Funfare Global Street Eats

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https://twitter.com/funfaregse

http://www.funfare-gse.com/

Main Location: St Paul, Etc

It’s a good thing I did some last-minute twittering, I was seriously about to put up a post saying these guys didn’t have a website! It’s tricky to find via google, but I got their twitter id and it led me straight to ’em! Still didn’t tell me too much else about them that I feel like putting down, but that might be the laziness. I do definitely suggest looking into the website to get a good clue to their personality.

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This truck also comes out as yet another build from local Chameleon Concessions, go lizards! After doing so many articles on the side for a certain southern truck builder, it’s always nice to come back and see the fruits of our own Minnesota-based team out on the street in their wonderful mobile glory.

But to get back to the truck itself, my adventure this day leads me to Funfare, or Funfare Global Street Eats, depending on how one prefers calling them that day. As the longer version suggests, along with the very postcardy décor on the side of their big red behemoth, they focus on providing a variety of classic International street foods from various world regions.

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And boy do they really accomplish this. For the past few weeks the menu has hold fast to offering the choices to grab a Cubano (from Cuba throughout Central America), Shrimp Po’Boy (Louisiana), Filipino BBQ Skewers (do I need to say this one?), Pork Steam Buns (Japan), Baja Fish Tacos (Mexico), Chicago Jumbo Dog, Cheese Curds (go Midwest!), Hush Puppies (more Southern Love), and Baklava (Middle East) for dessert. I hear they plan on changing the menu up soon, but I expect at least a few of these will either stay on or see frequent resurgence from time to time, so a good starter.

By the way, they sell Kool-Aid as a drink option… actual vibrant blue Kool-Aid. I’ll just leave it at that and get on with things.

Food: 9

                Suddenly I find myself loading up with FOUR of their menu items, two bigger and two snack-ish. So I’m gonna see if I can actually go through each briefly for once…
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First off, best Hush Puppies that I myself have ever experienced. Crisp and crunchy on the outside, like your favorite corn dog, but not dry in the slightest on the inside, still ‘moist,’ in sort of a touch spongey/doughey sense, hard to quite express. I was very happy to find a version of these fried cornmeal balls I enjoyed, with that notably soft onion-chive-y addition of flavor; a shame there’s NO sauce to dunk them in, some pepper aioli on the side would have catapulted these to perfection.

The best part of the Pork Steamed Buns is the first bite; it’s just that total pork bun flavor, with moist pig, perfect ratio of springy/chewy/tender steam bun texture (it’s so unique and distinctive), a bit of that slaw, and that marinade! For those who’ve had a pork steam bun, there’s that specific sauce flavor that’s unique purely to them, a sweet-tangy Japanese bbq sauce of sorts, and it is up front and center in the best way in combination with that pillowy dough bag. And of course I have to make mention of the interesting little form for these guys, like a Japanese bun taco. Which is cool, but whereas the first bite from the ‘top’ was perfect, the second ends up notably lacking filling, which is understandable and fine, the real issue is that this section of bun, folded over and almost double-layered, ends up notably… not drier, maybe ‘denser’ is the better word? Clearly inferior to the ideal, not uniform like the classic round buns would be.

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So I was going to go for the Po’Boy, just to be different, but then I saw someone else with one… and I’m sure it’s good, great looking veggies and toppings, but come on, that guy just needs more shrimp, it looks sparse. Those BBQ Skewers though… damn that glaze and char, reminded me of the Korean grilled pig in my favorite banh mi.

Then I saw a couple Cubanos come out and was like “Oh yeah, THAT’S what I’m getting.” Full press, flat and crispy top, melted cheese that strings properly when pulled, pickled which are THERE but don’t screw with the sandwich structure, mustard is present, and PIG. Ham and pulled, they got it… inane mention I know, but I’m still reeling from a recent cubano disappointment. This ultimately ate, tight and crispy but not hard crunchy, like I expect a Cubano to, with all the flavors. They nailed it, I was satisfied and happy, though I found there was no single item that really brought it to that AMAZING level, which any sandwich that everyone knows really needs to be in order to get that top class mark. Either a big mass of super gooey-melty cheese, this one was still simple and thin, or just bigger mass of extremely flavorful pulled pork, as again the meat was still rather standard but done well.

20150803_175101And finally, since I was at a bee-focused event, had to get that honey-soaked Baklava. I was hoping that finally, after so long, I would get a baklava from a stand that would be moist and tender and delicious, and they did not disappoint. Seriously, so used to having to choose between small squares of baklava, which are good but tiny, or big triangles which are just dry layers of phillo dough. And this was just a full mass of distinctly moist, sweet honeyed flavor and texture, not soggy at all and with a top layer that is JUST a little crispy-dry, combining with that soft and nutty paste of walnuts/almonds in the typical way. It was just refreshing and happy; if I really looked deeper, and had more experience with good homemade baklava, I’m pretty sure I could make certain points to the soaking syrup and nuts used. But when you really don’t care about thinking about it, this little dessert can just make your day, especially for the day.

 

At the end of the day, the food has a great start and is headed in the right direction to what it should be, but because they’re so close to perfection, and sticky very purely to the traditional compositions, it’s ever clearer to see that they are STILL not quite there yet. If they can make just a couple tweaks here and there, really complete each item, then Funfare is golden.

Holdability: 8.5

               Despite the variety, each of the options are consistent in that everything needs two hands, being eaten from a basket, and is all surprisingly clean consumption. Even the Baklava, though a touch sticky, again isn’t soggy or anything, so it only needs a few delightful finger licks following complete eating. It’s only the BBQ skewers that come with rice, something that requires a fork, but besides those the only issue for walking+eating becomes what ELSE you might get. Though I guess sides and dessert can just be dumped in the same basket as your big guy; not like any sauces are coming over to mix and mingle.

Price: 7.5

                $10 for the big two sammiches, $8 for the Fish Taco and Filipino Skewers, $7 for those mini Steam Buns, $5 Chicago Dog, $3 each for the fried side items, and $2 for Baklava. A notable range of low to mid-high, providing some notable options for one’s situation and preferences. I would say the items tend to skirt the edge of whether they feel totally worth it if not a steal for the price charged, while others I would hope for maybe one extra bun (I mean it’s either an add-on, in which case it bumps the final price up considerably, or it’s supposed to be eaten on its own, in which case you want some more) or more fried shrimp before not worrying about whether I’m just being a cheap, nitpicky b*^@# food reviewer.
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Speed: 8

Distinctly depends on the item. Most are close to ready to go, can only take a few minutes, but the main boys will be an average wait; Cubano takes at least 8 minutes on the grill. That is proper though. I will say I would have liked it if they’d offer me the option to receive some of my other things first, since there were only a couple other orders, instead of having to wait what took 10 minutes for ALL of it.

