Cafe Racer Kitchen Vist (#1?)


Well I finally got to MY most anticipated Truck restaurant of the year, the Café Racer Kitchen. I would have gone much sooner, but after hearing a month wait for their Beer and Wine license to kick in, figured I’d wait (not that I actually HAD any, but sometimes it’s nice to give restaurants time like that to settle into their groove). For that, they currently offer a few cans from Indeed and Bauhaus Brewing, along with an Argentine Red and White, though there is talks of some fun cocktails coming soon.


A big painted ad for Orange Crush soda on the building’s side greets one as they travel around the corner; of course I don’t ask why it’s there, whether they did it themselves or were too lazy to take it off in the first place, thus it stays a mystery! Under the motorcycle-imbued sign and into the door, we find ourselves in a small yet very open environment, smooth and shiny wood booths and tables, mostly connected for an almost communal eating opportunity. But of course I have to sit at the bar, basically four seats in front of the till with a full-on view of the kitchen.


Where I get to watch the small team work, the two people in the kitchen and the one working the front (it was a nicely quiet-ish Sunday afternoon, though I bet even in the ‘busy’ periods they may only have 1-2 more employees total) while almost casually yet quickly doling out the truck food.


For those of you still unaware of their mobile focus, Café Racer generally sticks with the ‘choose your entrée’ style similar to Brasa, focusing on Central American flavors/tradition. One goes for Pulled Pork or Chicken (or a veggie dish –shudders-), with which they can make an ‘entrée’ by getting two sides (rice, yucca/carrot frites, plantains, beans n rice, etc) or having with a couple Arepas for a sandwich of sorts. They also bring an awesome hot dog with toppings which I’ve experienced Here. All of this has been brought to the menu, alongside a few new plates combining some of these select sides with bigger proteins a la Quarter-Chicken and Chimichurri Skirt Steak.



I came during Brunch-Sunday though, so I got to choose between options topped with Egg, Kielbasa for the protein, and plenty of sweet potato hash, arepas tossed in for buns (breakfast sandwich), base (benedict), or just on the side like toast.



For a fun, semi-exploratory and semi-just-wanting-new-food visit, the Steak just called out for me. Served with a single small, firm-yet-pillowy masa cake (I love how they do their arepas now, for their style) and a side of eggs made however you want (I went for basted in lue of no poaching, wish I did sunny-side or over easy though, didn’t realize the yolk was gonna get cooked through… cooked well for a fully cooked egg though), they did little to dissuade me from diving right into that steak and hash. The meat was definitely juicy and flavorful, gotta love that harby-garlicky chimichurri paste (really gets the crave and appetite going), it is a bit chewy but only so much as one expects out of a skirt/fajita steak. The texture is just as much a part of it as the flavor, I’ve known some chefs who completely get rid of it through very long sous vide techniques, but despite how good and meltingly tender that must be it just doesn’t really fit what this dish is supposed to be in my opinion. Sorry, I just couldn’t help wanting to mention that, I guess that’s what happens with proper food experience; makes you want to discuss other things about it.


Can’t help but love a nice hash too, they certainly hit the craving. Roasted together with herbs, this mix or regular and sweet potatoes immediately had me noticing the divergent nature between the two tubers. Whereas the sweet potatoes were fully soft, I found the russets I had to still be sorta firm; I think still cooked, but just on that edge where it could have been undercooked with just a minute less time. At first I was worried about having to critique, but I actually enjoyed it; it gave another texture, again was in an acceptable cooking range, AND it brought proper variation to the hash. What’s the use of using two different potatoes if they both feel the same anyways?

Ultimately, I very much enjoyed eating this plate, especially when I got to chop everything up and mix it together, a proper hash brunch!


Which is never complete without a bit of coffee and dessert (really brunch is a complete daily meal: breakfast, savory lunch/dinner foods, and sweets at the end, maybe with a bit of booze). The dessert is a housemade Tres Leches (white cake soaked in a mixture of cream, condensed milk, and some other dairy), this one made with a rather compact and dense texture for the thick monster, stuffed with that sweet cream oozing from the sides like a sauce. Luis then tops his with a layer of whipped cream (a classic ‘frosting’ next to meringue) along with some orange segments and a dark chocolate drizzle. A decent offering, served cold and creamy, made even better when consumed alongside the hot, bitter and slightly-creamy coffee, brewed from a blend made just for them and served as-is or ‘au Lait’ with some simple steamy milk foam on top.



It’s a shame that I don’t drink coffee more, this is one of those situations where I really wish I could delve into and pick out flavors like I can with wine and spirits. But I can certainly tell this coffee blend has a personality to its own, that’s quite clear as day, which I’m sure any coffee aficionados can enjoy (whether some of these notes are positive or full-on-catastrophe I can’t say there; for instance, I particularly noted a certain bitter note that I couldn’t tell if it was from over-roasting or natural ‘green’ coffee bean tannins). Do what I did and go Café au Lait option, it’s delicious and one can still get the full flavor of the roast; definitely makes the dessert complete.


