Pavy’s Food Truck: Friday Night at Fiction Beer Co. on June 17, 2016

First blog in forever, but here goes!

Anytime my mother-in-law is in town, I can expect to be eating some Pavy’s Food Truck.  Paired with the masterfully crafted IPAs from Fiction Beer Co. (together with numerous other unusually delicious beers), the Pavy’s steak sandwich is a siren that is inescapable.

Pavy’s Food Truck [trailer], parked outside Fiction Beer Co. Located at Colfax and Pontiac (two blocks west of Quebec). This truck frequents here on Friday nights.

Pavy’s Food Truck, parked outside Fiction Beer Co. Located at Colfax and Pontiac (two blocks west of Quebec). This truck frequents here on Friday nights.

After pondering the menu for a bit, I inevitably ordered “The Steak”, which is a medium-rare steak sandwich served on a fresh tasting baguette roll. The fixings for this sandwich are arugula, horseradish sauce, and pickled red onions.  The sandwich, like most food truck offerings, does not come automatically with sides.  Our table got a couple orders of Tater Tots to accompany – one plain (although seasoned), and one smothered in chopped green chiles and cojita cheese crumbles.

“The Steak” sandwich presentation, along with a red saison brewed by Fiction Beer Co. – New Age Lovecraf’t, a collaboration with Cape May Brewing. After this, I switched to their Dreamer IPA. A fine dry hopped IPA that pairs well with this sandwich and everything else in your life.

“The Steak” sandwich presentation, along with a red saison brewed by Fiction Beer Co. – New Age Lovecraf’t, a collaboration with Cape May Brewing. After this, I switched to their Dreamer IPA. A fine dry hopped IPA that pairs well with this sandwich and everything else in your life.

In addition to The Steak, which clocks in at $12, the menu also includes shrimp & Andouille sausage, pork tenderloin, and vegetarian (green chili [sic], hominy, cojita, and cilantro with the option to add pork) sandwiches.

Pavy’s Food Truck menu, circa June 17, 2016

Pavy’s Food Truck menu, circa June 17, 2016

The Steak sandwich is a very nice steak sandwich.  Although I personally would prefer spicier and/or more horseradish and the greens are a bit flavorful compared to the seasoning on the steak, overall, the sandwich is pretty good.  The steak was basically perfect in this setting.  It was warm and pink, thus representing a true medium rare, seasoned seemingly with some pepper and salt. There was no gristle or chewiness to the meat, and it was cubed in very edible sizes in the sandwich.  One thing this sandwich lacks is cohesion, which is usually provided by cheese in America’s sandwiches.  There is no cheese here – so I definitely dropped some bits out of the sandwich into my tray.  Eat them with the provided fork. This sandwich was not designed as a cheesy sandwich, and I do not think cheese would pair at all with the arugula, in particular.

Close view of The Steak from the eater’s perspective. The meat is rare enough to allow some juices to soak into the bread.

Close view of The Steak from the eater’s perspective. The meat is rare enough to allow some juices to soak into the bread.

My feeling on this sandwich is that I will eat it again, for the fifth or sixth time, next time I run across Pavy’s and/or my mother-in-law is in town.  It is a good value at twelve bucks for a legit steak sandwich. Of note, I have had this sandwich before and the steak contained a touch of grisliness in some of the meat chunks.  So, the quality of the meat seems to vary in terms of carefulness in making cuts for the sandwiches.  On this particular visit, it was excellent.

Regular Tots along with the Tots smothered in green chile and some light cojita sprinkles

Regular Tots along with the Tots smothered in green chile and some light cojita sprinkles

The tater tots are a nice side to this sandwich.  The green chilE is not very spicy, and lacks a longed-for and powerfully distinctive roasted green chile flavor, but does add a measure of texture and flavor nonetheless.  This could be improved possibly by using some medium spicy Hatch chiles that are fire roasted and have that really distinctive green chile flavor that is so beloved.  I’m not sure what’s lacking here or the source on these chiles used by Pavy’s, but consider this New Mexican native underwhelmed.  The other downside of the tots is that they were very crumbly.  Stab one with a fork, and it was 50/50 whether you’d spear it or it would just crumble and break apart.  Again, not sure what causes that.  But, the tots are overall a delicious side and I would order them again.

Like most brewery and food truck situations, these were delivered to our table on the excellent patio at the back of Fiction. The service was lightning quick for a Friday night, but the place was not packed.

Looking forward to more regular updates this summer! Stay tuned. That’s all folks.

Check out Fiction Beer Co. at 7101 E. Colfax Ave, Denver, Colorado 80220 or www.fictionbeer.com and https://www.facebook.com/fictionbeer.

Track down Pavy’s Food Truck on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/PavysTruck/  or http://www.pavystruck.com/

Basic Kneads Pizza – Station 26 Brewing Co. – March 22, 2014

After shivering through a cold, snowy Colorado Rapids home opener victory, it made quite perfect sense to head down Quebec and stop by the great space that is Station 26 Brewing Co.  Station 26th is located just west of Quebec Street south of I-70 in a repurposed Denver Fire Department fire station (No. 26!).

Luckily, Basic Kneads Pizza had one of their wood fired pizza trailers parked outside.

