Get Sauced

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http://chefdrivencompanies.com/home/get-sauced/ 

https://twitter.com/ChefDrivenCo

 

Main Location: St. Paul, Office Buildings, Etc

            Ask any Lawyer scouting your local Hospital parking lot, there can be nothing more annoying, frustrating, and downright exhausting than “the Chase”. Yet as he and all the rest of us know, there is almost no better feeling of exhilaration and satisfaction when you finally CATCH that frantic target, hold it down with your bare hands and shove your teeth into its thick, hot neck vein, watching its eyes slowly go dark as the life slowly…

          I’m sorry, I was watching National Geographic and got carried away… Back to my point.

          One of the biggest draws to us Food Truck Foodies is the idea of the “chase.” Every single week of “hunting season” is spent looking on sites, reacting to news and gossip, then finding our prey’s main “watering hole/s.” Nowadays, that’s pretty quick and simple, very rarely do we have to experience that “challenge,” that one fleeting truck that we just can’t catch.

          It happens though. For me, that truck was Get Sauced.

          I remember 2011; I was downtown often, going to all the new trucks. I knew every single one. Then one day I was walking, and I see this white truck turn a corner; it was big, white, and had this sick art design on the side. Recognizing the kind of truck was easy, but I had never seen it before.

          Didn’t think about it much, until I saw it again a few weeks later while driving, and then again sometime after that. I was shocked; there was this truck I kept seeing driving but never on the street that I had no way of finding. The little hunter in the back corner of my brain set off; I went about my school life and work like usual, but he didn’t want to rest.

          Then one day I finally see it parked, on the street, with that familiar art design on the side: “Get Sauced.” I literally ran to the other side of Marquette to finally see what it was and place my first order.

          Get Sauced serves pulled meats and tacos with both Mexican and Asian based flavor options. Menu options change upon whim and season, so different visits will often yield different sides and fillings. The format is simple; you decide the pulled meat, then you choose what sandwich or taco style you want.

          Either way one can enjoy a very flavorful and on-point lunch while admiring the truck’s artwork, done by local Peter Hankee.

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Food: 8.5

           You know that feeling when someone asks “if you can describe –blank- in one word, what would it be?” and you just want to strangle them? That does not happen here; in fact, I cannot think of another word that fits Sauced besides “Satisfying.” Sauces are simply rich and thick, meat is juicy, veggies cooked properly, textures proper, and toppings flavorful. The Asian Style taco I had was drenched in a rich ginger-soy reduction and topped with wasabi coleslaw. The resulting flavor was just… craveable; the kind of thing you want to just shove into your mouth at 1am (which, by the way, is what time it is while I’m writing this… god I want a taco).

          Only drawback for me, though using masa tortillas; there’s no double-layer for the tacos; so if things fell out, then things fell out.

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Holdability: 6

          Arriving in baskets is the only relief one gets with their single-shelled taco, which, in their individuality, tend to be quite bursting with garnishes and sauce falling easily. I, myself, needed to stop in a doorway to eat my own, hand and wrist now dripping from the juices (though that was also partially due to it being winter). Can’t vouch anything for the pulled sandwiches, but assume they’re quite similar.

Price: 8.5

         Keeping around $7-8, with lower priced sides, a very reasonable menu this be.

Speed: 9.5

         A Chef-Driven Truck that knows how to streamline, none of my orders have ever felt even close to a wait. Not immediate, but you get your purchases fast and ready to eat NOW.

The TOE: 9

          A funky hand-painted art design, tacos that make you hungry in the middle of the night, and a fun attitude driven by the chefs themselves, this truck was definitely worth the chase. It can feel somewhat generic and “everyday food truck” upon first inspection, but once you go back… you just get it.

                        Tally: 41.5/50

Final Thoughts

           To tell the truth, I wasn’t actually that impressed the first time I saw their menu; it all just looked same-old, same-old. Then I had it, and again, and again just recently. Now that I think about it, I think I could safely say they are one of the best taco trucks in the city (now, do some actual masa tortillas and actually use 2 per taco like you’re SUPPOSED to, and the best spot you shall be).

           If you are ever lucky enough to have the chance, get the Mexican Corn (or however it’s called). The first thing I had, it is simply cooked corn mixed with a sour-creamy dairy sauce, scooped in a bowl and topped with queso blanco, herbs, and spices. It is so surprisingly satisfying and good; you know, it might make good stoner food.

           Other than that, grab a taco in whatever flavor you want, maybe try the pulled pork on the second or third visit.

