An outline and summary of how I conduct my Reviews, and what I feel is important with each.
Main Location: Minneapolis, St. Paul, Farmers Markets, or Etc
Cities generally allude to their MAIN DOWNTOWN areas
Etc is for those trucks that stop in multiple random locations; those you really have to research and pay attention to.
This is the space I use for random summaries, story telling, and rantings!
Simple and upfront, taste and quality.
Presentation will rarely ever be considered. This is a food truck, no one cares; we only want something that tastes awesome. Quite often this may ignore the general quality of 75% of the menu as a highlight on certain individual, special items which I believe are the true reason for going to that truck (For instance, Cruzn Café’s Mexican Hot Chocolate… so good, one should always get it whether you want the food or not).
The real key to STREET food is this: can you eat it while walking around easily, and ideally with only one hand? Somewhat sad that only a few trucks and stands actually have items that fit the bill (I blame the many sides of chips… but then again, I do still eat them…)
I am going to say this once, and only once: street food should be cheap and affordable. The ESSENCE of street food is based off of the many bazaars and markets in different countries that sell simple, homey food for a low price, that almost everyone can buy from. That’s why they become part of a culture, that’s why so many people are able to love them so much. This rating will point you towards the trucks that you can buy from without taking a second look at the cash in your wallet on a low day. So, if I get a little cranky at a couple certain trucks because of this… well now you know
With that said, if a food truck has higher priced items, they’re ultimately fine so long as they have some lower ones in the 7-ish dollar range so that a variety of people can enjoy. Finally, this posting will also relate to whether or not the actual priced charged is WORTH the food served.
How fast one gets your food. This is of course a flexible rating based the food being served and how busy they have been when I went; it should not be considered a fixed, solid score. This is not reflecting wait in line, as that is often due to another issue, and can make rating highly annoying. My visit to many of these places were soon after they started, and it’s highly likely they have improved since then (it will still affect final score, but that’s later).
The TOE (Truck’s Overall Essence): /10
Unique food items, truck design, attitude, the guy taking the order you recognize, a quirky little way of naming the food… all of those little, sometimes unknown things that can’t be categorized. It’s that feeling you get when you visit a place every time you go there; this IS a Food Truck, this IS Street Food in all it’s supposed to be. A place can have great food for good prices that gets it to you fast. But, if they’re just a square, brown unfeeling box… it just doesn’t seem to gel. This is the aspect that can change a Truck from a simple, rolling addition in the money-focused world of business, to the real “Family” that is the Food Truck Culture. It is this unknown aspect that makes one excited to find the New (or Old) Trucks and chow down; this is what turns us into Foodies.
A Note on Toe Rings: This is a term I developed while finishing my review on Neato Burger’s, when I realized that I needed a shorter way to describe a certain kind of menu item. These are the special, small, usually lower-priced foods that have a certain special, sometimes nostalgic, sometimes familiar, or sometimes just “other” feeling about them. Usually created with a little twist to make us entrigued, these certain items are somehow able to elevate that true “Food Truck Feeling” just by being there. An easy example includes the Indian-Spiced Mini Donuts at Chef Shack.
Now, as I can’t write that every single time I talk about it, I opted for a simpler word: “Toe Ring,” since I always talk about it in the TOE section of the ratings.
Service: -5 to +5
This will only be posted in the grounds of when a Truck’s service is above and beyond others or just noticeably annoying and slow. Overall so many trucks have such a good team of excited employees that I don’t even want to try and rate them.
Final Thoughts (Like Jerry Springer!!… but you know, without the disgust)
My final suggestions on how one should go about approaching this truck.
Hope this little page smooth the curiosities and pinpoint where it is I focus. Good reading to all 🙂