Monthly Archives: August 2013

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 (

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.

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