After missing the July Rodeo due to enjoying myself on vacation, I made my triumphant return Wednesday night primed and ready to eat my heart out. I was excited to see the debuting Meatball Truck Co and do some epic people watching.
The setup this Rodeo was improved over the previous editions with a wider layout allowing a little better accommodation of the lines at the more popular trucks. I got to the Rodeo early enough to take some pictures and meet up with some of my Yelp friends to survey the scene and make some eating plans. On this occasion, I mostly stuck to places I hadn’t tried before with only a couple of revisits. Of course most of the popular trucks were there including Brick N Motor, Marty’s Meats, Macarollin’ and Le Petit Poutine to name a few.
Our first stop was to the debuting The Meatball Truck Co and ordered a Rodeo sampler and some balls in a cup to split among us. Since I ended up standing, I took the meatball slider on a Flour City Bread served with tomato sauce made from fresh tomatoes.The meatball was made from fine ground meat (not sure of the mix), very tender and studded with fresh herbs. I thought the texture was right on and would make an effort to order the balls again. The fries and caesar salad were less successful although still decent. Fries were skin on and salted to a decent level but were a touch limp and the salad had really fresh romaine but lacked some of the sharp acidic and garlic flavors I look for in a great Caesar dressing. Solid first day and I’m looking forward to seeing how they move their food forward over time.
As an aside, if you are an older lady sitting with your friend at an 8 person bench to reserve it for apparently the entire event and some nice people come and ask to use a portion of it for a few minutes to eat their food while no one is actally sitting at 75% of the table, why not say yes and have the chance of meeting some cool new people instead of being an incredibly rude waste of space? ASIDE OVER!
Our next stop was Stingray Sushi Fusion where we grabbed a trash plate and a Dominican roll both without the standard bacon. The fried shrimp in both dishes were crisp and well cooked and the seasoning level was a touch low for both dishes without adding soy sauce. To be fair, we did cut out the bacon and the salt factor it brings so that could have made a big difference. Otherwise, I thought the roll was well wrapped and the veggies on the trash plate were fresh and had a great sweet crunch to them.
Since we had set up behind them, we only thought it was right to get some food from The Daily Refresher truck that normally is parked at their bar for late night eats. We got an order of their garlic fries and 2 orders of the Chic-N-Waffle, one with the maple bourbon sauce and one with Buffalo hot sauce. Skinny, crunchy and perfectly cooked fries were loaded with plenty of garlic and were probably the best thing we had all night. Absolutely dynamite stuff and next time I’m out on A-Street late night I’m definitely stopping in to get some more. The Chic-N-Waffles were an interesting take on the soul food classic but were a bit less successful. Chicken drumsticks were coated in a waffle batter and deep fried but unfortunately they ended up on the greasy side with some batter parts that were underdone. Perhaps a slightly thinner coating would have served them well. The sauces were both decent and the maple bourbon was the better fit with the chicken with some sweetness to emphasize the waffle batter.
Lynez’s Frozen Delights was our next stop for some Puerto Rican ices to refresh our palates and cool us down a bit. I got a small tamarind and my compatriots tried some parcha (passion fruit) and coconut flavors. As always, I love the frozen tamarind ice and the parcha was a huge hit for my Puerto Rican friend. This is a must stop when you see them around town!
We stopped at El Latino Express which was one of the other trucks debuting at the August Food Truck Rodeo and grabbed some tostones and a beef empanada. Unfortunately the tostones were extremely dry and were not something we could finish. The empanada did have a solid crust that balanced crispness while still being puffy and tender. The beef filling was lightly seasoned and tasted OK but had too much grease inside for my tastes. I don’t usually mention prices but in this case that was a minus as well with one empanada checking in at $4 which is around double what you would find at most places around town. I’ll try them again to see if they have improved over this showing but wasn’t a great start.
Our last stop was a Compost Plate at Lettuce B Frank topped with a carrot slider. The plate came in a foil boat with sweet potatoes, well cooked black beans, the carrot slider and a Wolferman’s english muffin. As always, pickled cucumbers, jalapenos and red onions were available and we grabbed a few of each to use. The slider was well seared on the flattop adding some needed crispness to the affair and all the flavors worked well together. Pickled jalapenos were extra spicy that day and cut right through the rich veggie tastes and sweetness from the potatoes.
At the very end of the night I needed some food to bring home to my fiancée and went to the Indian truck that is usually at the Public Market on Sunday mornings. A hefty serving of chickpeas, veggie patties and curry chicken was only $7 and ws plenty to make her satisfied after a long day. I also made a trip back to the Daily Refresher for a bacon chocolate chip cookie. Even though the bacon in the cookie could have used a bit more crunch, the combination was one I’d want to try again.
In addition to the food part of the day, I got a chance to meet the gentleman who run the @RocFoodTrucks Twitter account and run into Jason Bartlett from Black Button Distilling who I interviewed for the newest F.A.T. podcast. Nice to finally meet the man behind the Twitter account and I look forward to seeing them both at future events.
I packed a ton into the hours I spent at the Rodeo and it only made me more excited to go to the next Rodeo on Friday Sept 13th for Greentopia and the last Rodeo of the season toward the end of Sept on the 25th. See you all out there!