Justin Avalos is taking back the fruit cup.
For too many years, we’ve associated the term "fruit cup" with the shelf-stable plastic cups filled with syrupy sweet liquid and mushy "fruit cocktail," but at his Mister FruitCup food trailer at 415 Jessie St., Avalos is showing just how creative you can get with fruit salads that happen to be served in a cup.
Inspired by the Mexican street food snack of fruits such as mango, pineapple, melons and jicama tossed with lime juice, chile and a hint of salt, Avalos started experimenting to create his own combinations of sweet, tart, sour and maybe even salty and spicy.
Avalos saw a business opportunity in his new-found discoveries, so he got to work on what is now a little cart just behind Thom’s Market on Barton Springs Road. He’s just released his fall menu, which includes items such as the Vermont cup with red and green apples, dried apricots, pecans, cheddar cheese and maple balsamic vinegar, and a vegan Masala cup with apples, pears, strawberries and masala-spiced yogurt.
My 5-year-old was thrilled to find a fruit cup with sprinkles and whipped cream (homemade whipped cream!), and I was delighted with the flavors and textures of the Thai cup: banana, watermelon, cantaloupe, orange and cucumber tossed with a chili lime spice mixture, lime juice and coconut flakes. Another surprise was a cup simply called "winter," with pears, apples, dried pineapple rings, pistachios and pomegranate lemon vinaigrette.
In addition to the fruit cups, which come in two sizes ($6.50 to $7.50), you can order fruit cup and cheese plates and larger fruit salads and trays that would be perfect to bring to a potluck or holiday party.
Go to misterfruitcup.com or search Mister FruitCup on Facebook for hours, which vary.
(You Gotta Try This is an occasional series in which Statesman writers recommend some of their favorite places. Do you have a place you think we should check out? Drop a note to firstname.lastname@example.org .)