Monday, December 8, 2014

Wood Shop BBQ - Coming to a street near you!

I’m in love with these ribs!  After trying the food from Wood Shop BBQ, I have to say this is one of my favorite new trucks. 


A month ago, I saw pit master Matt Davis and super nice food truck owner James Barrington of Hallava Falafel fame at a funding event.  Matt was hidden in the back and he had ribs.  Ribs!  I thought to myself, “Meh.  I’ll try some.”  I was glad I did!  I dream of those ribs.  They were meaty and tender.  There was a little fat but not too much.  The meat, dripping in sauce, fell off the bone.  There’s nothing like a bunch of folks at a funding event covered in barbeque sauce and being completely unapologetic about it.  That night, I heard that Wood Shop BBQ would be launching a food truck.

Smoked ribs - the stuff dreams are made of

Pit Master Matt Davis
Tonight, I went to see the truck (playfully named “Woody”) for the first time at Chuck’s Hop Shop Greenwood.  At 7:30pm, the truck sold out of ribs.  I had hoped it would be a secret for a little while but that was wishful thinking.  I got to try the brisket and it was fantastic!  That smoky, peppery goodness is something I’ll be thinking about for a long, long time.  The pulled pork sandwich was as good as the first time I had it.  Cooked well, flavorful, drenched in sauce and served on a bun – total mess (which is how I judge a good sandwich). 

Brisket Sandwich
Recently, I had the opportunity to find out more about the truck.  Matt attempts to recreate the BBQ of his youth through smoking with hickory firewood.  Hickory adds a robust flavor that Seattleites may not be familiar with.  According to Matt, nothing tastes better than using real wood to cook food.  Partnering that with slow smoking at low temperatures causes the meat to melt into itself.  Yep – I’ll testify – that’s totally true!  Plus, who wouldn’t love a smoker named “Brad Pit?”  Wood Shop BBQ believes the best way to cook meat is to instill big flavor and keep that tender bite. 

Pulled Pork Sandwich
Menu items include a variety of different BBQ fare, inspired by Kansas City, Texas, and other regions.  Drop by the truck to order up some brisket, pulled pork, chicken and ribs!  If sides are your jam, don’t forget the kale caesar, buttermilk coleslaw, and homemade pickles – inspired Southern, Midwestern, and Northwest flavors.  In addition to lovingly prepared meat, the original sauce has been inspired by Kansas City Sauce.  Wood Shop BBQ has bridged the gap by also creating a coffee-infused Seattle Sauce.  Rumor has it that other sauces may be created by partnering with local breweries with seasonal offerings.

Check out Wood Shop BBQ if you have the chance.  So far, I believe the truck is slated to be at Chuck’s and possibly Fremont Sunday Market.  

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Changes for Crisp Creperie



By now, you may have heard the big news. As reported on Facebook yesterday, Jonathan Amato and Evan Mayer are pursuing a new project and leaving Crisp Creperie




I struggle with the prospect of a change in ownership. Last year, one of my favorite food trucks was sold and it hasn't been the same. That being said, I'm happy for Jon and Evan. I remember the first day I met them. It was the spring of 2011 at Fremont Sunday Market. They had been on the road for a week or so. Crepes? Yeah. I like crepes. I ordered a seasonal crepe and I was hooked! From that point on, I would compare every crepe I ate to theirs. I don't even want to think about what my life will be like without their rosemary lemonade. I'm crying a little bit now. #JokingNotJoking





Jon and Evan presented me with a great product each time. Sweet or savory - the crepe was perfect. Weekday lunch, Sunday market, or special event - you would find me at the truck. It's hard to argue with a consistent product that exceeds your expectations every time. 




And...let's face it, Jon and Evan are easy on the eyes. Over the years I came to know them and they are truly sweet. I've been going to some trucks for years and the owners don't recognize me, don't engage with me, and care about very little besides taking my money. Jon and Evan cared what I thought about the food, how my day was going, and could always make me smile when I was feeling down (Evan even wrote a sick note for me once). Although I will miss their smiles, food, and banter, I wish them the best. Be good boys!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Recap - SeattleFoodTruck.com Back-to-School Truck-In

Peasant Food Manifesto at the entrance to the Truck-In
So many food truck events, so little time. This summer has been filled with them and my only complaint is I can't go to them all! As you may have noticed, I'm also a little behind on posts. That silly day job and personal life has me occupied a bit. I'll be working over the next few weeks to catch up on recapping events.