I have friends from the east coast, and some friends in Denver who are from the east coast, or maybe know or talked to that guy who went to NYC that one time, and I, as you, have been soapboxed by these well intentioned folks about the lack of “good” pizza in Denver or Colorado. As if the earthbound spirits and a locale’s magic can emergify from the surroundings and atmosphere and infuse into nearby chefs and ingredients of all grades and talents to culminate into a place bound pizza pie — and it all just tastes better.  That sentence didn’t really make sense, and neither does the belief that one cannot find delicious pizza here in Denver (or wherever, really).  Basic Kneads is a nice starting point for my argument.

Phreddie - a “workhorse” made from a converted cargo trailer and a massive 3000 lbs. oven.

Phreddie – a “workhorse” made from a converted cargo trailer and a massive 3000 lbs. oven.

Here is the Menu of pizzas – note, custom pizzas appear to be available.  We stuck to the standards (trust the chef, always).

Basic Kneads Pizza - The Menu - March 22, 2014

Basic Kneads Pizza – The Menu – March 22, 2014

Three of us were there, so we decided to order three of the 10 inch pizzas to mix and match.  I’ve decided to eat as a vegetarian for Lent (save for fish Fridays), thus we ordered the 3 veggie pizzas on offer.  Pizza is my favorite vegetarian option!! On a cold dreary evening for Denver, it was a respite to see and smell the wood fire, but the bubbling pepperoni pizza only made this Lent decision more difficult.

Pizza bubbling right by the fire. Spectacularly nice on a strangely cold spring day.

Pizza bubbling right by the fire. Spectacularly nice on a strangely cold spring day.

Service was quick and was delivered to our table inside Station 26.  Here’s a pictorial rundown of our veggie prey:

Greekza - Olive oil, then cheese, then onions, artichoke, sundried tomatoes, feta, and olives.

Greekza – Olive oil, then cheese, then onions, artichoke, sundried tomatoes, feta, and olives.

Margherita - basic to basics - Red sauce, cheese and basil.  Also had some rosemary spilled on it!

Margherita – basic to basics – Red sauce, cheese and basil. Also had some rosemary spilled on it!

Hot Hawaiian - Jalapenos, Pineapple.  My favorite from tonight.

Hot Hawaiian – Jalapenos, Pineapple. My favorite from tonight.

These are some nice wood-fired pizzas with crispy charred wheat crusts, succulent cheese, and fresh toppings.  I especially enjoyed the Hot Hawaiian – nothing complicated here, but the sweetness of the pineapple and the jalapenos were a fine pairing tonight.  The Greekza was more complicated, however, and based on oil olive rather than red sauce.  I actually enjoyed the Margherita, although I think it was the victim of an accidental spicing during preparation in the trailer.  Along with basil, we enjoyed some rosemary leaves on this one as well- more of a surprise than anything, and we liked it nonetheless.

Topping it all (really, on the bottom), was the black char these pizzas leave on your fingers and on your taste buds.  Delicious char.  The result of cooking these pizzas in a woody inferno (likely a remarkably hot oven) is the inevitable charring of the crusts.  We’re not talking about some mistake scorching, like a burnt toast in a cheap toaster – but a type of “gourmet” artisanal type of charring.  Not sure how to describe it in any technical terms, but this makes good pizza.

I paired these pizzas up with Station 26’s Euro Pale Ale – an interesting pale ale made using European ingredients.  Lots of notable pale ale selections around town these days, but this was a different take from all of these citrusy Americans, and I enjoyed it very well.  I also sampled their Cherrywood Smoked Red and savored its smoky, almost bacon-like notes, along with the malt complexity of the base red ale.

Some final photos— Thanks for reading!

A blurry variety of deliciousness!

A blurry variety of deliciousness!

All the basics - Steel, Fire, Peel, and beeer

All the basics – Steel, Fire, Peel, and beeer

 

Brewery section of Station 26 Brewing Co.

Brewery section of Station 26 Brewing Co.

Basic Kneads Pizza:  Find them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/basickneads and at numerous craft breweries all over the metro area.  Also, http://basickneadspizza.com/

Visit Station 26 Brewing Co. at 7045 East 38th Ave, Denver, Colorado 80207 – http://www.station26brewing.co/  and http://www.facebook.com/S26BC

 

 

 

 

February Trip to Key West & Scattered Denver Food Truck News

Wow, I have taken quite the break from blogging.  The winter is fairly sparse time to find food trucks in Denver.  That being said, I am quite impressed with the tenacity of many trucks in keeping active through the winter- I caught up to several but failed to review them.

Strengthens my non-profound belief that the liquor sales laws in Colorado are beneficial to food trucks — all these microbrewery tap rooms that lack kitchens, and a ready army of fine food trucks to show up for dinner and lunch service on weekends.  A wonderful symbiosis. I think this is one of the most fun things going on in Colorado (besides all that skiing, hiking, bicycling, dog owning, Subaru-rodding, and ugh that other thing…)

Recently in News

  • Street Food Phenoms is a new food truck team that’s popped up on Facebook for the new 2014 season.  Members include Pink Tank, Steuben’s, Street Eats 5280, Capt’n Crabby, N.Z.’s Smokin’ Guns BBQ, Hey PB&J, Denver Cupcake Truck, and Coaches Scoop. Some of these are old members of the Denver Food Truck Row.  Looking forward to seeing what these guys get up to and the events they will come up with.  Follow them @ http://www.facebook.com/pages/Street-Food-Phenoms/
  • Announcement, of which I agree generously, that the Civic Center EATS, every Tuesday and Thursday (with some exceptions) during the summers in Denver’s Civic Center Park, will run longer this year.  Look for a massive food truck gathering in the heart of downtown Denver this year from May 20th through October 9th. Awesome.
  • Speaking of the EATS, it was named one of the Top 10 “Foodie” spots in Denver.  A high honor considering all of the fine restaurants here.  I tend to agree due to the wide ranging collective menu, owner personalities, and the famous Denver sunshine at the EATS. Story is here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/experience/weekend/denver/2014/03/10/10-best-foodie-spots-denver/5897311/
  • I will try to post more updates! I promise.  Stay tuned.

