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2012 Calgary food trucks.

It must be almost time for them to start opening. Where's your favorite?

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  1. Most of them have been running all winter. Alley Burger, Noodle Bus, Perogy Boyz and (sometimes) Might Skillet seem to always be around downtown.

    My favourite food truck is Fiasco Gelato's truck because I love soup and am obsessed with their gelato. I'm really looking forward to the Naaco Truck.

    3 Replies
    1. re: cellophane_star

      I was looking for Jo Jo's BBQ to start off. Found her, http://bbqcalgary.com/
      I guess there's a site for them so this tread is kind of redundant and will disappear.

      Have a good one.

      1. re: The Gut

        Just got back from the park after Jo Jo's. Garlic fries delicious, powerfully garlic. Poutine with meat also good. My wife liked the ribs more than me. I love the ones from Holy Smoke. Daughter had pulled pork, nice sandwich, mild flavoured pork. Wife apparently targeted the sauce as it was gone before I had a bite.

    2. Hit the Alley Burger truck today and enjoyed it. Got a small Alley Burger; pork patty with peri-peri aoli and cheese curds for $5. The aoli didn't bring a lot of flavor, but the pork was tasty and the cheese curds melted in a particularly delightful fashion. Also had the beef burger, though I don't remember it's special name. Beef was tasty, but if I'd realized how thin the patties were I'd probably have ordered a double. The addition of a fried egg and Spragg's bacon where nice though, so I'll definitely be back for another. Fries where fine, though I tend to like my "truck-fries" twice fried and a little on the over-cooked side. Boylan's sodas where a bit steep at $3, but they where ice cold, so we ended up going back for another Birch Beer.
      Prices were generally good, food was tasty, staff were a hoot...these guys are my favorite of all the truck's we've tried so far.

      Hit the Noodle Bus and Perogy Boyz at the Home Show a few months ago. Noodle Bus wasn't any different from any other Vietnamese place you'd find in town. Perogy Boyz was good, but I'm obligated to say that they don't hold a candle to my wife and mother-in-law's family recipe...(I would like to find them again and try some of the unique varieties though; duck and blueberry sounds interesting).

      1. Short:
        Grabbed the Steak Bite Fries from the Steakout truck outside of MEC today...meh...Let me know if the prime-rib sandwich is worth checking out, because based on what I had today, I don't think I'd hit this truck up again

        10 bucks got me a take-out tray of fries (actually pretty damn good fries) covered with 6 or 7 chunks of pleasantly seasoned, but otherwise overcooked steak'ums, some shaved parm, and a side of garlic dip that could have very easily come out of a vat via Sysco.

        The fries were far-and-away the best part, easily besting the batch I had from Alley Burger Truck last weekend. They were double dipped; soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside and joined by a couple of blackened, but still kinda sweet slivers of deep fried onion (these errant onions may have been a mistake, but they were tasty).

        The steak'ums had a nice peppery rub on them and a pleasant crust, but every last one revealed a center that was grey from edge to edge. They weren't too chewy, and certainly weren't overcooked to the point of being tough, just overcooked to the point of making me wish I was eating something a little more rare.

        The parm on the fries was nice enough, and the side of dip was improved by the addition of horseradish from one of the squeeze bottles. Apparently they'd had quite a busy day, so the only drink options were Coke Zero, orange juice or apple juice. I decided to pass on a drink.

        The truck is new and clean and quite flashy; the graphic wrap matched the can of Coke Zero sitting on the counter. Some of the trucks I've seen immediately give you a sense of "personality", I don't get that with this one. That might be just me. Though I do wonder what came first, the recipes or the name?

        * I posted this here, rather than the thread that The Gut linked to because that thread seems to be more focused on the socio-politcal side of the food truck scene thing.

        1 Reply
        1. re: KcM

          I tried out this steak truck outside of MEC the other day as well. I opted for the 4.5oz top sirloin sandwich and fries. The folks working the truck were nice, but the food was a major disappointment.

          The sandwich consisted of a ciabatta style role with an untrimmed slab of sirloin (maybe prime rib?) tossed on top. Nothing else. No onions, no cheese, no hot peppers.....nothing. I realize that any steak aside from perhaps a tenderloin is going to have some fat on it but this cut was bordering on gross. There was little to no sear on the steak and the sandwich was literally dripping with grease. I pretty much disassembled the sandwich and hand picked the edible pieces of meat from the fat. What a mess. I ate maybe half of this thing and threw it in the trash.

