Category Archives: Reviews Not Revenues

Friday Food Truck: 314 Pie

52nd Friday: 314 Pie
Facebook: fb.com/314pieseattle 
Twitter: @314PieSeattle
Website: www.314pieseattle.com/
Price: $$
Food Tried:
– apple cinnamon pie ($5)
– chicken pot pie ($8)

IMG_1712The first time that 314 Pie came to the International District, they sold out so quickly that I could only order a dessert pie and eat it as an appetizer before I tucked into lunch at a nearby restaurant.

The next time someone mentioned going there, I jumped at the chance, not wanting to miss out again. In our group, we ordered the last lamb pie, which tells you how popular food trucks are in the ID (hint, hint, we want other trucks!). That time, I was lucky enough to snag a chicken pot pie, which I gladly tucked into at my desk, since trying to eat it while walking back to the office turned out to be quite difficult.

IMG_1830The key to a good pie, like a good building, is a strong foundation, in this case the crust. The pies from 314 have a moist body crust, with crumbly and flaky ceilings. They’re just the right proportion of crust to filling, and compliment the flavors perfectly–mellowing the sweetness of the apple pie, and balancing the saltiness of the chicken pie.

Next is fillings: in this case, both were quite wonderful. The apples were juicy and perfectly seasoned. The chicken–while unexpectedly shredded rather than cubed as in other pot pies I’ve had in the past–was moist, and balanced with fresh veggies.

IMG_1831Portion size is key too–making a personal size pie is an art since everyone has different appetites. For me, I shared the dessert pie, but ate the chicken pie all by myself. I wasn’t overfull, nor did I feel I had too much or too little for what I was eating–entrees should fill you perfectly, whereas desserts are better in half-sizes.

I was very pleased with my entire 314 Pie experience, and will be glad to go try other pies in the future–I’m also pleased they’ve decided to come hang out with us in the ID, since we get food truck famines sometimes.

Friday Food Truck: Street Hawk

51st Friday: Street Hawk
Roving the streets of Seattle! Find their schedule here.
Facebook: fb.com/StreetHawkTruck
Twitter: @streethawktruck
Website: www.streethawktruck.com/
Price: $$
Food tried:
– Seattle Slugger
– French fries

I’m not sure that I intended to have lunch at Street Hawk when I found myself there a few weeks ago–I had been meaning to go to a truck on 5th and Union that had closed for winter, so my food truck foodie friend and I walked to 2nd and Pike, where we knew we’d have options. It was Street Hawk’s first day there, and I figured I should reward them for coming into the downtown area and making it super convenient for me to stop by, so I gladly waited for a Seattle Slugger.  (Also, who can say no to being an adult and eating a corndog for lunch?)

IMG_1668Hot and toasty, the corndog had a nice crunch while still preserving the juiciness of the dog inside. Served on a bed of fries, I wasn’t exactly nice to my waistline, but I was certainly nice to my taste buds. The burgers I saw coming out of the truck also looked amazing, to the point where until I received my food, I was feeling like I might have mis-committed my lunchtime hunger. The fries too, were delicious, piping hot and perfect for warming fingers and tummies on a cold winter day.

The coolest part of Street Hawk is how all of their foods clearly represent the passion that Seattleites have for their sports teams–every burger, dog, and sandwich relates to an athlete, a team, or a historic moment in the history of Seattle sporting. I’d definitely recommend it on game days, when they’re known for parking right down by the stadiums. Even if we lose, you can still relive our moments of greatness in the food that represents it at Street Hawk.

Friday Food Truck: Delicios Taste of Transylvania

50th Friday: Delicios – Taste of Transylvania
(SW Washington & SW 10th, Portland, OR)
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Deliciospdx
Yelp: http://www.yelp.com/biz/delicios-taste-of-transylvania-portland
Price: $$
Food Tried: Covridog (bread wrapped hot dog) – $4.00

My food cart experiences in Portland were really unique–first Georgian, then Grilled Cheese, and now Delicios. I chose Delicios while wandering around the Washington & 10th intersection, because though they don’t have primary parking because they’re across the street, they do have an engaging storefront. Heck, who can say no to the idea of having Transylvanian food? Mind you, this means Romanian, but maybe I just felt like Portland was the perfect place to have Eastern European food.

I decided that the Covridog looked delicious, because it is a very large hot dog wrapped in melty provolone and delicious and crispy bread and coated with sesame and poppy seeds. It’s accompanied with a special sauce, some great mayo and ketchup-esque photo 2mix that accompanies the sausage. Mine was served sliced in half, which means there was an unfortunately short window before the cold Portland air decided to steal all that was good and hot about this “hot dog.”

When I did tuck in, it was a salty and juicy snack, that was perfect for the mid-afternoon. It’s the kind of snack I’d love to have in the office when the late afternoon munchies happen. I’d love to try a chimney cake (had one in Prague and loved it), or schnitzel (mmm, Germanic foods!). This is the kind of eating experience that I love to find in street food–unique among foods I’ve ever had, and even more rare for being great and coming off the streets.