Garbo’s Grill – Key West, Florida – February 18, 2014

About a month ago, I was fortunately able to escape from that extremely cold week in Denver and get out to Miami, Florida to visit my wife’s sister and my brother-in-law.  We snuck down to Key West for a night, and I couldn’t help but notice one of the top Yelp rated spots was a food cart!  And I couldn’t resist heading there. Lucky my wife indulges my interests.  In chowing food.

Garbo’s Grill is a now famous food cart spot for lunch in Key West.  It is highly regarded on Yelp, and there you can find many reviews. So many. http://www.yelp.com/biz/garbos-grill-key-west-2.  And look at that star rating. Wow.  Walking up to the cart, you can see other people have used their iPhone devices to look it up too (that’s what I did!). Big crowd, but quick service.  Only waited about 15 minutes.

Garbo's Grill food cart located in Key West, FL on Greene Street near the old marina, end of Greene Street

Garbo’s Grill food cart located in Key West, FL on Greene Street near the old marina, end of Greene Street

The menu features several options.  Burritos and Tacos come in Cayo Fish, Kogi Korean BBQ, and “Yum Yum” Shrimp varieties.  The fish and shrimp come in a quesadilla format as well, along with “KP’s” Jerk Chicken and Mango Brie.  Garbo’s also offers up hot dogs dressed up with various toppings such as bacon, jalapeno, onions, mango, Caribbean sauce, citrus soy dressing, carrot, srircacha.. well you get the idea.  They also have a burger on offer.  On pure seafood mode, we went for those options.  The quesadilla was sold out early, so we went for the tacos.  Caution: this place is busy.  Get there before the lunch crowd if you are in that area! We ordered some of the Cayo Fish and Yum Yum Shrimp tacos.

Garbo's Grill - Key West, Florida - February 18, 2014

During our short wait, we observed that these mobile food slingers were pulling raw, fresh fish from the cooler sitting out back of their cart and grilling it right there before throwing into the tacos and burritos.  I salivated.  We got our food, and, well here it is:

Cayo Fish Tacos - Fresh grilled Mahi Mahi, mango, cilantro, onion jalapeno, red cabbage, and house Caribbean sauce

Cayo Fish Tacos – Fresh grilled Mahi Mahi, mango, cilantro, onion jalapeno, red cabbage, and house Caribbean sauce

 

Yum Yum Shrimp Tacos - Shrimp Marinated in Mango, Habanero, and Ginger, topped with house Caribbean sauce

Yum Yum Shrimp Tacos – Shrimp Marinated in Mango, Habanero, and Ginger, topped with house Caribbean sauce

This was some great food. Read the yelp reviews for more “great and awesome” synonyms.  But really, we enjoyed this meal. It tasted fresh, nice flavors, a bit of spice from the jalapenos.  And a good value for fresh food like this – about $9-10 per tray.  There is a little shade just off to the side of the cart and a few seating options which were on high demand.  The cart also pipes out some groovy tunes. Hah, groovy tunes (lame writing, sorry).

Garbo’s is usually parked at 603 Greene St, Key West, FL 33040.  You can follow them at http://www.facebook.com/GarbosGrill

After eating these delicious street food offerings from Garbo’s Grill, we noticed a place across the street called Peppers of Key West.  My wife loves spicy foods, so I indulged her wishes and we crossed the street into what is literally a bar that offers a sampling course, customized to your wishes, of various hot sauces and marinades.  What a surprise– we had a lot of fun in this place.  I recommend it! The entry fee for the entertainment is you feel obligated to buy a bottle of hot sauce.  Not hard to pick one out given the selection. The worst part was our saucetender making fun of my profuse sweating. Ugh.

Peppers of Key West -- Greene, St. in Key West across the street from Garbo's Grill.

Peppers of Key West — Greene, St. in Key West across the street from Garbo’s Grill.

602 Greene Street, Key West, FL 33040

http://www.peppersofkeywest.com/

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Peppers-Of-Key-West/

Not done yet! Right down the street at the corner is Kermit’s Key Lime Pie store… Perfect to cool your fiery lips, tongue, maybe prevent a heart attack…after the hot sauce explosion.  Key Lime pie slices are just a couple bucks and are a Key West must try if you are there.

Kermit's Key West Key Lime Shoppe is located just a half block down the street from Garbo's Grill.  If you still feel hungry after chowing fish tacos, this is a nice place to stop for a refreshing dessert.

Kermit’s Key West Key Lime Shoppe is located just a half block down the street from Garbo’s Grill. If you still feel hungry after chowing fish tacos, this is a nice place to stop for a refreshing dessert.

