SFC: Deep Frying Desserts

           A couple weeks back, me and the family stopped for dinner at a little place called “Miller’s Bar” for a little Burger dinner. Overall not too impressive, just the simple old neighborhood dive bar, simple and small menu of burgers and such. Burgers were good, not extraordinary; onion rings and fries very basic, chili probably came from a can. A place to drink and fill the stomach.

          There was, however, something at the end of the menu which caught our eye. The one and only dessert on the menu: “Deep Fried PB and J.”

            Soon as I saw this, my thoughts revolved around “this would be a great Food Truck dessert;” it’s nostalgic, a little different, heck it’s covered in batter and deep fried. I mean hey, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen something like it at the State Fair; may not be a hand-held, but Street Food it does scream.

           As for how it tasted: Crispy fried crust, gooey sugary insides, almost sinful, which is hard to do with a pb n j. The only problem I had was, other than the obviously from-the-bottle chocolate and whipped cream, they had dredged the thing in sugar after frying. And I mean DREDGED it; not that little sprinkle of cinnamon-sweet, this thick crust of tooth-aching sugar.

         Despite that, however, I still think it was the highlight of the night, and figured it would be fun to go about trying to re-create. Not to mention it’s a good excuse to fry some things I probably shouldn’t.

           So, we start with the batter. Now, what kind of batter do we use when deep frying desserts? Why, Pancake of course!! I ended up using a very simple recipe, but you can always look around for different kinds depending on your taste, buttermilk would be interesting.

Pancake Batter

1 cup flour

2 Tb Sugar

2 Tb Baking Powder

1 tsp Salt

1 cup Milk

1 Egg

2 Tb Vegetable Oil

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  1. Mix Dry ingredients, make well in center
  2. Add rest of ingredients in center, mix until integrated; a few small lumps is fine

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           Now, a little trick I’ve learned with pancakes is, before adding, separate the yolk and white of the egg. Mix the batter like usual with the yolk, and off to the side whip the egg white to soft or stiff peaks (since it’s just one, can do easily by hand). Once done, fold into the Batter, makes it nice and airy/fluffy.

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           Not actually sure how well this worked with the deep-frying, I still need to fine tune a few things in the transfer, oil, etc (you’ll see). In particular, I think I might have preferred a slightly thinner batter (more milk), helping create the crispy factor when frying. But it’s certainly still good when using the leftover batter for breakfast in the morning.

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            Batter done, we can now get to the actual sandwich. We start just like any other PB and J, just make sure that one doesn’t spread all the way to the edges of the bread; need to keep it in the center so there’s no leakage. I used strawberry jam, since that’s all I had and I think that’s what they used at the Bar, but if I had the choice Grape is still a favorite. We could stop here, but I just happened to have some Dehydrated Banana chips. So I garnished the Peanut Butter with some of those, as well as a bit of chopped Dates; nice brown-sugar/honey notes that always go well with PB sammiches.

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            One last step before going to the fry, you need to slice the center out. This can be done however one wants, could press a circle in the middle to make your own “uncrustable,” but for now I just decided to slice the crust off. The reason for this is 2-fold: crust-ends tend to be very loose, leaving a lot of risk for things getting in or falling our while frying. Secondly, the action of cutting helps to press the bread together; this, along with squeezing the edges with your fingers afterwards, will help to seal the sides nicely. Doesn’t have to be perfect.

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         One can keep this whole, cut into smaller squares or triangles, however. While you’re at it, you can gather any other sweet treats one happen to has on hand, as I did here.

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           By now, you’ll have of course gotten some oil (vegetable, canola, grapeseed, your preference) in a pan and heated to at least 375F. IDEALLY, you’ll want this to be a deep pan so that you can actually fully submerge your batter-covered goodness. However, I myself did NOT want to go through all that just to fry one sandwich, so I just did a shallow fry; it’ll still work, will just be a different outcome, and the heat won’t be as stable as a larger mass of oil.