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Eli’s Donut Burgers

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https://twitter.com/elisDonutBurger

www.facebook.com/elisdonutburgers

Main Location: Events

            A very rare Truck to find, this Luther Vandross-honoring establishment only ever seems to appear during Local Fairs. I, myself, experienced them at the Canterbury Food Truck Day. Anxiousness is not uncommon, then, when one learns about this unique truck ahead of time. But as they very rarely come out, it can make the visit very special.

            Which is probably for the best, since this isn’t exactly the kind of truck one wants to become addicted to; and believe me, you WILL get addicted.

            Eli’s serves two things: Donut Burgers, and Fried Food to go on the side. All the traditional cholesterol-destroying dishes can be found; fried pickles (spears and chips), fried macaroni, fried asparagus, fried potato, really whatever they have for the day.

            The burger is a slightly thick (not huge, but not a wimpy-little fast-food knockoff) patty, topped with cheese and, if you want, bacon (oh… you want the bacon). This is then sandwiched between a housemade donut bun sliced in half. It has to be handmade, the donuts look, feel, and taste completely different than donuts found in the store. At the end, the sticky-sweet white sugar glaze is spooned over the top in a thick drizzle.

            Wrapped up and served from a tiny window, it’s time to enjoy your life-shortening, heart-cloggening, finger-stickening piece of True Americana (Seriously, what other countries would dare make something like this? Use tons of butter, suuuuuuure… but a donut burger, apparently that’s disgusting).

Food: 9

                For those who’ve never had a donut burger, it can sound strange… most may assume any desire to consume one is derived from the simple equation of “fatty + bad for you = people want to eat it.”

                … not that it’s not true, of course.

                However, in reality, the combination of these two foods is just… sinful genius. The thick, meaty fat of the burger and cheese with the saltiness of the bacon both contrast and are cut by that slick, sticky sweetness of the glaze. They made a perfect donut for it as well; it is a little softer than others, somewhat like a cross between a nice bread slice and that well known krispy kreme texture. The bottom slice soaks up all the burger’s juices, and you end up squishing the top slice down to make this compact, concentrated experience of the best, most unhealthy bacon cheeseburger ever.

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                The fried items are all good, but their quality seems on the same level as any random bar’s offerings (I have it on good authority they don’t even make the fried mac n cheese, just buy it pre-made and fry), maybe a little better; the pickle chips WERE good. As for the burger, the only thing I could think to make better would be trying to griddle the donut flats for a bit more texture and flavor.

Holdability: 10

                One its own, the burger holds very well. It’s seemingly small, and despite the perceived mess, the only problem is one’s fingers getting sticky from the glaze. However nothing actually falls out. Fried sides are in baskets, but they’ve always been good finger food.

Price: 9

                Everything on the menu is only $5; I believe if you want bacon and cheese on the burger it’s only 50cents-$1 extra, well worth it. The only thing of note is that, with the temptation to get a couple different fried foods along with your burger, the overall cost can add up QUICKLY. I, myself, would suggest a burger and something else anyways, so an automatic $10 that is.

                Though if you’re doing a fair, one gets into the habit of sharing food often, so an extra $5 for group food is a good deal.

Speed: 9.5

                 Fried foods come out immediately or almost so; most being fried a bit beforehand and kept warm (I know, it sounds a bit horrifying, like a fast-food franchise’s habits… but at least it’s fried food, can handle it). Considering you almost always have a huge line of people and orders in front of you, they get their burgers out pretty quickly.

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The TOE: 10

                Taking a hold of our innermost desires and letting us experience something sinful we would never even think of treating to ourselves, good food trucks once again allow us a way to transport to a different experience. Even the healthiest of daily lifestyles will get put on a bench (it can do the horse betting while we get the food) for that one day just so one can eat at this truck.

                I mention nostalgia every now and then in my TOE reviewals. Well, sometimes that nostalgia isn’t triggered by a familiar food, but by the FEELING that good food can give you. Eli’s Donut Burgers brings back that sweet, sinful feeling when you know you’re eating something that, simply put, is NOT HEALTHY. Not only don’t you care, but you revel in it, you dance around the sugary-meaty bun, and are filled with the resulting happiness. Allowing us that experience, there are no real points I feel I can take off.

                … then again, it could have just been a sugar high.

                       Tally: 47.5/50

Final Thoughts

            The only time you’re going to get this is at a Fair, where you no doubt have so many other food stops ahead of you. In which case, this is yet another reason Eli’s is such a perfect stop. Grab yourself a single, non-filling but so-satisfying burger, WITH bacon and cheese, and head to your next stop.