200 Elizabeth Street, Key West, Florida 33040

http://www.keylimeshop.com/

http://www.facebook.com/KeyLimeShop

Well, that’s about it. Looking forward to an amazing season of getting more fat eating food truck grubs at the EATS every week, and finding these trucks at the can’t miss food truck gatherings and brewery tap room events.  At the end, here are just two of my favorite photos from vacation in Florida.  Thanks for reading!!

Fairchild Tropical Garden - Coral Gables, FL

Fairchild Tropical Garden – Coral Gables, FL

A Bird. What kind? I can't remember. But it was awesome looking.

A Bird. What kind? I can’t remember. But it was awesome looking.

 

 

First Winter Night’s BIG September Update

Well, it’s been forever since I last wrote any kind of review. Been out of town all the weekends and busy in the week, so I failed to write a lot in September.

So, here on this predicted possible likely (I think unlikely) first snow of the season in Denver, it’s time to huddle over the laptop, open a can of beer, tune into the most boring primetime NFL matchup of the year, and write up a quick overview of the highlights of my food truck eats in the past month.

Mikes 2 Kitchen – Wells Fargo on 17th & Sherman – September 13, 2013

Mikes Kitchen WF Side 9-13-13

Big fan of Mikes 2 Kitchen, and hard to resist at lunch when they are only a few blocks away from the office.  Pleased to see that they were offering one of their specials, a Gyro Po boy.  Normally I eat the Shrimp Po boy from Mikes, which is fantastic.

Here’s a look at the gyro:

Mikes Gyro over WF 9-13-13

This is basically a lamb gyro on a po boy bread.  Nice, fresh roll, with tomatoes, onions, lettuce and tzatziki, which was quite zesty.  The lamb is layered on and the rest of the fixings sits on top.   Very tasty.  If you are a gyro lover, this might not be up to your standards due to the use of a roll.  But I did like it quite a bit and I liked the po boy format.

Close up of Mikes 2 Kitchen gyro opened

Close up of Mikes 2 Kitchen gyro opened

I also ordered a side of gumbo from Mikes, which has a nice shrimp on the top and is chocked full of sausage, chicken and other goodies.  Nice brown roux, a touch of medium heat.  Always worth the extra calories from Mikes.

Mikes Gumbo WF 9-13-13

Follow Mikes 2 Kitchen on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mikes-2-Kitchen/

http://www.mikes2kitchen.com

Quiero Arepas – Civic Center EATS – September 24, 2013

Cool artwork on this truck

Cool artwork on this truck

The 2nd to last Civic Center EATS and the final Tuesday down there.  Still can’t understand why it doesn’t run into the fall as long as the weather is nice (the spring too for that matter!)  Some type of park “management” decision no doubt, but come on… like anyone in the business community downtown would step foot into that park during lunch hour if not for the EATS…

Went to the Quiero Arepas truck, one of the most visible and popular food trucks in Denver, and for good reason.  The grilled and then baked corn shell (bread) for the arepas served here are top notch.  They come with a variety of fillings.  I ordered the pabellon, which consists of stewed, shredded beef, black beans, sweet plantains, and cheese.

Quiero Arepas Pabellon

Quiero Arepas Pabellon

This was a filling, savory lunch treat that is also served with a tangy green avocado sauce.  I didn’t get too much of that sauce, to my disappointment (as you can see above).  Super quick service at this truck, which is great for lunch.  The pabellon arepa I got was full on meat, and didn’t have a lot of beans.  The plantains were nice, but also paled compared to the strong stewed beef that is present here.  The beef itself was tender and easy to eat, and had some slight spice to it, but overall, it was just a lot of stewed beef.  As I was eating it, I started to really wish for more of that tangy green sauce! Here is a close up of the internals of the sandwhich, where you can see the beef:

Arepas Pabellon close up CV Eats 9-24-13

All that being said, next time I visit this truck, I will go with the Queso, which is fresh mozzarella, plantains, and avocado and is my favorite there.

Find Quiero Arepas:

https://www.facebook.com/quieroarepas

http://quieroarepas.com/

 The Biscuit Bus – Civic Center EATS – September 26, 2013

Welcome CV Eats 9-24-13

The LAST EATS of the YEAR!!! noooo… back to eating way too much Jimmy John’s.  Crap.

Another classic food truck here on the streets of Denver is The Biscuit Bus.  Serves up delicious creations on fresh baked biscuits.  After having not tried this truck for 2 years or something ridiculous, I finally gave in early summer… and I’ve been back 4 times.  This is basically where you’re going to get some amazing comfort food.  At least that’s how it is for me, because I always get The Franklin! What I’m talking about is a fresh biscuit sandwich comprised of buttermilk fried chicken, bacon, and cheese, smothered in sausage gravy. Holy Heaven.

The Franklin.  With an over easy fried egg and hot sauce added.  My heart!

The Franklin. With an over easy fried egg and hot sauce added. My heart!

Fantastic.  The cholula and extra OVER EASY EGG I added to this thing made it an extreme guilty pleasure, and ruined my afternoon.  I ended up sucking down some black coffee in the office when I got back to make it through the rest of the day.  What a way to finish the EATS for 2013.

BiscuitBus Civ Eats 9-26-13

Check out Facebook to locate this truck:

https://www.facebook.com/thebiscuitbus

http://www.denbisco.com/

 

Pride of Philly Cheesesteaks – Copper Kettle Brewing Company – 9-10-2013

A truly rainy afternoon in Denver made yardwork impossible and a visit to a brewery and food truck likely.  Although Pride of Philly Cheesesteaks is not a truck (it is a small trailered food stand), they are a regular fixture at area breweries.  Saw the notification over Facebook that Pride of Philly would be down at the Copper Kettle Brewing Company, located near the intersection of Mississippi and Leetsdale in southeast Denver, and went that way immediately.