          The shaved parm was a nice touch on the fries but aside from that, they were way too greasy and soggy for my tastes. The cardboard box that held my meal was literally soaked through with oil. I ate about 10 of these and threw the rest of the huge portion in the garbage. I left with that gross feeling where your mouth feels entirely coated with fat and thought to myself, "why in the hell did I eat any of that?"

          I'm not afraid to indulge in the occasional super high calorie meal but it when I do, I expect it to be really good and enjoyable. The only thing I took away from this lunch was regret. I'm still kicking myself because I was on my way to Rocky's when I decided to change course and try something new downtown.

          I wish these guys all the best, but I'll not be eating there ever again.

        2. I had the beef teppanyaki from the Shogun food truck last week and was mightily dissapointed. It really wasn't anything different from what you would get from Edo in the mall, and im not sure it was any more convenient.

          I've yet to be wowed by anything from the food trucks, having tried the noodle bus, perogies and this; but I hear the Alleyburger is really quite good and the Naaco truck certainly looks interesting.

          4 Replies
          1. re: crazy_eoj

            I have tried Fries & Dolls, Jojo's BBQ, the Mexican one and Alley burger.

            Jojo's pulled pork was good the first time. Second time meh, kind of dry with odd bun. A tablespoon of (good) coleslaw as a side was $3!!

            Fries were ok but they are just fries.

            The Mexican (compadres?) was very disappointing. 3 soggy tacos with flavourless meat and two slices of green onion. Nothing else!!

            Alley burger was not very good. Flavour wise ok but the patty was totally mushy apart from some gristle/tough bits in it. I can not stand gristle. Never again.

            I am definitely going to try more. I don't like that I have to wait half of my lunch hour in line (first to order, then to get it) and then find a place to sit and eat. All the food is very price too.
            Not sure what the purpose is then when it is not cheaper or quicker than a restaurant.

            1. re: crazy_eoj

              Tried the Naaco Truck this weekend and was hugely disappointed. I don't want to bash them because I appreciate what they're trying to do but I did not have a positive experience (unlike every other Tweet i've read so maybe it's just me?) I would still like to try some of their other selections, just to make sure it wasn't a one-time disappointment.

              I am a long time fan of Fiasco Gelato so their truck is my favourite. Honestly, I think their gelato is honestly better than some of the ones I tried in Italy.

              The beef pho at Noodle Bus was pretty good.

              The Alley Burger is really really good.

              My friend gave Perogy Boyz & Holy Crepe positive reviews.

              Looking forward to trying SnoBerryIce sometime.

              1. re: cellophane_star

                I had high hopes for the Naaco Truck at Kingsland FM and was also disappointed. I realize that it's their opening day but it was completely disorganized in taking the orders. They wrote my order and name on the box and yet it still got lost and I had to end up waiting 15 minutes.

                Tried their butter chicken and found it a bit odd with the color sugar sprinkles. The butter chicken (and other curries) in the Kingsland market is way way better. Friend had the beef and it was way too watery and made the naan soogy. I thought they were going to crisp up the naan like a taco but it's really not much different than "ok" indian food on a naan.

                1. re: slingshotz

                  It wasn't even good naan... it was too thick and more like a pita. Its thickness completely overtook the pork inside (which was bland to begin with and "bland" is definitely not something I associate with Indian food!)

                  I didn't even want the naan; I ordered brown basmati rice but they didn't have any (on opening day!) Nor did they have the Licorice Kiss iced tea I ordered (had to settle on the usual chai which wasn't anything special either).

                  Such disappointment after a 45 MINUTE wait...

            2. I've tried a couple of trucks and have to say that I am underwhelmed, in terms of price, creativity and execution.

              Gonna offend the homers here, but Vancouver excells generally in all three areas, with prices that make you want to keep trying more trucks/stands, creativity in that a lot of items are unique to the truck scene, and execution, well the food tastes so damn good!

              Japadog, Korean-Mexican fusion, the best damn chicken sandwich I've ever had, Middle East street food, and on, with what seems to be a much higher truck/stand-to-population ratio than Calgary.

              I know the "industry" isn't as mature here, but hopefully those contemplating a truck or stand will gain some inspiration by looking at what is making people happily line up in other cities.

              1. I had Aviv Fried's sandwich today which they sell at the Phil & Sebastian popup on Stephen Ave. Not sure if that qualifies as food truck though.
                The sandwich was outstanding. I had the chicken with hot sauce, fennel & celery and buttermilk ranch one.
                Great combination, amazing flavour, super juicy and of course insanly good bun. And as dessert the dark chocolate brownie with a P&S latte. Heaven!
                I am so going to be back!

                3 Replies
                1. re: josey124

                  That sounds delicious Josey!

                  I couldn't agree more with majority of the opinions expressed in thread. The food truck scene in Calgary is completely lacking in innovation, execution and value. I've yet to try a single thing that I'd consider truly delicious....never mind worth waiting in line for.

                  Every major city I've been to in the last couple of years DESTROYS Calgary's food truck scene. Austin, San Francisco, Seattle, Vancouver....all amazing and the trucks actually compete to offer a superior product at great price. Makes no sense that Calgary is so mediocre.

                  I'm convinced people are simply in love with the idea of buying food from a truck, regardless of quality. Somebody has to keep these grease slingers honest already!

                  1. re: johnjohnson78

                    Personally, I agree with much of what is said in the thread, and I don't understand why people continue to patronize and discuss these places.

                    1. re: nonlinear

                      Why they continue to patronize: some people are satisfied with mediocre food. Also, the food trucks often cater to the downtown lunch hour masses. It's hard for me to imagine but some people buy their lunch every single day. I imagine for them, food trucks are a great break from food crowd fare.

                      As for why we continue to discuss them: it's a new concept for Calgary and occassionally, there is a unique and/or tasty item from the trucks.

                2. Alley Burger - Don't care for the Alley burger (pork) but love the Whole truck burger (beef). I do find it very expensive. A single burger and bottled water was $11.25

                  Perogy Boyz - Good perogies but such a small portion for the price. Can't speak for the sausages

                  Noodle Bus - Had the beef satay soup. It was flavorless with very little meat. I had to add a lot of salt & hot sauce to even eat it.

                  Jo Jo's BBQ - Enjoyed the beef brisket sandwich. Don't let their ugly 'truck' scare you off.

                  I like to support the overall food 'truck' concept for this city but I agree with most posters here that it can be very disorganized, with little imagination. I'd like to see more unique offerings.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: TSAW

                    Disappointed with Alley Burger today. The toppings on the Whole Truck Burger were not what I had ordered. The patty was dried and cold when I got it. There were a lot of people in the lineup. I will only give them a second chance if they are not busy.

                  2. I sorta got grilled for saying that the food truck concept wouldn't work too well here.

                    In a bid to reduce costs, I suspect, due to our long winters that means the trucks either close or have very few customers, many places have simply lowered the quality of the ingredients, have very high prices, and offer "top sellers" like... french fries. Ugh.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Shazam

                      I think you were right, anyway. I really can't see these trucks being around much after the current trend dies down.

                      1. re: Leibowitz

                        I just keep hoping there will be a real great one. I enjoyed Jojo's, I guess it wasn't incredible but I'd go back.

                        I find Calgary expensive in general for restaraunts.

                        1. re: The Gut

                          "I find Calgary expensive in general for restaraunts."

                          this x1000

                    2. So far I have tried Alley Burger, Jo Jo's BBQ, Holy Crepe, Chef Mario (cappuccino only), the Noodle Bus, Perogy boyz. To be honest only Jo Jo's has rocked my boat. Do not under any circumstances leave the garlic fries in a hot car, even if for just one hour. PHEWWWW!
                      Holy Crepe was pretty good and so was Mario's Cappuccino. I found Perogy Boyz to be extremely greasy. Here are my pet peeves about food trucks
                      1)I don't think that truck food needs to be greasy and bad for you, despite all the $hite you see on Eat St.
                      2) I hate all that take away food container garbage. when I went to the Noodle bus I brought my own pho bowl.
                      3) they all congregate down town with few exceptions. There are wheels on your truck for a reason people! There are hungry people everywhere in this town, not just in the CBD!

