Stopped by Darby’s with the folks for dinner, ordered up an app of “Jalapeno and Bacon Wrapped Tator Tots.” For a simple deep-fried potato covered in cheap cheese, it wasn’t too bad. Anyone else thinking maybe Tot Boss should start covering their own skewers in cheese and jalapenos now? Though I’m sure they could figure out a better side than Darby’s Sour Cream-Taco Spice mix (ugh…).
Main Location: Breweries, Etc (so far)
My first plan to visit Motley Crew’s was to be during a day spent with one of my fellow Minnesotan bloggers. Unfortunately, we both mistook not only the time that the brewery, which it was to be parked at, opened, but also the day the Truck was supposed to be out. Thus started a particularly complex day (see my recounting Here) that was devoid of all but one Food Truck experience.
However, the day before leaving I made a promise to write a review of Motley Crew’s Food Truck, and I’m a man of my word. So I headed out Easter morning, stopped at Indeed, and documented my experience like always.
As their name suggests, Motley Crew celebrates the attitude of the good-ol’ fashioned Rock and Roll legacy (and no, they are not the actual band… though how sweet would that be?), rolling out powerhouse comfort food to an 80’s style sound track. In the long run, there seems to be little to no commonality between menu items, with plans of paella, burgers, and whatever else the cooks decide they want to make up. Short term menu specialties, which I’m guessing will stay on in one form or another, consist of simple grinders/sandwiches slathered in cheese whiz, “motley sauce,” grilled onions and bell peppers. Their Philly has been the main draw since conception, with other options following similarly in design.
Besides a bar food-like menu, Manager Marty Richie rolls out bags of their special “Sweet and Heat” Pretzels, best designed for customers to bring home or enjoy at whichever Brewery they happen to be parked at.
All of this happens between two speakers pumping out set after set of classic 80’s Rock. Now if only other Trucks followed this example…
I won’t lie to you, the first time I read about the food they were serving, I was very dubious as to the actual quality. All I saw was simple rolls with sliced meat and melted cheese, the only interesting item being reminiscent of the “special” kind of chex mix one would find in a Williams Sonoma. My fears of banality, though, have since been happily dissuaded.
Here’s the thing about “Phillies;” I almost NEVER suggest somebody by any restaurant’s, food truck’s, or other person’s attempt at making one. Many of them can be good, but it is still apparent that they are a mere shadow of the original blueprint. However, considering my experience with the “Chubby Chick,” the only different between it and their Philly being the actual meat, I don’t think my conscious could rest if I didn’t tell you to attack either version head-on.
I don’t care how much this particular sandwich mirrors the same from Philadelphia, it is just hot-damn good. The chicken was cut into whole, juicy chunks, not just cheap slices. Combination of provolone and cheese whiz created that thick, hot, gooey spread of cheese-lava that we all know we crave when feeling naughty. I’ll admit, I have absolutely no idea what their Motley sauce is, and am not even sure if I tasted it, though I’d guess maybe a thousand-island type thing; probably added a little bit of tanginess to the overall punch. And that’s really what the sandwich flavor is, PUNCHY, with pieces of soft onion a diced-grilled red bell peppers (let me just say I love that they did this, you don’t have the long, stringy pieces of pepper that keep getting pulled out with your teeth). Overall, it was such a SATISFYING sandwich, very much reminiscent of the food feeling at Get Sauced. And they toasted the buns; I mean, you can’t tell at all with the Chicken, hell I’m not even sure it’s worth it in the end, but they still did it! Pretty good on the Philly though.
The pretzels were another fun surprise. I SO wanted to hate them, or at least be disappointed in their simplicity, but I just couldn’t do it. They’re just so good (as pretzel squares go), I’m still snacking on them, and I want more. The best part is how simple it actually is; all they use is a mix of a really good cane sugar (one of those golden/light brown colored, and no it’s not regular brown sugar… I think), some salt, and a bit of cayenne for warmth (not spicy, just a good warmth in the back). The pretzels are coated LIBERALLY, the sugar getting stuck into the many air-cells of these fellas, and then baked to adhere. Final results are variable, some having only a bit of sugar while others have this layer of more sugar than pretzel, but every single one is a tasty, fantastic version of a simple bar snack.
