Restaurant Review: A Picnik Fit for the Primal Diners of the Future

South Austin's new healthy-eating trailer

Picnik Austin

1700 S. Lamar Ste. 400-B, 512/293-6118, www.picnikaustin.com
Mon.-Fri., 7am-6pm; Sat., 8am-6pm; Sun., 8am-5pm
A Picnik Fit for the Primal Diners of the Future
Photos by John Anderson
A Picnik Fit for the Primal Diners of the Future

William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, although visionaries, probably never imagined a food trailer aimed at feeding both the Flintstones and the Jetsons. Picnik Austin is the most recent example of Austin's embrace of conscientious eating. Catering to customers with dietary restrictions and dedication to modern ancestral cuisine, the ultramodern trailer-in-a-box also focuses on futuristic sustainability methods with 100% compostable food packaging.

A Picnik Fit for the Primal Diners of the Future

Bamboo mats, a picnic table, and shade sails rest near the grassy knoll where the tiny eatery's front wall opens to reveal air-conditioned counter service. Specializing in paleo, primal, gluten-free, grain-free, and healthy foods, the small breakfast and lunch menus also source many local, organic, and farm-to-table ingredients. More details of their dietary alternatives are available on their website; nutrient-dense freshness is the goal of every bite.

A Picnik Fit for the Primal Diners of the Future

The Asian pork tenderloin salad ($13) was crispy and vibrant, featuring bell peppers, carrots, cabbage, and mixed greens with creamy orange honey cilantro dressing on the side. The nice portion of ginger apricot pork tenderloin was tender and juicy – a surprise given the salads are premade and refrigerated. One of the specials was pastured chicken and bacon with homemade paleo mayo, boxed with a side salad of mixed greens and berries, and basil Dijon balsamic dressing ($10). Given the heat, even iced coffee seemed intense, but I enjoyed the 16-ounce French-pressed coffee on ice with a splash of coconut milk ($3.50). Missing an opportunity to go local, Picnik uses Olympia Coffee Roasting Company, thereby dampening the odds of my return trip to sample their take on the Bulletproof or butter coffee trends. A vegan snickerdoodle made with almond flour ($1.50) – one of the "Sweet Cheats" on the dessert menu – was just the right balance of chewy and soft, sweet and a little salty.

I guzzled a refreshing 16-ounce bottle of green Fiji juice ($9), made with all organic vegetables and fruits. Because the fresh, cold-pressed concoctions are marketed as a feature, I was sorely disappointed to discover that recently Picnik suspended offering their own juices on tap in favor of California-based Suja Juice. Citing sourcing issues, a better price point, and their commitment to organic produce, their bottled choice is tasty, but my fingers are crossed for a return to house-made, local juices. Overall, everything Picnik Austin offers is palatable and pleasing, but the price points and slight missteps in product choices suggest quite a bit of potential still untapped.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
MORE Picnik Austin
Holiday Dining Doesn't Have to Be All Stomach Cramps and Anaphylaxis
Holiday Dining Doesn't Have to Be All Stomach Cramps and Anaphylaxis
Picnik's edible philosophies

Veronica Meewes, Dec. 14, 2018

It Takes a Village to Eat Safely With Food Allergies
It Takes a Village to Eat Safely With Food Allergies
Local restaurants adapt to the growing number of Americans with food allergies

Melanie Haupt, Feb. 2, 2018

More Food Reviews
Perfectly Barked Barbecue and Unlimited Hush Puppies at the Switch
Perfectly Barked Barbecue and Unlimited Hush Puppies at the Switch
The restaurant just off Highway 290 also serves up phenomenal peach cobbler

Melanie Haupt, June 21, 2019

Joann's Fine Foods Has Us Wondering How Much Is Too Much to Pay for Chicken-Fried Steak
Joann's Fine Foods Has Us Wondering How Much Is Too Much to Pay for Chicken-Fried Steak
Top-notch service and attention to detail at SoCo’s Austin Motel

Melanie Haupt, May 24, 2019

More by Jessi Cape
Canned Cocktails Swoop in to Save the Must-Have-a-Mixed-Drink Day
Canned Cocktails Swoop in to Save the Must-Have-a-Mixed-Drink Day
No bartender? No problem.

July 12, 2019

Four Flavors of Local Kombucha That Come in Cans
Four Flavors of Local Kombucha That Come in Cans
Chill with a can of Greenbelt Kombucha's fermented tea

July 12, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

paleo, gluten-free, food trailer, Olympia Coffee Roasting Company, Suja Juice

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle