Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pork Sandwich Guide

I love sandwiches, and I love pork. It would follow, then, that I also love pork sandwiches. It is that affinity that inspired the following guide—which is, obviously, subject to change with the introduction of new sandwiches. Yes, the scoring is a little skewed-- it's what happens when there's not really a "bad" sandwich in the bunch.
Mobile VendorSandwichRating (1-10)Comments
Untamed CartPorketta w/ house-pickled onions, arugula and horseradish/Dijon mayo on ciabatta11This has to be my favorite sandwich found on the streets of Minneapolis. Served from a modest cart, this sandwich is truly spectacular.
Get SaucedKalbi pork w/ chinese cabbage slaw, and wasabi mayo on toasted bun10Asian-style pulled pork sandwich from the folks who brought us the amazing apple slaw-topped, award winning sauce-slathered BBQ pork sandwich pictured above. This sandwich is another winner.
Dandelion KitchenPorchetta w/ rosemary and orange zest, ancho-chili aioli and purple cabbage kraut on a bun10There should be no doubt that the engineers of one of the most amazing roast chicken sandwiches I’ve had would be able to pull off a dazzling porchetta.
Dandelion KitchenSmashed pork (beer and lemon-grass braised) w/ house-made tomatillo salsa, pickled onions and arugula on a bun10D.K. has long been one of my favorite Twin Cities mobile food vendors, because they’re so friendly and their sandwiches are so inspired. This one is no exception.
Get SaucedPulled pork w/ Minnesota State Fair blue ribbon-winning Sweat Heat BBQ sauce, Carolina granny apple slaw on a toasted roll *pictured*10New to the streets of Minneapolis, when the cold weather comes—I might miss you the most because we’ve had the least amount of time together.
Twisted Sister House of HungerBBQ Pulled Pork Slyders w/ cheddar cheese, apple wood smoked bacon10I’m 100% on board with pork sandwiches that include bacon as a garnish.
Fork In the Road TruckBBQ Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese10Magic. Pure, unadulterated magic.
Twisted Sister House of HungerBleu Pig Slyders w/ “buffalo” style sauce, bleu cheese crumbles and celery9They pull this off beautifully.
Hola ArepaPulled Pork Arepa w/ black beans, cotija cheese and special sauce8Adding one of their fresh salsas will bring this sandwich up to a 9, but I feel like their pulled chicken arepa is the biggest winner on their menu.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Bacon Jam.

And I don't mean a swine pressed, squeezed, or wedged tightly between bodies or surfaces, so that motion or extrication is made difficult or impossible. I mean bacon skillfully crafted into a spread appropriate for smearing on things-- in this case, a hot dog.

As the good weather comes to a close, I've decided that I'm eating at a mobile food vendor location every day that I can-- until they abandon the streets of Minneapolis for warmer climates (or indoor locations). This was an especially bold move when I thought that I'd be out-of-state for work during the majority of October. That work trip has been postponed, but why should I alter my brilliant plan?!

After recently visiting a cart that does NOT sell hot dogs, and with the Twitter announcement by the proprietor of Natedogs boasting "Today I have a "Bacon Explosion Dog"!!!", I made my way to Natedogs on 6th St. & Nicollet Mall.

Already a fan of Natedogs, because of his clear love of hot dogs, housemade Surly mustards, and aversion to ketchup as a hot dog condiment-- the introduction of bacon jam to the equation merely reinforced my affinity. The Bacon Explosion dog (pictured below) has a modest smear of bacon jam with Surly Bender mustard and onions-- and it's a flavorful combination without being overpowering. The jam doesn't dominate, but very nicely complements the hot dog-- which is nice, since Nate so carefully chose the hot dogs he sells from his cart (Pastures A Plenty, from Kerkhoven, MN).

I suggest trying the Bacon Explosion Dog when you get a moment. In the immortal tweets of Nate, "You won't regret it"!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

This Cart Does Not Sell Hot Dogs.

Not that there's anything wrong with a cart that does-- especially because I'm a big fan of Natedogs... But this Untamed Cart is special. It sells sandwiches full of meaty deliciousness in the form of porketta, Mexican pot roast, or a third selection that varies-- today it was pulled pork.

