Hot Indian Foods

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https://twitter.com/hotindianfoods

https://www.facebook.com/hotindianfoods

Main Location: Minneapolis + St. Paul

                 With a business idea for a Contemporary Food Brand, owner Amol Dixit soon realized that his wrapped product would work amazingly in Truck form. Using the Truck to build the brand while trying out various products; a mobile test lab, if you will.

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            Basing off of his heritage and recent interests, Hot Indian Foods serve, what else, Indian cuisine. The particular name of the game is “Indurritos,” Burritos filled with various curries, Tikka Masala, stews, and other Indian-spiced mixes. I find it can be difficult to choose between the various fillings, but despair not! The Hi Flight offers customers the opportunity to try 3 different flavors over rice or as a selection of small “tacos”.

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            On the same line of thought, one can also purchase a combo meal (so called the “Thin Moustache”), pairing the unique burrito with “Indi Frites” and one of their special, glass bottled Indian Sodas (though I saw they also had cans too… not sure if they switched or if it just depends on the day). It also seems, continuing along their concept of “testing,” breakfast Indurritos of Lamb and Egg are already finding their way on the menu.

            With these kinds of options, I don’t think I mind being a test subject.

 

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Food: 9

               Grabbing a Hi Flight and Combo, I took the chance to try the Chicken Masala, Lamb, and Vegan Channa, each topped with a flavorful slaw of cabbage, mango, and cilantro (among other things). Though originally made from Tortilla, they now take to wrapping both Tacos and Burrito in Roti, or Indian Flatbread, for that next-level cultural experience and Truck Twist (again, I’m so sorry for confusing this with Raita!!). Each filling had that nice balance and richness one expects to find in Street Taco fillings, the soft stewed meat paired nicely along the crispy veggie-fruit topping. I almost wish I remembered to ask for some “heat” on one of the tacos just to see how it tastes (Indian food always does the good kind of spicy).

                 I’m gonna say it, I LOVE their fries! Using both regular and sweet potatoes, which are properly double-fried, the tubers seem to be dredged in flour (probably seasoned) before the fry, guaranteeing a big crunchy outside while the inside stays delightfully soft. This is a particularly great technique for the hard-to-fry sweet potatoes, and even more so when one cooks two kinds at the same time, ensuring consistency throughout the batch. Finally tossed with a sprinkling of Indian spices, these are paired with a deliciously sharp and powerful Garlic Mayo, matching nicely with their spices.

                 Though it’s not actually made by them, I feel I HAVE to bring up the sodas: a Lemon-Lime called “Limca,” which seems pretty popular already, and a Cola known as “Thumbs Up.” Being the Cola lover that I am, I had to get the latter, and I suggest you do too! A very nice, simple cola flavor boosted with the familiar rose water and other floral flavors found in the cuisine. I find it was balanced very nicely, offering up quite the pleasing experience.

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                Overall, a great job on the food. The one point I find disappointment in, however, lies in the 3 mixes; though individually they all tasted great, there was little to no flavor distinction between the options. It seems a very similar, if not the same, spice and stew mix is used among the three fillings. One can of course still tell Chicken is chicken, Lamb lamb, etc, but it would be nice if each option had its own individual identity and flavors to further distinguish. Keep the Masala on the Chicken, maybe do a fresh Herb-Garlic mix on the Lamb, and maybe a different stew on the Vegan; there are so many flavors and vegetables I’ve seen done, maybe they can play with them more.

Holdability: 9

                Rice bowl options (don’t HAVE to have it in a burrito… said nobody) and fry combos aside, the Burritos are an ingenious way to get these classic flavors into our stomach with only one hand. The Hi Flight option, though, with its 3 tacos, requires a bit more consumer attention while mobile (especially when getting the combo. I basically had to stand still with the soda on the ground).

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Price: 7.5

               Burritos stay at $9 or $10, a little high of an average for food trucks, but the Hi Flight offers a great deal to try multiple things at only $10. Follow that with a $13 Combo, one can spend only 3 extra dollars for good fries and quality soda, which is pretty darn good for a generously sized lunch such as that.

