Kabomelette

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http://www.kabomeletteminneapolis.com/  

https://twitter.com/kabomelette  

Main Location: Minneapolis, Mornings + Lunch

             With a name reminiscent of what might happen if Wile E Coyote got his hands on the Road Runner’s eggs, Kabomelette premiered on the morning streets with much curiosity. As the second Truck this season to come out with highlighted breakfast focus, I was happily able to swing my first visit (again, another truck this season I’ve needed 2 visits to get down…) by on the same day of checking out Paulette’s.

            As the name ACTUALLY suggests, Kabom offers up two main “specialties” (on my first visit this depended on when you got there; one “menu” for breakfast and one for lunch. Though the recent menu has shown no requirement for time, thus assuming an all-day option… unlike McDonalds), so our inner Pyro’s have to sadly throw away the hopeful thoughts of dynamite and destruction. Omelette“s” and other breakfast items fit one side, while the other is taken up by variously flavored Kabobs, such as Jerk, Satay, Curry, even Caprese Salad. Between the two, they’ve also made the decision to offer quality coffee and some sandwich options.

            Ups and Downs aplenty to fill my experience, can’t think of what else I want to say without going to my ratings. So let’s dive in shall we?

 

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Food: 5

             Omelette is of the simple flat and fold-over style, made with 3 eggs. I think it’s funny that, despite the fact it’s the main part of their name, they really only offer one kind on the menu. They’ll argue that they have multiple, but it all revolves around bacon-peppers-onion-zuchini-cheese; you can either get chorizo instead of bacon, a “Vegan” that just doesn’t have the meat, or another one that just doesn’t have the veggies. As for how the fillings turn out, they are… average. Big chunks of vegetables were sautéed at one point, then put on top of egg and folded. Nothing bad to it, but nothing that makes it stand out; which is very sad for one of their namesakes.

             On my second visit, I got myself the “Chicken Satay;” I was going to get 2 kabobs actually, but… well, I’ll explain that later. To my disappointment, these skewers aren’t actually grilled to order; all of it is cooked and assembled ahead of time, then placed on a bed of rice with their sauce. Despite this, though, the chicken was surprisingly tender and soft, a really nice texture and flavor; speaking of which, I VERY much enjoyed the somewhat-spicy Peanut Sauce. If it’s any indication, I’m sure one can be confident in the flavor and quality of the sauces used on the skewers.

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             A couple things though. First, see this picture above? That’s what they serve for their Thai Chicken “Satay;” I put quotes around it because, for anyone who knows, THAT is not a Satay, it’s a Kabob. Satays are thin slices of meat woven onto a skewer with NOTHING else and grilled as-is (like Yakitori I believe); they are NOT layered in thick chunks with similarly thick-chunked veggies. Now, if the menu said “Chicken Satay Kabob,” then that’d be fine, but it didn’t; in fact, it said “Thai Chicken Satay,” actually indicating that it should have been THAI style; which again looks nothing like our version of Kabobs. And they only gave 3 pieces of chicken for all those vegetables.

              And as for the vegetables themselves, again there was nothing special of them. They were cooked as minimally as needed, had some weird hanging peppers, and just didn’t leave anything to impress me with. But the real oddity here is not the cooking and skewering, but the vegetables themselves; if one actually reads through the menu at every menu (outside the Caprese) you’ll see it immediately. Every single dish (breakfast or non) that uses veggies always uses Green Peppers, Onions, and Zucchini; nothing more, nothing less. Am I the only one who thinks this is sorta weird? I mean hey, the “why not” idea is there, but does it not just create a feeling of banality reminiscent of the boring Diner down the road?

             Maybe it’s just me.

             As for the sandwich items, I personally don’t care how good they are; so many other trucks serve them, and the draw to this particular one focuses completely around their Kabobs and Omelette“s.” And sadly, neither of these really live up that much to expectations.

Holdability: 6

              So disappointing. I was so excited at the idea of focusing their menu around one the iconic “On a Stick” food, the one thing I could be guaranteed to carry around in one hand wherever I want and chow down (well, that and a Corn Dog… which reminds me, we need a specialty Corn Dog Truck… someone get on it!!), and what do they do? Put it in a basket with rice.

