Trucklandia! Day Three and Four

What happened to day two? I had a school project. But never fear, we made some great headway nonetheless.

A third Dining Murloc joined us (hi mom!) so the scores are now and average of the three of us.

WP_20151015_18_25_18_Pro
I’m a food-nerd guys, not a photography nerd. As this picture demonstrates.

First up for the day: The Heavyweight – Hey You Gonna Eat or What?

Chef Eric has been on all kinds of top ten lists, top hundred lists, and even had an appearance on Bar Rescue as a subject matter expert based on the strength of his top-selling sandwich, the Monte Cristo. It’s that good folks. Like the year he won he is giving out quarter-portions of the Monte Cristo. But he was also sampling the Cuban sandwich. Like the rest of the menu, he puts a Tejas twist on the classic named sandwich.

Most likely to blow your tastebuds away
Most likely to blow your tastebuds away

Instead of pork, ham, swiss, and pickles there’s a rubbed pork roast, prosciutto, and pickled jalapenos – Chef Eric describes each ingredient with the same loving detail that he put into making it. Seriously guys, I *hate* jalapenos and this is the second time he’s made me like them (pickled in apple cider vinegar, honey, and brown sugar). A worthy competitor for the crack-like nature of the Monte Cristo. Beyond the food, the service is fantastic (during Trucklandia 2014 Chef Eric took “Best Customer Service”). The Murlocs who dine give this an enthusiastic 5 out of 5 Blargls.

The Truck
The menu
The Trucklandia Menu
WP_20151015_16_08_54_Pro
Hello neighbor!

Next up was HYGEoW’s neighbor, Kebabalicious. They use wagyu beef in their wraps. I can believe it. The tiny cuts were extraordinarily tender and beefy. Unfortunately the raw red onion completely overpowered the beef. It was, in the end, a better-than average wrap sandwich. 3 out of 5 Blargls.

WP_20151015_16_02_47_Pro
Most likely to surprise your fillings. Watch out for that foil wrapper guys!

Over the Moon Pies. This is where I reveal I’m an awful, awful food blogger and irresponsible hipster. You’ve already seen my subpar photos. But I was so amazed by the pies that I completely forgot to take pictures of either. Guys, I did *not* take a picture of “Best new find of Trucklandia 2015,” that’s how awful I am at this. No moon pies here surprisingly – the selection for sampling was key lime pie, honey pecan, and buttermilk. All perfectly balanced flavors and a tender flaky crust.

I am sooooo happy that someone is breaking the cupcake hegemony of hip desserts. A unanimous 5 out of 5 Blargls.

WP_20151015_16_45_25_Pro
Most likely to have food that doesn’t quite live up to the awesomeness of its logo.

I will be going back to Gibroni’s trailer, because I really want one of their tshirts with that kickass logo. Based on the sampling for Trucklandia I don’t think I will be going back for the food. It bills itself as Texitalican – a tex-mex/ italian fusion. I thought it sounded a bit like a car wreck and honestly, the chorizo bolognese sample was exactly that. It would have fared better if there had been some kind of variation in texture or taste so it didn’t taste like an overspiced Minnesota hotdish. It wasn’t bad, but it didn’t live up to the lively and hip exterior.

WP_20151015_16_49_20_Pro
Not half-bad.

Parking her wheels briefly at Austin Social food truck park is Edie, who is the eponymous Texas Chili Queen. As fabulous as she is, her chili is even better. And I love a gal who has strong four-letter opinions on Cincinnati chili.

A real Texas chili queen
A real Texas chili queen – there’s a food history pun there but since this entry is already rivaling my last history paper in length I will save it for later.
WP_20151015_16_56_18_Pro
Let’s face it, chili is not the most photogenic of foods. But hot damn is it tasty.

Texas Chili Queens was offering a flight of five chilis, each from Texas and each unique. There’s a San Antonio that’s just beef and hand-torn chilies on the lower right. Center-bottom is an El Paso chili with tomatoes and beans. Dallas on the left bottom is a bit dressier with venison. Houston gets really weird with the white chili. And on the upper right is Austin’s hipstery contribution – a vegan lentil chili. The white chili was a surprise – I didn’t think I liked those, but this was nice and perky with green peppers. Also, I’m not a fan of lentils generally but the texture of these was spot-on perfect. The vegan chili had a spice that gave it some bitterness that I didn’t care much for, but Colin finished off my portion with gusto. Another 5 our of 5 Blargls.

WP_20151015_17_13_46_Pro__highres
The Menu

Then back to the Midway Truck Park to bat some cleanup. First was Spartan Pizza. Their shtick is pizzas named after heroes in Greek mythology. Their sampling was a bacon, spinach, tomato, and mozzerella pizza. The crust was very nice, but I think I would have preferred a pepperoni pizza. Colin’s slice was undersalted and mine was oversalted. 2.5 out of 5 Blargls.

WP_20151015_18_41_59_Pro
The Zeus – not exactly what I’d call pizza of the gods
Still, how many chances do you get to say "Agamemnon"?
Still, how many chances do you get to say “Agamemnon”?

Next was Gebby’s Barbecue. Their tagline is “It doesn’t suck” and that’s true. Definitely not the worst barbecue we’ve had on this outing. The ‘cue was actually pretty good, but the sandwiches could have used a bit more oomph. Some pickles would have gone a long way with the sandwiches. (The slaw on the pulled pork underscored the need for something tart and crunchy on the other two.) The creamed corn was a puzzle. It was corn kernels in a kind of creamy sauce.

Little barbecue sandwiches form Gebby's
Little barbecue sandwiches form Gebby’s

3 out of 5 Blargls. With pickles -and corn that had actually been creamed – it would have been a solid 4 out of 5.

