Wacky Wing Wagon

Main Location: St Paul, Outside Events, Etc

I’ve sadly had yet to get the right day or chance to actually head down to the capital for one of the food truck lunches held there, though hearing about it as a new regular and popular hotspot for it starting last year (if I’m correct it used to be timed for a few rallies/events, and now just any ol’ pretty day). Indicative of that, there was yet another truck that I was becoming quite worried in being able to hit, having found difficulty staying in touch with their social media updates and the fact that most of the ones I DID see were at some of the more random and not-so-familiar places (aka, an event or out-of-area business). Thus I can say I was quite thrilled on one of my now very-open mornings/early afternoons before work, which had some beautifully sunny but mild weather, that I saw there were a few trucks out in front of the big white building. So I took the opportunity to go down and hit not just one but TWO new trucks on my radar (the other review should be coming soon), and here we are!

I will say that the parking and driving situation near the capital was annoying… but that’s not what these posts are about (doesn’t seem to stop my bitching on other things though does it?). We’re talking food trucks, and today I got to hit one of MY most anticipated new businesses on the street, Wacky Wing Wagon.

What else do I need to say that their name already doesn’t? They sell Wings, their design is Wacky, and they’re a Wag… well, okay they’re a Truck, so you can ignore that part, but two out of three is still good right? And I like the truck, it’s interesting… and I’m not just talking about the wrap job done on it, with the whole ‘chicken wings instead of flames’ dealy. Not sure how well you can see, but the window set-up and placement is quite unique, very  ‘non-standard’ compared to practically every other kind of truck/trailer found on the street, what with the glass-covered display window and the little sliding eye-level hatch in the middle for taking and delivering orders. Which I just HAD to ask them about, it get me curious as to whether this used to be a different kind of truck that was re-fitted for food service, or if it was all custom.

20150519_130159Apparently it’s custom, made in Arizona I think he said (or Atlanta), which… apparently requires that all trucks be made with a bullet-proof glass window. So that explains THAT part of it, haha.

But back to the food, WWW specializes in, what else, Fried Chicken Wings (or Boneless, which I always loved as a kid with KFC’s Honey-BBQ. Mmmmm empty calories…), which one can get covered in classic Buffalo Hot Sauce, BBQ, or Jerk (Caribbean flavor mon). Besides these, one also has the option of a Chicken Sandwich, with the same sauce possibilities for flavoring, or Burger with a variety of toppings/styles (like the Pretzel Bun and Bacon Jam, not sure if it’s seasonal or not). There are of course Fries for side options.

And that’s about it. I’ve got nothing else to say and feeling too lazy to try to think up anything deeper, so onto the food and stuff! (I feel like I end a lot of these intro parts similarly, is it getting boring and annoying?)

Food: 8

                As tempting as it was, I REALLY wanted to try that bacon jam, the burgers were skipped, because gosh darnit this is a chicken truck and we need to go for chicken! I don’t understand why so many of them keep adding a burger options (I know, I know, ‘cuz people buy them, which is their own fault). It did look rather decent though, so for repeat customers to WWW who wanna try a burger, go for it. Also, though I didn’t have the chance to try them (if I was only doing one truck that day, I might have), but the fries actually looked very appealing to me. Thicker cut, golden, skins, crispy outside look, those seem to be the nice craveable kind that hits the spot.

But let’s talk about what I DID have. Since I was able to get the same sauce options for both, I went ahead and grabbed both a Wing basket (bone-in of course, gotta set the standard) and a Chicken Sanwich. Hot from the friar, the wing skin kept that fried crunch we look for, even when thoroughly doused in the sauce of choice. The meat inside was moist and tender, as desired, and what’s best is it wasn’t greasy. Now I can’t really say I’m that great at telling the difference in quality between different fried chickens, either wings or other, so I can’t properly judge. In hindsight, though, I am wondering IF some more seasoning on the wings beforehand would have helped? The sauce could have maybe used some extra (I’ll talk about those in a bit though).

