3rd week of the Twin Cities’ Live Food Truck War is here, and they just happened to stop right in my hometown of Fridley! So of COURSE I had to go now (apologies for missing last week’s update; been busy as of late), with Dad accompanying so we could bring food back for Mom.
Sadly, it seems this particular session of “Wars” didn’t quite reach the zenith as the others: of the 5 Trucks scheduled, only 3 were able to make it (Tiki Tim’s, Hot Indian, and Simply Steve’s), with Potter’s and Melch’s having to cancel at the last minute. On the same note of “skewing my expectations,” I myself am a touch anxious at this trend of using many of the same trucks each week. With the idea of some sort of competition (where there’s a winner each week), did anyone else think that it might have been more fun to have completely different trucks each session (except maybe winners, see if they can get “de-throned”)? Though at least they still switch out a few; I heard something about some “Fish n Chips” showdown with Anchor next week.
Having arrived soon after 4, we thankfully hand enough time to grab Free Samples from 2 of the Trucks. First stop was the Indurrito truck, where they delivered ½ “Tacos” of their Chicken Tika alongside some of those fantastically crunchy fries. With shells made from Roti (which Amol thankfully corrected me are Indian Flatbreads and not Mango-Yogurt! Looks like I got them confused with Raita… sorry guys, and thanks!! Swear I saw it on the drink area one time though…), their Taco-versions have twisted up a fun notch in line with their original cuisine. Looks like they adjusted their Aioli as well; less garlic-focused and more “Indian spice and peppers,” another tasty pairing with their Fries.
With this well-made plate, it’s not surprising to see they earned the Golden Plate this week (I voted for them too! Wooh!).
Unlike Tiki, it seems Steve didn’t put up too much of a fight. Their menu still somewhat scattered (though not as much as my last view of it, mainly burgers and tacos this time; they might be pulling things in a bit more again, I’ll have to pay attention to their selection in the coming weeks, see if they get back to where they were before), Sample offering consisted of a somewhat squished, basic-looking quarter of a Burger (not sure, but I think it might have been the Quinoa… since they sort of “highlighted” that item in the “Live” recording earlier). And oh my god, did you SEE what their Grilled Asparagus looked like in the Live video on the event? I’m sorry, but that just… does not look great… I’m sure it tastes fine and all, but it does not conjure any images of what quality Asparagus can be.
Finishing the day with Tiki, who decided to split their Fish Tacos in half for a sample, which tasted great as usual (we were in the 2nd to last group of samples, whew!). Since I knew my mom enjoyed various seafood cakes (and hated Indian food), this was our official stop for Dinner. Though we were still a bit back-n-forth, so we ended up bringing back a Combo Plate and the Kahlua Pork (hey, what she didn’t eat we would).
First I have to say how happy I am to see where these guys have come. Compared to my first Combo Plate, which in itself was delicious, this batch of Fish and Tiki Cake was even better, clearly showing their gradual tweaking and improving towards perfection. Look at how perfectly pattied that Cake is; I’m still so disappointed that they haven’t turned it into a Slider, cuz it’s just SO good. And the ratio of (perfectly) Fried Fish to the Cabbage is exactly what it should be, as opposed to the Veggie-dominated Taco I experienced early this year (I shall DEFINITELY make an update in the review). Oh, also, I never noticed it earlier, but my mom pointed it out and it makes interesting sense. Unlike others, the tortillas here see little to no actual cooking; whether it be steamed or grilled. Despite that, not only do they hold up well, the actual texture is interestingly complimenting to the fish and rich Cream-dressing.
The Kahlua Pork sandwich was quite the interesting experience; I had completely forgotten about it on their menu. Upon getting it, thoughts of my highly-recent proclamation around Starlight’s Pulled Pork came to mind, and I wondered if a quick upheaval in the Pork power balance was to take place.
Sadly, it wasn’t.
I give credit to the separate quality of the Pineapple-Red Cabbage Slaw and the actual Pork, which are both nice in their own ways. However, as with most pulled pork, the giant mass of meat, even with some natural juices, ends up dry (at least in sensation), and REALLY needs a nice, wet sauce of some sort. Maybe a grilled pineapple bbq or something… I know traditionally Hawaiian Kahlua pork is served dry, but truly a sandwich like this requires the moisture.
Second requirement for improvement revolves around the actual bread. They DO seem to actually griddle it, I could feel the nice crust around the rim, but the rim is where any crispiness stays. But the real disappointment came in the bread itself, the texture really throwing the thing off a bit; it was sort of that soft, slightly chewy, almost doughy feeling one gets from those cheap baguettes at the store (before baking again in the oven). Luckily, this issue is easily fixed; hopefully, if they choose to do so, they can either grab a slightly-higher quality sandwich bread, or just bake all their Ciabattas a second time for a bit, crisp up the outside a touch while letting the inside follow through to its proper texture. It’d be nice to think just griddling it more would work, but with this bread I’m sure it wouldn’t (unless they were able to Panini it… oooooh, Kahlua Panini!!).
Well, I guess that’s that. Despite the mysterious loss of 2 trucks, the small event turned out pretty well, and was fun for those who were able to grab a couple samples (such an interesting coincidence how empty the place got right after the 4:30 cut-off…). We’ve got one more week to go, people, let’s make it count!
Ooooh, one last thing! I love Tiki’s new LONG Blackboard; it’s so fun!