St. Paul Food Trucks - 2012 Season
Looks like we'll have 3 different food truck courts in St. Paul this summer:
Mondays: 128 Mobile Cafe, Hola Arepa, and Vellee Deli [in front of Ecolab]
Wednesdays: 128 Mobile Cafe, Gastrotruck, Fork in the Road, Simply Steve's and Chef Shack [Wabasha & Kellogg]
Thursdays: Home Street Home, Messy Giuseppe, Neato's Burgers, Potter's Pasties and The Cave. [Robert & Kellogg]
I'm especially curious if anyone has had anything from Home Street Home, Neato's Burgers or the Cave?
I'm looking forward to this. I think the Monday Food Truck Rally and the Wednesday Food Truck Court are starting the first week of May. Haven't heard anything about the Thursday group.
I haven't been to a food truck for a year and half, so I'm happy that the season is almost here.
City Pages claims that they're updating their Food Truck Map "in April" - but it was last year's version when I checked on Friday. OK, so they've still got a week or so....
Potter's, The Cave, and Home Street Home were at Mears Park (Wacouta & E 6th ST) two Thursdays ago. I got a gyro, chips, and pop from The Cave. Pretty decent, nothing earth shattering, but solid yummyiness. And the people are really great, friendly, prompt. The chef came out a little after I got my food and walked around Mears Park, checking in with people who had bought their lunch from him and seeing if they were pleased. On his way back to the truck he noticed that I had finished and offered to take my trash for me. Very sweet. A little extra customer service like this goes a long way! Unlikely to happen if they are slammed I suppose but still, it'll make me go back.
I'm in St. Paul for jury duty this week and sought out a food truck lunch today. Right across from the courthouse was the Kellogg/Wabasha food truck court. I recall seeing 128 Cafe, Simply Steve's, Fork in the Road, Gastrotruck, Chef Shack, and a hot dog stand (not Nate's). I walked down to Mears Park because I wanted to try the Sassy Spoon. Ngon's "Didi" and Cupcake's van were also there.
The Sassy Spoon was just what I had hoped for. I avoid grains, and most food truck food involves some sort of bread to make it portable. Sassy Spoon had three entrees on offer: chicken salad over greens, beef hash (using sweet potatoes and other veg) and braised beef/veg served with cauliflower mash. I had the latter, and it was awesome chilly-day comfort food. The cauliflower mash was really creamy and dense, and the beef was tender and came apart easily with a fork. I scooped up all the juices with the cauliflower mash.
They also had a fancy iced drink, but I forget exactly what it was-- it involved cranberries, I know. I hope I get a chance to go back! On a warmer day, I think the chicken salad would hit the spot perfectly.
I've had two meals from the Sassy Spoon and both were great -- I had the same braised beef with cauliflower mash, although if I were to complain, I'd say I wish the mash had more texture. The miso pork with cabbage slaw is outstanding and I'm looking forward to trying the chicken salad.
I had one dish from Ngon's truck and I wasn't wowed. It was a chicken something or other, and there seemed to be more chicken skin and chicken fat than actual chicken meat. I will give them another try -- I'm excited to try their short ribs.
Neato's burgers & fries are a total guilty pleasure. Love them. The carnitas taco I had from the Bacon Trolley was better than any of the other trucks' pork tacos (forknroad, chef shack). But I didn't do a head to head comparison, so perhaps I'm remembering wrong.
So far, I've tried food from Hola Arepa, Sassy Spoon, and Ngon's fabulous VW camper. I'm stuck with short lunch hours, so finding food trucks in Mears Park has been my best bet. Though I played hooky one day and went down to the Monday Food Truck Court at Ecolab Plaza - love all the park benches.
Hola Arepa: Arepa with pork & sweet potato, plus a side of killer guacamole. The arepa was delicious, and very rich. Next time, I'll try the vegetarian version (black beans and sweet potatoes the day I was there).
Sassy Spoon: Hungry Hungry Hash (sweet potatoes, onions, peppers, etc) with summer sausage and a fried egg on top. Incredible - and very filling. I couldn't finish my portion. (Yay for leftovers!)
Ngon: Pho-braised pig's tail sandwich with pickled beans. Turns out I'm not a fan of pig's tail (too fatty for me), but the flavors were great and the rest of the sandwich was awesome. My lunch companion had salad topped with anise-cured salmon; I tasted a bit of salmon and it was to die for. I'll get that next time!
All were great, but my favorite was Sassy Spoon's Hungry Hungry Hash. I dream about that stuff each night, and I can't wait until they hit Mears Park again. And I hope Cafe Cafe stops by soon - the "afro" side of their Afro-Italiano fusion menu looks great.
P.S. It's a challenge keeping up with who's in Mears Park (or not) each day - thank heavens for @tcstreetfood on Twitter!