Main Location: Minneapolis

You know, I really like those big, flashy, Caribbean and Southern BBQ catering trucks we tend to see at various neighborhood events, music fests, etc. Sadly, mental quandaries still seem to abound in my head, ruining my desire to review them by dancing around my own arguable and annoying rules for what I consider a “food truck,” at least the kind that’s centered around this blog. They’re rarely if ever seen on the common streets or by breweries, the businesses are more a colorful catering vehicle (huge, by the way), not to mention the menus are often so relatively intimidating in scope, don’t think I’d ever be able to get through all I’d need for a review after even two visits!


Fade to Dredi’s, a relatively new (officially they opened last August, but I don’t think they were really even present until this year), shiny metal trailer box, or whatever they’re called, with a centered focus on one of the ubiquitous items seen in many Island catering trucks: the Jamaican Pattie.

To be specific, the BEEF Pattie. A savory package of stewed and lightly spiced ground beef enclosed in a somewhat flat, square little package of savory, craveably golden shortcrust (same style as pie) dough. This is sold as-is or “Full House,” an intriguing idea where it’s sliced horizontally and turned into a Sandwich with lettuce, tomato, and cheese. One can get either of these as-is, in drink+chip combos, or alongside your own bottle of “Ting,” a Caribbean Grapefruit Soda. But that’s it, nothing else on the menu to arduously ponder over.


So thankfully I finally have some sort of Caribbean truck on the scene; one of my favorite cuisines, I now have the chance to unabashedly review a business based on this spicy food subset. Now if only we can get some more out there to grab some proper Jerked Chicken Sammies!


Food: 6.5

             I don’t know what it is about pastry doughs, the flaky texture of a pie, the crunch of a shell, possible juxtaposition with a softer inside, or just a subconscious reaction to all that butter we know is in there, but you’ve just gotta love them. This one was nice, with good color and savory crunch in it. The filling itself was pretty good, a moist beef stew with a decent flavor of spices to it. Not extremely exciting, though, being all ground beef; especially as it’s the only option.

In particular I found noted disappointment in the “Full House,”or more particularly the toppings used in it. Just simple, cold slices of lettuce and soft tomato, neither of which seemed to be of great quality, standing on either side of a floppy, limp piece of cheap American cheese. A combo I expect to find in a fast food joint, only stuck on top of something that deserves much better.


Interestingly enough, though, the Ting didn’t remark upon me that much as-is (tasted like most lemon-lime sodas), it made a surpisingly nice pairing with the lightly spiced beef. Oh, and don’t forget to get some Hot Sauce!


Holdability: 9.5

              Much like Potter’s, these dough-enwrapped items make for the perfect walking snack on their own, coming in a simple brown sleeve one can slide down as needed (a-la McDonald’s hash browns). The Full House though, while still really well kept together, can be a touch messy with the inner stew now exposed, particularly when having one’s other hand full with a Ting.


Price: 9.5

               On their own the Pattie and Full House are $4 and $5 respectively, adding 50c for combos leaves a pretty good deal for one’s wallet. My only gripe is that the Ting is a set $2 with no seeming way to reduce, which isn’t even that bad on its own (I’ve paid that much for Mexican Coke on the Street… man that came out so wrong. You know what I mean).

Speed: 9.5

              Other than taking about a minute or so to cut and assemble a Full House (gotta be careful with that pastry crust), instantaneous delivery of warm pocket goodness.


The TOE: 4.5

               Though many of the points indeed hit home with ideal Food Truck operations (by my ratings), Dedri’s seems to be currently lacking full spirit behind the food they serve. It’s a great, perfectly mobile option with an interesting promise in the idea of turning it into the sandwich, but they haven’t really done anythingwith it. There’s only the one, really simple beef patty, of which they use only the most basic and cheap burger toppings for its transformation. I wanna see them have a few more options for filling, like a jerk chicken or pork or a starchy vegetarian (or whatever really), and then take it up a knotch with different KINDS of good, tasty sandwich toppings. Sauteed mushrooms, roasted peppers, sauces, not-shitty-cheese, bacon, it could be anything but not JUST what I got today. So much potential is behind this simple idea, but the lack of realizing even part of it in any exciting sense ends up bringing me down a bit further. I hope I can see them try some fun things in the future.

Tally: 39.5/50

Final Thoughts

For those requiring similar needs as the mobile greats such as Potter’s and Nate’s (hey it rhymes), grab yourself a Beef Pattie(with Hot Sauce!) and bottle of Tingfor a tasty $6 treat and drink on the street. Separate or together they’re also great as smaller, cheaper, not-so-filling in between snacks on the longer Food Truck Day ventures. And though interesting, I wouldn’t suggest getting the Full House until Dredi’s has updated the topping selection.

Tollefson Family Grill




Main Location: Etc

            A long winter, spring, and summer, and my chance has finally come to take in the Tollefson Family Grill Truck. It has been many an adventure of mine to visit various Farmer’s Markets, Breweries, and other events only to find a case of frozen meat, a portable grill just sending dogs and burgers, or an unknown cancelling. Oh if only I had taken the opportunity to hit them those during those summer days in Minneapolis when they parked on Nicolette. Sadly they have since cancelled their trip up the downtown circuit, only sticking to certain outskirt locations, some special events, and the occasional Brewery visit.