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The TOE: 8.5

                I wasn’t thinking I’d score them too high for this, my premier thoughts and impressions on when I first spotted them in St Paul (happened to be their opening day! But I had other guys to hit then) was just another random ‘let’s open a food truck’ ideas, they do ‘international’ probably because they couldn’t think of anything else more interesting, like those who just do burgers and meat sandwiches; which can be great, but also uninspiring. But just as we can find a sandwich truck that brings us to our knees, so does Funfare come to grab my own attention. Whether it’s presentation, the distinctive look and taste of each food, or just plain doing it right, I can officially say they are the first truck that, in my opinion, successfully offers a menu that feels like it’s focusing on different world food regions. This as opposed to a certain one or two that really just seem to come from the Middle East and Asia, or  then go back to the US only to feature a burger and philly cheese (it’s always the burger and philly cheese…). Funfare chooses distinct and familiar, but not boring, menu items that do express some of our favorite eats from around the globe. To this, I myself am somewhat eager to see what other food items they explore and switch out with, if they continue on with strong hitters or fizzle out. Guess we’ll only see with time.

Tally: 41.5/50

Final Thoughts

Echoing my ultimate impressions on food, the truck as a whole stands as a very strong, ‘almost perfect’ business in their particular realm of focus, but it’s currently just one or two steps behind the point of ‘ideal.’ But I feel with time and some effort, if applied, they can easily reach the heights of food and personality impressions as some of my absolute favorites, like Home Street Home and SCRATCH.

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So I guess that means we just need to keep visiting and enjoying their various treats now doesn’t it? Now, it certainly is difficult to make suggestions for a future-changing menu, but I do believe I can confidently say the BEST strategy for taking hold of Funfare, at least for right now, is to attack the small-plates for snacking or mini-meal purposes. Whether it’s grabbing the almost-toe-ring-level Baklava for your sweet tooth, some Hush Puppies or Cheese Curds to pop in the mouth as you walk between other truck delights, or those Steam Buns just because they’re pretty darn tasty and good. If you DO want something more substantial, I still gotta try those BBQ skewers; they just look so good, and the additional rice will help fill you up; though I myself would rather just have the skewers for a dollar less to walk around with. That and the Cubano are my strong ‘entrée’ points for now. As for what else comes along, just do your best to have an idea on what they did well with THESE and try to imagine what other items would be crafted the best. To that, I finish with a good luck, good eating, and a hope I can get myself back out there snacking with all of you soon once more!

Hot Dish “100 Favorites” for 2014-15

It’s a little late in response (though aren’t most of my posts usually nowadays?), but I do always love featuring the Trucks that achieved the graces of making City Page’s “The Hot Dish blog’s top 100 Favorite Dishes for the year. I wanna make it a yearly thing! No promises of course… I am quite fickle… and forget things… SURE I’ll have another shot of Vodka.

What was I saying? Oh yeah, awesome food trucks. Though quite a few of the ones to make the list this year were purely resulting of the Restaurants they generated, but it deserves featuring (and I need SOME kind of material to flesh this post out some… don’t look at me like that! I’m needy…). So, let’s see who made the list this year…

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#77: Taco Cat with “The Larry”

They may not be an actual truck, but their street food soul shines bright, plus I recently did a quasi-review on them and feel they deserve continued honor in that respect. And their tacos are rather awesome, as is evidenced here through City Page’s feature of The Larry, a pile of Chicken, Chorizo, and Cheese stuffed inside three double-wrapped masa tortillas. Of course it’s the one that I didn’t get…

#62: The Curious Goat with Goat Cheese Curds

Their menu is quite frequently changing with whatever local ingredients they can get their hands on, but it’s not often one won’t find at least a few dishes with goat meat and/or cheese on the menu. And they take this latter up to an epitome of experience by lightly frying curds of it and serving with roasted butternut, some spring onions, and a drizzle of honey (my new favorite cheese curd companion forever). Again, something I dearly need to have at some point… here’s hoping for a rally.

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#55: Smack Shack’s Shrimp and Grits

I may still hold strong reservations and annoyances about this truck (don’t ask me why, I’ve probably lost proper reason for it long ago), but one can’t argue their food always gets results in those willing to spend the extra buck to attend their mobile or standing business. Usually getting renown for the lobster, this year highlighted one of the best southern combos to ever grace the table: Shrimp and Grits. I know, the last word strikes terror and disgust into many a heart, but done right than oh my god… I’m still vary happy to have gotten it at Surly myself.

#54: World Street Kitchen and The South Side

Not surprising to see them on this list again, this time for Brunch! The restaurant location serves out a dish composing of a bile of hashbrowns, ‘secret sauce,’ and some big chunks of lamb topped with basted eggs (which, if they’re PROPER basted eggs, are easily the most sinful and delicious way to eat them whole I swear).

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#39: Chef Shack Ranch with the Big Boy Ranch Plate        

I almost probably shouldn’t even be mentioning these gals on the post today, since the restaurant focus has almost NO connection to what the truck turns out, instead serving out bigass servings of classic BBQ. And it’s not a bbq joint without a giant parchment-paper-lined platter dolloped with practically one of everything, like grabbing a charcuterie board at the more hipster-ish locations but with hot, soul-fulfilling smoked meat… and more of it. As it’s apparently some of the best bbq in the Twin Cities, this little selection of pork and beef moved itself rather high up on the list.

#25: Hola Arepa’s Corn Cookie Ice Cream Sandwich

Of course the local famed belter of the stuffed corn-dough sandwich is now turning out a dessert version, stuffing sinfully smooth vanilla ice cream in a sweet cookie dough filled with butterscotch, fritos, and corn flakes. Why didn’t they have THIS at brunch!?

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#7: Hola Arepa and the Beef & Plantain Arepa

That’s right, they got on twice! (And they’re not the only ones, damn Spoon and Stable… making me want to go to you when I don’t have enough moneh) And fitting we end on something that actually could come out of the Truck itself, their classic masa ‘flatbread’ bun stuffed with sweet, soft plantain, rich beef, tasty pickled onions and of course some sauce. It then gets kicked up to 11 when eaten in restaurant and served with those amazingly thick, crunchy Yuca Fries that I just think are perfect. No wonder they’re at the top of the books.

Well, that’s the second year for me done and taken care of, we’ll have to see how the following 2015-16 season goes. Will more trucks move to restaurants and fill the brackets, or will a resurgence in interest for starting mobile operations take precedence? Find out next time (he says in announcers voice as if he was coming back to this in a week and not a whole year)!!

