend only eating in Texas and the third, while nationally available, is a Texas original. On a recent visit home, I found all three, combined into one of the best hangover-helper dishes possible.
The purveyor of this heavenly concoction is Lamberts, a self-proclaimed "fancy barbecue" restaurant in downtown Austin. The dish is only on the bar menu—you're probably already sitting there if you find your way over on the morning after a long night out on Sixth Street. (But if you're avoiding anything that smells like beer, you can still order from the bar menu at any table, all day). Their Frito Pie ($12, but half off during happy hour) consists of a layer of Lamberts mustard bbq sauce, topped with Fritos, chopped beef brisket, queso, pico de gallo, goat cheese, and cilantro, with a pickled jalapeno on the side.
The strata of ingredients means every bite is a different experience. In some mouthfuls, you get a big chunk of salty and smoky brisket bark, and in others you get a cooling pocket of tangy goat cheese. The sweet mustard bbq sauce is a bit like honey mustard, and the creamy spicy queso (which I would like to inaugurate as the national dip of Texas) contributes to every bite.
You non-Texans may be thinking: this looks like nachos. I won't argue—it pretty much is nachos, but better. Why? Because the Fritos stay crunchy the whole time you're eating, never getting soggy like bottom-layer chips can. Just don't attempt to use your hands—to get a proper topping ratio on each little Frito, you'll want to dig in with a fork.
About the author:Wes Rowe is a photographer and eater based in San Francisco who believes there is no such thing as too many burgers, and when given the opportunity, likes to spend the whole day smoking brisket. Follow him on instagram @wesrowe