The first Lunch by the River has come and gone, and though I can safely say it was a fun and eventful time for myself, sadly I was one of the few to show up and experience this. As we all were able to see, the weather Thursday was grey and sprinkly, so not the best weather for these little events we thus love. I half expect it’s my fault for going, considering how many times this happens with the plans I make (though I’m now considering this may simply be a side effect of living in Minnesota…).
As mentioned in a previous post, the particular Trucks stationed consisted of Home Street Home, Neato’s, Cupcake Social, and Café Racer, who mentioned a couple interesting things during a little back-n-forth rapport. Unlike previous years, this particular set of Trucks may no longer be a random group decided week by week. This is because of plans and discussions in the works of adding two more “River Lunch” Truck gatherings to the week, Tuesdays and Wednesdays from what I hear. Due to this extension, more Trucks have an opportunity to take part in the gatherings; and with the larger selection, one brings in the possibility of scheduling specific Trucks as certainties on the Weekly schedule without infringing on other Trucks’ chances of taking part. With this, we can now officially have set Truck Gatherings on given days of the week, giving us some fantastic certainties in schedule. It’s really great for those who work nearby and aren’t able to stay abreast of daily Truck-stops, allowing them days to go out and say “Oh hey, ‘these guys’ are gonna be by Robert Wednesdays.”
I am very excited at this new idea, particularly in how much of a sign it is at not only the growing interest and culture, but organization that our Trucks have been able to form this season (thank you Food Truck Association!).
Back to the actual Trucks of the day, update time; I was also able to overhear that Racer will offer samples of many a menu item (definitely something unique compared to the others). But more importantly, they were out with a Full Menu, and I finally got the chance to try their Street Dog! Really one of the main, hell I still think it’s THE, highlight of the entire menu.
Isn’t that just one of the most beautiful hot dogs you’ve seen? Sure it takes a bit longer than other dogs in Trucks, but it’s worth the extra couple minutes. All the flavors had that perfect, subtle balance between them, making for very happy bites! I’d say it was sort of sad ruining that picturesque food, but it tasted too good for me to give a crap.
On another positive note, my Re-Review of Neato’s(Menu also pictured, look at those Burger options!) Duck Fat Fries has now been completed. For those who haven’t read yet, my first experience was not so positive compared to most people’s, which I later found to be due to issues with their Potato Distributor. Now having a new distributor, and set brand of potatoes, they’ve been able to crank out a more consistent product, so I can finally re-do my report on this particular item.
Though there’s no reason to do my report purely on them. Since I was there, I figured I’d also try one of their chocolate malts alongside; it IS a Truck based off a Diner, gotta have a Malt. Of which, though it is tasty and enjoyable like other malts, I find there’s no real special quality to it; if anything, the malt is sorta thin, a little too much milk or whatever else they add to it. As for the fries, I can happily say that I SHALL be changing Neato’s Food score for the positive. These fries were clearly better than my previous experience, and the subtle flavor of the duck fat DID come through. The texture WAS soft, but I found the pieces that had some of the potato skin still attached offered little, interesting pieces of crispiness here and there. Overall, it’s not a perfect fry, but it does succeed in differentiating itself, and in a POSITIVE way; I hold no qualms in suggesting it as a buy (oh, and don’t forget that Aioli; boy that garlic is STRONG, and it goes very well with the particular flavor transferred from the Duck Fat).
It’s not a Truck Day without dessert of some kind, and there was a certain little Cupcake vehicle to my right. Grabbed myself a Tres Leches, Dulce Leche frosting of course, which didn’t quite fill my leche expectations. Overall, definitely better than the “Guinness Cupcake” I had from Fork, the milk-caramel icing was smooth and delicious, but if one is going to base something off of Tres Leches, they REALLY need to get that thing soaked and infused. There was a little bit of squishy, milky cake in the middle, but they could have done more; I understand needing it to not be sticky in the hand, but they held off a little too much for my liking (I’ll admit, I have developed very high standards on certain things).
On a more positive note (again, the cupcake IS good, just… MORE, GIMME!), I’ve discovered a really fun, fantastic opportunity on their menu! They apparently offer a “Cupcake Sunday” made from whichever cake+cream combo you want. “For the Hot Weather,” as they said, which sadly did not come through on this trip. However, think of this: You head to Thursday’s River Lunch, greeted by two Burger trucks (one old-fashioned Diner themed) right next to a Cupcake Sunday. That, my friends, is the making of that oh-so unique Full-on Food Truck Meal. This is what so many of us Foodies look for in our searches, that amazing little something that just can’t be found elsewhere, and creates that special feeling of amazement and nostalgia.
Or something like that, not always that good at describing these things, even through text. Anyways, that ultimately rounded out MY Lunch-by-the-River experience; if anyone else has an interesting tale (either from this or previous years) feel free to share. I myself did have one more stop at Hibachi Daruma, but that’s another post.