Main Location: St. Paul, Etc
Yay! The first post where I’ve been able to take and use my own pictures! I feel so happy and thrilled, no more reliance on Google Images for picture-perfect, news article-used images! Out-of-focus, weird-angled, purely amateurish shots are now the only ones good enough for this Blog! Just take a look at this one!
And that one.
And this one!
AND THAT ONE!!
… I just realized I didn’t actually take enough pictures to really fit that amusing “point and look” exercise I just tried to accomplish. Should probably just get rid of it all-together… but I do like being lazy…
Anyway, back to the truck.
My first exploit of the year into Trucks I haven’t yet tried, I took a drive South of St. Paul to the Summit Brewery Taproom. A fun note for Food Truck seekers, every Friday they open the taproom and have a Truck parked outside. The schedule is posted up ahead of time on their site. One gets their order, sits down inside and grab a pint or flight of beer. A fun little activity for a small group to enjoy.
Tiki Tim’s is a big, steel-blue (or is it electric blue?) tiny mobile home-turned Island-based food depository. The menu is held up by three main items: Fish Tacos; Island-style Pulled Pork with Pineapple Coleslaw; and “Tiki Cakes,” crab cakes with shrimp, veggies, and jalapeno.
Besides these, one can also find a couple interesting sides, such as the now bar-staple Fried Pickles. Sweet-potato Miso Soup will keep you warm in the cold winter, standing opposite to their cold macaroni-potato salad.
I gratefully grabbed my order, a “combo plate” of Taco and Cake with a side of the mayonnaise-based salad, grabbed a Saga IPA, sat down and enjoyed. No reason to try and pick apart the Summit, they always make a pretty good beer. For those looking to enjoy, hoppy styles such as the IPA certainly proved themselves great with the slightly spicy foods of the island. Certainly can’t wait to visit again; seems Cajun 2 Geaux will be visiting in about a month…
I’m going to start my high point on something that’s usually a low. Tacos here are wrapped in Flour Tortillas, not masa, and only given a single tortilla per. Normally, this would emit a lower score for Taco trucks, but this TRULY shows no connection to any real Latin twists or flavors. It is exactly how they might form a taco on an island. Plus, on an even tastier note, the tortillas are grilled to slight crispiness before wrapping. A nice way of getting in that extra dimension of experience.
The white fish used is very flavorful, as is the crunchy batter they used to fry it. I am happy to say that, after my first experience of OVERWHELMING Cabbage and Veggies to tiny Fish, they have subsequently fixed the ratio to a properly-proportioned Taco. With the tangy flavored cream sauce, crunchy fish, and zippy slaw, this easily comes in as one of the best Tacos in our Truck Lineup.
When getting the little patty of crab and shrimp, I was first reminded of the panko crust of an eggplant that I had deep fried for way too long, and left myself to anticipate the worst.
My thoughts were happily disproven.
The inside is so refreshingly moist, fresh, and flavorful. Vegetables and herbs adding great notes of island aroma. Despite its appearance, the crust is thin, light, and offers that perfect texture in contrast to the soft inside. Best part, of course, to this and any other crab cake, is the lack of “filler” flavors, such as supplied by breadcrumbs.
Sauces are all very creamy and flavorful, with a nice zippyness from any garlic or spices used. This is just as true in the Mayonnaise dressing for their cold salad. Let me just say, for those still holding doubts based on old deli-style potato or pasta salads, this is one you should try. The macaroni and potatoes are toothsome but soft, peppers and veggies add a nice little texture without any harsh flavors (for once they don’t just cram the entire thing with raw onions, uck). The dressing brings in that nice little refined creaminess that makes a GOOD potato/pasta salad.
Spice delivered via dressings is more of the “Gentle warmth,” building a little bit over time without taking over the palette. These are not the aggressive, spiking shoots of pure burning that the pain seekers seem to enjoy.
Tacos, as mentioned are pretty well stuffed, and only use a single taco,. The many vegetables actually stay in pretty well. It thus is less of an “overflow” dish and more of a simple “messiness,” with the thick garlic cream wanting to ooze out the most. Pork Sandwich is a two-handed thing, and sides come in their own, making any order of Main + side (which is hard not to get) drawing one to a sit-down situation of some sort.
Tiki Cakes are just presented as crab-cakes, no bun for holding, so one is given a fork. I just ate it with my hands anyway, they actually hold up very well. Though, I still think they need to make some sort of “mini-burger” out of them, would it not just be a fantastic Street Menu Item? I’d almost consider it a Toe Ring of some sort.
$7, $8, and $10 respectively for different menu items, with two of the sides costing $4. The side of Salad is only $2, and automatically comes with an order of Tiki Cakes (probably why they charge $10 for it).
They offer a really great deal for Foodies though; a “Combo Plate” that holds one Taco and Cake allows one to have a taste of two main items while only spending $8. Sides can of course increase this.
The TOE: 7
Carrying a fun name and Truck design, Tiki really brings that feeling of the unique, specific food category of their choosing. Though I would not extend that to the food; very tasty, I do feel that their STYLE is… “reserved,” not exactly hitting the true island feel that they are trying to develop. I would say it’s similar to going to a Tex-Mex restaurant on the border; very good food, carries those flavors, but not actually at Mexican.
I really wish that they would turn the Tiki Cakes into a sandwich!! They have such potential to stand out as a popular Street Food in the city; all it needs is bread and some light slaw.
Better for those who can take their times to enjoy a more complete Lunch/meal from a Truck, with some place to rest down and enjoy. Though walkers can still get a plate of just Fish Tacos for roaming the city and be happy. I DEFINITELY suggest first timers go straight for the Combo Plate as a way to try two dishes. Potato-Mac Salad is a must get on the side, simply due to the very few times one can actually find a quality cold, mayonnaise-based salad such as this.
Don’t get the Pulled Pork until they’ve made some improvements (see my experience of it Here). I, myself, don’t see any reason to get the fried pickles, as they can be found so often these days. The soup would be a good quick-buy when out on a cold day, needing something to warm you up without spending too much.