           Dip your items in the batter. If you have it, lay it over some sort of rack over a pan/paper to let any excess batter drip off, or just hold it above the bowl. I didn’t do any of this, and I ended up getting all this batter which settled on the first side of the sandwich, so I quite literally had a pancake on one side and a crust on the other.

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            Fry at 375 (I might actually go higher too, say 400, just to ENSURE it fries hard) until golden brown, flipping over and doing the same. Once done, transfer over to a paper-towel lined plate for a few seconds, pat, then move into a bowl of cinnamon-sugar for a quick little toss. Slice, garnish however you want (still have some of those candied walnuts myself, mmmm), and consume.

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             Now, some of you may be looking at one of my previous pictures and wondering how exactly those brownies and rice krispies turned out in the friar. And some of you… well the rest of you probably don’t care. But for those that do!! The brownie was good, the deep-fried Maple-Walnut fudge square was gooey; spilled a bit during the fry, think it needs a dredge in flour beforehand so more of the batter sticks. And the rice krispies… actually one could barely even tell they were there; really need to use the denser squares for this.

           Good luck on your own home-frying! Tell me your results afterwords!

 

            What’s the last deep-fried item you’ve eaten that gave you that feeling of “Ohhhhh this REALLY isn’t good for me, but I’m eating it anyway”? Is there anything you would like to try deep-fried like that?

SFC: Special Krispies

                So, the friend who sent me the Cacao Beans wants me to make her fudge; Maple-Walnut, to be exact. Since I always prefer my special shipments to contain a variety of homemade goodies, and I had an abundance of walnuts leftover, my favorite Rice Krispies seemed a good option. Not to mention all the marshmallow goodness I’ll have to myself after shipping half of it….

                As those who’ve read my review of SCRATCH, one of my favorite Toe Rings in the city is their Ginger Rice Krispies. They’re that perfect balance of childhood nostalgia, mixed with that little ingredient to heighten the enjoyment even more. And like them, I have my OWN special ingredient for heightening my Krispy, along with other confections.

                That is, a very simple, and very delicious method for Candying Nuts. Very much like the style of those cinnamon-roasted varieties one sees at the Farmer’s Market, this is a recipe that one can use for almost any kind of nut. I’ve used it for Pecans, Almonds, Peanuts, and now Walnuts; on a side note, I would probably avoid trying with Macadamia or Brazil, just not the right texture to match with the coating. Hazelnuts are debatable.

                So, before even going near the marshmallows, we start making our little candies (can do a couple hours before, a day is good… though make sure you have enough to last through the highly occasional snacking. This is not a temptation you can resist).

                Separate a couple egg whites, add a drop of Vanilla, and whisk until Foamy (can do this by hand easily), stopping after there’s no more “loose whites” but before getting even close to “soft peak.” In a separate bowl, mix White and Brown sugar (more white than brown), a little Salt, a pinch of Baking Powder (or more if doing a lot), and any seasonings. I just did Cinnamon for this, but I’ve also done cayenne, chilli powder, ginger, etc.

                As you can see, this is a very non-specific recipe, much how I like it. All one needs to know is having enough of both whipped whites and sugar that it can completely cover all the nuts one uses.

               Fold Walnuts into whipped whites until covered; if there’s a decent amount leftover in bowl, carefully scoop onto the mixed sugar. Otherwise, just dump; lots of people like mixing these in a plastic bag together, whatever your fancy. Fold and mix completely until the egg and sugar mix into this sticky, light brown paste; if more sugar is needed, one can easily add.

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              Best picture of the look I could get, forgot to use camera until after already getting into the pan.

              Bake at a LOW temperature, 300-325F, on a parchment-lined Baking sheet. Now, the trick here is stirring every 8-10 minutes or so; I like to think of it similar to making a really fluffy scrambled egg, still moving it around to mix and distribute now and then but mostly leaving it alone to build that nice, thick, fluffy (or in this case crunchy) layer.

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             As it cooks, you’ll notice the slow change from liquid to a dragging, textured scramble of sugar. Keep doing what you’re doing, stirring a little more often as one gets closer, until the crust is brown and noticeably hard while stirring. To test, take a nut out (since the crust is hard, one doesn’t have to worry about sugar-burn), let it cool for a few minutes, and bite in half; a good test of what texture will be after letting it cool, plus you can see if the nut is toasted where you want.

