Puddle Jumpers and Love Trucks
“Mmm! MMM! Oh my god. Mmm! Yeah! OH!”
And now I’m staring at that quotation like it’s a broken toy. Why am I trying to make that sound sexy? Obviously it’s the sound of my wife eating a cupcake.
The common reaction to my stories of last Saturday’s food truck rally was, “Where did you hear about that?!” I didn’t really know what to tell them. I mean, when 15 food trucks are puttin’ ‘er in park next to a brewery, it finds its way to us and we find our way to it.
The Harriet Brewing website said RAIN OR SHINE, So we had sunglasses hanging from the fronts of our necks and umbrella runoff pouring down the backs.
In the center of it all was A Cupcake Social. It was the only dessert-driven vehicle and sat an arm’s length from the beer tent. My wife and I lurked around it like alley trolls most of the day, ordering first one cupcake each and then a small box for the road. There were two lines: “Frank,” and “the line.” My wife was beside me, blue hood flopping over her eyes, raving like Yosemite Sam about how we’d become part of a real-life “2 Broke Girls” cast.
A blockade of 14 other trucks boxed in the puddly grounds beside this Minneapolis brewery, but the Socs won this story. They were an arm’s length from the beer, brought the only desserts, didn’t charge outrageously for them (though they could’ve; ask my wife what she would’ve paid for one), and kept up with demand for most of the day.
When we weren’t stalking the cupcake truck, Saturday gave us numerous distractions. We filled up on Harriet’s tripel, Wuluptuweiss (and it tasted pretty wuluptuous). Folky bands hooked listeners in the back, bringing about this bit of wisdom from my wife.
“Hipsters like this music, but I like this music.” Better not tell the 2 Broke Girls that.
Side rant: I don’t know what even defines a hipster anymore. The problem is we’re all hipsters, but at the same time none of us are. Fashion and musical taste is wide open now so long as Miley Cyrus doesn’t pop up on your shuffle. Is it because we’re all trying to out-random each other? Is it because avoidance of popular brands is the new popular brand? Is the only safe way to avoid hipsterism to dress like a tween slut or a Jersey Shore bro? And who would do that to themselves?
Answer me later.
As you’d expect, people-watching was in its prime Saturday. Guess how many people I’m describing with this list: Braided beards, skinny jeans folded up to capri length, bicycle helmet, Chucks, bright yellow raincoat, aqua blue scarf. If you guessed 2, you’re correct – but the scarf was the only thing I gave you on the second person.
And why is my wife incapacitated with a laughter fit right now? Because she’s overhearing two girls talk about a friend’s boyfriend, and why he’s “mean” because he didn’t like the difference in layout between the Eagan Trader Joe’s and the St. Louis Park Trader Joe’s.
Mostly, though, we had our eyes on the next truck. We gave most of them a good, long look but only raised paper to six of them. It’s unfair to judge desserts against food items so I’m going to part with A Cupcake Social for now – at least until the opening of their non-portable store in Minneapolis.
Sorry for this layout – I’ve been reading a lot of Simmons lately.
NOT EVEN BRIEFLY CONTEMPLATED
14. MidNord Empanada Truck: “Here, let’s only bring enough food for three hours.” Popularity isn’t an excuse when the cupcake truck outlasted you. I don’t care if they sweep the Charlies; you come loaded to an event like this, and I mean dice-at-the-Palms loaded, or you don’t come at all.
13. Twisted Fork Grille: We had eaten once at their St. Paul restaurant and hated it.
12. AZ Canteen: As a small-time food writer, I pride myself in having not mentioned Andrew Zimmern ever until now. This is “an Andrew Zimmern food truck” – and, if that didn’t drive the point home, the bright yellow flag with his face on it certainly did. A FLAG! with HIS FACE ON IT! I’m sure he’s a great guy, but this truck was the mobile version of Toby Keith’s I Love Myself Bar. No thanks.
