September 4, 2011

Food Truck Love

I love food trucks.

I love the food trucks we have in this fine city of Minneapolis.

They are the only food trucks I know.

And I love them dearly.

They’re an odd concept, food trucks, no? Who would have thought that people would actually like eating food from a truck. While standing. On a busy sidewalk. With people hustling by them.

It’s a rather odd concept if you really think hard about it.

But, what you don't realize before you become a food truck eater, is that once you bite into whatever just got handed to you through the order window, you don’t give a shit about whatever sidewalk you’re standing on or whoever is trying to move past you on the sidewalk.

You’re too smitten to really care about anything. You quickly enter into food bliss. Not just because the food is great, but because it’s also different. A breath of fresh air—in fresh air. What could be better?

Food truck food is right up there on the food things that make me insanely happy list (and there are many things on that list). Food truck jealousy is also right up there on the list of things that make me insanely jealous, during the work week when I look out the windows at work in Golden Valley and think about all of the downtowners who are lining up for Smack Shack or Hola Arepa while I make my way down to the cafeteria.

But luckily there is a god, and there is access to food trucks for those of us who don’t get to indulge on our lunch break every day. I’ve intercepted Smack Shack downtown before a Twins game before (score!). Hola Arepa can be found at the Uptown Market on Sundays (phew!). And Chef Shack also parks its truck at weekend farmers markets (smart!).

Thank you, god.

I would love to try all of the trucks in town. There seems to be a pretty stellar line up in St. Paul during the week as well. (Did you see Andrew Zimmern’s food truck crawl this week with Alex Roberts and Tim McKee through St Paul? Do you know what I’d pay to go on that food truck crawl with them?)

Maybe someday.

But for now, here is where I’ve been sans those three food geniuses, and here is what I have loved from each.

Smack Shack

Hands down, my favorite truck in town. There are people who think we can’t get good lobster rolls here in Minnesota. I get why they’d think that. But they’re wrong. So very wrong. If they would take a gamble and try a lobster roll from Smack Shack, the argument would be over. Big buttery grilled slices of brioche bread, filled with huge chunks of lobster, lightly tossed with mayo, and seasoned with tarragon and I think cucumber? So freaking amazing that it actually makes my mouth water thinking about it. This was the meal I picked for my actual birthday day. That is saying something.

Hola Arepa

I have been eyeing and Twitter stalking this truck all summer and finally got to hit it up today at the Uptown Market. It solidly gets my #2 favorite truck in the Cities status. It was really delicious. It’s also perhaps the most beautiful truck in Mpls, all aqua-y and bright. They do...arepas...which are corn griddled cakes stuffed with various things. I chose the Slow Roasted Pork Arepa today, which also had black beans, cotija cheese, and Hola sauce on it. This thing was the perfect combination of flavors. There was a slightly spicy kick to the pork, the cotija cheese was nice and salty, and the sauce was sweet. I made Zach get me a fork so that I could scoop up every single last black bean that had fallen out into the paper tray. And I happily washed it all down with a pretty great Cucumber Lemonade.

Dandelion Kitchen

Zach claims he is somehow related to the owners / cooks of this truck. But I have yet to prove that out. J Whether your relatives are cooking there or not, Dandelion Kitchen is the kind of truck you feel good about eating at. The menu is comprised mostly of sandwiches made of local and organic stuff. I recently had the Roast Chicken Sandwich with homemade fig spread, blue cheese, and greens. There was an herb on that sandwich that I actually had to ask about—it was so interesting and tasted just like apples. Turns out it was sorrel leaf. Who knew sorrel leaf even existed (besides the folks at DK?) DK is also responsible for my foray into homemade sodas this summer. Every day they have a different one on the menu. I had the lemon ginger soda when I was there, and it was divine.

Chef Shack

Chef Shack was the truck that introduced me to the world of food trucks. It will forever have a place in my heart because of that. Over the past few summers, I’ve eaten many a bag of Indian Spiced Mini Doughnuts from their truck at the Mill City Farmer’s Market. They are the most delicious, interesting, comforting, doughy little mini doughnuts that my taste buds have ever met. I love them beyond words. My only complaint about them is that they don’t ever seem to make it to the Fulton Market. Sad. They also have a pretty rockstar Hangover Hash that is great when you’re hung-over or not hung-over. And lunch stuff. They have yummy lunch stuff (think sweet potato tacos).

How many more weeks of warm weather? Maybe 3? My goal for those 3 weeks is to eat as much food truck food as I possibly can. Ready? Set? Go.

(To find these truck locations, follow them on Twitter or Facebook!)

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