             I’d pound my head against the wall if I wasn’t so lazy… and if it didn’t hurt so much. It may not be that difficult to eat, about the same as most places in baskets, but I’m taking off extra points here. They have a very clear and very easy route to a food item that’s absolutely perfect Holding while walking, and they just go ahead and do this…

             As for the omelette, in a basket as one expects, and not all that messy to eat.

Price: 6

             A very interesting phenomenon happened between my two visits. On my first exploration, I saw a very interesting and appealing Menu which looked like this:

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             A few options, very focused on the Kabobs and breakfast (if only having one omelette), and some VERY nice prices; if I had the time to stick around for lunch that day I would grabbed two skewers! My excitement, however, was soon to depart when I came back about a week later to this:

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             Interesting, isn’t it? It’s amazing how almost all the same items other than the Sandwich and Hash have increased in price; yet, at the same time, no additions had been made (I actually THOUGHT the rice with the Kabobs was new, but after looking back I was wrong! No Change!). What’s even more interesting is how, despite the attempted “diversification” of the omelettes, the actual Works (with everything) has no price difference than the other two (one with no meat, the other with only two bare items); not that the difference should be huge, but at least 50cents to better identify.

             Then we get to the Kabobs, which are basically just a pile of rice and cheap vegetables with only a bare few pieces of meat. I personally don’t see the actual justification for its given price now. What they need to do is get those prices back down, add one more piece of meat, and get rid of that rice so we have a nice, cheaper, handheld skewer of tastiness we can walk around with.

             Oh, guess I should list the final prices for those who can’t or are having problems seeing the picture. Breakfast items hang at $5, with $6 for their Hash and most Kabobs; lunch Sandwiches and “higher-end” Kabobs get set at $8. Overall, it’s still some pretty good prices (when simply compared to other menus), but I’m not sure it’s justified for the very simple, very low-costing products.

Speed: 9

             Quickness in service seems to be one of their main goals. As mentioned earlier, all Kabobs seem to be completely cooked and assembled beforehand, only needing an extra squirting of sauce and placing on a bed of rice or whatever. Omelette’s are cooked to order, though, and offer an expected couple minutes wait. Not sure if they cook meat for the sandwiches any further once ordered, though my guess is probably No if going off their mission statement.

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The TOE: 4

              I think it’s clear that there are quite a few things that stand out on the non-positive side here. The potentially-portable Kabobs are segregated to a rice-filled cell, prices have actually INCREASED, the actual quality of their specializations are only a bit over average; even their cart sorta looks like it came out of one of those random, average start-up diners. Though the name is interesting and they certainly help with the recent movements towards a Truck-focused Breakfast Scene, many of their decisions since opening have twisted what could have been some great impressions for the experience.

             Speaking of the name, I have one last issue I find highly jilted on. After reading their name, as well as a few little descriptions about the place, I’m sure my mind wasn’t the only one which got the idea that their truck was actually gonna focus on a new “Fusion” item of a Kabob wrapped in an Omelette (or something like it). One can imagine my immense disappointment, then, when I came only to see that they keep the two items separate; and they only have one actual omelette. Now, if this was a Restaurant, I wouldn’t bring it up; I mean hey, if there was a restaurant named this, where they had like 6 omelette’s and a whole list of skewers, it’d make sense.

            But the fact is, as I’ve said with other review, THIS IS NOT A RESTAURANT; it is a Food Truck. And one of the best aspects of this world is its wondrous realms of Creation and Fusion that just naturally seems to develop. So much so that, not only is the Fusion of items common, but it can be EXPECTED; and with the name Kabomelettes, it was highly expected. Especially with how easy it would be to actually make and how much sense it is; wrap an egg around a kabob like a lettuce wrap around a satay, and walk around with a paper-enshrouded skewer to enjoy your new food conquest. And to not deliver on this silent promise just creates a sever decrease in the potential experience us Foodies and Customers look for.

            Ultimately, if they can get rid of the Rice, nix the Sandwiches, add some more meat to the Skewers (and reword the name on the Satay), REALLY diversify their Omelettes, and maybe try at least one signature “Kabomelette,” and they really could be something great. Until then… –sighs- will just have to be here for the breakfast and quick-to-eat crowd.

                       Tally: 30/50

                       

Final Thoughts

            So far, I find Kabomelette’s to only fit 2 situations for going: for those wanting an egg-based breakfast from a Truck, and when looking for quick lunches.

