Food Truck Tuesday: My Name is Joe
Philip Speer’s new trailer supports recovering addicts
By Thea Newell,
3:25PM, Tue. Feb. 28, 2017
On February 2nd, Philip Speer opened the My Name is Joe Coffee Co. coffee and food truck on Colorado St. Downtown, the first of two Speer projects that will be opening in early 2017.
With this food truck, Speer, an openly recovering alcoholic and drug addict, will be providing a safe environment for other service industry members who are in recovery, using food as a means to bring together people who may otherwise have felt the need to distance themselves from an industry whose late nights and high-stress situations so often foster a tendency towards substance abuse.
As the name (also a nod to the the standard greeting of NA and AA meetings and – we suspect – the 1998 Ken Loach film of the same name) suggests, the truck focuses on providing quality coffee, a social staple in the recovery community, in the hopes of creating an environment that welcomes former addicts back into the discussion on good food and drink, instead of alienating them. Speer, the chef behind the upcoming Bonhomie on Burnet, is joined on this project by partner William Ball, owner of cocktail bar Garage, which currently features another menu by Speer.
Beans are provided by 49th Parallel Roasters out of Vancouver, BC, and are overseen by Tyler Wells, founder of Nice Coffee in LA and formerly of Progress Coffee and Frank here in Austin. The truck offers horchata and matcha lattes, as well as drip coffee, cold and nitro brew coffee, and classic espresso drinks.
Speer’s menu focuses on breakfast foods with a healthy twist, bringing together global flavors with comfort and accessibility in typical Speer fashion. The multiple savory gluten-free oats include avocado t’oats, topped with heirloom tomato, basil, preserved Meyer lemon; and the Texas Rancher-Oats, Speer’s take on huevos rancheros that allows the oats to provide a neutral backdrop to simple yet flavorful south-of-the-border toppings. If you started off worrying about the texture of black beans on oats, you’ll finish wondering why you don’t think to put savory toppings on your oats more often. The more eccentric brown rice porridge with a poached egg, kimchi and bulgogi tofu works as a sort of breakfast rice bowl, with the saltiness of the bulgogi and the spice of the kimchi providing a welcome counterpoint to the subtle sweetness of the porridge.
My Name is Joe also offers up two variations on a breakfast toast: a classic PB&J becomes a classy almond butter and apple jam toast and is further diversified by a miso butterscotch drizzle that, without being overbearing, will satisfy your early morning sweet tooth; and the smoked salmon toast, topped with house yogurt, red onion, dill, and a poached egg that stands up to but doesn’t overpower the thick slice of toasted brioche, is almost-not quite, but almost-as good as a traditional New York bagel and lox. A housemade granola and a classic oatmeal with Texas figs and crispy pecans round out the menu.
Although limited, the menu once again proves Speer’s capacity to cater to multiple audiences without sacrificing the adventurousness and quality characteristic of Speer’s food that has made him one of the steadfast staples of trend-defiant Austin cuisine.
The truck not only provides a safe space for recovering addicts in the service industry, but extends its charitable interests by donating 1.2% of all sales to the Comfort Cafe in Smithville, a donation-only cafe that supports the Serenity Star Recovery treatment center.