September is almost over and a full year of Food Truck Rodeos have been put in the books. The Rodeos have been a runaway success this year in general and people seem to have really grabbed on to the food trucks as not just a gimmick, but as a legitimate part of the cuisine of the city. I’ve had a great time providing recaps of the the events I go to and since I intend on continuing with them I wanted to set a format for them and try and stick with it so people know what they’re going to get each time. This will also allow me to be more efficient in my writing and giving you a quicker way of seeing what is new and getting a recap on what I actually ate.
For now, I’m going to break up my Rodeo Recaps into three sections: New Openings, Dish Reviews, and Overall Thoughts about that specific Rodeo. I’m sure I’ll tweak this as time goes on and if you have any comments please pass them on so I can provide the best content possible to you guys.
Here we go!
Since a lot of people like keeping track of the new trucks on the scene, I’ll have a running section describing the new trucks I see at the Rodeo or hear about in between. On the evening of the last Rodeo of the year, there appeared to be three new trucks/trailers in action. The flashiest and most trendy of the three was the Paleo diet themed Effortlessly Healthy truck that had a protein and veggie themed menu. I didn’t get a chance to eat their food this time, but would like to soon.
On the other hand, I have had the food from both the Nut House and Read’s Ice Cream prior to them joining the world of mobile food vending. The exterior was a study in contrasts in that Read’s had a cute little house theme and really tried to obfuscate the fact that it was a cart and the Nut House trailer is relatively unadorned right now and is focused purely on their fantastic cinnamon roasted nuts and other tasty treats. Hope both of them find success out there away from their normal operations!
After surveying the field for the new entries, we tried to figure out what was going to be our first dish of the evening and and ended up with Marty’s Meats newest offal based taco creation. Tacos del corazón were on the menu which consisted of some perfectly grilled beef heart, heirloom peppers and avocado mousse served on their signature charred flour tortillas. This was my first beef heart experience and I have to say that I’m hooked. The rare meat was amazingly tender and was superbly beefy and exemplified everything I love in a taco meat. All the components worked well together especially the char from the shells mixing with the peppers and the mousse. Another top notch effort from the Marty’s crew!
My third experience with The Meatball Truck Co was another success and my fiancée enjoyed her meatball slider on a Flour City roll as much as I did. I’m a fan of their balls!
Our “main course” of the evening was a duo of half servings of Brick N Motor’s Sweet Potato Gnocchi and Lamb Shank Ragout from their newly unveiled fall menu. The gnocchi were perfectly translated from the spring version with the addition of sweet potato into the pillowy gnocchi that were hard seared and small chunks of roasted butternut and toasted walnuts. Loved the combination and the dish was equally as good as the spring version. Still a hit!
The lamb shank ragout had some pulled lamb mixed with braised greens, a parsnip puree and toasted almonds and was a pleasant mix of textures and played well between savory, rich, roasted and bitter flavors. It was a dish that offered a good helping of tender lamb, but I think I would have liked a touch more assertive seasoning either in the parsnips or the lamb to make everything pop. Despite the minor critique, I still enjoyed the dish and would order it again.
We finished off with some garlic fries from The Daily Refresher that unfortunately didn’t live up to the version I had at the August Rodeo. I still enjoyed the aggressive salt and garlic seasoning, but the dish was submarined due to some staleness issues with the fries themselves that overwhelmed the positive aspects.
What a great finish to the 2013 Food Truck Rodeo season. The weather was practically perfect for late September and the crowds kept most of the trucks hopping the entire time I was there which was great to see. Unlike some of my previous experiences, we encountered some great hospitality at the high demand seating around the trucks and we walked away from our night feeling positive about the portable food season and those that are embracing it. I can’t wait to see what is in store for next year’s Rodeos, but in the meantime don’t forget that many of the food trucks you have seen at the big events will still be in operation throughout the fall and winter so please search them out on their websites and Twitter accounts to support them during the colder months!