Flavor Wagon

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https://twitter.com/Flavor_Wagon

Main Location: Minneapolis

            Ideally I prefer to wait some time after the opening before I visit and review a truck, say give them over a month or so to get in a rhythm and focus what they’re doing (you know what they say about a place on their opening day). Sometimes, though, circumstance leads me towards a business still fresh after their arrival on the scene.

            Opening in the early weeks of May 2014, my visit to Flavor Wagoncame less than a month later, when they still had yet to set up anything besides a Twitter account. Be that as it may, their menu had luckily gone through a bit of updating, and the food I was able to sample seemed pretty focused and solid for what they were trying to get out.

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            Cuisine is Middle-Easternin style, the top of the Menu portraying (at least for now) an intriguing dish from Egypt called Koshary(see Food section for description). Other items take the regional flavors, with a protein focus on spiced Beef or Chicken, and wrap it up as “Flavor” Burritos, Tacos, or at times Sandwiches. They also offer the oft-typical Tabouleh Salad, Hummus, and Baklava. They used to have a Rice Pudding too, which I was quite excited to try, though after querying the owners found out that it apparently had issues working out in a truck (something about it separating). Which, though I missed it, I’m much happier to see them making a good, level-headed decision not to display an under-par dish.

            I’m curious to see if any of this may change in the coming months.

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Food: 9

            Holy Sinister Starch Bomb Batman!!

            That was my first impression when I was finally handed the Egyptian Koshary, basically just a big pile of Rice, Lentils, and Pasta (traditionally all macaroni, they mix in some spaghetti amongst the masses), “garnished” with Chickpeas and Fried Onions. Soooo starch, starch, and more starch. Then we get a glob of bright red tomato sauce which, on first sight, you think “this can’t possibly accommodate all this pasta and rice… just not enough…”. Then you decide to take a small bite of chickpea with a half-teaspoon scoop of the sauce and actually realize, with a mix of joy and self-loathing, the spicy, pepper-based nature of the red-hot condiment.

            Your fork dives in, now eager to blend all that sauce in with its carbohydrate base, covering everything in a thin layer of reddish-pink; not enough for any other tomato sauce, but just perfect for this Egyptian-style hot sauce. Consumption begins, and satisfaction soon follows. After getting it, I so did NOT think I’d actually like it as much as I did; I mean it’s just rice and pasta and other different starch things. But there was something surprising to it, the flavors weren’t that heavy, the spiciness helped you to keep coming back… it was good. And filling, very very filling! Don’t doubt that. Certainly I don’t need anything else with it; though some other additions in the lines of protein, veggies, and/or crunchy texture could easily launch the completion even higher.

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            The Burrito was similarly a nice surprise. A first bite of lightly flavored Tomato rice gave me doubts, but I soon got down to the good stuff. Ground, Cumin-based Spice Beef, tangy fresh White Cheese, Lentils and Cilantro all create a flavor that’s distinctly Middle Eastern and definitely not as heavy as the typical Burrito. Large chunks of hot, spicy raw onion invade the mass with its crunchy texture and a flavor that, usually, I detest on its own, but actually lovedwith the rest of it. Again, a happy surprise which I fully enjoyed.

            Sadly didn’t have the chance to try their Baklava, but it looks pretty darn good (I’ve seen “meh” baklava before at the Festival of Nations, I can tell Flavor’s is notably better).

Holdability: 7

             Rice/Pasta Bowl, a Salad, Hummus, multiple two-handed hold-and-scoop foods. Even the Burrito, wrapped tight in its foil, finds a thankful relief in having a cardboard basket underneath; it’s still a bit messy apparently, not everything wants to stay in!

Price: 9.5

             $7 for most of the Taco/Burrito entrees, $4and $3 for Sides and Dessert, a very good and decent range of price options. The $6 Koshary comes in at a great deal, giving you a lot of filling food for the cost; though so do other items, but the starch-centric bowl really highlights this.

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Speed: 5.5

            I feel like the wait was longer than it should have considering the simplistic preparation dishes than it should have; though I don’t know, maybe they were cooking some things to-order, but that’s not the impression.

The TOE: 7.5

             The Truck itself doesn’t have much personality to it (the name’s a bit generic and doesn’t have any relation to the theme), but the food easily brings plenty enough to spare. Singular, niche-fitting, with a light enough twist to push it onto the street. There’s a decent gap that needs filling, but it’s a pretty good start.

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                      Tally: 38.5/50          

Final Thoughts

               Probably one of, if not the, best places to completely fill your stomach for a good price; or, you know, if you wanna Carbo-load. For either of these, the Kosharyis the obvious item of highlight, especially considering it’s their signature dish.

               For the more mobile-inclined, or those who don’t want to JUST eat starch for lunch, the tortilla-centered options they provide are the other must-haves. The Burritois my favorite, though the Tacosdon’t look too bad either (expect them to be a bit messier of course); as for Beef or Chicken the choice is up to you.

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               Final suggestions; though it hasn’t reached Toe Ring status, I would definitely get the Baklavaas a lunch or food truck day dessert over the generic brownie/cookie anyday. Though I would NOT get this naturally, if you’re the kind of Truck eater who enjoys getting Chips and Guac on the go, the Hummusoption would be a fun and different change (from what I’ve seen so far, I bet it’s quite well made).

Citypage’s 100 Favorite Dishes, 2013-14 Food Truck Breakdown

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                It’s safe to say the press and attention our Food Trucks have been getting through local news, papers, and blogs has yielded a wide breadth of coverage, strong reviews, and some pretty fun and interesting online articles. For the past… well I guess it’s actually been half a year, I’ve been occasionally following one of these yearly “projects” posted in Citypages: they’re “100 Favorite Dishes” (of the previous year I’m assuming… and the beginning of 2014).

http://blogs.citypages.com/food/100_favorite_di/

                I took notice a few weeks into their beginning of this year’s list after seeing a certain Food Truck’s mobile options as one of their favorite. After reading the article, considering things, I thought it would be fun to stick around and see who all else they might raise to inspired cravings. And let me say, our meals on wheels brethrens have racked up quite a few spots in the limited selection; not huge, but certainly not a puny few.

