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Truck-A-Roo

6 Nov

I guess as a Wilmington food blogger I felt it my civil duty to check this festival out. As well my civil duty to drink beer and write a review at 6am on a Sunday. I owe it to you. I’ve been slack as fuck lately. Beyond that it was also a chance to check out the new Flaming Amy’s food truck, try some of the trucks I haven’t had a chance to, and drink beer in public. All indications of at least a decent time. I even paid the $12 to get a ballot and be able to sample and vote on everything, mostly because I’m an indecisive person who would rather get everything than choose only one or two. After finding a space in the parking deck yesterday I strolled downtown and flashed my ticket on my phone (technology!) and got down to the business of waiting in line.

Poor Piggy’s BBQ was my first stop because of the way shorter line. I walked up, grabbed a cup of pork BBQ, and scrommed. It wasn’t the most tender I’ve had, and it wanted a squirt of vinegar-based BBQ sauce so bad – but it did have a delicious smokiness to it. I would say it was decent, but not the best I’ve ever had by a long shot. I finished this cup in a second and went to wait in my next line.

 

 

Catch is a place that I have been dying to try. Seriously, if I had a list of places that seem right up my alley it would be at the top. I’m a fan of Chef Rhodes and even forgive him for the Top Chef frozen shrimp sin (it was a team challenge and no one cared about the frozen shrimp until all their shitty dishes landed them on the chopping block) since he was repping for Wilmington on one of my favorite cooking shows. I was beyond excited when I saw that the sample was a crab quesadilla with lobster bisque. I fucking love seafood, and if I was judging based solely on the ballot sampling menu titles, Catch would’ve won right then and there. Unfortunately I then tried it. The lobster bisque was lacking salt and flavor and was just a sad sip of soup. If it had been given to me without explanation I doubt I could have pinned down what it was supposed to be. The crab quesadilla was lacking in cheese and I had a bit of hard something in it, probably crab shell. It was topped with a dallop of Sriracha sour cream that felt sad for being on such a sad food item. It told me so. I was so let down, because Catch had an awesome idea and serious potential to steal my heart, and the show. Kudos for ambition, and while crying my tears into the soup I headed over to the next line.

It was right around this time when they ran out of beer. Truck-A-Roo had two beer trucks and they fucking ran out of beer. I will pay $5 for a festival beer, but be damned if I’m going to pay it for wine (the only thing they had left) unless it’s a whole bottle. How can you not know when this many people show up that they are all going to be drinking beer? The more you know, I guess. Bitch of it is I had already bought a “coupon” for a beer.

Flaming Amy’s is one of my top places to eat. Ever. I go almost every Monday for $3.50 PBR pitchers and burritos. I was worried that they were going to get a lot of votes just because they have such a cult-like following. They definitely had the longest line of anyone, I think mostly due to having the most people ordering actual items. And the fact that they had Flaming Amy’s. I was tempted to say fuck the line and just go to Flaming Amy’s Burrito Barn and eat it without as long of a line with the chips and salsa bar. And the all important beer. But being the idiot blogger I persevered and eventually got my Big Jerk chimi with Pineapple Jalapeno salsa and went to the next line to eat it. I have never tried the Big Jerk and am normally not a fan of the Pineapple salsa owing to it’s sweetness BUT the salsa on the chimi worked as a deliciously bright and sweet counterpoint. Goddamn Flaming Amy’s for making me like shit that I don’t even like. Also they had a bottle of Sriracha on the truck ledge.

Patty Wagon had a cute idea, and the second longest line next to Flaming Amy’s. The only difference is the line did not seem to move, at all. At this point my roommate abandoned me to go to nearby Firebellys for a beer and fuck if I can blame him. The ONLY thing that makes standing in line for hours tolerable is being able to drink a beer while doing so. Once I got to the front I realized they were cooking all the sliders to order and giving you a choice of brisket or burger. I opted for the burger slider and was surprised that it came with a couple fries. The burger was seasoned and pretty good, the toppings were fresh and included pickle. The fries seemed to be lacking a bit of salt. The bun of the slider was a little thick and chewy and would have benefited from a quick toasting or warming, but given the situation it’s understandable. I liked it and it was pretty filling for how tiny it was. I also managed to sell my beer ticket to some guy. At this point there was beer again but with two trucks left I couldn’t stand the thought of yet another line.

