Category Archives: Civic Center EATS

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 @
  • 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:
  • 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.  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

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

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

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:

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. The paycheck was totally worth it!

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:

 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:


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