                      That said, Los Compadres has ventured out of the womb today and is in the deep south. I think I know what is for lunch :)

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: gardengorilla

                        Dear gardengorilla, regarding your pet peeves I agree 100%. I'm going to start bringing my own container! And yes, the Perogy Boyz are grossly greasy (at $1/perogy to boot?!?) I've tried twice; not again.

                        I've been bringing my own (tupperware) for a while now for any potential leftovers from establishments such as Overeasy, Notable, etc. and the servers have been thrilled. Discretion is of course vital from these later establishments. Not so much from a food truck.

                        1. re: nutellaluvr

                          That's cool that they are letting you bring your own containers, but I'm kind of surprised... Many years ago, they used to let use do that in MacEwan Hall at the U of C, but they had to stop because it was a health code violation (or something like that). I wonder if the laws have changed?

                          1. re: nonlinear

                            I know The Coup encourages people to bring their own containers. Since the food trucks seem to want to promote less litter/environmentally friendly packaging, I bet they would love to see customers bring their own containers too.

                            1. re: nonlinear

                              I don't know that they 'let' me. I just showed up. They seemed a bit surprised...I did wonder after if there was some sort of health code involved. Anyone know for sure?

                              1. re: gardengorilla

                                Ug. There's no way they should have let you do that, since there's a chance of contamination from your bowl.


                                1. re: Shazam

                                  Well that was a bit over the top. There are ways to point out relevant information without insinuating that I am a pig and can't handle the sanitation of my own eating equipment.
                                  All I saw from the Food Regulation document is that food must only come into contact with properly sanitized utensils.

                                  1. re: gardengorilla

                                    I am not insinuating anything.

                                    I'm sure you know how to clean your bowl, but I don't know how you expect an eating establishment to accept second party equipment based on your word.

                                    According to section 17(1)(b) "is designed so as to facilitate the effective cleaning and sanitizing of it and of all equipment, utensils and surfaces
                                    with which food comes into contact in it" a place should wash your "eating equipment" first.

                                    Perhaps you should go to places that use reusable plates, etc if you find the level of waste unacceptable from food trucks.

                        2. I haven't eaten anything from the food trucks ever since that big extravaganza (aka sh*t show) on Stephen Ave last year. I really liked Alley Burger, and I've been wanting to have another (just haven't been bothered to hunt them down).

                          Two of our former kitchen guys at the bar I work at (on the weekends) started up the Mighty Skillet truck. I haven't had any of their fare yet, but I know that they have a tendency to venture out of the downtown core more often than the other trucks. One of their regular haunts is by Don's Hobby Shop on Blackfoot. Their biggest problem is that their truck is constantly in need of repair.

                          1. I'm glad to see Jo Jo is back in business after the accident.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: electroleum

                              So, I hunted down Los Compadres for lunch at the new South health centre being built. Someone told them there would be 1000's people there and they had about a dozen. I had gone out of my way to try and find them and they were all packed up and ready to go back downtown :(

                            2. I had the Smoked Meat Hash from the Red Wagon Diner truck today and it was easily the best thing I have had from any of the trucks. Two eggs over medium, and lotsa hash browns mixed with onions, peppers, mushrooms and cheese; and of course some awesome smoked meat with a couple slices of toast for 9 bucks.

                              Service was friendly and I didn't wait longer that 5 minutes for my food. Very well done all around.

                              Very happy and highly recommend you check this truck out.

                              1. To be fair, my sample size with food trucks thus far has been fairly small as I am vegetarian. This leaves out most trucks (Vietnamese truck, Alley Burger etc... have no veg options, and I don't expect them to have to) My experiences haven't really sold me on the whole concept however. Seems like a really long wait, for a smaller meal... I would be more likely to go to a restaurant instead.

                                1. The Cheezy Biz
                                I ordered their basic grilled cheese (3 cheese) with pickles ($7) as this was their only vegetarian option & I didn't feel like modifying as they seemed a bit out of sorts. It took us 20 minutes to order, and a long 35ish minutes to receive our sandwiches. When I finally received it, I'm not sure why I was surprised to find a small, cheesy grilled cheese...much like I'd make at home. It was crisp, the cheese was mostly melted, the pickles inside were not prominent. I know good cheese is expensive, but the $7 exceeds what I would pay for this when you factor in even a marginal wait. The other sandwiches did look more adventurous...kimchee? Might be great! If there were no line, I may try to modify one of their sandwiches, but I would not likely wait.
                                I did notice that they had two flat-tops, but were using one for soup. I thought they should have fired up both with sandwiches to increase (double) their output and decrease wait times. Perhaps get a crockpot going to serve soup out of?