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                The first pic, coming in rated at #94, is World Street Kitchen’s Kimchi(and blue cheese) Scones. Though, yes, this particular Brunch item is only available through the RESTAURANT, I do believe the originally street-savvy business deserves the credit. Especially since this would make an AWESOME item on the Truck; god, I would hunt their truck down in a SECOND if I knew they had this guy on its menu, total Toe Ring material. Baked in house, this soft and yummy pastry is twisted with an interestingly funky mix of fermented cabbage and the moldy cheese. They have other scones too, which all sound quite yummy as well, but I gotsa love me some Kimchi all the time.

 http://blogs.citypages.com/food/2013/12/asian_invasion_bulgogi_tacos.php

                Asian Invasion comes in at #90with their oh-so-signatory Bulgogi Tacos, as I made some mention in their review. Kimchi makes its second appearance in this list, joined by jalapenos and the sizzling beef. I still have yet to get my hands on this soft and delicious package, but soon… soon…

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http://blogs.citypages.com/food/2013/12/100_favorite_dishes_no_78_potters_coconut_curry_veggie_pasty.php

                #78was taken up by my own favorite, Potter’s Pasties, and the much agreed-upon choice in what’s likely the best of the classic opions (or at least in the running), the Thai Veggie. Don’t think I need to express any further opinions on this item, those who read know my love of the savory pastry cart. Though I will say, so far, these favorite selections are really quite Asian aren’t they?

http://blogs.citypages.com/food/2014/01/100_favorite_di_54.php

                One of last year’s summer newcomers, Paulette’s quickly scores itself up to #61in Citypage’s highlights with their Chocolate Croissant.Though really they could have picked any the croissants they offered, what with their mutual use of that buttery, flaky handmade and folded pastry. Can’t blame them though, a good chocolate croissant almost being a work of art, and this really is a good chocolate croissant. I’ll have to write myself a note to have it again sometime soon.

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http://blogs.citypages.com/food/2014/02/100_favorite_dishes_moral_omnivore.php

                Not a surprise, Moral Omnivore comes into the ratings, and quite high at #48, easily edging itself into the upper half of this list with their BLTwhere the T stands for Terrifically-Fried-Tomato. There’s a reason both these guys and Paulette’s made it into my own Top 10 Truck list, and the items responsible are both featured here as well. Just simple, beatifull, and perfectly fun and street worthy. If one still has yet to visit them, you should, they were probably THE stand-out truck for me of 2013, if there ever was any (hold on, did Motley’s premier in 2013? If so than MO is #2).

http://blogs.citypages.com/food/2014/03/100_favorite_dishes_foxy_falafel_cheese_curds.php

                Foxy Falafel made it in at #28, but it was for the restaurant’s Cheese Curds, which I just found out typing this… it makes my feelings confused. On the one hand yes, it’s quite the accolade to get so high up on the list, and those local, cornstarch and dill-breaded curds look perfectly crisp and delicious… but come on, you have Foxy FALAFEL on a top 100 list for CHEESE CURDS!? I guess I should be happy it’s still a classic street fair food, but… but… falafel… please…

                -cough- Anyways. Drumroll please! The final Food Truck, which reached in all the way up to spot #23is….

–dadadadadadadada–(… in case you can’t tell, that’s a drumroll)

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http://blogs.citypages.com/food/2014/03/100_favorite_dish_world_street_kitchen_yum_yum_bowl_sameh_wadi_delivery.php

                -Gasp- World Street Kitchenagain! And it all comes full circle, and with the menu item that many could say launched their popularity: the BBQ Beef Yum Yum Rice Bowl! I still remember the many times I walked past them in the summer of our first Food Truck year. Even now, it’s still never an item that initially stood out to me that much, but when I finally had it one lone night did I get to experience the balanced beauty of this asian mixed bowl delight. Though not the most mobile, its origins hark back to the days of weary travelers getting sustenance from small roadside “cafes.” And the heart and soul has translated well throughout all these years.

                And with that ends this year’s iteration of the 100 best, my response posted notably later then I wanted it to be (they snuck the last one under my nose without me noticing for over a week, darn them!). A big congratulations to EVERYONE who made the list, this is truly quite the gathering of delicious food offerings. Maybe I should start another One Craving Project around trying each one of them? Let’s hope next year yields a similar level of Food Truck involvement. But until then, enjoy all your culinary adventures, whether they’re mobile or stuck in the ground. Good Luck and Good Eating!

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                Honorable mention towards Indeed’s LSD Alereaching #70, much love to our business brothers in the local Breweries, and Chef Shack Ranch’s Chicken Wingsat #37 (god I still need to go there… and other restaurants).

 

SFC: Frozen Bomb

                Winter means a lot of things to different people, especially us Minnesotans. Holidays, ice skating, impossible-to-treck driveways, warm fireplaces and toasted marshmallows, chicken noodle soup, snowball fights, the inability to drive anywhere without warming up the car for half an hour… and others. But above all others, the highlight of winter to me always comes down to one thing: it’s Pomegranate season!

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                Yes, these sweet, purple grenades filled with bundles of tart, juice-filled “seeds” (which in reality are the actual “fruit,” by technical definitions), just waiting to be opened and snacked on when it gets cold. Of Middle Eastern origin (I believe), I think quite a few people throughout the continent have become thankful of the treck these guys have made to land here in the US.

                And then we get it, and want it, and crave it… and have to spend an hour or so carefully getting every last delicious seed out with painstaking annoyance. I’m sure we’ve all tried certain methods, only to find them not as succesfull as claimed, or simple struggle in keeping as many seeds unbroken as possible. Whether this is due to bad techniques or simply poor execution can be debated, but either way it leads to frustration.

                As such, I thought I’d go over a couple of the more successful and useful methods as I work to salvage as many seeds and juice as possible for a special frozen treat.

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                Gotta break this open first; a few things I found tell you to cut the top off like an orange, but you’re still slicing through a small cluster of the seeds with that. Same obviously goes with straight cutting it in half; the safest method (with a bit of practice) comes with carefully scoring a line, just a bare few millimeters deep or so, around the tough skin (I think vertically is supposed to work better, as opposed to laterally like I did).

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                Carefully grasp the scored line with your fingers and pull apart; it can be difficult, since you don’t want to put too much pressure directly on the fruit itself (causing more seeds to burst). Oh, and I think it’s safe to say that by at least this step you should be working over a bowl to collect any falling seeds and escaping juice (it’s impossible not to get a few broken seeds, no matter how hard we try).

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                We’re about to employ the “beat them out” technique of releasing the seeds, but before that we need to actually loosen the fruit up a bit, otherwise those seeds will just want to stay where they are. Just grab the edges and sort of stretch and work the outside skin a bit, you’ll know when it’s good.

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                Invert over the bowl, fingers holding underneath, and grab a good wooden spoon or equivalent. The rest is simple: smack it down, HARD, and Many Times. Do NOT be shy, otherwise you won’t get many seeds; well, you’re not going to get them all anyways, but you can get big chunks out with some hard wacks. Don’t forget to rotate the fruit around to get all the “corners.”