               Since the oven is so low, one has little worry about overcooking if needing to leave in a little longer.

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             Out of the oven and cooled, we can finally get to the Krispies! With each batch I do, I try to find a couple new things I can do with it, and this was certainly no exception. Along with the Walnuts, I figured I’d Toast the Marshmallows beforehand and add some Bourbon; I also had some figs in the cupboard.

            So, we start with the Bourbon (get the cheap stuff, you’re cooking), cooking it down with those Figs. Following up, we add a whole stick of butter; one of the secrets from my Mom when she made her Rice Krispies. She’d do the traditional recipe all exact, except for doubling the butter; really makes it tasty.

            Now, one of my first big secrets to my recipe; when I first made, I had a lot of leftover pre-made caramel in the fridge, so I add a few spoonfuls. This particular batch, I sadly didn’t have any, so I just used brown sugar instead, mixed with some salt of course.

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            If you can get them at the same or lesser price, Mini Marshmallows are preferred for toasting; more surface area. As for the Krispies and Nuts, I usually prefer about 6 cup Rice and 1 or more extras.

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            My second secret comes not with the addition, but with packaging. Instead of pushing into the traditional brownie/baking sheet, I free-form onto a sheet of wax paper. This leaves the final product gooey and loose, stretching slowly as you pick it up. One can do one giant mound or, if wanting to portion, individual mounds.

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            At the end… this actually didn’t turn out like how I wanted. Still tasty, but apparently when one toasts marshmallows their “volume” decreases; not if it’s all the stuff left in the baking pan or just an air thing, but it leaves krispies that aren’t completely enveloped. It’s still very tasty, but more in a buttery-burnt sugar way, and has a nice crunch to it, but missing the real gooeyness it deserves. Not to mention a nice saltiness to contrast.

               Which is why I saved the recipe for the end of my post despite already typing way more than I should be. So, without anymore ado:

 

(Revised) Toasted Marshmallow-Bourbon Rice Krispies

½ Cup + ¼ Cup Bourbon

1 Stick (1/2 Cup) Butter

1½ Bags (15oz) Mini Marshmallows

¼ Cup Caramel or Brown Sugar

1 Tb Salt (Increase 2-3 times if wanting that Salted-Caramel flavor)

6 cups Rice Krispies

1-2 cups Candied Nuts/Extra

  1. Heat over 400-425F
  2. Add ½ Cup Bourbon plus and Dried Fruit to Large Pot, reduce on Medium to 50% or more.
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  4. Pour rest of Bourbon over ice and consume to your leisure.
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  6. Pour Marshmallows on Parchment-lined Sheet, pop into oven, WATCH CAREFULLY
  7. Add Butter, Caramel, and Salt to pan, melt
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  9. Once browned, quickly move marshmallows to pan, scraping off as much as possible.
  10. Stir until completely “melted” and incorporated.
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  12. Add Krispies and any other Extras, mix thoroughly until marshmallow mix “spiderwebs” evenly.
  13. Pour onto Waxed or Parchment Paper, let cool, and move to storage (don’t fridge)        

What’s your favorite Rice Krispies add-ins? Any favorite childhood memories with them?

Breweries and Empanada Update

                My Saturdays often tend to be filled with online exploits, catching up on videos, the occasional going out, and various other methods I used to avoid the Study and Homework I so desperately need to accomplish. This weekend was of course no exception, spending a few hours at a couple breweries with the Family. With the nice warm-up in temperature, the Trucks were back out in force, pairing with every local brewery that one could find.

                First, and originally planned for only, stop of the day was Indeed; my first time visiting, and my Mom’s first time eating MidNord Empanada (how I hooked her in). Crowded and fun, I’ll leave any fine-detailed reviews to Alcohol By Volume; she does a much better at the Beer stuff than I do.