                                2. Naaco Truck
                                Made the 10 minute trek over to this truck to try out their Vegetarian Bhaji (chickpea fritters) for $7.50. There was a decently long line, but it was nice out and there was the promise of an iced chai just at the front of the line for only $3.50. The menu on the truck looked interesting, with a few items crossed off. I waited 25 minutes, only to overhear them tell a lady 5 people in front of me that they were out of the chickpea option. This was frustrating as it is their only vegetarian option, and they hadn't bothered to cross it off the truck. Needless to say, I left the line and will hope better for another day.

                                3. Steakout Truck
                                Parmesan fries. Again, the only veg item and so not good for you, but I had to try them. What I received was a freshly fried big container (about 6" x 4") mounded full of crispy fries & a generous smattering of oh so delicious parmesan crisps. They had a decent selection of condiments at the cart. I was happy to find that the fries weren't greasy at all.... I ate the entire box with a friend, walking back to the office. I think they were $4, which I thought was a killer deal.

                                1. Today there were a couple new (to us) trucks parked close to the office. Looking out the windows, there was nary a line before noon so we beelined out to have a look.

                                  My coworkers opted for the 3 day old greek truck (sorry didn't get the name). They gave it a 7/10 for the pork wrap and would place it second out of all the trucks they've eaten at. (They both like Red Diner and Alley Burger) They got their food almost immediately.

                                  I went for The Cranky Chef. A yellow truck with two friendly staff. I paid cash but saw a debit machine there as well.

                                  I waited only a couple minutes to receive a hot take-out container of their gnocchi in vodka sauce, topped with fontina & gruyere cheese. $10. The serving size was large; what I expect you would get in a restaurant, and they did not skimp on cheese. The consistency of the gnocchi was very light, which surprised me. Good work! I'm not the hugest fan of vodka sauces, but it was rich and decent. I'm unsure if I would buy this again, but I would go back and try their ratatouille or another dish.

                                  The BEST part was the freshly deep fried apple chocolate beignet dusted in icing sugar. $2.50. It was not greasy - the apple ring was thickly cut. Oh so good.

                                  This truck also has a breakfast menu that caught my eye. I could see myself going for potato pancakes, or their very delicious sounding french toast.


                                  1. I just returned from trying The Cranky Chef truck for lunch. I had the gnocchi which was a very nice and light pasta. The vodka sauce was creamy and cheesy but was so heavily infused with so much green pepper, that's all I could taste. I couldn't actually taste the cheese but I could see plenty of it. If you love an overpower peppers taste this could very well be the dish for you. The portion was very large for $10. There was a lot of sauce, which was just screaming for a nice piece of French bread for dipping!

                                    I also tried their take on a beignet - the chocolate apple beignet. If you've been to New Orleans, you'll quickly realize that this is no beignet. It was not light, it was not fluffy and it had no powdered sugar on it! I ended up tossing out the soggy half cooked apple ring and eating just the outside crust. It tasted like greasy chocolate.

                                    Some of the other items looked interesting, like the breakfast offerings.

                                    The food was ok but not steallar. My major complaint is seeing the server handling cash and coins and then bagging our beignets. No gloves, no tongs. That is just disgusting.

                                    1. I popped over to the Costume Shoppe on Blackfoot Trail to check out their 'garage sale' today. Mighty Skillet was parked outside and I decided to grab some lunch.

                                      They had a version of poutine - handcut wedge fries, cheese curds, soft basted eggs, topped with hollandaise. I requested without bacon and with one egg only.

                                      The combo of everything was delicious, although the fries were a bit salty. There were some green onions scattered as well. The portion size was huge. Cost $8. I finished perhaps half.. It was something to try but I'm not sure that I would get it again. I would however eat at this food truck again, perhaps the crepes next time.

                                      They serve variations of breakfast all days - bennies, crepes etc... but also a burger.