            But a recent visit to Harriet has finally allowed me the chance to sample a couple of their items, while also enjoying a nice beer and music of course. At the same time, I received the chance to discuss a previous experience with the main man behind the counter, to which some interesting reveals surfaced.


            To expound (probably not the right word, don’t care) on this, one of my recent attempts to connect with Tollefson took me to Fulton, which I only found out upon getting there that the truck had cancelled due to mixed scheduling issues. With the way employees had reacted, it (almost) translated as a last-minute thing; as my own nerves with cancelling Food Trucks were a bit high at the time, my emotions got the better of me and I sent a noticeably frustrated message Tollefson’s way on Facebook.


            Apparently, though, the “truck” owner had actual given their notification for cancelling a week beforehand, even sending at least one or more other notes to ENSURE they apologized and understood the situation. Yet despite that Fulton themselves never put any notification of the cancelling for customers (neither did Tollefson, but they’re now aware and working on this), and it seems they did not fully communicate this to other employees, thus not helping to ease a somewhat frustrating situation to those customers coming on that particular day.

            I just wanted to make sure I put that up there, not only as my own formal apology to Tollefson for the message I sent but also as an awareness to others towards certain “possible actions” taken by those which Tollefson has interacted with.


            Back to why we’re here, though, to explore this Truck. Tollefson, as one would hope, basically just takes all their popular protein items, grills them up “fresh,” and offers them to the crowd. One can get their Smoked Link, Hot Dog, Pork Pattie, and Smoked Pork Chop, along with their own made Pulled Pork and a Double Burger.  

            They do offer a Veggie Option of course, basically a Portabella Sandwich with peppers and other little things. Though of course I’m goin’ here for some of that Meat, and it’s about time I finally got there.


Food: 6

            My first grab here was their Pulled Pork, which was surprisingly Asian Style, piled on a simple, untoasted yellow bun. The meat itself is quite tasty, the “asian” flavor doesn’t come through too much when eating as a whole, but just enough to fill out the flavor, keep the meat a little rich and moist, and overall create that “balance” a good pulled pork has before toppings.


            As for the toppings, one has quite the selection; which is guarded by a big stuffed pig. A bottle of Kettle Creek’s nice, tangy BBQ is joined by Tollefson’s own Raspberry-Balsamic Reduction and the basic Mustard-Ketchup deal. This is joined by some pickle, chopped onions, and an “Asian Slaw” which wasn’t really a slaw, but was VERY tasty. For preparation purposes, it was more of a saurkraute-veggie-pickled mix with a bit of Rice Vinegar and maybe other Asian mix-ins that, though not reminiscent of the name, made for a crisp, tart, delicious little topping. Using that and the BBQ sauce, the Pulled Pork pulled itself to a very enjoyable experience.


            This and a beer kept me stuck at the Brewery for quite a while, so another trip back to the Grill was almost mandatory. Thought I’d try their Pork Pattie, which they also served on that same, thick, untoasted (or warmed) bun. The patty itself had been sitting on the grill’s warm spot for who-knows-how-long, leaving a thin, completely cooked through piece of sorta-spiced ground pork that dearly cried for much moisture. Ultimately it was almost reminiscent of something I might find in a gas station if they had served a pork patty. Pickles and some BBQ sauce helped a bit.


            As for other items, Dogs, Links, and the Smoked Pork are only as good as we know from buying them. I will say, though, I saw someone with the Burger, the meat of which was completely grey and cooked through. Two flat, quarter pound patties, which didn’t even look moist. And once again, as with all items, no toasting of buns. A bit sad to see…

Holdability: 8.5

           All items are very holdable, I mean they’re tight Dogs and Sandwiches, though they require two hands due to the basket always served with them.


Price: 8

             Smaller items at $5, a Hot Dog at $4, $7 for the Veggie and $8 for all the bigger items. The addition of Bacon and Cheese to any item costs extra; not much for cheese but $2 for Bacon. A decent little range for product pricing.


Speed: 9

           Mostly instantaneous, almost all of their items being cooked beforehand and held warm to be casually scooped into one of those untoasted buns. The one exception, of course being the Smoked Pork Chops, which they cook to order; it supposedly takes 7 minutes. Not sure if the burgers also get some cooking, are kept on a grill, or stay in a warming pan as well.


The TOE: 5

             I won’t lie, it does sorta feel like something one might visit at a State Fair or Market or other event; though Dogs and such can be good, it’s still just a big cart selling Dogs and a couple Ground Patty Sandwiches with only a few exceptions. There’s some notes of the Street to them, but not too much.

                        Tally: 36.5/50


Final Thoughts

            All those who are familiar with Tollefson’s products are already familiar with their favorites, so one can base their decisions off of that. It’s obviously a great locations for the quick-buy.


            When looking for something a bit different than the normal products, or just the highlight in general, stick to the Pulled Pork. The Smoked Pork also intrigues me, but I actually wonder if it fully compares as such a simply grilled product. The Smoked Link is also popular, and a good low-price item if you haven’t had it yet. But no matter what you buy, make sure you dress it heavily; they all need some of that “Slaw,” or BBQ sauce, or whatever you like.


            Ultimately, though, besides the Pulled Pork, there isn’t too much I feel that stands out from other Trucks.