Speed: 8.5

               Though being stuck behind a plethora of other orders, I didn’t find my wait to be too ridiculous, and I would expect a shorter-than-average wait from this simple-to-build item (though still not instantaneous, especially for fries).

The TOE: 10

               Definitely fits into the unique “Food Truck” category, Hot Indian offers a simple but different, highly portable way to enjoy traditional flavors. I am SO digging the new Roti addition with their Tacos, once again a Truck making something I’m somewhat debating for Toe Ring material. There’s not much else I think I can say, this bright orange wagon brings everything we expect the Street Food experience should.

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                         Tally: 44/50

                       

Final Thoughts

            A fun one for those seeking to-gos, looking to sample, or needing a specialty beverage for whatever. The Hi Flight is great to try multiple flavors, but in the Street Food practicality sense it’s much better to just get a single Indurrito. Besides, one can get tacos in so many other places.

            From the current list of fillings, my suggestions would lead toward the Chicken Tikka Masala, always a tasty classic, and the Spinach Paneer. As for the latter, it doesn’t even have to be for vegetarian needs; Indian cuisine tends to have natural strength in the vegetarian department, so veggie dishes are almost always a sure bet when it comes to enjoyment. And this one I feel may be more unique and enjoyable than the Vegan Challah.

            Definitely one of the new top stops when looking for Fries. And of course, if needing a drink on the street, stop by to try a Thumbs Up.

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BBB: “Burger Before Break”

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             With my leave for a 10-day vacation looming, I’m a bit determined to get at least one more Truck experience done before Thursday. Though as we can see, Minnesota’s trying to take us on a mass-delorian trip back to December, which isn’t really helping any of our Trucks get outside. The whole “Food Truck Day” I had planned with my cousin for yesterday became cancelled, leaving me to re-think my strategy.

            Luckily for me, I didn’t need to re-think too much, my daily plans leading me to downtown Minneapolis and straight towards AZCanteen. Finally returned after a long winter in Florida and other states, AZ has been making up the time lost, parking in all sorts of weather conditions despite any obviously-lacking crowds. It was a particular fun stop in the day for me, one for meeting up with an old classmate who happens to work in the Truck now, but secondly because I finally had the chance to get the Cabrito Burger.

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            Just a reminder, I definitely suggest one’s first try of the Burger be from the Truck as opposed to the Stadium. Not only does one get the “Truck Experience,” the line probably won’t be as long, and it costs $4 less than their $13 charge at a Twins game.

            Overall an interesting little experience; good chance I shall be adjusting some of the scores on my review. The wait was pretty long for the burger vs my other orders at the previous excursion; not that I had anywhere to go, and it was nice to see them take their time, shift the burger around, really cook it RIGHT. It’s quite a thing to see, watching the cook turn it ever-so slightly, nudge here and there for heat distribution, all while your little pile of onions and tomatoes just sit caramelizing on the griddle.

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            They finish the burger with an herb butter, let it melt on the grill, and finally move your perfect little bundle of ground goat and lamb(?) to the griddle-toasted brioche bun. No cheese required, the only toppings one gets being the stained-glass pile of grilled onions and roasted tomato. A little cup of their handmade pickles, to add with your own preference (aka, pile all of it on your burger cuz they’re delicious and awesome), and the plate is finished. Have you ever had those thoughts of making a gourmet burger and wondering what it would look like? Well, here you go:

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            Now that’s just plain picturesque. Just burger, bun, tomato, onion, and pickles, all kicked up to their most simple deliciousness. And for those who always like having a bit of spicy with their food, jalapeno and ancho chile hot sauces stand guard to the side (I tried a bit of the ancho on half of mine)… need a lot though if you wanna taste it, I didn’t get too much of mine.

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            As for the taste, what else is there to say? It’s all highly flavorful, the condiments are just plain IDEAL, and the bun is crispy. Well, crispy at first; it has a LOT of juices it needs to handle, and even this crispy bun can only hold out for so long. But hey, crispiness is ideal, but if it’s lost texture simply from all the flavor and juices it soaks up, I guess we don’t mind suffering.