Chicken sandwich… grilled delight. Oh, I still love a good toasted bun, and this one was done nice, with a nice char on the chicken breast (a positive aspect, giving one the option for healthy white meat vs, well, fried skin and some protein), which still contained a juicy and tasty interior. It’s a great option for those who crave the burger flavors but want/need to go a little healthier, with all that nice grill flavor around it. That, the bun, and the sauce contributed the main positive points, as the other generic toppings only added the typical support bases, so don’t look or expect for too much ELSE special about it. As a very simple grilled chicken sandwich, it definitely gets my thumbs up.


Finally, the sauces. I got to try the BBQ (on the wings) and the Classic Buffalo (sandwich). Both of which were nice, typically decent, and obviously handmade, having more of those natural flavors vs the highly generic/mass-produced go-tos. But though the sauce overall meets approval for structure and execution, I find little to truly be excited about, nothing ‘special;’ these are really only just a little better than what one normally would think of for BBQ and hot sauce. Maybe if they had more options I would not mind so much, but if it’s just these two plus Jerk I would hope for something fantastic.

Holdability: 6

                 Well it’s chicken wings covered in sauce, you can imagine their factor for this! Overall very walkable, but messy (unless one got plain wings, in which case WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU!!???), napkins heavily required. Basket-based, the sandwich was an easy one to eat with a free hand, minus maybe a tomato slice falling out (though that may have been a different sandwich I had that day).

Price: 9

                  8-piece wing basket, every one, is only $7, and $6 for any of the burgers and chicken sandwich, overall it’s a rather damn good deal. The food is pretty simple to back this up, and fries come in at an obvious $2 extra (about average, I’ve seen places charge more, especially for ‘special’ kinds), and again they seem rather decent for the upcharge.

Speed: 6.5

Generally average waiting time for wings to fry and buns/meat to grill on the flattop.

They CURRENTLY only have one friar (or two small ones, can’t remember), which can easily push back wait time once there are multiple orders in the window, having to wait for different batches of wings and fries to finish cooking before another one starts. Wishing them luck on being able to get an extra one soon to help with business!

The TOE: 8.5

                  Distinctive, vibrantly themed with a fun name and, I mean come on those graphics! It’s got those great combination of factors which made me quite excited search them out, then of course sadness at not being able to do so for so long. Though I would say that a distinctive drawback to this occurs upon arriving, likely a combination of that super simple white-board menu and the rather… ‘lacking’ menu. I mean ultimately there’s Burgers, Chicken Sandwich, and the Wings, which is usually more than enough except there are only FOUR types of wings, two of which being Hot Sauce and BBQ (the most generic flavors) and a third just Plain. A big part of me was really hoping to revel in the wings more, have a few more interesting sauce options (you have that Bacon Jam for the burger, why not mix that with something to toss the wings in?) to try for that cult-corner EXPERIENCE of going there? Or something like that… just want that menu to excite me more ya know, get my palette dripping, the first stage of presentation before seeing the actual food. But overall still awesome and fun.

Service: +1.5

                First off, I feel like I want to openly say that I KNOW, I’m aware, that this added bonus or minus section is mostly situational. A lot of the people handling the window are always great, friendly and fantastic, it’s just some situations and people (or seeing repeat business) that it shines more. But I started off with having this section as an official way to reward or critique the trucks who, in my visits, I felt deserved it at that time, and I want to keep honoring that part of myself and this blog.

Which is why I thought it was quite nice that, during the little service lull as our food was being cooked and there was no one else waiting in line, the owner at the window walked out and started chatting, explaining the friar situation and apologizing for it between discussions of weather, food, etc. Even taking the effort to check my sandwich, which had a suspicious string of something which we then realized was just a super-thin onion, haha. It added nicely to the visit for me.


Tally: 39.5/50

Final Thoughts

Wings may not be the handiest and cleanest of street food, but if you’re looking for a fun and unique joint to check out then Wacky Wing is the place to go, especially when looking for the lower-priced options. Also great options for food-truck-days/coursed meals as an appetizer visit, or a snack to share with friends between other things.

Any first or single visit simply should constitute an excuse to go for the Wings, Bone-in preferably but I will not judge. Other items should be saved for repeat visits, though I will say that IF one is in the mood for Fries (as-is or to accompany some other truck item), and there isn’t another fry-specialty business nearby a-la Neato’s, this seems to be a strong contender to get them from. As for the wings themselves, go for Jerk; I may not have tried it but I can feel, after having the other two, that it’d easily be the most exciting sauce of the lot, get that full experience.

SFC: The Deep Pickle, Part 3 (Southern Comfort)

                It’s the third post I’ve done for pickling, and for this installment I’m dong… Green Tomatoes!! Hell, I had to do SOMETHING with them… with the oncoming freeze of winter, we had to pick off all the fruit from our cherry tomato plant early, leaving us with a whole, piled bowl full of the under ripe bastards. And they’re not the easiest to immediately come up with a random dinner with (at least not with the small ones… and I’ve already made fried green tomato BLTs last year). Luckily for us, Pickled Green Tomatoes are quite a southern dish, and I couldn’t help but think of it immediately when I got the bowl.


                As it turned out, the idea evolved into a great new post for the ongoing pickle recipe line-up that seems to be forming, as the various online recipes I’ve researched has led to my first foray into the purely unique, traditional, and separate technique of Jar Pickling (really though, I couldn’t find a single recipe that didn’t make me do this…). I’m talking true old school, full sanitization, sealing, and shoving into the basement.

                What’s the difference from the basic quick-method I described in my first forays? Well, besides a fuller and more integrated infusion of the pickling base, what ends up in the jar, completely sanitized and separated from the world around it, is left to mature and develop purely among itself, almost like an aging/settling bottle of wine. The final result, though subtle, can yield to what is to be a more… “complete,” deeper flavor (if done right).

                But less talk about theories which I have put absolutely NO time or effort in researching, let’s start the process!

                We begin not with ingredients, but equipment. Everything you use needs to be sanitized, EVERYTHING; depending on the scale one goes to with this, it can be a complete pain in the ass, one of the reasons I haven’t actually done this until now. That and that minutia of worry I’ll always carry in the back of my head that “maybe something got in from the air or counter afterwards.”


                So gather everything you’ll need: A glass pickling jar, the lid (which should separate into two part, the circular top and the rim), tongs, a pair of chopsticks, your knife (yep, even what you’re cutting the tomatoes with), a small empty can or plate or wire rack, and the largest (or at least highest) pan for boiling water you can find. You’ll also need to sanitize the cutting board, but with its size I’m guessing it won’t fit in the pan: I just ran mine under super-hot tap water for a couple minutes.


                To set up, fill the giant pan as high with water as you can and bring to a simmer (not a boil, simmer). By this time, set some sort of spacer at the bottom; a metal rack works wonders if it can fit. This is to make sure none of the items rest against the pan, letting the heat fully circulate (and making sure you don’t scrape your cooking equipment, haha). Then submerge all the items as much as possible; which is why you need a huge pan, those pickling jars are tall, especially after being elevated. I had to turn mine to the side. Also, I only submerged the main metal parts, not the handles, of my tongs and knife, for easy removal and handling afterwards (how am I supposed to take the other stuff out if I can’t lift the tongs, right?). Simmer for about 5-10 minutes.


                Set to dry on a very clean towel, or other area you trust to be as sanitized as possible, and more onto the pickle. Choosing whatever aromatics you want (recently read a recipe with 4 different options for spice flavors with the green tomatoes), instead of boiling them with the vinegar you can put them all into the bottom of the jar beforehand. Don’t worry, they’ll be getting just as much heated infusion later, so for now we can keep them underneath everything so we don’t have to deal with the annoying group of spices covering the top of our pickle. I stuck with a simple mix of peppercorns, bay leaves, dry rosemary, cloves, and a cinnamon stick (I also found a fun way to replace chili peppers in a recipe when you don’t have any).


                Now, slice all tomatoes in half (if we were doing the large tomatoes, then wedges), along with any onions, garlic, or other veggie aromatic you wanted in the mix. Transfer these to the clean and mostly-empty pickling jar; I like to layer the onions and garlic I used, just to ensure thorough flavor mixing (plus it looks so pretty, AND you can eat them along with the tomatoes!). Do not fill all the way to the top, but leave at least the rim open for air and space come sealing.


                Next, bring the base pickling liquid to a boil along with anything that needs dissolving (salt, sugar, etc). For the recipes I researched, I found a couple things to note: one, you’ll want to make half the volume of the pickling container/s, so for a single quart pickling container I used 2 cups, or a pint of liquid (it came PERFECTLY to the top, so awesome). And two, for the green tomatoes you’ll only want about 50% vinegar or less in it; I saw an iron chef’s recipe that used like 8 cups vin to 1 water, and that’s just way too psychotic. Green tomatoes are gonna have enough tartness and acidity to them as is, we only need the vinegar for flavor and general preserving at this point. Oh, and use Apple Cider Vinegar if you can, it’s really tasty with these guys!

                I didn’t use any sugar in this one, and many recipes only call for a little bit of a sweetness factor anyways. What I DID use, however, was Hot Sauce! It was a fun little experiment, since I just picked this really yummy bottle up from a recent trip and I didn’t have any mustard seeds or hot peppers to add to my spice mix. So instead, I used what was a notably mustard-focused, habanero-made hot sauce. I only added a couple tablespoons, so it’s not noted in the final flavor, but I’m sure it added something. My one concern is that it doesn’t dissolve completely into the brine, but sorta floats around in little particles… not that attractive.


                Once everything is mixed and boiled, pour directly (and carefully) into the pickle jar, completely submerging your desired produce. Here we use the chopsticks (bet you were wondering what the hell those were for weren’t you?), grasping the end and carefully pushing down to the bottom here and there. This helps get out all the extra tiny air bubbles trapped beneath the veggies, so make sure to be thorough about it.

                And onto our final step: Boiling. Screw the top on, TIGHT, and place the whole thing back into the water bath, which now you have hopefully brought up to a full boil. It’s even more important here that it be completely submerged, but I just felt uncomfortable with turning it onto its side so I just got as much water in as I can and came up to the rim (hopefully the steaming water helped enough). Cover the pot, and leave to boil for 10-15 minutes.


                This is definitely the point in my reading that I just had to stop and ask “Why the hell am I doing this?” None of the recipes said anything either, so one’s left reading a recipe with no justification for a very strange and annoying step. But after considering
things for a while, I think I can glean quite a few benefits from this process.


  1. Sterilization: a little idiotic, I mean who needs to sterilize the outside again? But I believe the boiling process assists in bringing a sterilized aspect to the vegetables and spices themselves, ensuring absolutely NOTHING brings in any interfering spores, bacteria, yeast, etc.
  2. Cooking: these ARE green tomatoes after all, very firm fellas, who certainly need a bit of heat in the pickling to soften them up for enjoyment. I could definitely see one using this method for very firm whole cucumber pickles as well.
  3. Sealing: probably the MAIN reason for this. Not only does it apply the whole “heated metal expands and then contracts when cool” thing, but as the insides boil (which they do), I think micro amounts of air escape from the tight barrier, with none being able to come back in. Thus, the jar will end up with its own little vacuum of sealed air and pickling mix, with an iron-tight lid that’s a bitch to get off (make sure you have a little fork or lever for the top part).


                  But yeah, that’s about it. There’s probably more to it, but I don’t really care too much, and I doubt I NEED to know for these purposes. My only needs now is to let it cool (probably in the water unless you have a way to safely remove it while still hot) and transfer to somewhere dark and chilly; a basement, or garage on my part.


                 Leave for at least a week to “settle and mature” and you have yourself some very traditional home-pickled green tomatoes! Free to use with breakfast, on sandwiches (I popped them on an openfaced with leftover trout and some horseradish-sour cream), or just munching on their own. They’re not too bad on top of late night nacho snacks either.


                 Thus ends the third installment in my little series, hopefully it was a fun addition to the other two. I almost wonder what hare-brained random experience is gonna force its way into #4… though I’m still waiting for more Napa Cabbage…

Sayo Foods and Co.




Main Location: Minneapolis, Etc

            It’s been over a year since I’ve last spotted, let alone heard from, Sayo Foods and Co. In fact, my very first (and at the time only) visit was during the premier of our now-annual Food Truck Fair in the summer of 2012. Since that time, the vibrant green truck seemed to have fallen off the map; I was recently just wondering if they had simply stopped, or possibly were taking residence in areas much outside my normal routes of travel and research.

            Then what do I see this Monday on my way to class, with no plans or expectations for mobile eating, but a distinguishingly different pattern in the typical ménage of the Truck Side Quilt. With most of a year of delay from giving birth and figuring out career path, the owner of Sayo has now returned to the streets!