            If one does end up going, my menu item suggestions are this. Jerk Chicken if looking for a Kabob, Fried Egg Sandwich if wanting Breakfast (the Roll is homemade, and I just don’t think the omelette’s are special enough to justify going to a truck for it; can find similar or better in many other places), and avoid the Sandwiches (I just don’t see the need to get one here as opposed to other trucks which BASE their menu around them).

            Hopefully changes are made and future experiences can prove all this wrong.

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SFC: The Juicy

                I’ve been in a mood for some experimentation, and lucky for me last night we were all in the mood for burgers, of which we already had three ground patties. So I figured I’d try a little riff on a Juicy Lucy that’s been floating in my head for a few days.

                So, split each patty in half, flattening, and in the middle put a couple pieces of good-ol American cheese (the only REAL cheese one can use for a Juicy Lucy) and a whole egg yolk. Sadly, didn’t think about turning this into a blog post until after I added the top patties, so no pics of the yolk-in-burger. There is a nice shot of the little meat packages though; a good display of proper Lucy seal-age. And all of us who have tried know how important a good seal is along the edges.

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                Treated the buns like any good burger place would: Buttered and Grilled; makin’ sure of course to keep that 60-40 split.

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                Onto the burgers. Had to be especially delicate with these, considering its valuable cargo, but I think I pulled it off quite nicely (as you’ll see). Though, if you look closely, you can see one did end up squirting on the grill, which wasn’t surprising; had problems sealing that one anyway. It was fine, though; Dad decided he wasn’t going to tell us when he was coming home, so he got the one missing most of its filling.

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                Was a quick-make dinner, so ended up keeping the toppings simple. While I’m here, a little lesson on sandwich architecture! We’ve already covered the foundations for our structure, the bread (see Pulled Pork), now we get to the cement and woodwork. I start with a little mayo on the bottom, like a club; now, why is it that we usually spread some sort of butter, mayo, melted cheese, mustard, sauce, etc on the tops and bottoms of our sandwiches? Besides, of course, being easier than trying to spread it on a piece of lettuce, these oily sauces serve a very important function in Burgers: moisture retention.

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                By placing a barrier of rich, oil-based spread between the bun and other ingredients, one prevents the juices of said meat and/or watery vegetables from leaking into the bread and making it soggy. Which is why Bulldog NE covers the bottom of every one of their burgers in a flavorful aioli.

                Has anyone actually wondered why we like tomatoes and ketchup so much on our burgers and sammiches? Besides tasty factor, the answer is quite simple, that being the tomato’s high amount of Acid. This is always a key factor when creating balance in quality dishes, and in a burger’s case it helps cut through the fattiness of cheese and meat. Speaking of which, ignore all these people who say how much better “lean meat” is. May be healthier, but all the juiciness, all the real FLAVOR from steaks and burgers come from the Fat. So ignore the expensive 95% “lean meat” and go for the high-fat, high-awesome stuff; hell, I’ve heard of a chef who take 70/30 and adds in ground fatback.

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                Mustard also helps with this, considering all the vinegar used in its creation. Last on my burger, a nice piece of lettuce; not much to say other than it stays crisp, helps with moisture barriers, and all that. Just remember kiddies: grab your leaves of lettuce from the CENTER of the head/heart/leaf-bundle-thingy. The best, sweetest part of any greens is the one hidden away from that bright sun, where it’s developed all but none of that bitter chlorophyll (and it is bitter, taste a dark green leaf to an inner light-green from the same lettuce head). Though the bitterness can come in use with some dishes… but I like the sweeter center better.

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                Burgers have rested a couple minutes while I finish building my sammich, and I’m ready to chow down. I will say, it’s a good thing I cut this thing before I took a pic, cuz there was a LOT of gooey-juicy stuff inside; lost quite a bit on the cutting board. But the cheese was perfect, the yolk was still nice n runny… and look how photogenic it was!

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                I say was since it didn’t last long… that was quite the successful experiment. Could really tell that the burger and cheese tasted “richer” from that yolk-fat, which also really heightened the naughty messiness of a good Lucy eating. If I did this again, though, I would SO add me some bacon, then do this on an English Muffin for a Breakfast-Lucy. Just need to find a big enough muffin to hold it… or try and get some smaller yolks…

                As far as Street Food goes, this so does not fit the “holdability” factor at all. That said, I think it still has the spirit of a Food Truck item, even if one wouldn’t be caught in their right mind trying to produce it for a menu.