Fun for kids of all ages
I've been to a few events put on by SeattleFoodTruck.com and I've had a blast. This one was a really nice way to say goodbye to summer. The Des Moines Waterfront Farmers Market right next door is great for consumers - fresh produce, artisan products, crafts, and more! As you can see from the picture above, there's plenty to enjoy at this event. In the background is a bouncy house. Who doesn't love a bouncy house?!?! Also, an antique fire engine was there for kids of all ages to enjoy. NOTE: The picture of me sitting in the driver's seat with the very tiny yellow hat has been omitted from this post.

The new layout
Great weather makes a great event event better! It was truly a gorgeous day filled with sunshine, blue skies, and happy smiles. The truck layout was a bit different but I think it worked well. It was easy to walk from truck to truck to see what you were going to order. I love food truck events and I keep coming back to this one because of the laid back vibe. Even when it's really busy, the lines are manageable and hey, who couldn't use a few minutes to work on their tan?

Inigo Montoya Shakshuka from Peasant Food Manifesto
One of my stops was at Peasant Food Manifesto. I got the Inigo Montoya Shakshuka for $9. What is shakshuka? As described by the truck, it's an Israeli Tunisian dish of over easy egg in a spicy tomato sauce with greens fused with Uli's Spanish chorizo, feta cheese, and flatbread. If meat is not your jam, they offer a vegetarian option for $8 and you can always add an extra egg for $2. The flavors worked well together - the greens and the tomato sauce had it going on. One suggestion would be to grind the tomatoes down a bit. They were skinned but some were in large chucks. Also, adding a few large bits of chorizo would also add to the heartiness. It wasn't what I would call spicy but I can see that some would. The dish overall was a bit small for the $9 price point (I was still hungry afterwards). I would definitely add that extra egg because...egg. That runny yolk all over everything...well, you know!

Cheese Pizza from Wicked Pies
I also stopped by Wicked Pies, a New York style pizza truck. As far as cheese pizzas go, it was good. I loved the crust and the cheese was ridiculously stringy. Love that! The pizza as a whole was a bit greasy.

D'Ambrosio gelato from Wicked Pies
Wicked Pies also serves D'Ambrosio gelato. If there is anything better than a scoop of gelato on a warm summer day, please let me know what it is. Love!

I was exhausted at the end of summer. Now, as I look back on the fun I had, I'm can't wait until next year! See you next time I get my food truckery on!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

BeanFish is Mobile!


The Truck
If you know me, then you know for over a year, I have been visiting BeanFish at Fremont Sunday Market and special events around the Seattle area. I love their taiyaki - both sweet and savory! When I heard months ago that BeanFish would be mobile in 2014, my heart skipped a beat. I can have taiyaki just a short walk from my office in the business district? Brilliant!

On Tuesday, September 17th, BeanFish opened up at 2nd & Pike. I took a few friends to meet them. Along the way, I found folks who hadn't heard of or tried taiyaki. Well, I'm a believer so I set out to convince them.

Made a new friend - first time trying taiyaki
I was super excited to be part of opening day! I got there a bit before the lunch rush (as always) and grabbed a few - one, two, and three taiyaki to go. What's nice about them is that they've been making this product for a year. I've watched it evolve over time. I truly appreciate the fact that they continue to push themselves to elevate flavors and perfect their craft.

Custard taiyaki complete with lipstick
The truck will be at 2nd & Pike again tomorrow (Sept. 18th). Who knows, we may run into each other there. For updates on where to find the truck, follow them on Twitter or Facebook.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Recap - 2014 Seattle Night Market

2014 Seattle Night Market

I've been going to the Night Market for years. Last year, the amount of food trucks increased. The event has evolved over the years. In 2012, I remember 4 trucks being there. The great thing about the event is that it benefits tons of businesses in the International District. It's also nice to be able to have a HUGE variety of trucks in one place. Aside from food trucks, there are a lot of other food and craft vendors.


From my perspective, comparing this night market to others worldwide is not a useful exercise. If that is your goal in coming to this event, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. It's like comparing Mardi Gras to the celebration in New Orleans - it's simply no comparison. This night market, as others globally, is a reflection of the community.

My recommendation for this event, is to arrive early. I know, I know, I always say that. This is really one event where it's important if you don't enjoy crowds. If you love crowds (literally being unable to move around without touching a stranger) then this is the place for you. If you can't get there early, try to research the food ahead of time so you can make decisions about which lines you want to stand in or come with a group to divide and conquer. Getting around will be very difficult about an hour into the event until the end. This is because the food is restricted to one street - 5th Avenue South. If you have a good idea about what you want to eat, you'll be free to explore the rest of the market - breakdancing, carnival, putt putt golf, etc. Due to circumstances beyond my control, I was late. That meant I didn't have a clear idea of what the $5 dishes were or or have a chance to see if trucks were running their full menus versus event menus. That was my bad. I spent a lot of time near the mainstage and it was fun as always. Something about being around loud music, happy dancing, and getting my beat on that makes me smile.