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                Pick out any bit of “flesh” you can (that spongy white stuff, which believe me, does NOT taste good at all… burn it to hell I say) and pour seeds over a fine strainer to collect any juice from potential broken seeds. This can be reserved (say, in a tiny little porcelain lion thumb cup) for recipes or just doing a little health shot.

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                A slower but seemingly more thorough and less damaging method (and a good one to use with any seeds still left on the fruit after beating) involves that ubiquitous bowl of water. Submerge the cut open and loosened section of fruit inside (I’ve seen some recipes suggest soaking it in there for 15 minutes, I don’t really see the need) and carefully pick through the many clusters with your thumb. The water makes the process a little gentler (it’s hard to say why, you just don’t need to force it as much), and the best part is all that bitter flesh floats to the top.

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                Of course there are always some small bits of it still stuck to seeds that don’t float, but the majority is now taken care of. Just skim off the top with a strainer and dump to a trash. The one downside of this method is, while the other garners more RISK of breaking seeds, at least you can collect the juice after. With this it all dissolves into the water. Thus why I prefer combining the two.

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                Store your pomegranate seeds in a covered container with a dampened paper towel and save for snacking or for whatever application you choose.

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                In my case, honoring the coming winter snows and the classic pairing of pomegranate (or other fruit) with yogurt, I’m trying my hand at Frozen Yogurt with Pomegranates mixed in. The seeds themselves need no more prep than popping in the freezer on a tray beforehand (since we’re mixing them in at the end, this will both firm them up from bursting and retain little risk of disrupting the frozen treat’s all-important ice crystals).

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                Another reason for my choosing to do frozen yogurt this day was when I researched various recipes; expecting to encounter many a mix requiring about ½ cup of yogurt mixed with 2 cups of crème anglaise mixture, and opinion formed after looking over MANY boxes of Edy’s and other Store Frozen Yogurts during a certain period of lactose intolerance, which had at the point completely and thoroughly destroyed my initial hopes and impressions of what “frozen yogurt” was. Fast forward to my online research in the last week, where to my surprise I found not one, but TWO separate recipes made with 100% Yogurt for their dairy source. I think a few companies have some explaining to do.

                But making your own frozen yogurt is pretty easy, particularly with this recipe. You’ll need to get some good, Plain Greek Yogurt (no flavored, it’s all artificial and doesn’t really taste that good anyway), or make your own by straining regular yogurt as I did (hopefully I’ll be able to make my own from scratch at some point, but for now storebought it is). Here’s How:

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                Take your giant tub of yogurt and upend it into a strainer lined with 2 layers of Cheesecloth. If cheesecloth isn’t readily at hand, or it’s a little pricey for you to buy (the only cheesecloth I can buy is this small 10ft roll at my local Cub, the price which can add up if you were to buy often), you can easily use a clean, white cotton dish towel. I use them a lot, and at the moment have ended up just reserving one or two purely for food use.

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                Place inside a large bowl and set in fridge to strain overnight, covered of course. The original recipe detailing this states that the amount of Strained Yogurt received after this will be half the starting amount, but ultimately I think it’ll depend on what yogurt you use. Either way, what you’ll end up with is a firm, compact package of what I can only describe as seeming to be a cross between yogurt and goat cheese in texture (and sorta flavor too, but still very strong yogurty).

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                To this we can now add the very few ingredients needed. For every 2 cups of Yogurt, add ½ cup of sugar-source (raw sugar, honey, corn syrup, etc) and 1 Tsp vanilla or other extract. Though, I don’t like adding in the sugar raw to such a thick substance, so I put it in a sauce pot with honey and a touch of water and heat up to ensure that it fully dissolves and incorporate better.

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                Mix those together, and place in fridge for at least an hour to fully cool down and ensure complete sugar dissolvement.

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                Ready whichever device one uses to freeze and churn their ice cream, and add your prepared Frozen Yogurt base. Follow directions for proper churning, and it will be ready when it looks like thick ice cream.

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                While it’s freezing, we can make the topping: Pomegranate Molasses. Basically put, a thick syrup made from reducing pomegranate juice to pretty extreme lows (if you’ve ever made a balsamic reduction for a sauce, think about 1 or 2 steps FURTHER than that). But we need some juice to do this first, which can be gotten pretty simply.

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                Just take any leftover seeds one has and pop it into the blender. Cover and pulse until it’s all DESTROYED. Believe me, this is the best way to get juice out of fresh seeds, probably just cuz it acts as a container so that you don’t get exploding juice everywhere. Not that you’re getting a lot of it; a whole pomegranate is likely to only give, say, a half to a whole cup of juice to enjoy. It’s fine if you don’t need a lot, but if at some point you are needing a LARGE amount of juice for some bulk job, just buy the stuff pre-juiced, seriously. Otherwise it’s a lot of bitchy work getting yourself.

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                Strain into a bowl and transfer to a wide sauté pan. Get it hot, watch it bubble, swirl the pan and do NOT leave it alone. It’s a very thin line between reduction, molasses, and too-damn-thick. Not that it can’t be fixed with a little bit of added water or more juice and heating back to thickness.

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                Just remember, as with all cooled sauces it’ll be thicker once cooled down, so take it off the heat when it’s a little looser than the ideal thickness.

                Now that that’s ready in the fridge and the yogurt is frozen, we can finish and serve. Pour the frozen pomegranates into the churner to mix in (never want to do this at the beginning, otherwise they’ll just break up and make it all purple, won’t have any of those beautiful little pockets). Depending on the strength and style of ice cream maker, though, you may have to just take it out and do it by hand; it DOES get pretty thick after freezing, much easier to get a thorough encorporating with your hands.

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                Can either serve it as is, “soft serve” (ish), or transfer to a container and move back into the freezer for a few hours or overnight to firm up. Once done, scoop into the preferred vessel of choice and garnish. My toppings included fresh seeds, the molasses, and slivers of handmade candied ginger and ginger-sugar sprinkles.

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                And there we have it, a classic winter fruit completely taken apart and made into a classic frozen street delight. Though it may not be the first thing we crave with this weather, one can’t deny the mix of nostalgia, fun, and deliciousness. I hope this at least inspires some of you to pick up more than one pomegranate throughout the season and dive into it with a further. Good Luck when you do, and Good Eating when you’re finished.

Fall Feast Food Truck Rally

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              Tonight (probably already started) is the much anticipated Zombie Pub Crawl, 9 years in the running and now featuring a “Food Truck Court” somewhere within the main Quarantine area (which I found out only yesterday since no other site has advertised or provided details on the Trucks taking part).

                But as far as I’m concerned, the real party comes in a week as the MN Food Truck Association launch the Second of their Food Truck Rallies, the “Fall Feast.”

