Are you ready for more food truck fun?
Colin did ask me to point out that Pop Art has always had outstanding desserts and their technical malfunction should not reflect poorly on them.
For purposes of the scale it can probably be roughly categorized thusly
- 2.5: not bad, nothing to write home about
- 3.0: I would eat here again
- 4.0: I would seek this truck out
- 4.5 + : I would make a point of finding this truck again. And soon.
Yeti Frozen Custard: 5 & 5
It is regrettable that Trucklandia does not have a separate category for sweets and desserts. There is no question that trucks like Yeti Frozen Custard operate at a disadvantage for this competition.
But my word, this is the best ice cream I’ve had in Austin. Dare I say . . . . ever? Yeti was this year’s “holy merde this is good” surprise.
Colin opted for the more traditional caramel swirl with chocolate chips, while I had a concoction of avocado and Yellowbird hot sauce. It sounds totally wild but it was amazingly delicious.
Longhorn Chicken: 4.5 & 4.0
Longhorn Chicken is based near UT. This is some really good fried chicken and waffles. The coating probably could have used a whack more salt, but the fact that they smoke the chicken before breading and frying makes for a very delicious bird (waffles were pretty good too). Talking with the guys in the truck you could tell that there was a lot of love for the food. They pride themselves on using local Texas ingredients.
La Vendeur Saigon: 5.0 & 4.5 – Grand Prize Winners of Trucklandia Fest 2016
My personal top three was torn between the Banh Mi of La Vendeur Saigon, Texas Chili Queens, and T-Loc’s Sonoran Hot Dogs. I am so happy for them that they got the win.
Although there wasn’t any liver pate (which would probably be a hard sell out of a truck), they do nod to tradition with the carrot and daikon slaw. It is sweet, savory, refreshing, crunchy, and unctuous in turns – in a fluffy, crusty bread. Pretty much what I would call a perfect sandwich.
Heretic Handhelds: 2.0 & 2.5
Heretic Handhelds was pretty unremarkable. Not bad, but not great – it got a “meh” from both of us. We got a chicken sandwich with “jerked” aioli that tasted much too sweetly of cinnamon.
Also, kind of a weird trend, but the places that were offering fries with their sample were awfully stingy with them (the exception being the generous handful in Fat Sal’s sandwich). I get that this is samples and the fries aren’t really what people are judging (no poutine trucks), but fries are cheap to turn out and two fries is just . . . it just looks stingy.
Presentation is super important at these events guys. Take note.
Speaking of stingy…
Checkpoint Germany: 2.0 & 2.0
Zero points for presentation. And no real sense of customer service (also super important for these events). I wanted to like the food, I love sausages. But it was a pretty mediocre curry wurst, sliced thin, and covered with sauce.
Looking at the FB page for Checkpoint Germany, it does look like they offer more fare – schnitzel, dumplings, and ham hocks. I’m not sure that curry wurst was the best choice.
Again, presentation matters.
The Wafel Guys: 4.5 & 4.0
At this point we were splitting samples. I overheard a conspiracy theory from another attendee that some of the trucks were giving out large samples to fill us up so we wouldn’t go to as many trucks.
I really enjoyed these Belgian waffles from The Wafel Guys. For the berry sample we got they accompanied the fresh strawberries and whipped cream with lemon curd. They also had a savory option with a creamy sauce and chicken that was “mom’s recipe”. And again, I seem to have forgotten a picture of the actual food. They had a huge line-up all day as they churned out super-fresh waffles on demand.
They claim to be the only authentic Belgian waffles in Austin. We will definitely be looking for this truck again.
Crepe Crazy: 3.0 & 3.0
Is a crepe with Nutella and bananas ever bad?
But then again, is one Nutella and banana crepe that much different than the next?
The chicken basil pesto filling was good, but it felt more like a wrap sandwich than a crepe. I wouldn’t object to going to Crepe Crazy, but I wouldn’t tell out of town friends it was a must-stop either.
Munchie’s Grub Bus: 4.0 & 4.0
Munchie’s Grub Bus is sadly based out of Corpus Christi. Well, sad for us, but good news for residents of Corpus.
Munchie’s easily had the most cohesive branding at the event. And their crew was out there in the sun hustling to drive more traffic. The crew inside the truck was having a blast and chatting up with customers.
Of course we got the King Kong sandwiches, pulled pork, bacon, banana, and Nutella. It was surprisingly delicious. From talking to one of the crew pushing sales of Munchie’s 4:20 shirts this was something concoted a few days before the event. A little under-seasoned, but definitely the germ of a really good sandwich there.
If I were purchasing a sandwich here I would have gone with the “I Don’t Care” just to see what kind of crazy-good thing they came up with.
T-Loc’s Sonoran Hot Dogs: 4.5 & 5.0 – Winner of Colin’s Vote
Colin wants me to especially point out that T-Loc’s Sonoran Hot Dogs has been consistently amazing for at least three years running (he takes his journalistic responsibilities seriously). They really do turn out a perfect hot dog and some delicious pineapple agua fresca.
If you order anything other than the hot dog con todo (“with everything”) then you are doing it wrong, muchachos. I’m looking forward to finding their truck for breakfast, because I’m not sure my life will be complete if I don’t try their biscuits with chorizo gravy.
Llama’s Peruvian Creole: 3.5 & 4.0
Llama’s Peruvian Creole was turning out beef tenderloin stir fry and lucuma ice cream (it tastes similar to papaya). The beef tenderloin is probably the safest bet for mass appeal, but I think their beef heart from their regular menu is much better. But the stir fry was excellent (if a little bit tough).
Llama’s opted for more of a pop-up style, leaving their truck at home and setting up one awning for cooking under and another for sitting under.
Again with the two fries. (actually it was one fry broken in two. I saw him break the fry.) They would have been better off without the fries honestly.