My newest dumpling

My favorite purchase of the night was a stuffed dumpling. I'm a kid at heart and many items take me back to my childhood. I'm (slightly) embarrassed to say that I fell asleep cuddling it Saturday night.

Hallava Falafel
Fried Brussels Sprouts

In terms of food, I hit up Hallava Falafel since I heard they had fantastic brussels sprouts. They did not disappoint. The brussels sprouts were portioned well - what I mean by that is some were cut in half and some were whole, making for uniform sizing throughout the dish. Additionally, they were seasoned well. Lack of seasoning is where I believe half of all brussels sprouts fail. I was loving the seasoning! Next, brussels sprouts need to be fried crisp. There's nothing more disappointing than soggy little bits of veggies that have reincorporated oil. These were crisp and stood up well against oil and the sauce. Overall, I loved it! Topped it off with a Vimto (one of my faves) and all was well with the world.

Fish Basket
Lobster Roll (picture taken on 8/31/14)

Next on my list was Fish Basket. It was only a few weeks ago that I got to try their lobster roll for the first time. It's quickly become one of my favorites. Nice, toasted bread stands up well to the lobster mix. Large, hearty chunks of lobster is everything I dreamed of and more! I've had challenges finding a good lobster roll in Seattle. Typically, I find people who use more filler than lobster. That is absolutely not the case here. Rest assured, you ordered lobster and you're getting lobster as the STAR of the show! Simply having good seafood is not enough. You have to understand balancing flavors that are complimentary. When you taste this sandwich, there will be no doubt that it has been thoughtfully crafted to give you a memorable experience. Fish Basket has elevated their food to challenge your conceptions of what a food truck is compared to a restaurant. If you can find a better lobster roll for a mere $15, you should buy it. And, let me know where that is because I don't think it exists in Seattle.

Hawaii's Donut
Cream filled donut

As a native of Hawaii, anytime I hear of someplace making anything remotely like a malasada, I'm there. Hawaii's Donut is one such place. Often, places in Seattle tend to make malasadas that are more reminiscent of Okinawan donuts. I'm from an island that makes arguably the best (some say it is 2nd best) malasadas in Hawaii. I'm not a fan of mixing up the two. Hawaii's Donut makes more of what I would call a malasada. However, I saw the "dough" they were frying. From my perspective, they do not make their own dough but instead, use refrigerated, pre-made, purchased dough. Now, there's nothing necessarily wrong with that as I've been using the same trick for years. FYI...making malasadas from scratch is a pain and anything using yeast automatically drops to the bottom of my cooking list. I like the donuts here. However, I believe the price point of $15/dozen is not appropriate. If you would like to know how to make these at home, just let me know.

I also stopped by Full Tilt's truck. I've gone to it a few times but this time, they had my favorite - ube! If you haven't had ube ice cream, I highly recommend it. Don't let the purple color turn you off. It has a flavor that reminds me of vanilla but with a twist. It was a nice way to cool off on a warm summer night.

Contigo

With all the dancing going on, I had to get another drink. Luckily, Contigo was on hand with my favorite habanero lemonade! This is something I could drink every day! Sweet, spicy, and cold - that's my jam. I like that they use habanero since jalapeno is a bit overdone nowadays. I must say, I was tempted to get the mushroom crema tacos (they're my current fave) but I was so full I didn't think I'd be able to enjoy it properly. Suffice to say, I'm a meat eater and I LOVE this taco! The flavors are top notch. Each time I get a variety of tacos, I find myself wishing that I had gotten a bunch of mushroom ones.

Dance party on the mainstage

There were tons of other food options at the market and I didn't get to most of them. Lucky for me, most are accessible one way or another in Seattle. For some of the vendors, there are restaurants in the International District and around the Puget Sound area. For some of the trucks, they offer both daily routes as well as catering and some of them have restaurants. If you're fascinated by food trucks, consider supporting them all year round. Check them out for lunch one day or do a tasting for a special event such as a wedding. Also, many trucks can be found at farmers markets weekly as well as other community events. If you need help finding trucks check out SeattleFoodTruck.com. For more information on large food truck events, see Mobile Food Rodeo or Seattle Street Food Festival. You can also get a preview of yummy food truck cuisine from my Flickr page, which is also featured on SeattleFoodTruck.com's phone app.

See you next time I get my food truckery on!