                After a couple months of waiting, a swarm of trucks are returning once more to Harriet Brewery to stand guard and provide their beloved fares to the crowd. Set from Noon to 7pm, these will of course be joined by various bands in the Harriet Taproom, and a ready supply of their fan-favorite beers. The full schedule of Music can be found on their sites of course.

As opposed to last time, the number of Trucks has increased to 15 (though we’ll see how many of them show up this time), and will include: Lulu’s Street Food, Cafe Racer, Tiki Tims, AZ Canteen, Motley Crews, Stanley’s, Brava, Eat At Sandy’s, Hibachi Daruma, A Cupcake Social, Hot Indian Foods, The MidNord Empanada Truck, Moral Omnivore, Gastrotruck, and The Red Pig & Truffle. Though the trucks cost money, entrance is still free, unless one plans to go to the “afterparty” ($5) at Bigtree Bonsai at 8pm.

                I definitely plan on going again to see how this event fares compared to the last; I’ll admit I’m a bit surprised that they decided to do the Rally at the same location, especially with how long of a wait we’ve had since their first (maybe it’s more of a seasonal Rally than a quick yearly grouping…). I hope to see you there, and Good Luck and Good Eating until then!

http://mnfoodtruckassociation.org/events/

http://www.harrietbrewing.com/event/fall-feast-food-truck-rally/  

Greek Stop

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https://twitter.com/greekstopfoodtr  

Main Location: Minneapolis

              Premiering in the Downtown Minneapolis scene last year, Greek Stop serves Diner/Deli-style Mediterranean cuisine. Despite the obviously cold weather and dwindling street-walkers, Stop decided to open its doors midway through the Fall of 2012. Luckily, they survived the brief season and have returned to take on a full season!

            Apparently the owner (Ahmed Makaraan) is taking this as a first step on the road to restaurant-dom; much like crowd favorite Sushi Fix and somewhat the opposite of Falafel King. It’s not that much of a stretch of the imagination, either, with their Truck menu already filled with Greek Deli staples (well, except for Stuffed Grape Leaves… seriously where are those?).

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            With a wide, WIDE viewing window takes up the Truck’s side, in which customers can oggle and point at the various menu items they’re too ashamed to try and pronounce. Through this, one can easily spot that most ubiquitous of the Mediterranean café, the giant tube of rotating Gyro meat. This is of course joined by the new, giant tube of rotating Chicken meat for shawarma. Of course, it’s not a “traditional” Greek menu without also offering Falafel, Hummus, Greek Salad, and Baklava. And for some reason they also have a burger (at times)…

            Giving a nod to its potential restaurant future, all these main sandwiches can then be purchased solo or as some form of “combo platter.” Now all customers have to do is attempt to navigate the blaring white board menu that’s replaced their previous, easier-to-read one which I assume had an unfortunate accident. In either case, props on not choosing the cliché “block lettering+picture” style employed by other Trucks which I shall not name in this post… again.

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Food: 8

                Grabbing a Gyro on my recent trip and a Chicken Shawarma (or sandwich… it’s been a while) plate back in the fall, I can safely say these are definitely the items to watch. Pita bread used is pretty big and soft, though obviously not handmade they use a decent product.

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                I’m certainly not an expert on gyro meat, but I found I enjoyed what they put out; it feels a bit better quality than a couple other general gyros I’ve found through the city. Though this could easily be from how THICK they slice their meat in comparison to others! All in all, it made scrumptious and enjoyable lunch experience. As for the chicken, it was rich, it was juicy, and it’s definitely something I would suggest getting in the gyro-like wrap.

              It was a while back, but I do believe I had Pita Chips and Hummus as well with that chicken… if I did, I’m pretty sure it was good, but not really “fantastic” in any way. Something tells me one could also say the same about their Salad, and possibly the baklava (so hard to find really GOOD baklava… even in international stores/cafes).

Holdability: 7

            Tightly wrapped in a roll of foil, they make their sandwiches easy to transport to one’s various destinations. As for the actual eating, the tzaziki and veggies can be a touch loose and messy, but they still stay within the large pita pretty well. Two hands are required for consumption-on-the-go, though. Platters quite obviously require sitting down, along with that salad which I still don’t understand the reason for buying.

Price: 8

             Solo sandwiches stay at $7 or $8, with subsequent combos adding on extra depending on quantity; highest price so far in that sense is $11. Both sides of Samosa and Baklava stay a $2.

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Speed: 8.5

              Average speed, in fact probably a bit quicker due to the ready-to-cut meat tubes and other ready-to-assemble products. Plus, with the viewing window, the wait becomes more enjoyable.

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The TOE: 6.5

             Basing it off of the future restaurant they hope to have, one of course loses many of the feelings of a typical Truck. Compared to the menu-similar Falafel King, however, they clearly show a better direction towards the Street Food movement; a slightly higher focus/smaller menu, bit more in portability, not to mention that giant window on the side giving us a view into their soul… and gyros.

             I wish they had some Stuffed Grape Leaves though… put them on a stick/toothpicks for a perfect street food item!

                        Tally: 38/50

                       

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Final Thoughts

            Certainly a fun little stop, perfect for those who feel the need to actually watch something while waiting for their food. Definitely stick with the Gyro or Chicken; probably one of the best options for them within the city (Truck or Non). Though two hands ARE required to eat as a just in case, these certainly qualify as a stop for those requiring eating-on-the-go. Unless of course one decides to get a platter… which may be okay for bringing back to the office, but I firmly believe the sandwiches are the stand-alone here compared to the rest. I’d say ignore the Falafels, there are a few better options.

Falafel King

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(No useful links one can use for updating Truck location)

Main Location: Minneapolis

            With a group of 3 storefronts already under their belt, Foxy Falafel makes its entrance into the Food Truck scene in the season of 2013. Those familiar with the popular café will find no surprise in their Middle Eastern-based cuisine, using many of the same items listed on their non-mobile menu.

            As name suggests, Falafel forms the main grace of the menu, standing next to that other Mid-Eastern favorite in the US, the Gyro. A small plethora of other items fill the rest of the menu, from Hummus dip to Greek Salad, from Shawirma to Philly Cheese Sandwiches, Combo Platters, even two burgers (one Lamb, the other “Falafel”).

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           The menu itself reads much like Holy Land at the State Fair, covered in semi-gaudy pictures of Mediterranean fair with bright blue descriptor boxes hanging below. Lucky for most customers, though, they don’t have to worry about accidentally ingesting lamb testicles at King.

