(No Links that I know of. If anyone can find something, please inform me)
Main Location: Minneapolis, Etc
I’ve found that, among the troves of mobile catering options on our Minnesota Streets, after a while one is actually able to separate different kinds of Trucks into “groups,” of sorts. There are the “Event Trucks” I’ve mentioned in a previous post, the “Food Trucks” which I base my reviews around (the downtown, big event, new-culture-driven operations that bring those forms of “wonder” to us customers when we visit), and then there are what I call the “Soul Cater Trucks.” You’ve seen these around I’m sure; whenever one goes to a big/special block party, or a city-wide event, and there are those white tents wafting in the smoke of giant black grills, serving up things in big styrofoam boxes. Next to these one will invariably find at least one simply-adorned Truck, serving either Wraps or Caribbean food or Ribs or something. None of it “special,” none of it “gastro,” but all of it purely based on that simple, soul-filled Food that just fills us with warmth (well, that’s the idea anyway).
Aaaaallllll these people and operations, the mobile and non, are generally ignored by myself for Blog purposes. As a whole different category and world unto itself, of which one only sees on the occasional basis (vs the almost every-day Food Trucks). However, with its recent decent on the Downtown Streets, Let’s Eat “1 Meal” (don’t know if it’s part of name or something else… weird light bulb sticker logo) has officially pushed itself into this growing realm, and I feel no less than obligated to visit and review them completely.
With a menu controlled by the smaller mobile quarters, options run a bit of the gambit of the “Soul Truck” offerings, sticking away from a few of the larger dishes like Ribs. That said, one can find options like Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Philly Sliders, Blackened Tilapia Tacos, Buffalo Shrimp Wraps, Jerk Wings, and… well, I guess there IS a Rib dish, only it’s made from a Turkey’s (anyone else a bit confuzzled? Don’t worry, I explain later).
All of this comes with a side of Sweet Potato Fries, just what one would expect from any soul-based caterer. Now all I need is a nice, big glass of Caribbean Lemonade (made with a bit of Pineapple; get a cup at the next State Fair in the Global Area, it’s awesome!) and I’m good.
Overall, not too exciting of a visit. The Pulled Pork is… basic. It’s not bad, the pork is tender and the Sauce is the expected BBQ Tangy, but there really isn’t anything to differentiate it between the sandwiches one can find at any given, decent restaurant. Bun is plain, untoasted, which is expected for a “BBQ Catering” Truck’s style such as this, so it’s alright. Oh, and the actual sammies are pretty small; not like a slider, but for getting a single thing of cheap Pork, one expects more. (Sorry for no picture, I could have sworn I took one but… poof)
Now, the “Turkey Ribs.” They are… exactly what it says they are; they’ve actually taken the ribs from the Turkey, along with a big chunk of meat attached to it (I’m wondering if it’s bulk is from the Breast Meat). Smoked, slightly grilled, and sprinkled with their BBQ sauce, and one has a White(er) Meat version of a classic. As for the outcome, one is able to get a little bit of that smoke, not to mention a visual of that distinctively pink tinge from the Smoking. Sadly, though the thin areas right around the bone are nice, tender and flavorful, the giant chunk of white flesh attached betrays the obvious over-cooking of this piece of meat. It’s not the teeth-munching horror of past Thanksgivings, but one can clearly see the ½-1 hour in which it went over.
Most disappointingly, the one item we expect the utmost skill in the Southern-based culinary culture probably came through the worst. The Sweet Potato Fries were soft, limp, and at times seemingly close to being slightly raw. The possibility of a bad batch is of course there, but if I got them than logically someone else would have.
They’ve made some pretty smart menu choices, at least in the entrée, with each item being something that one can quite easily pick up by hand (the “ribs” didn’t have too much sauce on, so it wasn’t even that sticky). However, as they almost automatically serve each item with those Fries, everything comes in those big, clunky Styrofoam boxes, forcing us to either take it someplace or hope we have complete reign of both hands as we walk. Getting it without Fries one might hope to save the situation a bit, but then they immediately replace it with this big pile of salad that then requires a fork.
With the fries, it’s all about $8-$9 across the board, with bigger prices for occasional “Specials” (like a really BIG Pulled Pork). THANKFULLY, one is able to get the food without Fries for $2 less, though you DO have to ask for it special, otherwise I was fixing to be really annoyed with a possible forced-menu-requirement.
I do want to say though, even with the option of no-fries, I’m a little upset with the price charged for their Pulled Pork. Not only was it lackluster in anything, it was barely twice the size of a slider, and ultimately just not worth the price they charge (among Food Truck items at least).
The TOE: 4
Being of that particular cut, this Soul Truck turned to the Downtown has yet to truly develop any of those qualities that epitomize our area Food Trucks. Viewing the action even from up close, it’s hard not to think one is simply at one of those BBQ Catering tables that’s just serving different options.
Not quite sure where this truck officially stands in the line-up, one may simply have to decide when it’s right for themselves to go there.
For now, ignore the Fries; it’s more affordable without them, and I just don’t see them worth the extra $2 anyways (if Fries is your desire, so many other Trucks that do them better). With the quality derived from the 2 items I got, it’s hard to consider which items might stand above. If I were to go back again, though, the Tilapia Tacos and Jerk Chicken Wings would be the top on my list. The Former easily more portable and the later highly representing of their style (and difficult to screw up Wings!).
The Turkey Ribs are fun for the adventurous, just have to hope it doesn’t end up dry. Either that or slather it in more of their sauce.