                                      1. Ran into Blam!wich at the Parkdale market had the (Bat out of Hell) on a bun with cheese and tomato? topping. It came with great disappointment. Cold tasteless meatloaf with semi-melted cheese some it looked stewed canned tomatoes with spice on top...all served on a 50 cent hotdog bun. Ohhh and don't forget the cat fur. My shopping partner had the Slow boat to China ..chicken with some chinese spices on the same crappy hotdog bun. So salty you could barely eat it. It looked the the chicken breast you get at walmat. ugh. Never again.

                                        1. I was at the Calgary Eats! event at Olympic Plaza on Canada Day. Some of the vendors were out of food by the time we arrived (4:30-ish), and we ended up eating at Carne (by Teatro), which was set up not in a truck, but in one of the kiosks in the plaza.

                                          I had a porchetta and apple sandwich, and my wife had the mac & cheese. We also split a bacon slaw. It was delicious. It reminded me of the lunch menu at Charcut, but cheaper and with bigger portions. For dessert we hit Fiasco.

                                          Does anyone know if Carne is going to be permanent, at least for the season? If I still worked downtown I would check it out again. Tasty and great value.

                                          1. Interesting openfile post on the dichotomy between the foodtruck scene and the old-school hotdog vendors, http://www.openfile.ca/calgary/story/...

                                            I'm happy to see a shoutout in the article to Mr. Happy Day Fries, which can often be found at Southland and McLeod Canadian Tire. The Bulgarian nadenitzi there is easily my favorite street food in the city. The sausage is made here in town, has large pieces of fresh herbs running through the meat, and is damn delicious (though also pricy at $6 each). Their truck fries are also good.

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: KcM

                                              I stopped reading at the sentence where they blame consumer complaints on the "hype raising expectations." Whoever wrote that article is either completely biased, or completely clueless that a world exists outside of Calgary. People should NOT be excusing the expensive, poor-quality food coming out of these trucks, even if they do get to post their work on some silly "news" website.

                                              1. re: nonlinear


                                                I would add that it is insulting to the customers of these generally mediocre establishments, inferring that the customer has no clue, when in fact it is the opposite, most have eaten from food trucks and stands in other places, and have a very good idea of what is out there. You don't even have to move from your easy chair to see on Food TV that there is a fantastic world of creative food truck and food stand fare out there.

                                              2. re: KcM

                                                I'll happily support these old school dog cart guys over most of the overpriced slop coming out of the food trucks in town.

                                                Thanks for recommending the Bulgarian nadenitizi.....I'd love to try that! To think I was at that Canadian Tire today and had no idea......rats!

                                                1. re: KcM

                                                  That guy Gordon that they mention in the article must think that we're all complete idiots. On another restaurant review site, there have been dozens and dozens of reviews from single-post users who apparently registers just to rave about that hot dog stand. (if there was an eyes-rolling emoticon, I would use it here.) Look what was posted yesterday, by another single-post member:

                                                  "...simply the best. Nice big french bread style buns, tons of condiments, and oh those sausages. And he always has a smile. Food trucks are trendy at the moment, but Gordie's stand in front of Bankers' Hall is a cut above."

                                                  Seriously, I am insulted when a business owner tries to fool me into thinking there is actual hype over their food.

                                                  1. re: nonlinear

                                                    I will make a rare post to hype Gordon. I think that Gordon's sausages are the best around. I was a regular customer at his shop in Eau Claire, then in Montgomery. Now he just does bulk sales and has the "hotdog" stand. If I wanted a sausage I would choose his over any other. My complaint with his stall is that he sticks to a couple of his basic sausages and he doesn't mix it up to represent his full product line.

                                                2. Good article, suggests that the bar here could be raised if vendors were more imaginative and disciplined.


                                                  1. I can 2nd that the Bulgarian nadenitz from Mr happy Day Fries is quite delicious. They use a really good bun and they give it a spiral cut for a great final char. I loaded it with onions, mustard and hot peppers. The result was a very flavourful sausage that doesn't beat you over the head with garlic. It was also surprisingly lean, yet still juicy. I was expecting a bit of a gut-bomb to be honest, but I actually felt great afterwords. I wasn't very hungry when I ordered but knew I had to try it after KcM's strong recommendation.....ended up scarfing down the whole thing while I looked through the outdoor plant section. It didn't stand a chance!