 

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Food: 7

             I myself went for that intriguing Falafel Burger. In terms of the namesake, the outer shell was very nice, crunchy and thick without any sense of burning, with a fluffy inside standing up to it nicely. They make the burger much like how one envisions; one larger, flat patty of the falafel; at first I thought they just fried a few and smushed them all on a burger bun, but that was just the big flakes of crispy shell. The toppings, however, all have this feeling of mediocrity; cheap tomatoes and lettuce, basic flat burger bun… tatziki was decent though. When gotten all together, though, it made for a very nice, tasty mouthful; at least when you CAN get it all together, halfway through most of the toppings went in my stomach (see Holdability).

           On my visit, they also had a sample tray of their hummus, “spicy sauce” (an oil of herbs and spices, which I also had on the burger, which was nice), and the fried pita sticks used for dipping. Hummus was smooth, very pleasant traditional flavors, a nice enjoyable version. With this and the falafel, one can safely assume many of the Middle Eastern-based items are likely to retain the similar level of pleasant quality.

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           Other dishes make me highly cautious of not only flavor but their reason for being on the menu: Philly Steak and Chicken, a Lamb Burger which looks like a Mcdonald’s commercial on a bad day, and an oddly unadorned Garlic Chicken. Maybe they’re good, but this sense of odd dubiousness is why, as mentioned in Motley’s review, I rarely if ever suggest grabbing Philly Steak sandwiches from ANYWHERE outside of the actual city.

Holdability: 6

            Highly variable depending on the item. The Falafel Burger I got, even with a solid foil wrap around its base to hold, was quite the messy beast; not to mention I basically consumed all the yogurt and tomatoes in the first half of eating, leaving the latter just falafel, bun, and lettuce. Regular Falafels and Gyros are of course going to be very easy to on-the-go, though it seems they may pack them with sides of sauces and possible other things. Then there are the salads and platters, which are likely to hang in the category of “take it back to the office/park/etc.”Then there are the spreads, set in the side of a to-go box with Pita Sticks to dip, sort of in the middle for walkability. As I believe the real focal point of this long menu centers around the falafels, gyros, and possibly burgers, I’ve made the choice to score them slightly higher than mid-way.

Price: 9.5

            Easily one of, if not THE, best point. Entreee items range from $5-$9, and that’s only due to the $9 combo plates. Most sandwiches stay around the $7/$8 range. An extra dollar can be added for sides of Fries and Rice, though considering the type and quality of place I would highly recommend steering from either (much better fries in other trucks), so I don’t even count it. Two Baklava desserts are also offered at $2.75.

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Speed: 7.5

             Also highly variable and dependant. Gyros are likely to be particularly quick along with salads, spreads, and other pre-made products, while the falafel and burgers can be a while. The Falafel burger took a noted amount of time. 

The TOE: 4

              Though many of the main items fit the “street food” mantra pretty well, it’s difficult to visit here without one feeling that they just walked into the actual Mid-Eastern café. The menu simply has too many items on it, and though pictures of the food could be a nice addition if done right, here it just feels tacky and exponentially grows the “Café” feeling.

            Which is really disappointing, as I actually like the idea of the “Falafel Burger;” unintentionally (one can’t help but feel this was created in the restaurant as another menu item, with little to no thought towards the actual Truck), I believe they have introduced an amazing concept for a unique Food Truck item. A traditional dish molded into the form of another local favorite which has proven to hold a high potential for handheld street eating. Sad to say, though, their version could really use a lot of improvement, and does not illicit near the levels of excitement as the original idea.

            If they were to probably fix this item to a more holdable and flavor-focused (again, it’s still very good, but maybe a few titches in size, spice, and toppings) version, along with scaling down the extensive menu to purely Street Food-Accessible items (seriously, ditch the salads and combo platters… also that philly sandwich, don’t see what that has to do with Mid-Eastern fare), they could quite easily be transformed into one of the better trucks in the city. Not to mention actually pose a chance at actually competing with Foxy Falafel (sorry, had to bring them up at least once in this review, and I wish I could have done it on a more positive note).

                      Tally: 34/50

                       

Final Thoughts

            If in Minneapolis for lunch and craving for that Mid-Eastern style, this is a good Truck to stop by. Any Money-concious foodie would find a lot of delight in the Falafel Burger, so long as they don’t need to eat while walking. The simple, traditional items are the best to focus on outside of this: Falafels, Gyro, and Lamb Burger, even the Hummus and Baba Ghanoush if one wants to walk and dip.

            As for anything else, I wouldn’t even consider it unless one already planned on bringing food back to someplace they can sit down. Even at that point I’m unsure this is the best location (though the Combos offer a good way to try multiple aspects of the menu). Overall, though, after trying the mains, I would suggest not even bothering with the Truck until they take actual steps to improve their Street Food focus.

            Something tells me some readers may not let me leave here alive without doing this, so here it goes: Foxy vs King, Falafel on Falafel, my suggestion. It’s very close (prices are the same), but here are my thoughts: King’s quality of Crunchy Outside and Fluffy In is probably a bit higher than Foxy’s, however Foxy truly delivers the effort in creating 3 separate, very quality flavors. In terms of the basic falafel, Foxy’s stays on the lighter, fresher herb-focused flavors, while the traditional, cumin-based spices come out very noticeably in King. As such, I would point one to King when looking for the pure, simple, traditional flavors and style Falafel, King edges out Foxy’s just a bit. On any other kind of experience, most Foodie’s would agree, Foxy clearly outshines the competition.

Top 10 Trucks, 2012!

Three seasons done, over 50 different Trucks on the streets, our Food Truck Culture has increased quickly and dramatically to all of our benefit. The Foodie nation within the cities has taken a firm hold of this new practice and started paving an even wider road towards the future.

            For now though, I’d like to celebrate the many Entrepreneurs, both original and new, who have helped boost this movement and fan base in the forward direction it’s been taking. This is the Top Ten List of Minnesota Food Trucks, 2012!*

10th Place: a big surprise for my first list, we have a THREE WAY TIE!!

            At 45 points each, Home Street Home, Rusty Taco, and Cupcake on the Go

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With each of these trucks offering a variety of their choice Menu Items (whether it be Sandwiches, Tacos, or Cupcakes) in a timely manner, they have already cemented themselves into the role of the quality, fundamental “Food Truck.”

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With a special note, offering their product at instantaneous speed and proving their focus to everyday desires, Cupcake on the Go has edged ahead of A Cupcake Social as the best Dessert-only Truck this year!

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9th Place: SCRATCH with 45.5

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            The best toasted sandwich bread in the State encapsulates their rich, often spicy flavors and sharp textures. Home of one of the few, and my second favorite, Toe Rings in the business, the Ginger Rice Crispies. Scratch skyrocketed themselves to a special place in my, and many other people’s, heart the moment I first visited.