Webos BBQ doesn’t have a website and seemed to be very much a family affair. The turkey BBQ I got was okay, but even less okay than Poor Piggy’s. I drenched it in hot sauce to get it down. I do think it was poor planning on the BBQ trucks part to not offer a bun for their meat. I mean what chance does a cup of BBQ have against a full on slider or half a chimi which are pretty substantial samples? It just feels like a throwaway.

 

The Cheesy Banker was the last leg of this line marathon. The music blasting from the truck mixed perfectly with the band blasting from the stage to form an impenetrable noise wall. After getting to the front of the line I was handed a half grilled cheese sandwich and a bacon/tater tot/jalapeno skewered on top. The tater tot thing was a cool idea but needed a sauce of some sort to keep it from being just a tater tot. The grilled cheese was not hot and the cheese was already congealed. It was ok, but the sandwich needed something to make it unique.

 

All in all, I like the idea of Truck-A-Roo. The reality was hundreds of people waiting in line for hours to try 6 samples. To get across the fest to the beer tents you had to walk through each line. The beer ran out for half of the two hours I was there. And the two hours I spent there was just waiting in line to try all the samples. I understand this was the first year and bravo for getting it done, but next year there need to be changes. Shorter lines for the samplers who prepaid for the event. A larger space for the lines and better planning for those lines. More beer tents and no beer famines. And sell some booths to other vendors so there’s something to do other than eat the samples. If possible I would even see if you can get some more trucks from around NC in on the act. This could end up being an awesome celebration of Wilmington and NC food, and I have high hopes. But it’s not worth paying $12 for 6 bites of food that I have to stand in line for 2 hours to get. Get your act together, Line A Roo.

Also, the winner by judges and ballot holders alike was, not shockingly, Flaming Amy’s. I agree, with the runners up being Patty Wagon followed by The Cheesy Banker. Word of advice to next years contenders: It’s going to take a lot more than a plain grilled cheese or burger to take down the juggernaut of the Barn. Catch had the right idea, but failed in execution. Let’s see you step it up next year boys.

Umami

15 Apr

Rating: 1 Ear Hanging Low

Yeah so we’re going on a food truck kick over here at liquorlunch. It’s hard to argue with cheap and mobile food that can turn up when you least expect it. I often see the Umami truck rolling around town so I was excited to try it. They had a pretty straightforward menu and the fact that they had a bottle of Frank’s and a bottle of Sriracha earned them bonus points. Bitches love Sriracha! I skimmed over the menu and though the brisket caught my eye it was a hot day and the chicken salad seemed more appropriate. It promised a chicken concoction containing spicy walnuts and grapes wrapped into a piece of flat bread with mixed greens, so why the hell not? When the operator/cook found I was splitting the sandwich with my friend he very nicely wrapped up each half separately and gave us an extra bag of chips for free and without asking. So I’m throwing in some more bonus points for great customer service. We headed back to my place and sat down to watch some TV and scrom our lunch.

The grapes were fantastic in the chicken salad and I wish they had been a little more prevalent. The walnuts while not noticeably spicy added a nice crunch to the otherwise mushy texture of the chicken salad. The mixed greens were delicious, and the only complaint I have was the mayo used in the chicken salad; there was something lacking, though I couldn’t put my finger on it. Once squirted with sriracha it wasn’t noticeable and I enjoyed the crap out of it.

All in all I am certainly  going back to try the brisket next time I see the red truck. I’m rating it 1 Ear Hanging Low because the next time I hear that song it’d better be Umami, not the ice cream man.

Update: This place is closed as hell.

Ms. Cheesy Food Truck

29 Mar

Rating: Sex in the Mouth

Look at me, the eater of truck meat. Ain’t I a dandy. There’s a weird food truck craze going on in Wilmington right now, and we at LiquorLunch consider it our civic duty to get fat while simultaneously helping to keep you abreast of these matters. The other day I went to Ms. Cheesy and got a ‘Super Turk’ sandwich. The menu says it was $7 but I thought it was $7.50; I’m not sure, really. It came with Boar’s Head meat and cheese, a bunch of chips and a Boars Head pickle. The menu stated they’re supposed to come with ‘Buffalo Bleu Kettle Chips,’ which on my unfortunate day apparently meant regular old ridged potato chips. Doesn’t matter; had chips.