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                I will certainly say how much I loved my glass of HotPot: a nice, roasty black Porter flavored with Smoked Peppers. This is one of the perfect Foodie Beers, totally unique and perfect in combination with the natural Porter flavors. Despite its obvious brilliance, the flavor combination is not what one would immediately think of when making Beer, so it creates this factor which exponentially increases one’s enjoyment of the dark, smokey, slightly-spicy drink.

                Drinks ordered, it was time to get the grub. For this visit, we grabbed an order of Cubano, Mac n Cheese, and Bacon Cheeseburger Empanadas. I was very excited upon getting the food, because now I can OFFICIALLY confirm that they have switched their Dough for every Empanada to a different one from their original release, as opposed to my theory they just used a different dough for certain empanadas than the Tucaman-style. I shall of course update my review on them post-haste, along with a couple other things to be mentioned.

                I was also quite thrilled to see that they now include a Tostone in each basket as an extra treat, which has also gone over a little change since my first try. Pressed into a flat poker-chip, the crispy factor comes out a little more, turning it into a nice little snack food. Flavor is still meh, I don’t see a reason to buy a separate basket, but they’re certainly better than before.

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                For the Empanadas: Cuban was just okay, no real intense flavors. Certainly NEEDS the Mojo sauce, as otherwise just feels a little dry (shredded pork of any kind really needs dressing). If looking for traditional-flavored empanada on your trip, stick with the Tucaman, and if they don’t have (like on this trip) try the Chicken.

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                I was a little sad to find out that the Mac and Cheese was different than when I had it before; this one was Cheddar-based, as opposed to the nice Creamy White and Herb I had in the Fall. Guess this simply means that they change flavor base seasonally; a good idea, and nice to see the consideration of weather, but I still prefer the other one, haha.

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                Bacon Cheeseburger… so good, so gooey… that was the perfect quality translation of that fast-food guilty pleasure we all have. And they had the Fancy Sauce!! Tasted exactly like a McDonald’s, but better in every way.

                A little sad they didn’t have any Dessert Empanadas, we were hoping to try the Pumpkin. Oh well, next visit.

                Since it was close by, we thought we’d try out the new 612 Brewery after our little lunch, being conveniently a few blocks away. A pint of Winter for me, some Rated R for the rest of the family, and a little while standing and checking out the various tanks and roped-off equipment. As a fun surprise, we happened to see Simply Steve’s parked outside; as I said, they’re out in force.

                As a not-so-fun surprise, I got to see their menu… and I am very, very disappointed. One of my favorite Trucks, who started out with a menu filled of only Burgers and Burritos, has gotten rid of their original focus to offer a variety of un-connected products. Only two burgers offered (one being vegetarian), Philly Cheesesteak, Pork Sliders, Tacos, Brat, Quesadilla, and a Pita Pizza. There’s a bit of commonality in some of the Foods, but it’s turned to the generic style of the local Bar.

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                I’ll have to see how much of this is just due to them parking outside of a Brewery, where that kind of food would work well, and how much is more permanent. As such, updating shall wait until next they’re on the Street solo in Spring.

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                All in all, a little bit of sadness with a few Food Truck discoveries that is easily overshadowed by some new surprises and great beer. A fun way to procrastinate on a Saturdy.

                Do you have any good or bad memories of a Brewery-Food Truck experience? What kind of Truck, existing or not, do you think is the perfect combo?

SFC: Hot Dog Homage

If you’re like me, you LOVE Sun-dried Tomatoes; not the regular mass-produced ones in a plastic bag, though, those are pieces of crap. We’re talking about the Oil-Cured Tomatoes, the ones floating in a small glass jar with pieces of dried rosemary and other herbs. Ohhh god, they’re just so rich and concentrated, like the best tomato sauce ever; I swear it’s the closest I’ve gone to orgasmic outside of Foi Gras. Not to mention after eating you still have that super-tomatoey oil left over to use… or just drink as-is… don’t look at me like that.