11. Cafe Racer: It may well be reverse-psychology and the food is probably a flavor flip, but a plain white truck in this venue looked suspicious above all else.
10. Stanley’s: Googling Stanley’s, ladies and gentlemen!
9. Tiki Tim’s: My wife doesn’t like pork or seafood, eliminating basically their entire menu.
8. Hibachi Daruma: Fries, beer, Philly, beer, cupcake, beer, hot dog, beer … hibachi teriyaki? You know what, that actually makes a lot more sense when you write it down. Now I’m pissed we missed this one.
7.Gastrotruck: Anytime we got close to this one, my wife would dash off toward the nearby cupcake truck.
6. The Red Pig and Truffle: We stood and stared with long faces before leaving. “I want it so badly … and the bathroom ARE right there, in case, you know … nah, let’s not be those people.” We had already made out publicly twice and scared a family away from the couch next to us in the tents.
Did you read yesterday’s post, too? I’m not really coming off as somebody you’d bring out in public, am I?
ALIEN VS. PREDATOR
5. Lulu’s Street Food: Can you believe I saw that shit in the theater?! At midnight?! WITH A GROUP OF FRIENDS?! Anyway, Lulu’s boasts a pedestrian paper French fry boat. Sriracha doesn’t help much, either. This was the truck I was most excited to try, and you’ll see very soon why I don’t feel out of line judging them on fries. They’re getting another shot when I see them again, though.
XFL REFERENCE YOU DIDN’T SEE COMING
4. Motley Crew’s Heavy Metal Grill: I liked the Philly, I love the owner’s view of the 80s. They scored bonus points for the speakers, theme-dressed wait staff, and a rock-your-face-off truck design. You already know what my gripe’s going to be about this truck, so we’ll … no, we won’t skip it. I hate the name. I spent most of the 80s picking my nose and crushing on Smurfette, and I could have crafted of a better 80s name.
I really liked their Philly, though.
TELL ME AGAIN HOW THEY EAT THESE IN CHICAGO, HONEY
3. Eat At Sandy’s: I think it’s technically called Sandy’s Grill but I like “Eat at Sandy’s” better. Another cool name is that of their signature dog, the Knockout Chicago Dog! KNOCKOUT! And it was a knockout!
“In Chicago, if you put ketchup on these, it’s like a sin!” said my wife as she took her first bite. I picked off the jalapeno and ate it, hoping my ensuing breath would make her go away. We shared the dog, and I think it’s time to share their logo with you. How are you not hungry for this?
The Moral Omnivore: Did you know a lobster was discovered two years ago that has one huge claw, and is blind? Anyway, I’m not linking The Moral Omnivore’s website. I’m trying to make you like them.
If you can get past their appearance long enough to order the wild rice balls, you’ll have whatever the opposite of regrets are. They’ve got this nutty, grainy outside and nip of wild rice soup inside – and, as we all know, wild rice soup wipes away cold-day misery like chalkboard doodle. They can stand alone and taste great, or be complimented with dipping jam you’re provided.
As much as I want to hate in-your-face naturalist restaurants – and I really, really want to – they continuously produce good food and it’s getting more and more difficult to hold that against them. I know I’m eventually going to have to give in and stick to sustainable foods.
But, until then …
Hot Indian Foods: And not just because I find that woman kind of cute.
Hot Indian Foods showed up in ways the others couldn’t: The truck was bright and lively, a staffer took orders outside the window for a smoother line, they offered a dollar off to anyone who attempted Bollywood dance moves (I did not. This time.), and the Indi Fritas were somethings to behold.
The fritas were spicy enough to nuke the cold off my face, and crispy without being oily and gross. I don’t remember what the side sauce was called, but it was smooth and toned down the fritas a tad. My wife took the jam left over from Omnivore and dipped the fries in it, which delayed her tapout by a few bites. Meanwhile, a pair of girls earned their bucks off with gesticulations I’d say was one part Bollywood, 29 parts white guy touchdown dance.
We bolted after about three hours after buying a growler of Wuluptuweiss.