Pride of Philly offers a variety of cheesesteak options, including a thinly sliced ribeye or chicken option for the meat, with a choice of cheese (American, provolone, or whiz) and toppings which included onions, mushrooms, peppers, and cherry peppers.  He was also offering a Korean style cheesesteak  and a “bacon” cheesesteak which came with slices of bacon on top.

Going the classic route, sort of, I went for the ribeye meat with peppers, onions, mushrooms, cherry peppers, and Cheez Whiz.  The sandwiches were ready in just about 5 minutes on a quiet night at Copper Kettle, and the service was friendly and more than efficient.  Ketchup was provided upon request.

Loaded with onions, peppers, mushrooms, cherry peppers and cheez whiz

Loaded with onions, peppers, mushrooms, cherry peppers and cheez whiz

I paired this sandwich with Copper Kettle’s Mystery Man IPA​ which is a Belgian style Fresh Hop IPA made with local “Mystery X” fresh hops from Voss Farms in Arvada.  Copper Kettle describes these hops as an unknown varietal, with strong citrus flavors.  This was the best fresh hop beer I can remember tasting, ever.  Delicious.  Not that this is a beer blog (there are a number of good ones around in Denver), but you should avail yourself of this fine fresh hop ale before it’s out of season.

About the food.  The cheesesteak was served on a fresh roll that was about 7 inches long.  This is shorter than a lot of cheesesteaks you’d find, but I actually liked that because it meant I wasn’t about to explode from eating a bunch of red meat, bread, and cheese.  Pride of Philly’s ribeye steak was excellent. Sometimes with cheesesteaks, you can get meat that is not up to par and tastes like cheaper cuts.  This was delectable meat – good flavor and texture.

Upon the confirmation/recommendation of the purveyor, I went with the Cheez Whiz which is the obvious best choice for authentic cheesesteakery.  Diced up with the meat were the mushrooms, peppers, cherry peppers, and onions.  The level of dicing was pretty impressive, and these ingredients were mixed in with the meat in a “chopped salad” style – every bite had every flavor. The Whiz was distributed throughout and coated everything in this thing. My only regret with my selection of cheesesteak additions was that I didn’t ask for jalapenos.

Ribeye Cheesesteak by Pride of Philly Cheesesteaks - Copper Kettle Brewing Company - 9-10-2013

At a mere $6, this is an outstanding value for what amounts to a custom quality steak sandwich made into a cheesesteak format.  I do not think it was super authentic based on what I’ve had in Philly (everything I’ve had in Philly always has more dry meat, less even distribution of cheese, and the type of bread differs).  But, I think this is a welcome improvement or variation on the classic.  As noted above, each bite was flavorful and I didn’t get one of those bites of just bread and plain meat.  This looks messy in my pictures, but it was surprising easily eaten without a fuss.  With a bit of care, even with the Whiz, you can nearly avoid dripping a mess all over the place.  I actually liked that this wasn’t served on trays or on plates or anything, but just on a sheet of serving paper. Saves on trash generated, cuts costs, and was unnecessary in this particular setting.  If I had to eat this standing up, I might have wanted a tray. Fortunately for my T-shirt and overall cleanliness, I didn’t have to attempt this.

Ahh, dang. I am getting hungry just writing this thing.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pride-of-Philly-Cheesesteaks/

https://www.facebook.com/CopperKettleBrewing

 

 

SNACK ATTACK — Food truck gathering, August 24, 2013

Went down to the Snack Attack food truck gathering in the Argonaut Liquor parking lot on East Colfax and Washington in Denver’s Capitol Hill on a warm but rain-threatened Saturday afternoon, August 24, 2013.  Heading down there just around 1:30PM, for a lunch time meal.  I came hungry, not having much breakfast.

Snack Attack - 8-24-13

https://www.facebook.com/SnackAttack2012

There were a handful of trucks here, along with live music and a beer tent in the middle pouring some beers. Capt’n Crabby, Hey PB&J, Barbed Wire Reef, Crazy Good Food, Little India Food Truck, The Panna Cotta Peddler, Crock Spot, and the Denver Bistro Bus were present and serving food.  There were several tables set up for eating, and a couple of promotional booths.

There were some chalk arts on the ground, including this one:

Snack Attack - 8-24-13 - Chalk Outline in Argonaut parking lot

After having witnessed a shooting about 5 blocks down on Colfax during lunch hour a few days before this, I thought this was a little bit crazy to have here!

But, back to the food trucks. I went for the Hey PB&J as my main course for the day.  I ordered The Barcelona after careful menu study and on the recommendation of the truck’s purveyors, who mentioned it was the staff fav.  The price: $7.25.

Hey PB&J Menu - Snack Attack - 8-24-13

After a quick wait, my meal emerged.

Homemade Almond Butter & Date Jam, Manchego [cheese], Applewood smoked bacon, & Carmelized Sherry Onion / Grilled

Homemade Almond Butter & Date Jam, Manchego [cheese], Applewood smoked bacon, & Carmelized Sherry Onion / Grilled

The Barcelona - Hey PB&J - Snack Attack - 8-24-13

This thing was pretty delicious –and rich.  It included some thick cut applewood bacon, which was a highlight of the sandwich.  Here is a picture of it

Closeup of Bacon - Hey PB&J - Snack Attack - 8-24-13

Not too bad! I thought this was a really interesting sandwich concept.  I have never been a huge peanut butter and jelly sandwich eater.  But this was nice with the almond butter and date jam, and the addition of cheese and bacon.  The toasting of the sandwich was perfect.

As I plowed through eating this thing, I finished the first half feeling really satisfied.  By the time I got to the second half, the sandwich started to feel really rich and more dessert like as I went on.  Not being the biggest connoisseur of sweets, the heaviness of the almond butter, greasy bread, and sweet jam weighed on my ability to enjoyably finish the sandwich.  Glad for a bottle of water, I finished eating The Barcelona.

My verdict on the Barcelona — wow, amazingly interesting sandwich and a lot different than what you’ll find in many food trucks.  I think if one is a big fan of peanut butter and jelly, and you enjoy bacon, this is basically a can’t miss.  If you are a more casual fan of pb&j, this is something I would recommend splitting with someone, especially if there are other trucks around to sample from.  One of the nice things about food trucks is, when they gather, you can put together a multiple course menu by sampling and splitting items.  I will return to Hey PB&J to try their other offerings, but the richness of The Barcelona means I will probably try to find someone to share this and something else more savory with.   In terms of value and eatability– as easy to eat as any sandwich, and the price is low at just over $7.

Hey PB&J - Snack Attack - 8-24-13

https://www.facebook.com/heypbandj

Remaining strangely hungry after the sweetness of Hey PB&J, I chugged a bottle of water and went looking for a smaller savory treat for balance. Oh look, its Capt’n Crabby!

Capt'n Crabby - Snack Attack - 8-24-13

I head over to visit the Capt’n and ordered up a  petite Authentic Maryland Crab Cake Sandwich.  Capt’n Crabby offered a limited menu for Snack Attack, seen below:

Capt'n Crabby Menu - Snack Attack - 8-24-13

The crab cake is made from blue crab out of Maryland, and is formed and pan cooked in the truck before being loaded onto a toasted sandwich roll with old bay aioli, lettuce, and tomato. It is served with a side of Lays smothered in old bay seasoning.

Petite Crab Cake Sandwich - Capt'n Crabby - Snack Attack - 8-24-13

This looks bigger in the picture than it is– its about the size of a slider, maybe a touch larger. At $6, you get what seems to me a good value.  The cost of fresh crab is not cheap (go look at your local grocery story if you don’t believe me), and while you won’t necessarily fill up for your $6, you are getting freaking fresh crab out of a truck in Denver!  This is a fine crab cake sandwich and the sauce was tangy and tasty.  While warm throughout, this crab cake was not particularly crisped up.  I think this is because its mostly made out of fresh crab meat, instead of a bunch of bread fillers that would toast up. Delicious.

I am still waiting for Capt’n Crabby to come back with his Royale crab salad sandwich.  Come on buddy, make it happen.

https://www.facebook.com/captncrabby

Finally, I was filling full (remember, I didn’t eat breakfast! That’s my excuse this time for eating so much….yep)  Yet, my Snack Attack experience was not yet done.  The Panna Cotta Peddler was also there.  I love the name of this pedal powered bike-trailer based Italian dessert server.  Having seen the Peddler around town for a long time, it was long time to give it a try.  I ordered the Lemon Rosemary kind for $4. Free samples are offered of the flavors.  I didn’t grab a photo of the menu.

The Panna Cotta Peddler - Snack Attack - 8-24-13

The Panna Cotta comes in attractive packaging with a tiny little spoon. Wikipedia let this uninformed (uncultered) foodie know that panna cotta (from Italian cooked cream) is an Italian dessert made by simmering together cream, milk and sugar, mixing this with gelatin, and letting it cool until set.

This is not a huge amount of panna cotta from the Peddler,and it was fairly light and refreshing.  Basically a chilled pudding, the flavors of the lemon rosemary were mostly faint, but noticeable, and did not overwhelm.  I found it an interesting alternative to the common cupcake truck or ice cream trucks that are ever present.

The Panna Cotta Peddler - Snack Attack - 8-24-13

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Panna-Cotta-Peddler/

 

 

East Coast Joe’s – August 15, 2013 at Lone Tree Brewing Company

East Coast Joe's - Lone Tree Brewing - 8-15-13

Following attending Civic Center EATS on this Thursday, I got home and checked in Facebook and noticed that East Coast Joe’s was going to be over at Lone Tree Brewing Company.  Decided that a lobster roll and a peach wheat beer sounded kind of good out on the patio on a Colorado evening.   I convinced my wife to head down there with me to sample some of the offerings of East Coast Joe’s.  I really like the styling of this truck.  It stands out.  Here is a look at the menu, which is rife with delicious options.

