Farewell, Austin, it’s been real (real, real weird). In March, PlaceInvaders had the pleasure of invading SXSW for a series of events hosted by the True[x] Media team at a seriously impressive residence in the very midst of the mayhem on 6th Street. We were made quickly aware how the hard work and planning required to do this type of events is balanced by the exploits and (mis)adventures shared with the cast of individuals comprising the ephemeral family that assembled. From our creatively-staffed (thanks, Travis! and sorry about the sketchy Craigslisting, Jena!) temporary kitchen and service crew, to the event staff, bartenders, and True[x] executives we saw every day, everyone was delightful and lovely, some quite interesting and hilarious, and some extremely handsy with the bacon. All of the bacon. You know who you are (Chris).
A big part of the appeal of doing PlaceInvaders has for us been the promise of creating a life full of travel, interesting people and extravagant residences, and an unconventional approach to getting to know new cities. We did a great job acquainting ourselves with Austin’s characteristics and peculiarities (although we maybe spent a little too much time in the grocery store...shout out to Fiesta Market, you guys are the best).
We partied in a charming RV Park, drank beers with our toes in Hamilton Pool (hint: go early!), heard great stories from an Iranian bar owner we met, saw a Latin American hip-hop showcase, shared beers with fun Dubliners on St. Patrick’s Day, vintage shopped, marveled at the size and affordability of Texas produce, and ate our weight in tacos. Austin won us over, and as if there was ever any doubt: yeah, it’s super fucking weird.
Stops in Austin:
- Hamilton Pool: 40 miles east of downtown, arrive before 1pm to avoid a line, beers not in glass permitted, just be discreet; stop at Revival on the way back to town to pet Hamlet, the reclaimed home decor store’s giant backyard pig
- Pecan Grove RV Park: lovely people here, try showing up with a case of good beer, maybe some snacks, and see if anyone wants to hang out
- South Congress: shop at Feathers and other vintage boutiques, see live music at Guero’s, shop for candy at Big Top, and grab a coffee at Jo’s
- Austin Rodeo: although we didn’t quite make it this year, we heard it’s quite an experience, held annually during SXSW
The big hits food-wise were our Sriracha/Mezcal Broiled Oysters (thanks for the inspo, Christian!) and our Detroit-Style pepperoni pizza. The first one, a bit decadent, the second, a total comfort-food/crowd-pleaser. We enjoy making both of them, but we think the guests liked the pizza the most. Infatuated with all things Detroit, we decided this recipe needed to happen. After four tests, we think we pretty much got it. The parmesan on the edge of the pan makes for a crispy, just about burnt crust that you'll surely try to replicate in your future pizza-making endeavors (hint: put the cast iron pan in the oven before prepping the pizza).
You're going to love this one.
- 1 ball of frozen pizza dough
- 9 oz. of your favorite red sauce for pizza
- 1 lb. Mozzarella Cheese
- 1/2 lb. Parmesan cheese
- 6 oz. Mini-Pepperonis
- 1 tbsp. Garlic powder
- Olive oil
- Preheat oven to its highest temperature. In this recipe, we'll call it 550°.
- Thaw the pizza dough and separate into eighteen equally sized dough balls (the way I like to do it is separating it into three, then those into 3, then halve the remaining dough).
If you want more doughy pizza, you can separate into fewer pieces. Don't go less than 12 or you'll end up with cheese melted down through the oven racks.
- Toss the dough in oil and place them flat at the base of 1 1/2 muffin tins, slightly turning them up at the edge to make a pool for the sauce to sit in.
- Spoon one tablespoon of sauce into each pizza, then line the edges of each of the pizzas with 3/4 of the parmesan cheese.
- Place all the mozzarella cheese into the middle of the pizza, then sprinkle with garlic powder.
- Distribute the mini-pepperonis evenly and top with the remaining Mozzarella .
- Place in oven for 10 minutes or until tops of pizzas have turned about 50% brown.
- Remove from tins with a spatula and set on a cooling rack. Eat the minute you think it won't burn the roof of your mouth (We're not going to blame you if you can't wait.)
Makes 18 cupcake-size pizzas
(Cover Photo) SXSW Music - Photo Credit: Digital Trends