1.24.2014

The Big Kahuna and Redbud Roasters are the bombdiggity.

I love trailer food. That's no secret. And when the San Marcos food trailer scene emerged in the summer of 2011, I couldn't have been more excited. I remember when I first visited the Big Kahuna trailer almost a year later in 2012, I was blown away by the Hawaiian-inspired and exquisitely fresh cuisine Chef Mark Jakobsen and his wife Lori prepared in the bright yellow and blue trailer.


So I shouldn't have been surprised when a few days ago I found myself sitting at a familiar purple picnic table at The Hitch food trailer park, with a stunning plate of Big Kahuna's food set in front of me.




When I arrived at The Hitch, I made a bee-line to The Big Kahuna. I was in the mood for something full of flavor, but also light and fresh.


By suggestion from the chef, I ordered the special: Marinated and grilled Mahi Mahi, avocado, papaya salsa, steamed rice, and sunimono salad (cucumber salad). That's when I felt the chill in the air. The wind was cutting through me like paper, and I needed to warm up. Now.


So, I walked over to a trailer I'd never been to before: Redbud Roasters. It's a small trailer that boasts fresh roasted coffee and espresso, and I have to say, I was more than happy that they were there. While I stood in line, I studied the drinks they had available, and decided that I'd wait to make my drink-decision until I spoke with the guy inside.


And the guy in side was really knowledgeable. I learned a lot about Redbud Roasters, including that owners Austin and Mary Van Zant roast all the coffee themselves. If that isn't cool enough, these long-time Hill Country natives use only certified organic and fair trade, 100% Arabica premium coffee beans. Fancy.


After discussing beans and roasting and all that, I got down to business, and decided that an espresso drink was the way to go. The coffee connoisseur asked if I wanted my coffee brewed using an espresso machine, or a fancy new toy he just acquired, the AeroPress. Because the AeroPress removes any bitterness from the coffee, I decided to go that route. I also decided an Americano would do the trick, and I must say, it was one dang good cup of coffee… er, espresso drink. I loved how smooth the flavors were. Perfect.


Once I received my cup of Joe, I headed back to my purple picnic table, and waited for my Big Kahuna special to be ready.


I have to say, I've never ordered fresh fish from a food trailer before, but let me just tell you, The Big Kahuna is definitely the right place to get it. The Mahi Mahi was cooked PERFECTLY. Oh my word. The flavor was sensational, as was the texture.


I need to say one thing before I go on. I don't generally like Mahi Mahi. It's either too chewy or too fishy, but the way it was prepared by Chef Jakobsen was pretty much flawless. It was tender, not at all chewy, and the marinade was bright and refreshing. The papaya salsa was crunchy and sweet with a touch of heat. I fell head over heals in love with the sunimono salad. It was full of sliced cucumbers, shaved red onions, and was brightened with a splash of red wine vinegar.


The plate as a whole was spectacularly balanced, between the savory fish, the sweet and spicy salsa and the tart and vibrant salad. Each bite was interesting, and each bite left me wanting more. I didn't care that the temperatures were dropping. I didn't care the wind was picking up. In my head, I was on a sandy beach in beautiful Hawaii. But then the wind did get to be too much and blew away my visions of palm trees and crashing waves. Basically, I'll be back again soon. Very soon.

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