            Though notable changes have taken place since the long delay, the main staples still revolve around Filipino cuisine. This mainly takes the form of Pulled Pork Asado and Pulled Chicken Adobo items, either sandwiches or, as seen a year ago, Tacos. Though one is quite likely to see other “influences,” such as various Latin items, Greek Gyros, even a Philly, and who knows what else. One major, and somewhat disappointing change, is their disclusion of the “side items;” my first experience seeing a trio of fried calamari, crab balls, and eggrolls. Though the Eggrolls have plans to come back, other cuts have been made; though what other additions and separations are to be made from here are a mystery.

            But for now, here’s wishing them luck in a new, full year in business on the Street!



Food: 8

             A year ago, I grabbed an order of the Pulled Chicken Adobo Tacos and one of those baskets of Crab Balls; however, despite my desire to attempt to relate them to you, I find the noted time difference and change in menu a little worrisome to review… not to mention they’re no longer there. Oh well, guess I’ll just have to settle for a delicious Pulled Pork (Asado) Sandwich.

             Piled on another one of the overly-popular pretzel buns, which from what I could tell did not get ANY toasting or criping up, sadly. The pork itself has quickly shot up to one of my favorites in its moisture retention and flavor, somewhat near where Racer’s Pork is at. Unlike others, which tend to suffer from the odd phenomenon of a “dry-ish” texture after all the pulling and piling together, Sayo’s meat shows little to no effect to give a nice sandwich base.

             Though of course, that doesn’t mean we can’t still top it with loads of sauce. And they do have quite the selection, seen here:


             From Left to Right: a simple, tangy BBQ sauce (I think they make it, but it tastes commercial… either way); … ketchup; what looks to be a very dangerous bottle of extra-spicy chili oil, or sauce, or whatever… either way, I suggest you run far away from it; Sirachi; homemade Phillipine Chili sauce; and mustard.   Definitely don’t need much to moisten and flavor up this fella, though I won’t stop you… definitely have to use that Chili sauce, because it is GOOD! Tangy and kitsy (another fake word, yes, but I don’t know what word to use to describe this) and rich, maybe zesty… mmm, get that and some of the BBQ on, found yourself an interesting new version of the Pulled Pork (or Chicken, I’m sure they’re both good).

Holdability: 6.5

            May depend on item, but I’d deposit to say that most sandwiches (the mains) will really need both hands to hold, thus sitting down; particularly the pulled meats. Though future Eggrolls, possible re-appearing Tacos, and current Gyro are likely to not be such an issue.

Price: 8

             All $8! Though I do remember the Tacos were originally offered as less than the sandwiches, so if they return it may be a better deal. Plus I doubt the eggrolls will cost so much, haha.


Speed: 8

             About average, touch faster with the simple items

The TOE: 6

             Well, they’re still developing, can still sort of see that; I never felt too “excited” with either of my visits. The menu is small, despite advertising in the Filipino concept they carry items that clearly shouldn’t be joining the others, but they’re still there… it still holds the feel of a beginning “catering truck” vs a full-fledged Food Truck.


                         Tally: 36.5/50


Final Thoughts

             I think I would suggest waiting a bit to let them develop and get back into the groove, readjust menu, all that before one actually visits.

             That said, once visiting, I would certainly go for anything of the Pulled Pork/Chicken Variety; the sandwiches are wholesome, though if they ever bring back Tacos or similar, they’re a more affordable option. Once on the menu, should definitely try the Eggrolls, especially as a small snack for sampling or on Food Truck Days.

            Oh, and I would probably ignore the Gyro, Philly, and other similarly odd-placed items; I’m sure they’re good, but as I’ve stated before I rarely ever suggest a Philly outside of the source, and I’ve found Gyros so difficult to fully differentiate in quality outside minor factors, so might as well get them from a place one knows does them properly and right.

House of Hunger




Main Location: Minneapolis

             Originally “Twisted Sister” House of Hunger, a recent lawsuit by an 80’s rock band of the same name has forced them to drop the name.

            A whiteboard menu on the side of their ubiquitous steel-plated (least in color) truck, Hunger focuses their menu on common Street Food items. Options include Phillies, BBQ Chicken/Pork sandwiches, Hot Dogs, and a few Tacos, all with various topping combinations. Of note is their Polygamy Sauce, a spicy basting of Sirachi Mayonnaise flavored with garlic and other basic seasonings, found on many of their more popular items.