Friday Food Truck: The Grilled Cheese Grill

49th Friday: The Grilled Cheese Grill
(SW Washington & SW 10th, Portland, OR)
Website: www.grilledcheesegrill.com
Twitter: @GrildChzGrill
Price: $$
Food Tried:
– The First Grader (white & wheat bread, cheddar & American cheese) – $4.50
– Homemade tomato soup in a cup – $2.50

My Portland food truck cart experiences were all good, but as I mentioned previously, I have to find something truly unique to draw me in. This is especially true in a city like Portland where there are literally whole blocks devoted to the art of street food. When the choices are abundance, the fierceness of novelty must increase for virgin palates because we have no loyalty or experience to guide our choices.

But, I have had previous experience with grilled cheese trucks

Gooey, warm, zesty and spicy, the cheese wasn’t the only thing thrilled in this meal. (I was.)

…and I had a good idea that after a cold day of walking around and shopping in a wintry downtown, that a toasty sandwich and a cuppa tomato soup would be the perfect way to warm up, inside and out.

I loved the names of the standard sandwiches: the Pre-schooler, Kindergartener, and First Grader. That they are so traditional, yet so playful, is exactly how any respectable adult should approach a meal constructed of gooey cheese on toasted bread. There is a huge other menu according to their website, but these aren’t all available at the truck on Washington & 10th. I think they might rotate through them, as my friend had one of these sandwiches herself.

photo 2As for me, I decided to be totally mature and go for the First Grader. Mixing cheeses, it was a delicious combination of salty and melty, and was exactly what I had hoped would grace my tastebuds. The soup came in a short stubby cup, which wasn’t exactly conducive to picking up and drinking, but was perfect for dipping. I also dipped the potato chips into the soup. All around, my desire for salt, carbs, and dairy, and even a wee bit of fruit in tomato form, were satiated.

I was really pleased with the way the ordering and pick-up went. Because of their permanent location at the entry to the parking lot these carts surround, you order on the main street, then tuck into the driveway to wait for your food. The guys at the window were totally friendly, and the food came out respectably fast. Additionally, there was a decent queue to order and pick-up food, which is always a good sign.

The Grilled Cheese Grill, with their restaurant and three cart locations, is a great option if you want to have a tasty, warming lunch that will make you feel a kid at heart, and at a reasonable price no less. Portland, you’re two-for-two, and I love you for it.

Food Truck Friday: Kargi Gogo

48th Friday: Kargi Gogo
(SW Washington & SW 10th, Portland, OR)
Website: www.kargigogo.com
Twitter: @kargigogopdx
Price: $$
Food Tried: $7.50 (including bottled water) Khinkali (beef & pork dumplings)

I want to state for the record that I am a bit of a stickler when it comes to my definition of food truck. I believe that a food truck is an vehicle which may move of its own accord, doling out the amazing food goodness of its innards wherever it so chooses. In particular, my definition of a food truck includes my chasing of said truck, because it allows me to build anticipation. When a vehicle doesn’t move, or is permanently stationed in a given place, it certainly changes my general opinion. It means a food “truck” has to have something different, something new, or something unique that makes me stop and eat. The best way to summarize this is that when I found myself in the city of Portland, thinking that I was in the city of trucks and finding myself in the city of “trucks,” aka carts, I wanted to find something worth eating and writing about. photo(1)After walking the square block of SW 10th and SW Washington, I found myself drawn into Kargi Gogo, because how often do you find yourself with the opportunity for Georgian street food?

I was drawn in by the dumplings, which is not surprising given my ongoing love for Xiao Long Bao. I was enticed by the freshly rolled dough and juicy meat that keeps the dumpling fresh even after cooling. Not that dumplings from Kargi Gogo will need to cool–you can get them fresh from the truck, almost too hot to eat. These dumplings, sprinkled with fresh black pepper, will burst with the juice from the meat cooked inside them. They’re generously sized, meaning you won’t need to buy a full meal to be filled–they’ll be plenty sufficient with a drink to leave you satiated for the entire midday.

I am really pleased with my first experience with Georgian food. I’m not sure I expected it to be dumpling so similar to those I was familiar with from the Far East. At the same time, I was drawn to try a new experience and new ethnicity of food because that is what makes life interesting, especially after a year abroad. I was pleased to eat from Kargi Gogo and learn about how street food is great from so many different countries, but isn’t that the reason I love food trucks in the first place? Even if the truck doesn’t move, I can allow my taste buds to feel like they’re still traveling the world.