Apparently, despite the month wait, it seems I was STILL a bit soon in coming; word from Luis’ own mouth states that they’re about to start playing around with some further menu changes/addition, including a bevy of small-plate options (sorta like tapas) and some further inventive desserts, such as a Dulce de Leche (a milk-focused pudding-like dish) that’s going to be treated like flan and eaten with papaya.


I guess I’ll just have to stop by again sometime soon, which as you know is something I RARELY do for Food Trucks on their own (for efficiency purposes), let alone the restaurants that come from them. But I think Racer is the first truck-staurant that I have a sincere urge to want to intently go back to for further explorations (I still have more sides to try!), so do take the hint dear readers and help me help them keep this little café of coolio in business.


Taco Taxi


Main Location: Minneapolis, Markets, Fairs, etc

              With two big, yellow trucks under their name, one seeming to take consistent residence in their Lake Street Kmart location, Taco Taxi hit the street to much acclaim a couple years ago. Not much has slowed down their quickly growing, intense fan base, despite even a lack of twitter or other location updating.

            Their kitchen filled with traditionally-prepared and flavored cuts of Asada, Pastor, and other meats, the Taxi takes these ubiquitous mixes and slings them on top of the masa tortillas for our Taco consumption. Burrito and Quesadilla versions are also offered, but that’s about it. They stick purely to the tortilla-enveloped fillings, only peddling out basic beverages (though, with a traditional Mexican cart, that also means Jarrito sodas).


Food: 9

            Any place that uses Masa tortillas can’t be so bad now can they? (well, maybe Sassy… but that was everything ELSE)

           The fillings are fantastically flavored; SO disappointingly, they did not have any more Cabeza (Beef Cheek) when I visited, which I so wanted to try. Oh well, that proves how good it is. Went for a Pastor (Pork) and Asada (Steak) instead; of course with “onion-tomato-cilantro,” as all Tacos should be gotten with. The meat itself is all tender, all juicy, with a very tasty, semi-spicy glaze. A squirt of lime on top, and one has a very traditional, very delicious taco right in the palm of your hand (or plate).

           And since I’m guessing they use the same fillings for their Burritos and Quesadilla, this particular bliss on the taste buds is sure to transfer over to them as well.


Holdability: 6.5

            Well, they load the tacos up pretty well with the fillings, thus overflow is more than just a possibility. They DO practice the “two tortilla” rule, which is fantastic, only… it’s not quite as successful here. For whatever reason, the tortillas stick together a bit, so when one attempts to separate it just ends up tearing, forcing us to use both at the same time. Add this to serving the tacos on a cheap paper plate, and the idea of travelling continues to reduce further in comparison to other Taco Trucks.

           Burritos and Quesadillas should provide better options for walking and containment.


Price: 9.5

            An amazing price for tacos, setting at $2 per taco; and with Burritos and Quesadillas at $8, one could spend the same amount for 4 separate, differently-filled tacos. Considering how much they fill these suckers up, it creates quite the deal, as to be expected by the traditional Mexican background.


Speed: 9

            Though not as “instantaneous” as other trucks, the wait was noticeably quicker with the simple manufacturing. Not sure how this would translate exactly with Burritos and Enchiladas, though I expect the wait would still be anything but lengthy. When done ordering from the Tiny Window slit, they can move over to the OTHER tiny window slit, just a foot away, for Pickup.


The TOE: 9.5

           A very traditional, well-known Food Truck formula; I always find it hard to even think about this separate little world without picturing a small group of guys like these, just handing out plates of simple, delicious tacos out of some tiny van. The Taco Taxi easily brings up the same feelings as one might experience walking down the Street of an old Mexican villa, a taco stand providing lunch for the day. All wrapped up in a shiny yellow Taxi décor. I’m not sure what else more I can contribute to this, it simply is what it is: a Food Truck.

                      Tally: 43.5/50


Final Thoughts

            When one can find it, definitely an ideal Truck for all situations; Foodies, those needing something filling, taking back to office (Quesadilla), low on cash or taking part in a “Food Truck Day” (multiple stops, always fun! Make a complete meal out of it all!), etc. I can definitely see why Taxi has garnered such a wide reputation already, and am looking forward to how this may grow in the near future.

            Tacos are of course a must, especially since they allow one to try the various proteins. If looking to spend $8, I would certainly suggest just getting 4 different tacos from here for a really fun and filling lunch. If needing something more portable for a walk-n-munch, though, definitely NEED to get a Burrito; tacos usually need to some sitting. Not sure how the Quesadilla is, but with these fillings, I’d say it’s one of the better in the cities.


            As far as the fillings go, there really is very little factors to differentiate quality between the various meats. It’s mostly based on personal preference. However, I still hold my opinion, and I think everyone who goes here HAS to get the Cabeza Cheek Meat! Cheek is ALWAYS an amazing and flavorful cut, and so rarely seen in most places. Though I’m not quite sure what differentiates the Cabeza “Beef” and Cabeza “Cheek”… maybe it’s just a way to trick those who don’t pay attention to the Spanish name, haha.