The proprietor is extraordinarily friendly with an enthusiasm for his food that is absolutely contagious. The sandwiches are hearty, and delirium-inducing delicious. The porketta on ciabatta is dressed with house pickled onions, arugula, and a horseradish/Dijon mayo and the Mexican pot roast is dressed with cilantro, radishes, chipotle mayo and avocado aoili. Sandwiches are served with kettle chips, which complement the sandwich well.

Untamed Cart can be found on Nicollet Mall just off of 10th Street (the carts aren't allowed to change locations) near what's become known as #destinationfoodtruckdining (a bunch of trucks lining up near each other, similar to St. Paul's Food Truck Court). It's also dangerously close to the Cupcake truck. I'm just saying...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Holy Smack Mac

I take back anything less than flattering that I’ve ever said about Smack Shack. Today’s Smack Mac special has catapulted Smack Shack to the top of my list.

Smack Shack managed to recreate my grandma’s mac and cheese – complete with toasted cracker crumb topping – with the added bonus of generous, flaky pieces of their signature lobster. Every creamy bite was truly a religious experience.

Smack Shack’s social media following was apparent today, with massive crowds gathering for the special before 11:30, making sure to get the good stuff before it runs out.

It was well worth the wait and the $12 price tag. It was even worth the stomach ache resulting from my inability to control the speed at which I inhaled it – a blessing, actually, or I may have headed back for more.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Parched: A Beverage Profile.

My daily lunch dilemma was further complicated today by Hola Arepa's announcement proclaiming they were serving ginger mint lemonade. Having already set my heart on the crab roll, a special of the day at Smack Shack, I would likely still be thirsty. Lucky for me there was no line at Hola when I was walking by and was able to get said lemonade.

Most of the trucks have some wonderful and refreshing beverages to go with their food offerings-- long lines typically make getting just a beverage at the truck a near impossibility, but there are certainly some beverages worth the wait, and at around $2 each for a 10 oz. cup, are a bargain to avoid the old soda stand-by.

Dandelion Kitchen serves a variety of house-made sodas. So far this season I've seen basil-lime, lemon-ginger, orange-cardamom and my personal favorite: rosemary-grapefruit.

Hola Arepa boasts several different kinds of lemonade, including cucumber-lavender, rhubarb-ginger, pineapple-caraway, and today's mint-ginger-- which tops my list. They also have iced teas: blood orange-hibiscus, strawberry-hibiscus... And if you're serving lemonade and iced tea, you may as well mix them together. So they do, offering an Arnie Palmer.

Vellee Deli serves a watermelon mint agua fresca, Chef Shack offers an Arnie Palmer, get a strawberry lemonade from Fork In the Road, and Barrio Truck serves a variety of Jarritos sodas.

If you want coconut juice, you'll need to go to WSK.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Beware of trucks parked near the Cupcake truck.

Today, House of Hunger was parked dangerously close to Cupcake's truck which caused me to pile a salted nut cluster cupcake, and, well, a chocolate bottom cupcake, on top of my House of Hunger order.

You don't need me to tell you they were delicious-- but I can tell you it's worth seeking them out when you think you deserve a little treat. The folks working the truck are very friendly.

Hint: At between $2-$3 per cupcake, your safest bet is to buy at least 4 cupcakes so you get the cute and convenient cupcake box (pictured conspicuously empty, above). Keeps your cupcakes from smooshing together. We bought a triple chocolate and a red velvet for some appreciative office pals.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Best Things Come in a Blue Box

Tiffany & Co may have made robin’s egg blue famous, but Hola Arepa has made it delicious! I was lucky enough to get the very last arepa served from the blue truck today – they were sold out before 1 p.m. due to almost instant popularity. You should see the lines at this place.

I nearly inhaled my black bean arepa it was so fantastic, brimming with red onions and tomato in the fluffy corn meal shell. I could have easily had two (or three). Equally as good were the guacamole, heavy with sweet corn, and the irresistibly refreshing cucumber lemonade. (Note: the lemonade tends to sell out fast.)

This is the kind of food that could easily become addictive. Fortunately this blue box has surprisingly affordable price tags.