Working with my dehydrator a couple days ago, I figured I’d halve some of the leftover cherry tomatoes that are starting to get wrinkly. Dried them up, popped into a Tupperware with olive oil and dried herbs, and now they sit in my fridge for use. Certainly something I suggest people try if they have the ability; if you have an oven that goes down to 135-150, you should be able to dry them out nicely, just go as low as it can go and wait 6+ hours.

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Besides munching on them alone, I love using these for garnishes to things (they are perfect in the morning with cottage cheese, a bit of pepper, and some of that oil drizzled on top). Just so happened I had a leftover grilled sausage in the fridge (it was like a chicken-andouille thing…), great for lunch.

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Lucky for me, there’s still some of that special Scottish Whole-Grain Mustard, cooked and preserved with Whiskey of course, in the pantry. A little line of dried cherry toms, big glob of that Mustard (surprisingly delicate in flavor, but that’s what happens when you don’t grind them), and I got myself a nice little Hot Dog Snack.

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And yes, that is a slice of bread… we used all the buns, and I find it an easy way to eat hot dogs.

If I was really trying to make my perfect homage to the Hot Dog, think I would just HAVE to make a tarragon aioli to sprinkle on top. Maybe take some spicy pickle slices and deep-fry them for a crispy component on the Dog.

 

              What special ingredients and things do you like putting on your Hot Dogs/Sandwiches?

Street Food and Cacao Beans

          With the recent seasonal pause between Food Trucks, alongside a bout of writer’s block surrounding my random rambles, my blog posts have become somewhat slow in their uploads. As such, I’ve come to start thinking about some other things which I can do during the wait between Reviews.

          That said, I would like to officially introduce my new Blog Segment, “Street Food Corner.” Here I will be cooking food inspired by our various, wonderful Food Truck offerings. Whether I’m trying to copy, pay an homage to, or just cook something I think would be a good Street Food item, I will document my experience and post pictures and recipe online.

          If anything it’ll give me an excuse to cook more.

          About a week ago, I got a very special delivery shipped from a friend on the East Coast; whole roasted Cacao Beans! I had no idea how to use them, but I was excited. With my new foray into street-food-reproduction, I thought I’d take the chance to do a from-scratch homage to my favorite Twin City Truck Drink: Mexican Hot Coco from Cruzn Café. Not to mention it was the only recipe online for using the beans I could find…

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          Either way!  But before I get to the actual Coco, I need to go over how exactly we transform these lovely beans into a useable product. They may be tasty to eat raw, but you can’t make Coco without Powder (or Chocolate bars, but I’m not going through that crazy process).

          So, much like a Japanese Fisherman or an Irate Italian making Pistachio Gelato, we start with the long and annoying process of skinning. I’m sure there’s a much easier process of doing this other than by hand, but I want to ensure I lose as little bean as possible, not to mention lose the risk of skin in my drink. It’s a pain in the thumb, but after a couple hours I was rewarded with a little pile of brown lumps that sort of looked like…. well, I’ll just let your imagination run wild on its own.

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         Now we chop! Any method works, from using a knife, crushing between fingers, putting in a Ziploc and repeatedly throwing against the nearest wall, or the Slap Chop (You’re gonna love my nuts!). I used my handy-dandy, pretty little portable nut grinder and container; it’s actually nice since there’s no mess, can keep inside the base to store.

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          Nice and chopped, one could stop at this step to use as simple Coacoa Nibs; great for sprinkling over desserts, mixing into salads, or other garnish-related uses. The taste sort of reminds me of those chocolate-covered cherries, just not as sweet and a little more bitter. But to continue, we now move to the slow, many-stepped process of grinding.

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           Before I continue, something very important must be discussed. Proper chocolate manipulation revolves around the consideration of the cacao butter and various “crystals” within the bean’s structure, which are all very sensitive to temperature change, such as the heat generated by grinders. If the chocolate gets too warm in this rough stage, one can end up clumping the ground pieces into something unusable, like below (it still taste good, and could be used in infusing, but can’t use it like a proper powder). As such, we must remember one very important thing when grinding: SHORT BURSTS. This is why it takes so long; when one gets to the spice grinder, we can only grind for 10-15 seconds at the MOST. After which, take the chocolate out and leave to cool a little on the counter before grinding again.