O
One Taco’s worth of love

So Colin and I go for tacos every Saturday. I am guaranteed to order anything off the menu that looks like it came from the fifth quarter but Colin is out to try all the pastor tacos there are. Fortunately for him, One Taco was serving up its pastor taco for Trucklandia. The chunks of achiote-braised pork were larger than what you usually find in a taco and very tender. It was topped with pineapple instead of being braised with it. The tomatillo salsa added the perfect zip and heat.

WP_20151015_19_20_16_Pro__highres
“This is ice cream I would actually eat!” ~ My Mom

Austin Scoops bills itself as having “premium ice cream”. Definitely truth in advertising. It was full-fat unapologetically rich ice cream. Even the vanilla ice cream was satisfying and perfectly flavored. No needless chunks, mix-ins, or gluttonous gobs of toppings. Pictured above is a sophisticated Neapolitan selection of vanilla bean, chocolate amaretto, and strawberry cheesecake. A great ending to the day. 5 out of 5 Blargls.

Day Four we set out for Smokey Denmarks. This was a truck I was looking forward to after their outstanding offering last year. In addition to retailing sausages, their brick and mortar also processes wild game.

WP_20151016_14_52_33_Pro
Nooooooooooo!

Unfortunately due to misreading their online information we were just a tad too late for lunch. A blessing in disguise, I have to admit, as it relieved us from 100% completion. Thank you Smokey Denmarks.

WP_20151016_15_13_21_Pro__highres
Sandwiches are totally punk rock

So we hied ourselves down to Rockaway Beach for shaved ice and sub sandwiches.

And I saw this on the menu so I had to try it.

WP_20151016_15_15_05_Pro
What? Really? This is a thing?
WP_20151016_15_25_42_Pro__highres
Yuuuuup, that’s a shaved ice with pickles in it all right

I have a weakness for sandwiches I must admit. And these were some really good sandwiches. Mom really liked the housemade hot sauce – a puree of jalapenos, serranos, and habaneros. If you live in the southeast USA you’ll know what I mean when I say these subs are as good as anything out of Publix. They don’t have the panache of Hey You Gonna Eat or What, but sometimes you just want a sammich. 4.5 out of 5 Blargls.

And strawberry shaved ice with pickles in it tastes exactly like strawberry shaved ice with pickles in it.

WP_20151016_15_57_08_ProThis is the best picture I took during all of Trucklandia I think.

CAAAAAAKE SHAAAAAAKE
CAAAAAAKE SHAAAAAAKE

Holy Cacao was offering an iced mocha. This is far from the best thing on their menu (although I am biased as I don’t care much for coffee). I gave my mocha to Colin and bought a cake shake – a milkshake with a whole slice of cake blended into it. 3.5 out of 5 for the iced mocha but 4.5 Blargls for the cake shake.

WP_20151016_17_51_13_Pro
It looks so homey!

Aimee’s Super Fantazmo had the most adorable trailer of Trucklandia. Basil, mint, tomato, and pepper plants decorated the front. While it’s in a truck park, its separation from higher concentrations of Trucklandia competitors likely hurt its standings. This is something of a flaw in the process.

Nonetheless, the food was amazing. Shwarma is one of those foods that, done poorly, is still pretty good. Done well, it’s amazing. Paired up with vividly flavored rice, it’s downright amazing.

WP_20151016_17_41_56_Pro
A far cry from the sad Mediterranean platters you find in Foodcourtia

Grilled crispy on the edges, the lamb and beef was perfectly done. And the chicken breast was tender – this impresses me when I eat at places outside of my own kitchen.

WP_20151016_18_01_41_Pro
I dig the insect motif

Four Brothers Venezuelan has a large menu. They were offering a fried cheese snack for Trucklandia. I envied the people who were there for the arepas and empanadas and will probably be back to try those. The cheese snack is a better-than-average bar snack. 3 out of 5 Blargls.

Frankly this lot cat is a lot prettier than the fried cheese snack.
Frankly this lot cat is a lot prettier than the fried cheese snack.

Then back to the Picnic to finish up what we missed there. First was PopArt. It’s still pushing 90 degrees during the day here in Austin so Popsicle are still a welcome treat. While they were advertising a Pumpkin Chai Latte flavor for Trucklandia, Rebecca hooked us up with a variety of flavors.

WP_20151016_18_28_11_Pro

Mom wanted me to point out that there was a whole peach slice embedded in her popsicle
Mom wanted me to point out that there was a whole peach slice embedded in her popsicle

My tastes don’t really run to popsicles, so this was another treat I gave to Colin. He finished my Pumpkin Chai after his Chocolate Peanut Butter. 3.5 Blargls out of 5.

WP_20151016_18_30_27_Pro
If you can’t say anything nice . . . . . .

Chi’lantro’s. What to say about Chi’lantro’s . . . . . I just don’t get it. They’re a highly rated food truck here in Austin but for the life of me I don’t know why.

The chicken sandwiches were overcooked to the point the fryer oil seeped into the breading. The only saving grace was some pretty good pickles. The kimchi fries were notable for their complete lack of kimchi taste. 0 out of 5 Blargls.

WP_20151016_20_19_24_Pro
Another food that tastes SO MUCH BETTER than my camera phone can capture.

So we needed to get the taste of that out of our collective mouths. The final stop of the night was T-Loc’s Sonoran Hotdogs.

This is a hotdog wrapped in bacon and served in a soft bun brought in special from Tuscon. If you order these any way other than “con todo” you’re doing it wrong. Surrounding the hotdog is beans, tomato, onions, jalapeno sauce, mayonaise, and mustard. With the pineapple agua fresca it was a super nice way to finish the night. Again, the out-of-the-way location probably hurt their odds of getting all the votes they deserved. 5 out of 5 Blargls.

Advertisements