Once again, the Minnesota weather patterns hit us again, from a warm spring back to a cold day of light snow (in the beginning of April no less), immediately followed by gloomy rain. Being the Minnesotans we are, though, that didn’t stop the crowds of people journeying to NE for the ARTCrank’s Saturday event at the Grain Belt Studio.
Don’t ask me exactly what was happening, though; you know me, I was only there for the Food Trucks. All I know is it took place in an empty warehouse with an old metal balcony and stairs, and that the walls were covered with art/posters/etc. I swear, walking around there in my trench coat, scarf, and a Food Truck Taco, I started to having aching suspicions that I might be turning into a Hipster… still don’t know how I should even think about that. Oh, and they had beer and custom glasses; not to mention one of the longest lines for a drink that I’ve seen since last year’s Food Truck Fair.
On that topic, as I mentioned in a previous post, we had quite a few of them set in the parking lot outside. Natedogs, Gastro, Potter’s, Fork, and Sassy all showed up; Chef Shack was supposed to, but for some reason they didn’t show (at least not while I was there). Facebook and Twitter feeds say that they were in Bay City Wisconsin last night; maybe a hitch in the travel and weather, which sucks cuz I wanted to try that new “foie burger” they had.
Started the night off with one of Nate’s fantastic hot dogs, my first time being able to try his Surly Mustard. I will say one thing, he knows how to make ‘em, that’s the good kind of spicy mustard. Speaking of spicy, got a bit of his relish on too. Not much more I can say, Nate’s proven to all of us the quality of his products since day one.
Now we move onto the real reason for my travel: Sassy Spoon. With a reply to my review and offer to attempt them again, it became my duty to find Sassy once more. As for the results… well, let’s say it wasn’t what I was hoping. I give them credit, my original review had them at high prices and limited offerings, and they HAVE lowered the prices slightly (not to mention having more than two items for choosing). However, considering the fact that their reply SPECIFICALLY said that all of their menu items were $9 or under, I found it quite amusing to see THIS menu:
Yeah, my thoughts exactly.
I went for the tacos, as it was the most reasonably priced and only REAL Street Food-esque item on display. And here I give them some more credit. They used the really good masa tortillas, griddled, and had a very tasty slaw topping for the pork (what I would expect from a health/diet-focused Truck). The pork, though, reminded me of the firm, sorta-dried variety one gets in Asian take-out (not in the worst way, though not in the best either); and part of it was burnt to charcoal.
From the looks of it, they’re doing a bit more cooking to order on the Truck, but still have items that require no at-moment labor other than simple assembly. Now, let me tell you my main problem with them (oh yes, I still haven’t gotten to this yet). You notice in the menu there are two interesting new items; the pork and the meatballs. The pork, as one sees, has two options: a taco version and a bowl version, the latter costing a noticeable amount more. Curious, I asked about the bowl, as I figured there HAD to be something else in there besides just pork and coleslaw; hell, even bbq joints do more than that, and that’s their go-to.
Apparently no. It was just a bowl of sorta-dry pork and some coleslaw. Same held true with the Meatballs. No sauce, no cauliflower mash (very disappointing, because they make it well and it goes good with both), not even a piece of bread. There’s just more of it, and they decide to charge more because of this. The meatballs don’t even have the OPTION of eating in a sandwich or anything; at least the pork I could get a taco if I wanted.
The reason for this? They state its carbs, now you have options so you don’t have to worry about those pesky little sugars. And I respect the thought behind that, it’s good to have options for allowing people to cut that out. But that’s all it should be, OPTIONS. This is a Food Truck, they need to be focusing on STREET FOOD, and a random bowl of meat and coleslaw that is not. And when you DO have these options, I don’t want to pay more; you’re cutting something out of there, and truthfully I don’t even want to eat more of a dish that’s just two items. You have these FANTASTIC Masa tortillas that you’re using; don’t label them a nuisance, Flaunt them! THOSE are what you should have been advertising and charging a bit more for, not something that (once again) requires absolutely no (actually less) extra labor to produce. Hell, the most intense Atkins dieters aren’t going to care about two small corn tortillas, I’m pretty sure the general public won’t either as far as health is concerned (they’re probably the healthiest tacos anyway). And could you get something for the Meatballs too? They would be AMAZING in a sandwich, just ask Devil’s Advocate; especially if they’re only served with slaw.
At the end of the day, despite their attempt to convince me of their difference, all this visit has done is further Cement my previous opinion that Sassy Spoon’s best when buying ahead of time, taking the food home, and re-heating for dinner or large lunch. Changes to my previous review will of course be made in response to both the positive and negative aspects I’ve witnessed, though they will be slight. Overall, I still respect them for their health-focused goal and the quality of the food they make, but Street Food they are not.
To cleanse my disappointment, I headed straight for one of my favorites, Potter’s. They had a pretty fun special that day; BBQ Pulled Pork w/ Sweet Potatoes. It’s always cool to see places like them and Midnord play with foods outside the traditional cuisine of their style.
As always, it was quite filling. Though, since I’d already sampled a few things, figured I would try and finish the day off with a dessert. So I got the Guinness Cupcake that Fork was offering aaaand… regretted it immediately (My fault, I of all people should have known better, no one else to blame there but me). Was hoping to at least wash it down with some beer at Dangerous Man Brewing (just happened to be right next to where I parked), but I was shocked to find they actually had a LINE outside the door. Not something I could really understand, considering the reviews like This that I’ve heard about the still-new-and-improving establishment.
However it ended and went through, the event still made a fun amusement and distraction during this gray and rainy day. I wish ARTCrank luck on their endeavors, and hope their next get-togethers are just as successful as this one.