Friday Food Truck: Nosh

47th Friday: Nosh
(Fridays at 2nd & Pike, Seattle, WA)
Website: Nosh the Truck
Twitter: @NoshtheTruck
Price: $$ (total = $10.00 + tax/tip = $12.50)
Food Tried: British Fish & Chips (whole sustainable Pacific Cod fillet, local micro brewery beer batter, mint mushy peas)

87c22f2c549411e39b390e6c57e6fb13_8Let me set the record straight now: I do not like seafood. I have rarely purposely chosen to eat seafood in my time, never once eating it in London and only consuming fish on the west coast of Ireland where I was rewarded for my thinking that freshness correlated with deliciousness. So, when I decide to have a fish meal, there are a lot of bars that have to be surpassed well in advance of the food touching my lips.

First, there is the audacity to serve fish and chips British-style, with mushy peas, wide cut chips, and in newspaper wrapping. How dare Nosh assume that they can serve British food in this country, you know? We did declare independence for a reason, and I have a feeling horrid British food might have been an unspoken part of this (as an aside, this is a total stereotype, as London has some amazing food). But, when the blokes in the truck have the accents, and they pick their fish fresh from the market each morning, and they batter it with local beer, and they serve it piping hot and with homemade tartar sauce and ketchup… Okay, I’m sold. I was sold at the accents, really, but anyone who’s met me knows I will do just about anything for a gent with an accent. Eating the fish and chips from Nosh was hardly the most unpleasant thing I’ve done… Er, in fact, it was one of the best things I’ve done!43143c76549411e3a9a4123ce35ac48b_8

Literally, it doesn’t get too much more fresh than this: juicy, white cod meat battered to perfection and sitting atop a pile of skin-on thick-cut chips. Paired with cold mushy peas (do I detect a hint of mint?), I’ve never had a meal so British and so good. I’ve actually never had mushy peas before, so there’s that too. And cold mushy peas? Not what I was expecting, but a great temperature disparity with the freshly cooked fish and potatoes.

I don’t normally comment on condiments, because I think A) they’re hard to mess up/make noticeable and B) they shouldn’t reflect on the meal itself. In this case, I make an exception for the Nosh truck tartar sauce. I keep saying this–I don’t like __, I don’t eat __, I’ve never tried __ before,–but this was a meal that should have put me out of my comfort zone, and instead made me want more and more (despite that pesky problem of my stomach only being capable of holding so much). The fish and chips with tartar sauce and mushy peas is the kind of meal that brings me back to Nosh, and every time I’ll look at the other things on the menu, but I’ll always order this because it is simply the best fish and chips I’ve ever had, and when you know a meal is going to be one of the all-time greats, wouldn’t you repeat it whenever you can?

Thank you, Nosh, for the one of the most amazing meals I’ve had in Seattle yet, and for providing my go-to seafood dish. On those rare occasions I want fish, I’m coming to you.

 

Friday Food Truck: Off the Rez

46th Friday: Off the Rez
(Thursdays at 2nd & Pike, Seattle, WA)
Facebook: Off the Rez
Twitter: @OfftheRezTruck
Price: $$
Food Tried:
– Chicken fry bread taco
– Pork fry bread taco
– Cinnamon Spice fry bread
($10 for combo: 2 tacos + one side)

When my foodie friend mentioned that there was a Native American food truck in the Seattle area, my interest was piqued. I’ve had a fair number of food trucks, with a variety of different cuisines: gourmet American comfort foods, Mexican street food, and even desserts such as sweet pretzels, nevermind a wide variety of European styles. Basically, it takes a lot for me to get excited about trying a new type of food, because I feel like I’ve had most of it all. But, Native American, now that’s something you don’t see every day, and what better place than Seattle, where the history of Native Americans is still so strong and visibly present in the city (totem poles, native art, and souvenirs are everywhere in the downtown area). Cue Off the Rez, masters of the Native American food truck experience.

IMG_1118What makes Off the Rez so good is that they make easy-to-eat street foods (tacos, burgers) with “fry bread,” which is different than any other kind of bread product I’ve had on a burger or for a taco before. It takes a traditional food and transports it to another world. I was especially pleased to try the cinnamon sugar fry bread as dessert, because it gave me a chance to enjoy the bread “on its own” (and with a lot of seasoning). It’s a bit like the kind of bread you’ll find at fairs: doughy and hot, and ripe for accepting and complimenting the flavors of what you put on it.

Which, I must insist, should be the pulled pork. Whatever secret recipe Off the Rez uses for their barbeque pulled pork, I need all of it in the world. It was utterly delicious, probably the best barbeque I’ve had at a food truck, ever. Certainly a rival to a great food truck I had in London, and that’s one of the best compliments I can give. I also had the chicken taco, which was good, but simply couldn’t hold a candle to the pork. Just do the pork, I’m telling you. My friend had ordered the succatash, which was good, but not preferred because it’s cold, and we were sitting and freezing on a bus stop bench while we ate lunch. I’m sure it’s delectable in the summer.

I was as impressed with Off the Rez as I hoped to be. I would go back, gladly, and go big on the pork tacos. The price is right, they have good locations, the food is super fast and the guys are friendly. Top notch truck service, if I do say so myself.