The Red Pig and Truffle

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https://www.facebook.com/TheRedPigAndTruffle

Main Location: Minneapolis, Etc

            A few months after Lulu’s initial announcement and The Red Pig and Truffle is here! Starting at a couple breweries (I found my visit lead to the now-familiar Harriet Tap Room), they have already worked themselves down into the main Minneapolis scenes.

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            As its own, completely-separate mobile operation to its sister (as opposed to an “offshoot”), Red Pig chooses to turn its focus completely onto the Sandwich road. Splitting their menu (literally) between Cold and Hot/Panini, the Pig relies on a variety of the ever-familiar styles, adding in a little extra something now and then. Offerings can include a Turkey Pesto, Roast Beef w/ Horseradish n Pickled Onion, a hot and cold Caprese, Reuben, Grilled Cheese w/ Prosciutto, and most notably their BLT using a ½lb of Bacon (that’s a lotta red pig…).

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            And that’s about it for them really. Refreshments are as you see; a pretty staple glass-bottled variety steering away from the canned basics. Guess I just need to act like a pig and dive in.

 

Food: 9

            After much debate on the right option for overall reviewing, I feel quite happy in my choice of the Roasted Turkey with Pesto, one of the sandwiches on the cold side. Though I will say I wish I hadn’t eaten lunch an hour or so beforehand, cuz that fella was MUCH bigger than I thought it’d be, haha.

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            Set on a (slightly toasted/griddled) focaccia/ciabatta-reminiscent, soft and rich and chewy, rectangularly shaped bun, this sandwich is stuffed with all the staples in the turkey-pesto lineup. A nicely moist (or not dry… not sure what words to use for thin-sliced cold cuts) meat, slices of provolone, tomato, a mixed green salad on top of the herb paste, and of course BACON, which is able to come through nicely among the full flavors of the mix. Overall everything tasted pretty good, combining into a very bold, rich, and satisfying version of the modern deli classic. The only thing I have note of, and it’s probably just me, is just that… I sorta wish the cheese were melted a little. I know, it’s a cold sandwich, so I should expect it, but still… it feels weird just eating slices of cold cheese like that in a sandwich, at least from a Food Truck or Restaurant. I so just wish they’d just press the bread with the cheese in the Panini a bit before filling with everything else… but again, that’s my ideal, they’re making their style of cold sandwich and it’s still damn good.

            As for the rest of the menu, it’s all pure speculation. Considering the quality of the bacon, though, I can bet the BLT is as good as it sounds, and one can probably assume the other sandwiches are put together with the same care and richness as those reviewed.

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Holdability: 7.5

             For a big-ass, stuffed, non-pressed sandwich it held pretty damn well, so no requirement for sitting down. I predict various other sandwiches will allow similar walkability, needing only one hand to hold the basket and the other to munch.

Price: 8.5

             $8 for every sandwich, and for most there’s a LOT of sandwich to go with it, so it’s a pretty good bang after your buck; a bit sad that there’s no variably-priced offerings, but I guess that’s what Lulu is for.

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Speed: 7.5

              Regular, average speed.

The TOE: 8

               With a stand-out name and focused, sandwich-based menu, Lulu’s brother truck easily shares much of its poignant and stand-out properties in the ever-growing rally of our truck scene. The owner chef’s experience with his last two trucks is apparent, particularly in the food quality. My one noted drawback, however, comes in a lack of any one unique, signatory/stand-out  item; though the sandwich concept is set down very well, always great, I’m still finding myself searching for at least one menu item to hold up as a Food Truck Highlight. There’s nothing that feels exceptionally unique to them, or particularly “special;” nothing I’d immediately think of when asked about the best/funnest Foods in our truck line-up. The ½lb of bacon is certainly a start, but it’s on a BLT; it’s so hard to get excited when there are so many people doing them. I found it created a bit of a hazy aspect in my mind as I looked from the truck and over the menu, detracting the initial, strong aura slightly as I struggled to find something slightly signatory.

                          Tally: 40.5/50

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Final Thoughts

            A really good place if you want something portable and filling, or if you’re a grilled cheese addict looking for another hit (please don’t take it up the nose though… it just gets messy). It’s a pretty difficult menu for me to pick “must haves” from the others, overall it’ll depend on your own tastes, but if I WERE to narrow it down I would stick to 3 main options:

            3-Cheese Melt (or similar) for the grilled cheese buffs or those looking for something not-so-huge. Roasted Turkey/Beef sandwiches for the big, munchy, full lunch experiences (and for a VERY well-made cold cut sandwich). And the BLT (with all its smoky, salty, bacon glory) as somewhat of the main stand-out. Though I doubt one can ever go wrong with many of their other items; I find myself tempted to see how their Reuben is… does it stand up to the gooey, crispy slice of heaven that Home Street Home has created? (if I ever find out I’ll be sure to post my thoughts on it)

            Overall, if you’re looking to spend about $8-ish on a Truck Lunch, this certainly isn’t a bad stop to make.