6th Place: ANOTHER three way tie! At 46.5:

            Chef Shack, MidNord Empanada, and Tot Boss

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            A perfect example of what one can get with COMPLETELY different establishments. An organic, locally-focused Truck based off of well-made traditional Street Food; a Chef deep-frying Ecuadorian Dough-pockets filled with all variety of stuffings; and a place that only sells baskets of Tator Tots dressed however one wants. THIS is pure proof of what exactly a Food Truck scene can be, and that one doesn’t need to conform to a specific mold, just as long as they do it well.

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5th Place: Eli’s Donut Burger with 47.5

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            Rarely seen but often remembered, Eli’s offers the most guilty of pleasures one can find in any Establishment, Truck or Not. Preparing it all day, the burgers fly quickly at a low price, filling your stomach with the artery-clogging deliciousness of sweet, salty, cheesy, meaty goodness. It’s not the expected everyday combination, but it works more wonders than you can shake a bacon strip at… though that’s mostly because it ends up eaten before getting so far.

3rd Place: 48-point Tie between AZ Canteen and Vellee Deli

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            This just seems right. The two Trucks that I believe really encompass everything the TOE stands for, each offering handheld Street Food with a heaping helping of Soul. Andrew Zimmern did right in his menu and specialty items, creating that unique blend of both local and world street food cuisines. Though used often, the Asian-Mexican Fusion of Vellee offers items that one just can’t help going back for… even if they don’t have the budget for it.

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2nd Place: NateDogs at 49

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            Locally sourced with handmade condiments, Nate gives us the pinnacle of what a simple Hot Dog Cart can be. Hitting every single point of the rating system, it is no wonder that he has launched himself all the way to #2 in this countdown. I cannot wait to go back.

     And finally, the tippy-top pinnacle of the Trucks to appear so far!

(Highly-Annoying, Exaggerated, and Drawn-Out Drumroll)

POTTER’S PASTIES at First Place! With a score of 50.5!

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            The ONLY Truck so far to reach and go past the Maximum 50 points, Potter’s has it all. Good Prices, Instantaneous Speed, Easy-Holding and Eating, Fantastic Service, and Good Comfort Food that holds itself in its unique niche. It’s no wonder they built two trucks for twin city offerings. This is and always has been a Must Go for anybody who loves food (and that’s not a small group now is it?).

            This has proven to be a great starting season for our new Culture. I can confidently say that I am very happy and proud at what our Trucks have been able to achieve and come up with, and I cannot wait to see how this Top Ten Looks come the end of Summer.

            Until then, I shall dutifully enjoy my food as always.

*Note: all lists, both now and future, are purely based off the cumulative score garnered in my Ratings System. It is not based off of only one aspect at a time, though if there is interest in that I can always form a Top Ten based purely from “Best Food,” “Speed,” or others.

Foxy Falafel

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foxyfalafel.com/

https://twitter.com/FoxyFalafel

 

 Main Location: Minneapolis, Markets, Etc

            Located at a variety of set scheduled locations during the warmer seasons, Foxy Falafel has quickly become one of the cities’ favorite stands. Quickly evident as Citypage recently named them the best Falafel in MN

            A student of holistic health and lover of falafels (street foods too), Erica Strait sprouts her own chickpeas for the middle-eastern delight (currently I am doubting it is used for every single falafel, especially after the restaurant opened, but still). These little balls of ground chickpeas and spices are then fried crispy and place in a hollowed out half-pita, ready to be topped with her homemade sauces and pickles.

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            Besides the regular falafel, they also serve up ones flavored with Curry and Beets; though they aren’t always in rotation. I didn’t see them the day I was finally able to make the trip. Hummus and pita chips are served as-is or as a combo platter with the falafel, not surprisingly.

            The ingredients are fresh, the food is spicy and flavorful, and the textures are that fun blend between crisp and fluffy. Foxy Falafel is a sure can’t-miss team in the world of street food.

Food: 8.5

            They use good pita bread, which is then filled with exactly the sort of thing one wants for a falafel. On the front of the truck are three different sauces paired alongside a few seasonal pickles. I suggest you dab a little sauce on a finger and try it out to determine which one you want. Oh, and just put every single pickle you can find on there; which are always sooooo good no matter what food truck does them.

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            I haven’t had the beet or curry, but the beet falafels have such a deep, inviting color to them; I can’t imagine that they’re screwing them up.

           My one concern is that, for whatever reason, when I got mine they sort of “shoved” the falafels, smushing them together into mostly one form. It really deserved the name “Falafel Burger” that was written on the blackboard. It still tasted fantastic, but ended up taking away a decent amount of that great crispiness factor that a good falafel is known for, which there already wasn’t much of anyway (despite taking so long to fry for some reason).

Holdability: 8.5

           An iconic street food, falafels in pita bread has great transportative capabilities. With the pita’s width and the sauces, not to mention the paper lining which covers it almost entirely, you’ll probably wind up needing both hands for some of it. However, still an easy and enjoyable experience it is.

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Price: 8.5

           $7 is the price for each of their falafels, hummus and pita are less, and the combo of course comes at more. All in all, a pretty good deal for such a quality product.

Speed: 5

            I actually find myself very perplexed at this score myself. For whatever reason,  the day I visited, despite being the only one in line, it took quite a while to make my very simple falafel. I would expect, with how many they have to make, that it wouldn’t really need that long to fry (if they form it in balls to order, that experience in doing it quickly is assumed). My guess is that it was a random thing, however my score must still be affected by it; especially since after all that wait my falafels had barely any real crispiness to them.

             If you find most of your experiences are much different than mine, please inform me and I will gladly change this rating.

The TOE: 9.5

            Not only is Foxy Falafel selling a ubiquitous street food that no other truck has even touched, they are doing it WELL. The simple act of having such a large, colorful and well known falafel stand, offering up different flavors, embodies many core attributes of what makes many successful and loved Food Trucks. Proof of this simple fact is shown in their ability and NEED to open up a restaurant based on the same foods, getting the culture following to fill it up.

            Foxy Falafel is another true pinnacle in MN’s Food Truck scene. It stands alongside so many others as an example of what great people can do.

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                        Tally: 40/50

Final Thoughts

            If they’re nearby, it is absolutely worth the trip to drive down in the summer, order a falafel and snack on its deliciousness while enjoying the open market sun. Definitely try the Beet or Curry versions if they have them. I’m not much of a pita and hummus person when it comes to restaurants. If you don’t mind spending a bit more, the combo platter is a good COMPLETE meal.

            Ignore the lemon-basil water unless it’s really hot and you need/want a drink with your food. It is probably quite tasty, but otherwise I don’t see a need to actually order it.