Great menu

Great menu

I decided to go with the Lobster Roll, of course.  This baby clocks in at $15 and just comes by itself on a tray.  It states on the menu that it is to come on a New England Style Hot Dog bun, which is the way lobster rolls are served in Maine and such (see below)

Blurry Bread Close-up - Lobster Roll - East Coast Joe's - Lone Tree Brewing - 8-15-13

The Lobster Roll comes on a thick New England bun, roughly resembling mix between a regular dog roll and a thick slice of bread that was toasted, buttered, and folded. The roll was quite tasty (mmm.. butter).  Based on my Googly research, this appears to be the legit way to serve this (http://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/food-dining/2013/07/02/top-loading-buns-typical-new-england-for-lobster-and-clams/QiEC0fUGxJl2MwNizjYxdL/story.html)

Lobster Roll - East Coast Joe's - Lone Tree Brewing - 8-15-13

But here it is. Look at that thing… you are probably salivating on your keyboard.  Joe’s does not skimp on the lobster.  And it is amazing.  I am not really big lobster eater– I will usually get a nice steak (we do live in proximately to ranch land).  The last time I got a lobster roll was at Steuben’s restaurant, and it was $22 and had less meat that what Joe’s served up (different setting obviously– and it had sides and table service).  But this thing was just plain good eating.  Joe’s lobster is not heavy on the mayo, and has plenty of claw meat – which is wonderful.  It is the type of meal that you savor each bite slowly, due to its luxury and its flavor, which is one of my favorite kind of meals.  A lot of food truck meals are the type of thing you are scarfing down — a slice of pizza, a hamburger with all kinds of toppings, a sandwich… but with something like this, it is natural to really take your time to enjoy it.

I paired the Lobster Roll with the seasonal Peach Wheat from Lone Tree Brewing Company. This is a nice light summer beer, which complimented the lobster and the patio setting.   I really like this brewery, which has been improved by the recent addition of a large outdoor seating area.

East Coast Joe's - Crab Melt - Lone Tree Brewing Peach Wheat - 8-15-13

One thing about the lobster roll, is that it is not huge and it may not cover your dinner needs entirely (maybe the lobster roll would be complimented by some fancy chips or fries as a built-in side or a cheap add on). Fortunately, the truck was still there… So I ordered up the Crab Melt to split with my wife– a $12 sandwich consisting of hand picked jumbo lump crab and 3 cheeses on sourdough bread.  Here’s what it looks like– it came with a big ear of fried cheese jutting out of the side (mmmm):

Look at that ear of fried cheese hanging off this delectable crab filled grilled cheese sammie

Look at that tantalizing fried cheese hanging off this delectable crab filled grilled cheese sammie (pictured at bottom).  Here is a look at the cross section of the Crab Melt.   Sorry, I am not much of a hand model. I’ll get a manicure next time.  (Just kidding).

Cross section of Crab Melt - Lone Tree Brewing Company - 8-15-13

This was another tasty treat… the cheeses (not sure what kind or type of cheeses these were.. probably a strong cheddar and maybe jack) were pretty strong flavored. It was a perfect grilled cheese sandwich– stuffed with crab.  I thought the crab was nice where it was thick and you could take a focused bite into it to get a mouthful of crab.  In the event it was subsumed by the strong cheeses, the crab added mostly texture and a hint of crab flavor.  Not sure how this could be improved (maybe add less cheese, or a weaker cheese). The sourdough bread was nice on this.

Crab Melt - 8/15/2013 --- close up of sandwich internals

Crab Melt – 8/15/2013 — close up of sandwich internals

I would order both the Lobster Roll and the Crab Melt again– but I think if you had to choose, go with the Lobster Roll.  The Crab Melt is a good follow up if you are still hungry  to split with a fellow diner at dinner time.

https://www.facebook.com/eastcoastjoes

http://www.eastcoastjoes.com

https://www.facebook.com/LoneTreeBrewingCo

http://www.lonetreebrewingco.com

Chef Driven – 8-15-13 – Civic Center EATS

A nice Thursday in Downtown Denver and a long elapse since my last review.  Time to head down to Civic Center Park for the EATS food truck gathering.  A large selection of trucks, but I headed for the Chef Driven.  I’ve not had anything from this truck in over a year, so it was overdue to check back in.

The truck was parked down at the south end of the EATS area, which afforded its canopy a bit of shade.  The truck had also set out a nice mat to stand on, which was strangely comfortable to wait around on.

Chef Driven floor mat - very comfortable to stand on. Shady too

Chef Driven floor mat – very comfortable to stand on. Shady too

Studied the menu for a bit.  This truck offers “globally inspired” sandwiches, which includes the Mexican, Cuban, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, and Italian.  Based on somewhat random impulse, I went with the Vietnamese.  The purveyor of the truck told me it was a good choice.  I ordered a Diet Coke, and he handed me a bag of Cape Cod brand waffled chips.  The sandwiches run $9, and the drink another $1 for a $10 downtown Denver lunch.

The menu for this truck is displayed on an LCD television which is encapsulated in the side of truck.  It is hard to see from a distance due to reflections, but is nice touch to the truck up close.  The truck might do well to maintain this hi-tech sign, as well as a folding sign out front so that potential customers do not have to get up next to the truck to quickly scan its offerings.  The picture I took included an interesting reflection of the Denver City Hall building on the west side of Civic Center.

Menu - Chef Driven - 8-15-13

Menu – Chef Driven – 8-15-13

And a quick photo of the truck:

Chef Driven - Truck - Civic EATS - 8-15-13

After a very reasonable wait time, my sandwich was delivered.

Here’s what it looked like prior to scarfing it down:

The Vietnamese

The Vietnamese

Average food truck presentation, which is fine for the park eating setting.  I found a spot under an umbrella and commenced eating.