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           Alright, that out of the way, we go through the first grind. This is simple, just getting the nibs smaller; if you have a food processor, that works best (as you can see, I have the smallest processor known to man; it’s my baby). Do this in smaller batches that grind quicker, reduce the risk of heat, for about 20-30 seconds maybe.  Otherwise one could work on simply hammering in a bag until it looks like what you see below; an even smaller Nib.

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             After cooling, we start the first of our many runs through the Spice Grinder (or Coffee Grinder, whatever one has). I only ground a couple spoonfuls at a time, with around 10 seconds of pulsing; I went over once, and the result is as you see below.

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           The number of times one grinds is up to you, what final product is desired and how comfortable you feel with the higher risk of structure destruction as it gets smaller. I ended up doing three separates for a nice powder, and I would suggest the same; the first round of pulsing gets it really good, but it’s sort of like sand.

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              Second worked it even better, but still not at the real “powderiness.” If you wanted to stop here, either of the first or second pulses could easily be used the same way one would any “spice.” I myself think the first would be great for crusting meats, like a pork loin.

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             Finally at the third grind; hard to tell from the picture, but one can see how the third grind in the bowl is different than the second grind in the spoon. We can now use this for our Hot Coco!

Mexican Hot Coco

1¼ C Water or 1½ C Milk/Cream Mix

1 Tb Quality Coco Powder

2 Tb Sugar

Tb Vanilla (I like the Mexican for this)

2 Large Pinches Cinnamon

1 Large Pinch Chili Powder

SMALL Pinch Cayenne (Optional)

Salt for seasoning (important even in desserts)

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  1. Combine all ingredients in sauce-pan
  2. Heat, whisking occasionally to combine, until simmering
  3. Simmer about 2 minutes, whisking constantly. The added air can improve creaminess of texture.
  4. Ladle into cup, give a couple minutes to cool (NO DRINKING BOILING LIQUID!!!)

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           I used water, as that’s how traditional Mexican-style is made, but if you’re going for the nostalgic, comfort-drink, milk and cream always tastes good (Fat adds Flavor as my old instructor says). I also had just finished dehydrating some sliced kumquats, so I put those in to infuse at the end; created a nice little fresh note in the nose. Overall, a nice, spicy-cinnamony version of coco to warm the bones.

            Well, I hope you all learned something interesting and fun about the Cacao bean!  I can’t wait to use my leftover powder for something else; maybe I’ll post the recipe up here too. For now, have yourself a nice day, and look forward to more recipe-related posts in the future.

            How do you like your Hot Chocolate? What sort of Food do you think I should cook? What kind of Food Truck-like recipes do you make at home?

Chefs in the Truck

               Taking in a visit to a busy Food Truck Lunchtime, it’s not difficult to see the many people behind the creation of each Trucks. Those based off of restaurants, catering companies, driven by local chefs… our little line-up has formed quite the expression of our growing Culinary scene. Throughout the country, Food Trucks have become a kaleidescope created by the hordes of Chefs and Foodies.

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               With the recent surgence of Andrew Zimmern into this fray with the acclaimed AZ Canteen, attention towards the actual people behind individual trucks has seemed to increased, both current and possible. Writing the review for his Truck, I myself have started to wonder about who may come out with the next Mobile Adventure; or, better yet, who would I WANT to…

              That in mind, I thought it would be fun to go over some of the various Restaurants and Chefs I would love to go into this field of Food service; whether realistic or not.

The Bulldog (NE or Lowertown)

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                Still my favorite Food Bar in the city, Bulldog slings out some of the best kobe burgers around, with each base offering an extensive list of options that are actually UNIQUE, creative, and crave-worthy. Fries and tator tots have been constantly listed throughout Magazine Top 10 lists, and offer some of the best flavors and fatty aioli dippings (NE’s truffle tots still haunt my dreams). Not to mention the various hot dogs (of which Lowertown often serves seasonal Game Meats for now and then).