Fuck me running, this was delicious. It was one of my favorite sandwiches of all-time. Don’t worry, I’m also offended by the thought that a truck-made ding-dang cheese sandwich ranks so high in my estimation. I’m probably more offended than you are! The Super Turk comes on sourdough bread with American and monterey jack cheeses, smoked turkey, applewood bacon, roasted tomatoes, sauteed arugula and dijon mustard. So now I know their secret. Luckily for them I’m too lazy to buy that shit and recreate this sandwich myself. Plus, even if I tried, I’d almost certainly fail.

I won’t pretend to be some pretentious food reviewer and throw around terms like mouthfeel, depth-of-flavor, flavor profile or any of that other bullshit. I’ll just say that this fucking sandwich raped my fucking face off and I loved every second of it and I am now a strong, vocal proponent of facerape.

I’d also like to thank Ms. Cheesy for introducing my uncouth self to arugula. Apparently I love that shit.

The Cheesy Banker Food Truck

14 Mar

Rating: 1 Run to the Shitter

I’m rating The Cheesy Banker a 1 Run to the Shitter because, first of all, these ratings are meaningless so who cares. Second of all, 10 minutes after eating the food I destroyed the company restroom in the most unholy of ways. Mind you, I’m not blaming them or their food. It probably has more to do with my diet, which has for some time been largely comprised of whiskey and pizza. Going from that to cheesed-up truck meat and Diet Coke has cleared me out. This was a good thing in any case because I’ve been constipated recently, for the first time in my life. Again, eating real food and eschewing alcohol are not things my innards are accustomed to.

If you are still reading after that barrage of too-much-information, I salute you. Not really – I think you’re a sicko. Be that as it may, I assume you came here for a review of this funny looking truck and the food it offers. They have a menu, but I think they always have off-menu stuff, too. I opted to go with the Cheeseburger Combo, which consists of a cheeseburger (no kidding), fries and a 12oz drink (they’re kept in the cooler shown above). The burger allegedly comes with cheese, lettuce, tomato, sauteed onion and, most importantly, bacon. This combo costs $7.50 which is $1.50 more than the burger by itself. They have a picture of it on their facebook here. Mine is pictured below.

That’s half of the burger. I ate the other half. This half is sitting in my desk drawer mocking me. First thing is that mine’s more cooked than theirs.  I don’t really care, I didn’t specify a temperature (if he asked, I would have said medium but I like all temperatures). Also, I’m missing the lettuce. I personally like lettuce on my burger so this was a bit of a bummer. I’ll live, though. You might notice the bits of green in there. It was spinach (picture). One of their daily specials consisted of (among other things), “Spinach sautéed with garlic and onions.” I guess some got onto my burger. Personally I like spinach so it was cool but a lot of people hate spinach.

I liked this spinach burger. I liked the sauteed onions a lot. The tomato was good, the bacon was great. The burger had a nice char on it but it wasn’t very big and perhaps a bit overdone. The cheese was somewhere in there, I guess.

The fries were a bit of a bummer, to me. To some, these crinkle-cut frozen fries are the fucking bees knees. Personally, I don’t get the appeal. I think they’re the same ones in use by Poor Piggy’s, another local food truck (the first, to the best of my knowledge). I recommend Poor Piggy’s, by the way.

I’ll definitely go back to The Cheesy Banker if they are near my office again (note to food trucks: go near Shipyard/Carolina Beach Rd and I will give you moneys). But I don’t think I’ll get the burger or fries. If I want a burger and fries, I’ll go to PT’s Grille. Everything there rules, especially the fries. And they have cheap beer. And, even though I only go a handful of times a year, those wacky motherfuckers always recognize me. I guess they don’t often get people coming in there on their lunch break to chug 8 pints of Yuengling.

Another note to food trucks: put Sriracha on everything. Or offer/sell Sriracha in packet form. Pretty please.