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The Moral Omnivore

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http://www.themoralomnivore.com/ 

https://twitter.com/Moral_Omnivore

Main Location: Minneapolis

             Opening right at the beginning of the 2013 season, Moral Omnivore (MO for short… really, they call it that, I’m not trying to be a smartass here) already stands out from the crowd. Big and green, the contemporary-reminiscent color-scheme and tree-design separates it from the crowd immediately, and only helps to communicate this Truck’s theme. Owned by Philosophy Major Ross, who also works as a restaurant GM, and his wife Linnea (also philosophy graduate), MO’s goal stays pure and simple to a sustainable, organic, and ultimately ETHICAL mission statement (Not surprising with a name reminiscent of a certain Michael Pollan novel).

            Looking at the menu, one might think they’re trying to shove vegetarian and other healthy ideologies down our throats. In reality, these mostly healthy food options only act as a beneficial side effect to their real cause. Options themselves seem to range in a few key styles, the regular focus being their signature Fried Tomato BLT and Beet Sliders (regular or gluten-free buns), followed by a couple Salad options, and some changing items that, ultimately, all stay very well within the “street food” range. On my visit they had an amazing looking “Wellington Burger,” and at times they have a Curried Lentil Taco made with a WAFFLE SHELL! I want that so bad right now!

            On side notes, they also offer a possibility for “Fries” made from Portobellos dipped in batter (I believe they said it was gluten-free… or just organic, but either way good), fried, and seasoned with curry. They also hand-make cookies from an organic recipe; I may not have been in the mood for one at the time, but they do look tasty. A few Minnesotan sodas line the drink options.  

            Along with their Menu choices, MO regular takes part in Food Shelves and other such charities. Holding an “Eat Your Heart Out” day every week, 5% of all proceeds that day goes to Minnesota charities; so don’t be afraid to seem gluttonous if ever catching them at those times.

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            I’m still not done talking about things they do. Besides carting around various options of ethical, delicious food, MO also sells bamboo silverware sets, hand-made tiled blackboards (I think… maybe they’re just for decoration), and I’m guessing various other sustainable items at some point in the future.

            I could probably say more, but I’m starting to get hungry and semi-disappointed in my life choices, so onto the Food section so I can finish and get something to eat.

 

Food: 9.5

                  Lucky for us, much like Tiki Tim’s, MO offers a combo option for a couple of their favorite items. As such I was able to get both the Beet and Fried Tom BLT. Still, I very much wish I could have gotten more, so many of their items looked very interesting and tasty.

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                Each slider comes in a small, fluffy handheld package of joy, the bread very well suited (and TOASTED) to eating these tiny sammiches. As for the fillings, I can safely say they stand up completely. To my surprise, red tomatoes are used in the Fried BLT, vs the traditional green for cooking; still, I found the flavor was nice, and staying closer to the traditional blt, while overall it still held its structure just as well. The bacon must be special, as I can swear it tastes better than others; and considering their motto is “from bacon to beets,” it’d be weird if it wasn’t awesome in some way. My absolute favorite, though, was the Beet, and for one simple reason: Texture. When people cook beets (especially when sliced like that), one of two things usually happens: it’s either undercooked and still firm, or it’s really soft (still tasty and delicious though). While cooked completely, this slice of beet still had a texture that at first made me worry was undercooked, but one’s teeth cuts right through, achieving a perfect “al dente” that just accentuates the false meaty qualities of the Beet. The smoked gruyere was a nice touch on top. As for the various mustard sauces, slaws, etc used on top of their respective, all made very well.

                Salads all look pretty good, with actual effort put into making them, roasted some nice root veggies to act as a base. As for the burger, I have no idea what “buffalo-caramelized onions” are, but I’m damn sure to find out soon… the burger I saw going buy looked quite the epitome of juicy goodness.

                I have slight worries about the mushroom fries, considering the higher water content naturally in the fungus, frying them can be tricky. Though considering the level of the simple vegetable sliders, and a pic I saw of them in Thrillist, I would hold little to no doubts of their capability of delivering.

Holdability: 9

                 Though seeming almost overflowing, the sliders hold the various stuffings surprisingly well. In fact, minus the highly loaded burger, all main items seem to offer easy eating in one form or another. Both hands required due to basket, but again little issue. The real star here though is the salad; placed in a small sphere of plastic, then kept in small pieces, they’ve created an almost perfect way to enjoy these on the go.

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Price: 10

               Great range, $6-$8 for mains, they offer a $7 combo, and an amazing price for a salad option, only $3. With a volume of small-cut , very well prepared veggies and leaf equivalent to a large clenched fist, this equates to one of the better deals in the Truck industry. A cookie is $1.50, and the basket of “fries” is $4.

Speed: 8

                 Simple basic speed, any amount of wait makes sense. Salads are prepared ahead of time and offer immediate satisfaction.

