Pop-ups seem like they just might be an upcoming trend in our local Food Truck scene (obviously it’s been a, if not THE, restaurant trend for the past 1-2 years). From Vellee’s recent 5-month lasting uptown restaurant to Chef Shack’s new place of business (ok, not a pop-up, but it sorta feels like it, especially after their place in Bay City), and one other pop-up thing I’m sure has happened but I’m forgetting right now…
Then we get to S.O.B. Having been ransacked, stolen, and taken over by a shady group of masked culinary revolutionaries (… so yeah, not actually true, but it’s so much more fun to think of it like this!), Gastrotruck has been completely repurposed for the Winter Months.
Parking themselves in Downtown Minneapolis every Thursday and Friday at 6th St and 2nd Ave (or Marquette if there’s a -cough- police car in their usual spot), “Soup on Board” puts out one thing and one thing only (I should NOT have to say it). They offer 3-4 different options usually, served warm and steaming in a little to-go baggie.
During my visit, options included a Apple-Squash Puree, Tomato Basil (actually I think it was Oregano based), and Chili. For those who have a hard time deciding, or just want to have them all, they happily sample out all they had, so I was able to get a great, complete sense of their food.
Let me just say the Apple-Squash, made with two kinds of squash (Acorn + Dolcetta), apple Cider + Unpeeled apples (very important for that tannin and full, musty flavor), and topped with a Honey Goat Cheese was just plain beautiful. Smooth, with a dreamy rich squash that allowed the full flavors of the cider and apple to still come out, along with black pepper of course. Next to it, the Tomato stands in stark difference as a deep, rich, heavy concoction, made by caramelizing the Onions WITH Balsamic Vinegar, using both Fresh and Dry Oregano (very important, utilizing the positive aspects of each), and topped with housemade Garlic-Rye Croutons. So good, so yummy.
For my lunch that day, though, I just had to get the Chili, made with Beef Cheeks (yay!). Though I don’t normally place a “Final Thoughts/Suggestions” in my Quasi-Reviews, and it’s very hard to do when every S.O.B. item is so equally worthy, I WILL say that the Chili (and those like it)is easily THE soup you want on the coldest of days. Along with the beef and chilies, they use both Pinto and Garbanzo beans, and Turnips instead of other starchy items, which I love cuz it gave a nice little sweetness.
This is finished with your choice of Baguette or Hand-Fried Masa Tortillas (I of course had to get that crispy Masa goodness). It was a very good and very enjoyable lunch, especially on the warm day, and if I scored them properly it’d look like this:
Food: 10 – it’s Gastro, as you can tell they put a lot of effort, care, attention, and deliciousness into their foods. And it shows in the Soups; if anything, it’s Proof (many an old chef considering the crafting of a proper soup as THE pinnacle of a person’s sense of palate and culinary skills).
Holdability: 9 – Once out of the bag, it’s a cup of soup. Two hands only, easy walking, and it keeps the fingers warm too.
Price: 10 – $4 for a smaller (but still filling) cup, $6 for the larger. Well priced.
Speed: 9.5 – A bit of time to actually move it into the cup and into the to-go bag, along with the toppings, but fast.
Toe: 10– A pure Soup Truck, doing all very thoroughly delicious options, just stands as a great Unifying Feature (I finally found a phrase to help describe this stuff! Woooh!). And doing it only in Winter, with an edgy little “taking over” gig, just seems to make the many little things even better.
It’s a bit sad that this little operation will only be around for the cold months, but I’d rather have them here than not, and there’s always the following year to look forward to (and maybe Gastro will keep one or two more soup options on their everyday menu). Either way, I hope for the chance to make it out to them at least once more, and you definitely should too.
A point of clarification I feel should be mentioned, for those that may be confused as to why I delegated a truck I’m so positive towards in the Quasi-Review “category” along with others I have openly showed to have little to no actual interest (comparatively to my full reviews). Though I dearly wish I could write a full-on, longly detailed review on them, the fact remains they’re ONLY around for 3 months, two days out of the week, with only 3-4 things on their menu. And it’s all soups, there’s not too much else I can say, even with it being so exciting. If you were wondering about this, then I hope the explanation cleared it up for you; if you weren’t, why’d you read the entirety of this last paragraph?