 

Where’s your favorite stuffed burger made?

SFC: Breakfast Time

              Well, it’s breakfast time for me, and we just happen to still have some fleishgnadle in the fridge. Oh, I still haven’t told you about fleishgnadle yet, have I? Well, I can’t give you the recipe (family secrets and all), but what I can say is that it’s basically a giant ball of ground sausage wrapped in potato dumpling; pure Austrian goodness.

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               It’s also known as the Best Breakfast Leftovers Ever!!!

               Whenever Dad makes this, we love eating it for dinner. But what we REALLY get excited for are the mornings after. In the past, this was even better scrambled with eggs than it was cooked fresh for dinner; but Dad’s been making some adjustments over the past couple years, so he’s gotten the recipe much closer to perfection.

               And breakfast is so simple. Chop the dumpling n sausage up, pop it into a hot, buttered sauté pan until it’s warmed through and a little crispy. After that, we simply beat some eggs with milk, add and scramble it up.

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               Now, I LOVE scrambled egg breakfasts. It’s one of the best way to use leftover veggies and meats; cook them in pan and add the egg however one wants, fried or scrambled. Scrambled is still my favorite though, and it’s not just childhood memories of avoiding yolks.

              I think a lot of people, in general, tend to disregard scrambled eggs nowadays, because it’s the “easy” cooking method. It’s what you do when your yolk breaks, either that or “over hard.” But from what I’ve come to find is that there’s a lot of mastery to scrambled eggs, a certain aspect to them that one can’t find in other methods of cooking: Variety.

               Other main methods tend to have a specific set of requirements to be what they are: Fried Eggs have “Over Easy, Medium, Hard;” there’s Sunny Side Up; Poached; Hard and Soft Boiled; and now “63 degree Eggs”. All of these have developed a set amount of cooking required to get the white and yolk to a particular completion; the only difference is if it’s just cooked a little more or less, and that’s usually accidental.

                  The beauty of scrambled eggs is how many different end products one can create. If you’re not quite sure if what I’m saying is bull, try it at home. Take two pans, heated to the same Low-Med temperature, and add a decent amount of eggs (no thin layer in the pan). To one, stir the eggs almost constantly; the other, cover with a pan and stir ever 1-2 minutes (the temperature should be low enough it takes 5+ minutes to cook). You’ll find the one stirred constantly, when finished, almost looks like a custardy, yellow cottage cheese, and tasty super creamy; while the one with little stir-age is firmer, a little fluffy. Both fantastic, delicious extremes of the same dish.

                And that’s just with the same temperature. Think of what one can get with hotter or lower heats, using different liquid additions (milk, cream, water, LEMON JUICE: adding noted acids can reduce the heat eggs need to scramble, making them cook quicker on lower temps), adding a Tb of water for steam, a thin layer of egg vs an inch of depth, etc. The possibilities number in the thousands, creating an almost infinite strata of possible outcomes. So many extremes, so many grey areas, so many ways to cook something seen purely as “simple” for years on end. This is one of the reasons why I love scrambled eggs so much.

                  Yet the best part? Everybody has their favorite.

                  As with my other Street Food Corner posts, my rambling is done and I can now finish my original thought. We usually tend to cook our eggs to the bigger, slightly-fluffier style, but that’s often due to the heat in the pan from cooking the sausage n dumplings; even stirring fast one doesn’t get the curd (unless doing a giant pot…).

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                Doesn’t it look good? Those thick dumplings just add that comforty heaviness that we love about family foods. The sausage in the pan is only ever rivaled by bacon for breakfast meat category, and the egg brings them all together in a rich, creamy way. Couldn’t you just see a Food Truck stuffing this into a hoagie bun with a little hot sauce (maybe sirachi)? Oooooh, or maybe wrapped in a burrito; a little bit of cheese, crème fraiche, and dill-lingonberry salsa for a Scandinavian Breakfast Burrito… think I know what I’m doing next time we have fleishgnadle.

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             For now, a little bit on an open-faced sammich did it for me. With all the sandwiches I eat for lunch, I like to just do them with one slice to help with the diet/portion control; think of all those extra slices of bread we eat each year.

            Besides, the filling is still the best part.

 

What’s your favorite Egg Dish? How do you like using Leftovers for Breakfast?