            The one thing of note I have, though the burger is flavorful and nice, it really does NEED all the condiments and herb-butter. On its own, the meat is sort of dry, which is to be expected as ground goat is one which sometimes needs COMPLETE cooking through; and well-done or medium-well it was, which explains the wait. Again though, as an entire package it’s all pretty damn good. Think it’s a fun little comparison to Melch’s, whose excellence is purely based on the burger patty, as opposed to AZ’s elevation in condiments (their Buns are tied… I knew a girl who liked that once actually).

            For one little visit, it was a pretty fun experience, and now I NO LONGER need to go to AZ again! (…. that’s not to say I won’t… just ask Vellee) I think I can safely head out on my little vacation without regrets now.

            Let’s hope Minnesota finally gets over its little temper tantrum and accepts the fact we’re done with winter when I get back. I’ve still got Trucks to review, and I will be looking forward to getting those done for people as soon as I get back!

SFC: Grilling Excitement

                You know, I came to a surprising realization last night after dinner: after 5 years of going into the food and cooking industry, yesterday was the first time that I actually cooked lamb. Bit of a shock, really; it’s not THAT difficult of an ingredient to come by, I really like it, and am quite eager to cook different things. I mean heck, I’ve cooked Goat in class, but not lamb. Just an odd little situation it seems…

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                Oh well, it happened. And it left me with a big bin of juicy, leftover meat to do with as I please. It just so happened, this morning I was pleasing for a little Lamb Taco or two.

                Now, for actually cooking the lamb, I just used the “Alton Brown Grilling Method” found here:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/silence-of-the-leg-o-lamb-recipe/index.html

                Guy just does fantastic recipes. An important note, though; apparently I was using a Leg of Lamb, completely different cut, and it took longer to cook. So, if anyone wants to follow this recipe with a Leg, make sure you use a lot more coals.

                So, the Lamb I got was a “Semi-Boneless” piece… which makes me wonder what makes it Semi when it has this giant club of a bone going right through it. Either way, I got that fella out, cleaned the Leg up a little bit, and scored for some nice cookmarks. Only later did I find that there were some pretty big rivers of Connective tissue on the INSIDE that I needed to get too… soooo be careful of those home viewers.

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                Don’t forget to save the bone and other scraps. Roast them up someday and you can use for the base of an awesome soup/broth/sauce/ice cream (You heard me…. There’s a place in San Fran that flavors one of theirs with roasted Prosciutto Bones).

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                Next, make your favorite marinade mix, flavor generously with Mint, Rosemary, and Brown Sugar for glazing purposes. In my case, I used some Mint Jelly, dried Rosemary, and Molasses… I work with what I have. Slather it all over the meaty insides and undersides, save the fatty top for halfway through grilling. Then Truss it up (hopefully better than I did) and transfer to the grill.

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                Look how nice and roasty that looks… and yes I did a Hobo Packet of squash and veggies for a side.

                The dinner was nice, the lamb’s unique gentle grassy/gamey flavors really came out nicely. Now it’s onto breakfast, cubeing up a slice of the leftovers and sautéing in a pan.

                I felt like keeping a little Mediterranean , gyro-like feeling to the dish, so I topped with some yogurt instead of sour cream. Slices of cherry tomato and onion, few leaves of cilantro (in place of mint, also keep that latin feel), and since it’s lamb I have to have just a bit of the good stone mustard. Finish with a few drops of hot sauce and wrap in a corn tortilla (no masa in the pantry sadly), and I’ve got a tasty taco. A good morning for me!

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                Can’t wait to enjoy the rest of this leftover juiciness. If it seems street-food related, I’ll make sure to post some follow-up pictures.

 

                And speaking of things I’m excited about, tomorrow looks to be quite the monumental day! Me and Alcohol by Volume’s Author will be getting together for a joint venture of Brewery and Food Truck visits. I can’t wait to share and discuss ideas with my fellow Foodie, have her show me the ropes on our cities’ Beer Scene (I’ll certainly be doing the same for our Food Trucks). We’re both gonna be in for a stroke of luck, too; not only is tomorrow’s weather gonna be fantastic, “Motley Crew’s Heavy Metal Grill,” new to our streets, will be parking outside the first brewery. It’ll be my first visit, and I’ll be sure to have a review of it out by Monday, right after the post that will surely be soon to follow my review of the day’s other events.

                Until then, good night, good luck, and good mobile eating to all!