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               If one were to combine these three focuses, with maybe a club sammich, and a couple of their special beers in bottle, I would not doubt the potential for a fantastic Burger-based menu. Not to mention the fact their dessert menu is entirely cupcake-based. Might have to adjust prices, but so would any Truck in this List.

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Marcus Samuelson

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                Ethiopian-born, Swedish-raised, Chef Samuelson creates some of the most International food that one can experience. With such a unique culinary background, one can’t help but wonder what kind of food this person could bring to the Street. And with his experience and skill, you know he’d be able to pull it off.

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The Devil’s Advocate

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               Just had my first lunch here last week, and I am officially hooked. For those unaware, Devil’s Advocate is a Craft Beer and Craft Meatball emporium; 40 highly seasonal beers (as in, when they run out of a keg, they get something else), along a menu focused only on 4 meatballs, sauces, and how many of them you want (and packaging). Besides Saucy Burt’s, we really don’t have any other meatball-focusing Trucks in tow. How fun would it be visit a place where the only questions are “What kind of meatball and how many do you want?”

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Katsuyuky Yamamoto and Alex Chase

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               The two Executive Chefs of Masu Sushi and Robata, both men show an extreme level of passion for each of their areas in the Japanese culinary tradition. With Yamamoto heading the beautiful portraits of Sushi and Chase reigning over the Noodles and Robata Grill, these men have helped to launch Masu into one of the best Japanese restaurants in the State. If there’s anyone who knows about and can execute True Japanese street food, it’s going to be these two. Sushi may be a no-no, but I could see them dishing out quality tempenyaki and bowls of warm, hand-pulled ramen.

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Serious Pie

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               The… best… pizza… I have ever had (so far). Based off of the genius mind of Tom Douglas out in Seattle, Serious Pie is jam-packed every single night with people who want their pizza. The wait for their food is at least an hour.

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               However, this is mainly due to the fact that they only have a couple dozen seats; it’s a very small restaurant, so it takes a while to flip enough tables for one to get in. Pizzas don’t take long to cook, and they are the most quality-focused, delicious things one can consume. Makes me wonder how much faster one could get served for Lunch when simply lined up in front of a Truck Window. (I’ve actually heard it’s much easier to just order To-Go from the restaurant itself)

              Little G’s has shown us that we can attach a wood-fired Brick Oven to the end of a trailer, so the idea of Serious Pie may certainly not be that far-fetched. Here’s hoping Seattle’s Food Truck movement starts pressuring them.

Jose Andres

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              One of the most Contemporary Chefs in the US, Jose Andres is the leading man behind such restaurants as Minibar, Zaytinya, and a few others. Easily one of the main figures in the U.S.-es’ cutting-edge scene of cuisine, Andres is very well known for incorporating what many deam “molecular gastronomy” (-shudders- lot of us culinary people really don’t like that term… would tell you why, but it’d take an hour or two) around his quality-focused food.

            I highly doubt a Food Truck could ever be properly made around the many different things he does, such as Foi Gras cotton candy, but if for some reason a Chef with a style like this was able to do it, Jose Andres would have to be the front-runner. He really just loves having fun with it, and brings that spirit to his food.

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            There are so many others I could mention for Food Trucks; in the “molecular gastronomy” (-shudders-) world in particular, could bring up Travail, Moto, Chef Wylee Dufraine (I know I spelled that wrong, I’m sorry…), and Heston Blumenthal. It is such a fun concept to think about, there being so possible people and places throughout the Country that we love to follow. And with the ever-growing trends and movements of people onto the street, who knows? Maybe we’ll see somebody slinging Meatballs, or flipping Kobe Patties, or shoving an Ethiopian Stew into a flatbread sometime in the years to come. But until now, we can only wonder and wait for the next to idea to grace our ever explorative tastebuds.

              I just hope I don’t have to wait too long.

 

              So what Chefs or Restaurants would YOU like to see open a Food Truck? What kind of specialty cuisine would you like to see that we haven’t yet been able to explore?

