Chasing Potter’s: A Food Truck Love Story
I got a text message one Sunday: “Potter’s at BWB.”
My head sprung up and the F-word shot out of my mouth. Heart racing, gaze whizzing around the living room, I frantically calculated what plans I had planned, what time they began at, and how late I could be to them if necessary. Curse words quietly kept running out of my mouth, like the craziest Black Friday door-buster shoppers. Shower, underwear, pants, shirt, hat, into the car.
The message meant “Potter’s Pasties at Bad Weather Brewing.”
You’ve had Potter’s Pasties, right? It’s a food truck, but this kitchen is nobody’s trailer. Whereas most food trucks are secondary to the destination they’re parked at, Potter’s Pasties commands the respect of a headliner. Have I decided which taproom to visit based on Potter’s location? Absolutely! One example: during My Mother-in-Law’s Day-Drinking Adventure this year, we made an extra stop at the Able Beer taproom to have Potter’s. I hadn’t even been to the Able taproom before – I had only had their beer once or twice, for that matter – but the presence of Potter’s made Able a required visit that day.
It’s handy, then, that Potter’s Pasties winds up at Bad Weather Brewing – my inner circle’s preferred rendezvous point – pretty often. Nevertheless, news of its arrival there elicits … certain … reactions.
The Basics: Here’s a quick lesson on pasties, courtesy of the Potter’s Pasties website. It’s an English dish, first originated centuries ago as a portable meal miners could enjoy on the go. In the mid-1800s, pasties made their way to the Great Lakes region. Potter’s Pasties is the work of Alec Duncan, a Minnesotan whose wife hails from the U.K. His truck isn’t hard to find: just look for the one with the big ol’ Union Jack on the side.
Duncan opened a storefront on Como Ave. in Minneapolis in 2013, where you can buy their flagship pasties along with a “Couch Change Pasty” that starts at $4.50 and consists of leftover ingredients. They can be mailed, as well. They don’t announce their location on their website, but they do via Twitter.
First, let’s talk about sausage rolls. Potter’s Pasties whips up these sleek, golden truncheons of ground sausage and dough. Ten bucks gets you two. Hefty as they may be, you might impress yourself with how quickly you can take them both down without trying. I’ve come upon the truck after having just eaten elsewhere, ordered them anyway, and assured myself I could save them for later that night. Within minutes, the rolls were nothing but crumbs and crumpled-up paper bags. If you’re like me, your willpower won’t have time to muster itself.
The shell doesn’t fight back as you bite in. The sausage is spicy, as good sausage is, but the zing can be tamed by the apple dipping sauce it comes with. It’s cool, and sweet, balancing the force of the sausage roll mellifluously. I don’t curse after two sausage rolls – once they settle into my viscera, no, I don’t do much of anything.
As far as the actual pasties go, nobody in my inner circle can be trusted to cut The Pig in half honestly if we share. It’s pulled pork, and apples, augmented with onions and coriander. We cut a millimeter to one side, or as far as we can get away with. I did this to a friend at Bad Weather Brewing during “Beers and Fears” weekend. It was a cool night, even by late-October standards; but steamy blasts to the face, bites of tender pork and somehow-still-crunchy apples, kept us right.
Stop by the truck and you can also have a traditional pasty, a sort of bread bowl beef stew with minced beef, carrot, onions, potatoes and gravy. You can have a chicken pasty, billed as “a chicken pot pie you can eat with your hands” on the website and highly praised by my wife. She says the only thing it left her wanting was more room in her stomach. Potter’s offers a Thai veggie pasty for the serial killer, and various daily specials.
Potter’s Pasties are sold in small ($6) and large ($9) at the brick-and-mortar, but generally only the bigguns are sold at the truck. Pork pies and Banoffee pies are available at both locations, with special daily pie offerings available at the store. Vietnamese coffees, soda, and ginger mint limeade are available for the driver.
But the meal that haunts me, even more than The Pig or the sausage rolls, was a scotch egg offered as a special one day. I ordered it three times that day, and never saw it again. It was the finest scotch egg I can recall ever having:
Potter’s served this scotch egg on April 6, 2016, at Bad Weather Brewing. Does knowing that make me obsessed? Regardless, I am. It had a soft breading, ground sausage inside of that, and a hard-boiled egg inside of that. I don’t know why I remember bacon, but I do. For the better part of, I don’t know, four hours or so perhaps, I had a Potter’s Pasties scotch egg at my side. I forced bites of them upon all of my friends, then forcefully defended my clutch when they asked for a second bite.
Who do I need to convince to make this come back, and what will it take? Should it return, my body’s reaction to the news might register on the Richter scale.
When Duncan established the business, he states on his website, “I have always wanted a warm bite that wouldn’t go soggy, leak, break, or lose its appeal in whatever activity I was engaged in.” He may have scored a little too well in his mission: rather than his meals being accompaniments to an adventure, legions of pasty fiends now plan their adventures with his truck as the final destination. It’s a good problem to have, and he compounds it well.
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