            If you’re sharing with a group, grab one or two fried side baskets and a couple extra burgers (you won’t be sharing yours… will have to pry from our cold, fat, sticky fingers).

Home Street Home

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homestreethometruck.com/  

Main Location: St. Paul

            It was thundering when I first visited HSH.

            I finally had a day free during the weekly “Lunch by the River” event, and as there were a few I hadn’t seen yet, I decided to head down. As my luck would have it, rain came down in the morning. I checked the weather, but it seemed okay, and they don’t shut down Lunch by the River for that, so I continued down.

            Then it started to rain HARD and thunder… the loud kind; after that I heard a siren, and after that I started running around in circles. But, I was there for a reason, so I grabbed my food and headed for the nearest overhang (the trees weren’t that much help). Luckily the sirens and thunder passed to a simple annoyance, and I got on with the rest of my stops that day.

            HSH offers a variety of different menu items, with flavors and options changing often. Really, one of the very few trucks that seems to have absolutely NO leaning to any kind of style other than stereotypical street food: Burgers, tacos, quesadillas, gyros, sandwiches, you name it. This isn’t the generic, mass-optioned menu one sees at the random corner bar near your house; this is the good stuff.

            Local grass fed beef, homemade ketchups and sauces with good cheese for the burger; four quality cheeses and jalapeno jam on the Grilled Cheese; Pulled Pork roasted in Summit IPA… and these are only three examples.

Food: 9.5

             So far, I have had their blue-cheese stuffed burger (their suggestion) and the corned beef. It is somewhat hard to think of how I want to describe these, so I will just say simply. The attention to quality sourced products and homemade condiments is felt pretty clearly. I would probably give them a perfect score here, but with this kind of menu, it’s hard for even ME to get a good sense with only two items.

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             Oh, but the corned beef? Made like grilled cheese, all gooey with the textured crust, still with the big pile of beef inside.

             Ultimately, a very scrumptious and satisfying experience both times I went; it is very easy to find oneself craving this truck.

Holdability: 6.5

             I really don’t like this category for this truck because there are so many different menu items on here. Some of these lift and handle easily while walking, whereas others require a place to set down and go at it with both hands. The only constants among them all is that A: everything comes in a basket, some with chips, and B: you CAN eat with your hands, though some are a bit messy about it (particularly the burger).

Price: 8.5

             Varied, there are some higher and some lower, and I would definitely say it is worth it.

Speed: 8

              Average good speed for these items; just know the simpler items will take quicker than a burger.

The TOE: 10

              Home Street Home’s Big Toe starts with their name; it’s not something one might think has THAT much bearing on any food establishment. Sometimes though, you go to a place and read the name and it has just that SLIGHT note of warmth and “rightness” to it that, when the food is eaten and done, makes it all complete.

              Normally, I don’t like “variety” menus and trucks; as the practice usually feels like a cheap way to grab different customers without putting much effort into it. But, when a place does it RIGHT, and makes sure every single one is special and unique, you have found a hangout, a place to go back to.

              I love reading their menu. Each item has either some little new addition or focus on fresh and tasty ingredients within their toppings. It shows that certain level of “chef fun” a good food truck can have. At the end of the day, HSH has all of these mixed with that fantastic Unknown Aura that really gives that Food Truck feeling when you’re there.

Service: +2.5

               I feel they deserve an extra point of note for this. When I was standing with my umbrella in the rain and the sirens started, trying to make a call to my dad (and one of the only customers out there at the time), one of the first things an employee did was ask me if I wanted to stand inside. It was a very thoughtful and nice action which I still appreciate. We were able to get into some nice chats as well, and they even offered me the possibility of working there.

              I’d probably give them more, but one has to recognize situational happenings in unique times like that.

                        Tally: 45/50

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Final Thoughts

            Okay, when you are at that point when you have absolutely NO IDEA what truck you want to go to, this is where you want to go. I can basically tell you no matter what your general street food preference, they will have a good, satisfying version of it. If I were to narrow down specifics for the Food Hunters, I guess I could force myself to suggest:

  • Blue Cheese Stuffed Burger (homemade ketchup should never be missed)
  • Corned Beef Sandwich (not easy to find one in street foods, and this is griddled to perfection)
  • Pulled Pork Sandwich (cooked in Summit, seriously, eat it)
  • Grilled Cheese (great when looking for lower prices on Food Truck Scavenger days)