 

A Little Change of Topic for my Heart

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            It’s not Food Truck related, I know, but I always like to raise awareness of this particular issue. I understand that opinions on this are divided for very good reasons, but I can’t help feeling as passionate as I do concerning the state of our Grey Wolves. As such I do hope this new Suit can offer at least a little change in the recent hunting allowances.

http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2013/02/12/apnewsbreak-groups-sue-to-end-midwest-wolf-hunt/ 

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They’re Here!

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A few weeks ago, I posted a simple response to the meeting of the “Downtown Food Committee” in order to discuss New Food Truck ordinances. I won’t go into my feelings again, it would just end up a long and angry ramble, but you can find my post (with links to other articles on the subject) Here.

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Near the end, I made mention of the future possibility of a “Food Truck Association,” the idea being looked into by John Levy from AZ Canteen. If successful, a group like this wouldn’t just allow new Truck Foodies a place to easily find and follow the various members of our new culture. It would also create a way in which they could band together against attacks such as those launched by the Downtown Food Committee. Laws and ordinences, where they plan to park, Truck advertising plans, even new Trucks trying to get into the scene can find help and benefit through a Group like this.

Now, what do I see in my semi-weekly sweep of the local Truck Tweets on Roaming Hunger?

 https://twitter.com/FoodTrucksMN 

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It is OFFICIAL. Not only do the Twin Cities have an ever-growing army of Food Trucks, but we now have our own Association for it. This is a great day in our Cities’ Culinary History, and I can’t wait to see what may come of this.

I certainly wish them the best of luck, and hope that everyone reading this follow their twitter and help in their support.

Normally I might make a lame plug to follow my new twitter account too, but I doubt I’ll use it that much, haha.

 

So what are your thoughts on this new Association? I

A Moment of Silence for the Departed

           No collective group of similar businesses goes through their years, early and long, without casualties. The world of Food Trucks is no different; I myself can use all the fingers on one hand to recall some of the establishments to have disappeared from our many ranks. Some cut down too early before their time, some simply fizzing out in the shadow of other blazing fires, and one which simply moved.

          Whatever the reason, I would like to take a moment of silence to honor and respect those little businesses which have come and gone from our Streets. We may not be able to samply you, but those who know shall always remember these names:

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The Brothers Deli

           A small, ubiquitous little metal cart found parked on Nicollet, Brothers served up the best Deli-style sandwiches. I loved their pastrami, not to mention the various dressings used to garnish the sourdough and rye. A side of hand-fried chips or knish, adjusted slight, would have certainly highlighted as a fantastic Toe Ring in our cities’ selection.

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Cook n Wheels

          Though technically not departed or out of business, Cook and Wheels has taken quite the departure from the street due to repair issues. I certainly wish them a speedy recovery.

Magic Bus

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          If still here, Magic Bus would have certainly vied alongside Natedogs as the top Hot Dog in the city. Big and purple, it stood out wherever it went, mostly sticking towards special fairs and events. I remember the one day I had the chane to sample them; their nice, snappy dogs loaded with hand-made, unique toppings. I wanted to try two different ones, but only one dog, so they did a half-n-half thing for me; both the beet slaw and the papaya relish. So good.

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          But alas, they have taken themselves to the Road, moving to Colorado for a different shop to set up. I truly hope and pray for the season in which they can come back to their home grounds.

Origins Coffee and Tea

          Released a couple years back, Origins sadly didn’t even make it through year’s end. Focusing purely on drinks, slinging craft coffees to the early morning and lunch crowds. Though noticing them on the street, I never got the chance to sample, food-focused as I am.

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          Having read an article noting their recent selling of the truck, I can honestly say I am not too surprised at their passing. As this is a moment of “honoring,” I shall not go into details on my opinions. I did see so much potential though… it’s a shame they never got the chance to reach it.

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          And there may be even more that I am currently unaware of. For now, we pay homage to those who have gone, and those future trucks not destined to last. Let us hope that those owners are back on their feet, and wish them Good Luck in their future.

 

Do you have any good memories of a departed Food Truck? Any other Minnesotan businesses you would like to honor?