Main Location: Minneapolis
The second of Nicolette Mall’s mainstay catering “trucks,” Dandelion Kitchen offers fresh-produce sandwiches with a high focus on local and organic. Next to that, they also make their very own Sodas, with flavors from Basil Lime to Rosemary Grapefruit. Due to the true pickiness of quality organic ingredients, their menu will shift and change throughout the season.
At least, they say it does… personally whenever I walk by I keep seeing the same things; it’s probably only one or two items that change. Since their start 3 years ago, the menu has slightly expanded with more options (and two more sodas). Keeping the original Grilled Ham and Brie, BLT w/ Avocado, and Roast Chicken, Dandelion has added Charcuterie to their arsenal, offering a Copa and Duck Confit now.
A note to consider, Dandelion often tends to be one of the first stands to call it a day with even the slightest of weather changes. They rarely, if ever, are out during rain, cold, or sometimes just grey clouds. Obviously one can say this about a lot of trucks, but even those will often stay and consider things for a bit before leaving. I literally once read a twitter from Dandelion saying that they had traveled all the way down to Nicolette, set themselves up, were getting ready when it started to rain. They then, without a second thought, immediately packed things up and left; despite all the time and effort it takes for a truck to set up for a day, and without even seeing if their might be SOME people early on who would have wanted food.
Part of this little blog that I’m doing revolves around all the little things within this food truck world that I react to, then sharing it with everyone who reads this so that I’m not the only one aware. These are things that, I believe, should be known by the reader and searcher. Even if at the end of the day it doesn’t mean anything.
I really hate putting a score like this; the ingredients are so fresh, such good quality, and taste so good individually. Their sandwich ideas are pretty good too, and have a great potential for being that great, refreshing lunch to have in the middle of summer. However, both times that I went there, I just ended up being immensely DISAPPOINTED.
Here is why: the bread. It is a very good quality peasant bread, I won’t deny that, but it is just not good for sandwiches (least off all the delicate, fresh kind that Dandelion makes). The bread is literally so tough and chewy, my jaw started feeling sore at the end of each session. Sadly, that’s not all of it either; the combination of ingredients in the sandwich has great potential for something fantastic… but it has always fallen short.
There has always been “one little thing” that skewed the end result in such a way that you want to collapse in sadness… cuz it was so close. The BLT had way too thick avocado slices which overwhelmed the delicate heirlooms and farmer’s bacon, and the mustard on the Chicken Sandwich did the same. Dialed back a little bit, each of those sandwiches would have been amazing (minus the bread); but they didn’t, and they weren’t, so you got what you got.
Normally I would have scored lower, but there is one very bright point in this place: the sodas. They are so refreshing, so flavorful and perfectly crafted; it is worth a trip and small wait in line just to get one on its own.
Despite some disappointments, the sandwiches are still perfect street food. Slid into a Dandelion-colored paper sheath, it is not that difficult to walk around and eat; sandwich in one hand, soda in the other. Due to the nature of them, however, the ingredients may fall out a little easier than others (sandwiches are split completely from side to side, not connected on one side like a hot dog bun; the general style that most street food does for longer rolls). Not to mention that one may often have to grip with both hands just to bite through the thick, chewy bread.
Around $6.50 for most menu items, which were made with good organic ingredients, is ultimately a pretty good deal. The range stays pretty close from what I remember as well, so at least it doesn’t stretch the wallet.
On their site I see reviews and hear mention of how they get your order out “fast and quick,” however considering the kind of line I see most times I walk by, and the kinds of sandwiches which need to be assembled, I am highly doubting that. Fast for them maybe, and possibly quick for their type of food served, but there are certainly quicker alternatives.
The TOE: 8
Disappointments in the food aside, Dandelion uses fresh, local ingredients to make a variety of street-easy sandwiches. They have started playing with delicious charcuterie, and seriously they MAKE THEIR OWN SODA; which I believe is held in some kind of pony keg too. You really get the “feeling” of a healthy, natural sandwich shop when you go there. For that they excel, for a good many food truck is nothing if you don’t feel like you have been transported somewhere else.
Oh, and their truck is a big, noticeable bright yellow.
When I do a “food truck day,” I always love to stop by here as my official “drink truck.” If the line is short enough, get one of their specialty sodas to sip on a hot day or to enjoy with another Truck’s food (get the food first, otherwise the soda will be gone by the time you get to it).
Until there is confirmation by them or somebody who has eaten there that they have officially switched to a much more suitable sandwich bread (for either some or all), I would avoid the food entirely. The soup would probably be good for a cold, rainy day… if they’re still out.