            I actually had the luck to visit them in their very first week of opening, when they were doing a free order of fries with sandwich purchases. Starting the blog, I made the hard choice to wait and visit again before writing a review, with such a drastic change of menu design since then. Did you know they used to have desserts? Don’t think they made it themselves, but they were fun options (like those cheesecake pops), and I’m still a bit sad I don’t have the chance to try them.

            Overall, my visit came on a lucky day. Of the three Trucks on Marquette Monday, two just happened to be ones I needed to taste. (I’ll be posting my review of Melch’s Meat Wagon within the next two days)


Food: 7.5

             With the varying options, it’s hard to tell if Hunger has a specialty, but if one was forced to lay claim it would have to be the Hot Dogs. You only get one, but these are BIG Dogs, Deep-Fried and served in the kind of bun one would normally attribute to a grinder. On my second visit, I ended up with the “Dirty D,” one of these sinful dogs topped with a giant pile of steak and pulled pork, two types of cheese, grilled onions, and slathered in their spicy Polygamy Sauce (figured it was a good item to get a better overall sense of them).


            Pork and steak tasted good, the Polygamy’s very reminiscent of a quality Buffalo Wing hot sauce, though not too much more than that. Very good all-beef hot dog, stood up to the other flavors well enough, but if I were to say one thing about the dish as a whole: if you’re gonna deep fry a hot dog, then DEEP FRY that hot dog! The outside was crispy and nice, but I want you to RIP that f@$%er, get it almost black, really go at it. You’re already going to the point of differentiating it, go full-throttle, especially when the whole theme of your Truck is Sin.

            That said, they toast the bun just like they should, maintaining some nice crunchy texture where the sauce hasn’t soaked in. I haven’t gotten their fries, partly due to my first visit try of them was disappointing, but from what I saw on other plates it looks like they’ve improved nicely (can tell they’re still the larger, soft style). Speaking of original tries, I do remember that the pulled pork was smoked nicely and had good flavor to it.

Holdability: 4

            Not the neatest of food items, items are often pulled and messy, particularly the meat-topped hot dogs. All of the food is served in those big, styrofoam go-to containers, so even if there are easier holding items, they aren’t served to be street-eaten.

Price: 7

               A solid set of $7 and $8 offerings, with most hot dogs set at $6 (the Dirty D is the main exception at $9). Overall a very decent and solid price point for Food Trucks, though I still find the price for dogs to be very dubious. On the one hand, they ARE big enough to almost be a sandwich in themselves, but on the other you’re still only getting ONE hot dog for $6. At the end of the day, it’s probably up to you to determine the price worthiness. Fries add a noted extra couple dollars to cost.


Speed: 7.5

             Fried/Griddled/Toasted to order, the wait is typical and as to be expected. Though I wouldn’t mind waiting a bit longer for that dog if it was a nice Ripper like the famous Rutt’s Hut in Jersey.

The TOE: 6.5

             House of Hunger has created quite the little following behind them, and there’s a reason for that. They’ve got a bit of their own attitude, some style, a recognizable truck design on the street, and a unique list of hot dogs. However, for me there has always seemed to be something lacking; not that they don’t have any. They’re more a soft, general tone of Food Truck aura hanging just underneath the bright shine of other notables. If I were to say why, and I don’t think there’s just one, it might be tied to the actual menu. Though the food is tasty, and some items are interesting, the selection is just very “General.” Tacos, philly, pulled pork… how many other trucks do we see these? For me, all I can feel from this is a sense of mediocrity; not to say that in an insulting way, it just doesn’t create that sucking draw as certain other Trucks.

            Tally: 34.5/50


Final Thoughts

            Not the best on-the-go when in Minneapolis, but if it’s located at an event or other situation you’re able to sit down (avoid taking back to an office unless you have something to protect your nice suit) then go right for it. BBQ Pork is a go-to, though I think Hot Dogs are my first-visit choice; go for the $6 options, far as I can see the best value for the price, particularly the Pit Bull Dog (topped with that Spicy Pulled Pork).

            Fries are up to you if you want to spend the money, but I think there are better options for that choice on the street.