It’s a good thing they set up at a brewery, ‘cuz this is so not a walk-around sandwich. It’s surely possible, of course, but the amount of dripping cheese, sauce, and various meat juices just make for a deliciously messy experience. You could still do it, I guess; I suggest keeping the foil wrapped around most of it while you eat, though, but even still drippage is inevitable; even sitting down at the table I had to clean up. At the very least, the meat and veggies stay in. Pretzels purchased by themselves can walk easy, of course, but the way they sell it really conveys the feeling it should be taken home or eaten in a bar. Recent voyages have shown that the Philly isn’t quite as messy, though, in fact very easy to walk and eat; and I’m willing to bet other sandwiches may follow suit.
Ranging from $5-7 depending (though I’m unsure what future items may be charged), overall costs are pretty good, especially since one is likely to also spend some cash on beer alongside. I am still a bit dubious on the prices for the pretzels, even if they are good; $5 minimum for a small bag. Personally I’d love to see them offer something where one can get a sandwich and a small side of the pretzels (maybe just 5 of them even) for bare extra cost, just so we could sample first.
Wait wasn’t long at all, and probably seemed even shorter from the fun discussion with the two behind the counter. Not to mention I had a bag of pretzels to munch on during the wait.
The TOE: 9.5
Motley Crew’s is the cities’ very first music-focused Food Truck, and as far as I know could easily be the first of its kind in most of the Food Truck world. This is quite apparent when one visits, in the music, in the attitude, in the Food. They have officially accomplished what they set out to do here, and as such have created quite the experience for the customer. Not to mention the creation of an interesting Toe Ring of these special pretzels, though at the end of the day I would not hold these up to some of the other Toe Rings I’ve documented. My only curiosity is how this will hold once they begin selling items like paella alongside the favored sandwiches.
One of the best Trucks for enjoying with the local Breweries, though one can still eat if able to get to a park bench or other place to sit down quickly. Avoid the burgers and other basic items, I’m sure they’re good but we have better Truck versions on the street. Besides, the real draw here are the grinders, so grab one of those, get a beer and enjoy, with a bag of pretzels if you have the extra coins. Pretzels are also great when just looking for a snack during a day on the street, like those bags of roasted almonds at the farmers’ market.
The Grilled Cheese has seemed to become one of the most ubiquitous and popular items on Food Truck menus. Home Street Home, Fork in the Road, and R.A. Mac Sammy’s all seem to have their own special version lauded by the many customers. It’s certainly no wonder, though; it’s crispy, buttery, nostalgic, a gooey-melty pile, yet despite all that cheese it is somehow the easiest sandwich to eat with your hands ever. I’ve been waiting to try my own special version lately, and got my chance this afternoon.
We just recently bought this loaf of “Honey-Sunflower Seed Italian Bread,” of which we still had half leftover from the Spaghetti Dinner last night. Soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to make some really good sammich from it (I know that’s not grammatically correct, and I don’t care, I want sammich). The question is, what to fill it with?
The answer: Fried Spaghetti.
For those of you who don’t know what Fried Spaghetti is, time to celebrate; this is by far the best way I’ve found to use any leftover spaghetti noodles and sauce. Extremely simple too: take some butter, melt it in a warmed-up sauté pan, and then just toss in the leftover spaghetti (mine had pieces of sausage and veggies in too, so it was even better). Toss around, and just cook until it’s warm again and all that extra buttery goodness makes your spaghetti shine. The end product is just soooo good and bad for you, you can really taste the butter in the now-oily/concentrated tomato sauce. Seriously have to give it a try next time you have spaghetti.
Well, back to my lunch; we take the sliced bread, butter the sides like we usually do. For cheese I used Swiss, since I didn’t have Mozzarella (until of course someone got back from the store an hour later with a whole log of it… of course), but I actually found that unique tanginess went pretty well with the buttery-cooked tomato pasta.
Top with the recently-fried spaghetti, a sprinkle of parm and another cheese slice on top, then move back to your just-used spaghetti pan to griddle. No need to waste all of that spaghetti-enriched butter still coating the bottom.
I always find it amusing how, whenever you start these sort of sandwiches they’re all tall and wobbly, yet somehow by the end they get pressed flat and succinct (with the help of your handy-dandy spatula of course). At the end, it cut nicely, and ate even better; all that good grilled swiss flavor on a slightly different wheaty bread, with that extra addition of sausages and Italian stuffing. Gotta admit, it was quite the Grilled Cheese, I hope you have the chance to try it yourself sometime.
Until then, I’ll have to figure something else out to do with lefotvers.
What’s your favorite Grilled Cheese Fillings? Do you have any restaurant/truck that you just like the best for it?