Eating Austin | Frito Pie | A Continuous Lean.

Eating Austin | Frito Pie

Apr 12th, 2011 | Categories: Austin, Food | by Michael Williams

While in Austin a few weeks back we popped into Lamberts for a quick bite and a break from the chaos that is SXSW. The intention was to saddle up to the bar and dine on some of the tasty food that Lamberts has become known for. While tempted by the aromas of the slow smoked meats, we instead veered slightly off course and selected the Frito Pie, a decision that will reverberate for years to come in the form of cravings for a dish in a far away city.

The Frito Pie is normally a more simple affair that consists of Fritos, cheese and chilli.  Often you will find it served in an actual Fritos bag during occasions like the Texas State Fair. The recipe at Lamberts is slightly more refined, and in our book more delicious. Lamberts takes a bag of Fritos and adds in a heap of cheddar cheese, some chopped-up brisket, goat cheese, queso fresco and then heats it up in the oven to melt the cheese. Once melted, everything is plated in a pool of bar-b-que sauce, covered with more melted queso and then topped with a bit of pico de gallo. The flavors, while very cheese-centric, mix perfectly with the crunch of the Fritos and will really make you want to shake the chef’s hand. Outside of the cardiac damage suffered at the hand of Lamberts, the only thing we regret is the fact that we don’t live closer to this Frito goodness.

Comments: 20

20 Comments to “Eating Austin | Frito Pie”

  1. nick
    on Apr 12th, 2011
    @ 12:21 PM

    amazing. i have a good story about frito pie, but i am too lazy to type it. i am not, however, too lazy to offer a useless comment.

  2. Jessica Define
    on Apr 12th, 2011
    @ 1:30 PM

    still haven’t been to lamberts, but now i’m anxious to have my austin friends take me. i will be eating this, fa sho.

  3. Makaga
    on Apr 12th, 2011
    @ 1:38 PM

    Ahh, Frito Pie takes me back to growing up in Santa Fe. We would sell Frito Pies at school to raise money – like how kids have bake sales these days.
    Thanks for the headsup to this more refined version.

  4. John R
    on Apr 12th, 2011
    @ 2:02 PM

    I highly recommend Lambert’s Wild Boar Ribs appetizer as well.

  5. jay
    on Apr 12th, 2011
    @ 3:25 PM

    Lamberts rules. my buddy Tom Yaps loves the boar ribs. They taste like chicken wings. no bull.

    Frito pies are best left in the bag of Fritos like Cowgirl in the west village, but lamberts is a touch classier.

  6. VM
    on Apr 12th, 2011
    @ 3:27 PM

    Next trip for sure.

  7. Ray Hull
    on Apr 12th, 2011
    @ 4:50 PM

    I think you meant “sidle” up to the bar, but then again, you were in TX… Will be in El Paso in early May for a J.B. Hill boot fitting; hope I can have as much good dining luck.

  8. aquariumdrunkard
    on Apr 12th, 2011
    @ 10:21 PM

    good joint. in addition to the eats, upstairs they have a live music room I rented out for a sxsw event few years back. cozy + great sound + said eats downstairs post dranks.

  9. Tommy
    on Apr 12th, 2011
    @ 10:53 PM

    The best thing about Lambert’s is the way that it SMELLS!!! It’s like sitting in a meat smoker. Wonderful place.

  10. TMH
    on Apr 12th, 2011
    @ 11:30 PM

    Reckon I gotta try that

  11. Leland Witter
    on Apr 13th, 2011
    @ 8:55 AM

    In Raleigh, NC there is a great Frito-based appetizer at Player’s Retreat, a bar and burger joint, that has been there for 60-odd (and I mean odd) years. It’s called Mimi’s Sausage Dip and it is basically a slightly cheesy sausage gravy served in a bowl with Frito’s for dipping. Fantastic!

    If you’re ever in town, it is a must-stop place. Their meat is cut and ground in house, so their burgers are out of this world. It’s hard to describe the dichotomy between how the place looks and how good the food is – you just have to experience it.

  12. Billy
    on Apr 13th, 2011
    @ 1:12 PM

    yep, I’d eat that.

  13. karen
    on Apr 13th, 2011
    @ 3:37 PM

    i almost (but not quite) hate being one of those people, but for proper frito pie there are far better places to go. i’m fine with fancy newfangled takes on standards and much of the food at lambert’s is quite good. but frito pie is supposed to be salt of the earth, regular people, white trashy food and it should be eaten at gas stations and county fairs or at the very least a slightly more modest establishment than fancypants lambert’s.

    that being said, it’s nice to see a non-texan extol the virtues of a lovely food.

  14. R4L
    on Apr 13th, 2011
    @ 3:57 PM

    I have not had Fritos in a bag since I left Texas!! Thanks for mentionning this!!!

  15. MR Mister
    on Apr 13th, 2011
    @ 8:09 PM

    Ugh, I hate Frito pie and always have. My (young, divorced, and poor) mama would make it for me when I was a kid in Arkansas and I could barely stomach it. Y-U-C-K!

  16. Kristen
    on Apr 17th, 2011
    @ 10:31 AM

    Ray Hull,
    El Paso is home to several “homey” joints – you’ll have to dig around. Your best bet is to go for some serious Mexican food, stock up on some German pastries and take the trip out for a steak at Cattleman’s ranch.
    Good luck with the boot fitting.

  17. A
    on Apr 17th, 2011
    @ 4:03 PM

    Texas Chili Parlor is a personal favorite.

  18. Doug S
    on Apr 17th, 2011
    @ 6:58 PM

    I did the exact same thing during SXSW – saw a show at Lambert’s upstairs and couldn’t resist the temptation of the delicious smells from their kitchen. The Frito pie was everything I hoped it would be.

  19. Austin Food Journal
    on Apr 19th, 2011
    @ 9:06 PM

    Nice to see sites that i follow come to my town and partake in things I enjoy.

  20. OhioHead
    on Apr 28th, 2011
    @ 8:36 AM

    ACL – thanks for the recommendation!

    I was in Austin this week speaking at event on Tuesday, had the “pie” on Monday and again Tuesday w/ my colleagues. Agree the “pie” is county fair/gas station type food, I love when a restaurant takes a classic and makes it even better.

    My colleague from TX was “holy sh#t, this is unbelievable!”