I am not under the illusion that I know anything about Asian cuisine or spice.  When I cook, my go to ingredient is overwhelming green chile from New Mexico, which speaks for itself.  Notwithstanding my culinary limitations, this was a good sandwich. The menu itself lists Sweet Chili Chicken, Pickled Veggies, sriracha spread, and fresh cilantro.  The Veggies consisted of red onions, cucumber, and carrot slaw– very nice. the "Vietnamese" from Chef Driven - 8-15-13 - Close-up

The chicken was great for a sandwich. I usually dread ordering chicken on sandwich, but in this instance, it was fantastic (to be honest).  Some of the chicken fell out as I was eating. But I am a messy eater, so not unexpected.  There was a good amount of meat on this.

The spice level was entry-moderate.  The spice was focused seemingly on a sauce spread onto the bread.  Speaking of the bread, it was fresh tasting, but otherwise an unremarkable sub roll.  It did not detract from the innards.

Overall I enjoyed this sandwich. As noted above, it came with a side of chips in the variety of the Cape Cod brand Waffle Cut Chips.   These do not seem, to me, to pair with this Asian type of sandwich.  I felt no desire to open the bag while I was eating the sandwich, and ending up trying the chips as an after-course.  Great chips – would eat again.  But they are not necessarily belonging alongside this particular sandwich. Seemed an odd pair.

The bottomline:  the Vietnamese from Chef Driven was a good lunch option at the EATS festival.  Nice service, and the sandwich fit easily into my stomach and was legitimately delicious.  The potato chips was an odd pairing.  In terms of value, at $9, this appears pricey.  In reality, it is within line with most food trucks and compares favorably.  As I’ve stated before, a $10 lunch downtown is at the low end for money spent, and you would not waste your money at Chef Driven for this one.

A view of the eats after I finished chowing:Civic Center EATS from 8-15-2013

N.Z’s Smokin’ Guns – Wells Fargo Center 8/6/2013

Located at the Wells Fargo Center, 17th and Sherman, Denver CO on August 6, 2013 around 11:40AM

Located at the Wells Fargo Center, 17th and Sherman, Denver CO on August 6, 2013 around 11:40AM

Decided to forgo the Civic Center Eats crowds today for an easy walk over to the Wells Fargo Center food truck location, at 17th and Sherman.  Got an update over Facebook that the N.Z’s Smokin’ Guns truck would be there.

I ordered the Brisket sandwich with the spicy habanero sauce (trying to cut down on eating pork).  The price was $8.00 and I also got a bottled water for another $1.   After ordering, it was just a few minutes for the sandwich to be ready.  The service was friendly and quick.  They accept credit cards on a smart phone device.

Here is a look at the menu:

Menu shown at Wells Fargo Center, 17th and Sherman, Denver CO on August 6, 2013 around 11:40AM

Menu shown at Wells Fargo Center, 17th and Sherman, Denver CO on August 6, 2013 around 11:40AM

The sandwich itself is served on a somewhat unremarkable roll.  The roll is, however, nicely toasted and added a good base for the main feature- the brisket.  According to N.Z’s website, all of their meats are applewood smoked.  The brisket itself was tender, and thick cut.  It was not dry, and had a very nice flavor, but not smokey at all.  As far as brisket goes, it was comparable to some of the better brisket I’ve had, although I would not claim to be a particularly picky BBQ eater and it seems like there are a lot of good BBQ options around Denver.  But this stuff tasted pretty authentic, and made for a decent lunch option.

The portion on the roll was generous and many pieces fell out during the eating process.  I picked up these pieces with my fingers and ate them without shame.  The meat comes with the sauce already applied, so you do not have an option (without asking, I guess) with respect to how much sauce you get.  That being said, the amount of sauce was not overwhelming at all.  It was enough to barely coat the meat and add the sauce flavor.

For being described as a “spicy” habanero sauce, it was a little bit disappointing on the heat factor to my likes.  I tend to overdo it with the heat.  This is entry-level heat from N.Z’s.  The sauce was complementary to the meat, which I say is good– It was not the main attraction here, but served to highlight the quality smoking of the beef itself.  Next time I try this truck, I will probably get the sweet sauce “Mild Mango” to see how that goes.

This is also just a meat and bread sandwich.  There is not an option to add coleslaw to the mix.  They do offer tacos that feature lettuce and cheese, which sounds interesting.  Many of the folks that were also near the truck were getting the tacos.

In terms of value, I would grade this as an A-.  Authentic smoked BBQ is always pricey, but $8 for a sandwich like this downtown is more than a fair deal.  (You could go to Subway around the corner and easily spend nearly $8 for a corporate test tube sandwich with 5% of the flavor).  The amount of beef on the sandwich justifies the price point.  Notably, the pork option is a dollar cheaper.

Final thoughts:  This is a truck where if you are wanting plain old authentic and tasty smoked brisket or pulled pork/chicken, it appears you cannot go wrong.  However, if you are looking for something more adventuresome or gourmet, this may not be your truck.  Personally, I will be going back to this truck as long as it is still roaming Denver.

Beef Brisket Sandwich with Spicy Habanero Sauce ---  Wells Fargo Center, 17th and Sherman, Denver CO on August 6, 2013 around 11:40AM

Beef Brisket Sandwich with Spicy Habanero Sauce — Wells Fargo Center, 17th and Sherman, Denver CO on August 6, 2013 around 11:40AM

http://www.nzsmokinguns.com/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/NZs-Smokin-Guns/