Filius Blue

20150616_112407
https://www.facebook.com/Filiusblue
https://twitter.com/filiusblue
Main Location: St Paul, Wineries, Etc

Some trucks are always more of a challenge and wait to find the opportunity for me to visit, believe me there are quite a few popped up that have mocked me with their distance (just gonna have to face the fact that certain trucks in Duluth and Bemidji will likely never find their way into one of my review save for freak strokes of luck), so it’s always a welcome pleasure when I can head out of my house before to fully explore one of these usually out-of-reach businesses.

Thus I was led to Filius Blue on a trip to St Paul, where-as the South American and Caribbean-influenced truck was sat in the bright sun, the uniquely designed sides in clear view to roam over as one waits for food. It’s only their second season, so I can safely say that I haven’t delayed too fantastically long compared to a couple OTHER trucks that I’ve hit in the past!

A couple fun facts, the truck itself is named after the filius blue pepper; a tiny little purple pepper that actually gets MILDER as it ages (apparently the only pepper that does that). This particular point hints at another key element to their menu, that being the use of Heat and Peppers in what seems to be their real specialty, Handmade Sauces. From one using the filius blue of-name to habanero, jalapeno, even horseradish, the food (which I’ll break down more in a bit) finds its central focus on which of these latin-american-inspired sauces coats their top.

20150616_112910

Besides that, the truck itself, while focusing on St Paul over Minneapolis, mostly finds itself booked in Waconia over the weekends, along with parking at various wineries and breweries, so look for them at one of those if able. And when you do, take the chance to look along the sides; a friend of the owner’s made all the original artwork, from cutting out patterns in linoleum to make all the animals and pattern stamps along the top and bottom to a Mermaid based on an original artwork the owner had in his basement. And based on the size of those hips, seems she’s quite fond of their food herself…

There are two sections to the menu, Sandwiches and Tacos, both of which basically have the same options for fillings; at least protein wise, all of which are Slow Cooked and/or Grilled, no frying in the truck at all (they seem quite adamant about they, either that or just couldn’t afford a friar). Pork, Grilled Chicken, and Grilled Tilapia are slathered in pre-determined sauces for sandwiches, whereas one gets their choices on the Tacos, like a creamy not-hot Avocado-Buttermilk to the classic Filius Blue, and others depending on season (apparently there’s a Puerto/Costa Rican that is to die for). Tacos did also have two different filling options, a Beef and a Beans for the red meat or veggie minded.

Well I’m all set to dive in, you?

20150616_113023

Food: 9

                We start off with what is basically their ‘signature item’ the Jezebel Pork Sandwich. Slow roasted with garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper, big chunks of this come out soft, juicy and fatty, it’s like thick dices of delicious beef brisket in pig form, perhaps from the same cut. Safe to say it came as a happy surprise, as if anything one usually expects the ‘pulled’ variety of oinker… and let us not, oh dear god let us NOT, forget this sauce. Apricot jam, horseradish, and who knows what else, all I care about is that it was sweet, savory, filled with lovely horseradish (enough to taste it and provide that signature nose tingle when eaten fast enough, but not enough to turn anyone but the most sensitive off, ideal level in my opinion), and dripping off that meat and onto your fingers. It does NOT hold together in that bun the best, but that just gives one the excuse to pick it up with the chips or just eat the pork straight off your own fingers. The only word I can think of is Delectable. Bun got a happy butter a toastage on it too.
20150616_113514

After that I moved onto a Taco, Grilled Tilapia since it seemed appropriate, and of course I had to try it with the Filius Blue Pepper sauce. The fish itself was cooked well, had some of that nice grill flavor to it and texture, and they actually toasted one side of the tortilla on the grill! Like only using one tortilla for an enchilada and just turning it into a taco, I’m realizing how sad it is that no one I’ve seen has done this yet; sure they warm it up or get SOME grill marks on it, but never take it to the point of having that crispy texture and browning all throughout. Such a good element, it’s a shame that it was partly ruined by the toppings. I mean we end up having some fish in the bottom, but at least half of the taco is composed of shredded lettuce, not-the-best cheddar, and some pico. Basically something reminiscent of what I can get at Taco Bell, though at least fresher; I was sadly hoping for something a bit more unique and complimentary. The pepper sauce itself wasn’t what I was hoping it’d be either, having this little creamy-chunkiness and not much heat at all. Still good in its ways mind you, but after that sandwich I was hoping it’d stand out more, which the taco overall does not outside of the tortilla.

Final note, Salsa was tasty, well-made, with a consistent texture and just a TOUCH of heat for a nice accent, maybe not spectacular (but to be fair, how often do we find a salsa that really is?) but an enjoyable side nonetheless.

20150616_113156

Holdability: 6

                 As I said, that sandwich was quite the monster! Pieces falling out, sauce getting all over your fingers… delectable, but still something that needs some sitting down and napkins for best results. I expect other sandwiches are similar, though likely less messy. Tacos at least increase portability, but loaded with that much lettuce/etc and using only a single shell leaves for fallout (non-messy fallout, but nonetheless).

Price: 8

                  Sandwiches at $8-9, the awesome pork at $8(yay), Tacos at $7-9, dependent on filling and automatically coming with a side, good prices though a little more range would be nice (or, as often is my wishes even if I don’t say it every time, the option to get something on its own for a little less money), but that point is always just a hair splitter when comparing to the ‘perfectly affordable/cheap’ menus.
20150616_112510

Speed: 7.5

Seemed to be an average wait time for grilling and assembly.

The TOE: 8.5

                  Besides the Latin-Caribbean flair, the added ‘theme’ of hot peppers as a focus certainly tickles my intrigue bone… or maybe the capsaicin is screwing with some weird nerve. Either way, it’s certainly the first time I’ve heard of a truck with this sort of edge, and I definitely appreciate it. The truck itself is attractive, maybe not so interesting from a distance but once up close to see the details and personality of the staff and wrap, one finds a truck worth going back to.

Tally: 39/50

20150616_113213
Final Thoughts

With a menu full of things slathered in cravingly pungent handmade sauces, this is not necessarily the food to get when one needs to keep their fingers clean, but also not suited to cart back to an office or other location… since you’ll be too intent on eating it then and there. So definitely a truck to stop by when you have the time to sit and savor.

The best strategy truly is to stick with the sandwiches, you get more impact from the meat and, come on, that Jezebel Pork is just to die for, and should be gotten on everyone’s first visit. But if you want to try something else, or just went back for a second or third time, I’d say the Jerk Chicken and Grilled Tilapia seem to be quite money… though that Gravy Pork piques my curiosity… maybe grab that and ask for one of their other sauces on the side to compliment. Since you’re sticking away from Tacos (you ARE sticking away from tacos), you’ll have to request them on the side to mix into other sandwiches, which I always find fun, sort of like when blending different veggie stews and curries into rice when I go for Indian. Red Pepper Jalapeno and, when they have it, the Puerto Rican (or Costa Rican, can’t remember) are the ones to experience.

Advertisements

House of Hunger

SAMSUNG

http://www.houseofhunger.com/

https://www.facebook.com/houseofhunger

Main Location: Minneapolis

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

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

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

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

 

Food: 7.5

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

SAMSUNG

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

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

Holdability: 4

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

Price: 7

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

SAMSUNG

Speed: 7.5

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

The TOE: 6.5

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

            Tally: 34.5/50

 

Final Thoughts

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

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