Best buddies and talented chefs Krysten Hanger and Keith Abate of the award-winning Blind Fox food truck have been keeping the staff and visitors to The Halles well fed this show season. The word is out that their elevated Mexican fare is a must-eat during the Round Top Fall Antiques Show. 

With only a couple of days of the show left, there is still time to stop by to fill your belly with the Blind Fox’s generously portioned quesadillas, which are stuffed to overflowing with marinated pork, chicken, or beef, and peppers and onions (optional) with a side of house made salsa. Fresh house made gauc is extra, of course. 

The same beautifully spiced, but not overly spicy meats are used in other menu items, including tostadas, nachos, a Southwest salad and pozole bowl. The Blind Fox team also serves breakfast, which includes a simple bacon and egg breakfast taco, or avocado toast with mixed greens, tomatoes and cilantro lime vinaigrette, topped with cotija cheese and shaved radish.

For snacks, Blind Fox offers chef prepared salsa, queso, or guacamole with chips. We recommend the Dorsey Dip Trio, which includes all three delectable sauces with your tortilla chip basket. Behind these seemingly simple dishes are two chefs with impeccable taste, whose culinary expertise produces food that is well above average. 

Hanger trained at Le Cordon Bleu culinary school in Austin, and Abate studied at the Culinary Institute of America before the pair met while working as chefs at Austin gem Épicerie Café & Grocery. Both had a love of cooking well before their formal educations began. 

“Growing up in Pennsylvania, my parents bought me a little toy cooking set, like a tiny plastic restaurant for a child,” Abate recalls. “I loved two things at that time, Power Rangers and my cooking set. So at the age of four or five, I opened my first restaurant — the Power Ranger Diner. I specialized in one thing, plastic sunny side up eggs. My folks would come to the basement and order, and I would cook them my famous plastic eggs regardless of what they ordered.”

Chef Keith Abate of Blind Fox

Following his short stint slinging plastic eggs, Abate was accepted into the culinary program at Bowie High School in Austin. From there, he was accepted by the CIA before graduation. Meanwhile, Hanger used cooking as therapy while studying journalism at Texas State University before realizing that food should be her life.

“When I was a teenager, I watched Food Network all the time and played around with recipes in my free time, but once I got to college I was majoring in journalism. I used cooking to ease the stress of classes that I wasn’t enjoying,” she says. “One day I just stopped going to classes and my incredibly supportive parents asked me what I was going to do next. In that moment, I realized what my passion had been all along, and it all clicked – cooking. I enrolled in Le Cordon Bleu and have never looked back.”

Chef Krysten Hanger of Blind Fox pauses for a photo in the lounge at The Halles.

In addition to their formal educations, these chefs each have a string of impressive restaurant experiences to their credits. While they could have stayed gainfully employed in Austin’s sophisticated food scene, the pair recognized early in their friendship that they were meant to start their own restaurant businesses together. However, when dreams of opening a brick and mortar location fell through at the start of the pandemic, the pair pivoted and bought a food truck in February 2021. After only two months in business serving the crowds at the Canton Trade Days first Monday shows and Armadillo Ale Works in Denton, the Blind Fox food truck was invited to and won the Eighter Food Truck Challenge in Decatur. 

“Our winning dish was from our Asian menu – a Korean barbecue duck bao bun with lotus root and mixed herbs,” Hanger says. “Due to time constraints, we couldn’t bring that menu to The Halles this show, but we are going to work very hard to get that menu up here in April for everyone to enjoy. If you like what we have now, just wait.”