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The TOE: 10

                 With all intents and purposes, this is not a Truck one can even slightly hope to misunderstand, let alone refute, what their mission goals and styles actually are even upon first visit. They state it clearly on the Truck, follow through in the Menu, and add a few extra points just-in-case. One goes here, and they get that clear sense of “place,” that one really is experience something true to its own self.

                Let me say this too; Sassy Spoon could learn a few things from MO. Almost all (hell, it actually is all I think) of their items are already sticking to or similar enough with the “Nutrition/Health Food” style of Sassy’s, only they’ve actually succeeded in transforming them into proper Street Food at reasonable and logical prices. And at the end of the day, they do it simply, without any actual effort, while still sticking true to who they are. Once again, they’ve proven my point on how not difficult this process actually is, and the sort of results it can lead to.

                  I am so proud of and impressed with this upcoming Truck, and truly wish them all the best luck in their future endeavors.

Service: +1

                  Very bright, open to conversation, and highly accommodating (I actually thought their burgers didn’t have any buns at first when I saw one, only to find out it was just a request for that customer, haha). They hold a very warm sense to them, which as one can see is highly communicated among customers (thus the added point).

                       Tally: 47.5/50

                       

Final Thoughts

            Few specific draws, overall a great Foodie truck or for those just getting into the Food Truck Culture. I will definitely say, if you’re looking for a Salad during your lunchtime adventure and need it to-go, this is certainly the place to be. They do them well, in a good lunch-time portion, and at a very good price (probably better than most salads one gets in the skyway… or restaurants).

            When visiting, my suggestion is pure and simple: Beet and Fried Tomato Slider Combo. This is great for those, like me, who rarely visit places often, thus allowing one to try more than one option at once for the same price. Both of these sliders are also highly delicious and worth it. The other option I would stress is that Taco made from a Waffle Shell whenever they have it; it’s quite the fun, interesting menu item, very Foodie-appealing.

            At the end of the day, if ever one starts to raise their curiosity about carbon footprints and looks to places that which it can be reduced, the Moral Omnivore is certainly a place to pay attention to.

Bacon Trolley

Bacon-Trolley

http://bacontrolley.com/

https://twitter.com/bacontrolley

Main Location: St. Paul

            In the last year, St. Paul experienced something wonderful; the arrival of a Choo Choo carting cured, smoked pork belly, so-called the Bacon Trolley. What really can I say about this bright red food cart made from an actual small trolley?

           Every single damn item has bacon (well, except the fries… boooooo), of which mostly comprises some kind of sandwich and the random taco.

           … it seems many places can’t stand opening up a food stand without a taco… oh well, they taste good.

            The plethora of pork is turned into a very interesting and tasty variety of options. Including a bahn mi made with rich, fatty pork belly (if you have never had pork belly before, this is a good excuse), popcorn tossed with bacon, and a sandwich called the SPANKER! shoved full of all different types of pork (one of which I think is cooked with beer or something… they said so many delicious things I sort of blanked out). Even some bacon to go (seriously, just regular slices of bacon… to go).

B-T 1

            Personally, I don’t get the last one too much, as it’s just regular thin-sliced bacon in a pack (was hoping for the big, meaty bacon like at the Fair), but you gotta admit it’s convenient… and still bacon!

Food: 8

            Pork Belly and Bacon is fantastic, and the sandwiches are great for those with the craving of the salty, meaty goodness; no words can be truly said for the SPANKER!. However, though the Bahn Mi has good bread and ingredients, I would not say it is the best of your options, certainly in the top 5. The rest of the menu sticks with simpler pleasures; both the BLT and Bacon To-Go are good but lack the extra qualities and ingredients to really make you pray to the Gods of Pork on their own. Fries tend to cost more if you want them.

Holdability: 8

             Varies. The Bahn Mi and Bacon easy for one hand; Tacos and BLT for two; popcorn is popcorn; and I imagine one really needs to find a seat for the SPANKER!… quite a messy beast, though worth it.

Price: 8

           Most of the prices are the same as their score; the popcorn comes in really affordable, but the SPANKER! comes in a couple bucks higher, so overall it’s decently priced but at the very slightly higher end.

rdm 0011 bacon trolley

Speed: 8

           Good and average, no worry about wait.

The TOE: 10

            For the love of god, it is a TROLLEY that sells BACON, that is its THEME! That alone completely fills the slot for the real food truck attitude, not to mention the creation of the SPANKER! (ask them about it, it’s quite something). It is the unique focus of a truck on something such as this that usually acts as one of those particular unknown factors that makes you remember and keep coming back.

                       Tally: 42/50

Final Thoughts

            If you don’t have any worries on cutting back lunch costs or have saved up slightly and just want some PORK, go for the top sandwiches and find your happy place. It’s also a good place to stand in front of and take pictures.

           For those relaxing in the city park or walking around, the Bacon Popcorn is a fun $2 snack to keep your tongue’s full attention.