Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tuesday 6/21- Basil Thyme (Pasta)

Today is a special posting of FTF blog, the wifey was able to join me for lunch today and agreed to be a guest contributor to today's post!

We tried "Basil Thyme", which is pretty new on the DC truck scene (less than two weeks), but despite their newbieness they ran a smooth and tasty operation selling a good variety of high quality pasta with generous proportions and at a decent price!  According to their website they create the pasta fresh every day, not just the sauce but the actual pasta itself, and after tasting it I definitely believe it!

Pasta Combo $10 (Fettuccine, salad, bread, drink and cannoli)
The Basil Thyme truck offers a menu of several different types of Lasagna (vegi, beef, meat) or pasta, today the pasta option was fettuccine, with a variety of sauces to choose from. I ordered the fettuccine with pesto as part of the combo special which came with a side salad, a piece of bread, a drink and two small cannolis. I found it all delicious.

The pasta was very fresh tasting, and you could actually TASTE the pasta, it had perfect texture and softness. The Pesto sauce was also very good, if not perfect. It was not overpowering and had the right balance of basil and oil, and was not too oily or greasy. The pasta was also topped with a good amount of cheese which really tied it all together quite nicely.

The salad was definitely well put together and was not an after thought as often side salads are; it contained high end ingredients, including tomatoes, cucumber, olives, greens and a tangy dressing. The slice of french bread was a nice touch and was useful to help push the pasta on the fork!

I am not a big fan of cannoli as I find them either too rich or too sweet for my taste, but I actually really enjoyed this cannoli, the casing was softer than usual and the fresh ricotta filling was soft and creamy and not too rich or sweet.

The truck staff was very friendly and pleasant to deal with, my only suggestions would be that they use more environmental friendly containers instead of the plastic containers they are using, and stop automatically putting orders in plastic bags.   Also it would be good if they posted the days menu on the truck, which they did not do today.

Overall I give the Basil Thyme truck a very high rating and will definitely be looking to try it again as it was a delicious and filling lunch at a very good value!

My wife had the Beef Lasagna pictured below and agreed to contribute to my blog by posting a review of her meal:

Lasagna Combo (Beef Lasgna, Salad, bread, drink and cannoli) $10

 I had the beef lasagna combo which came with a side salad, bread, drink and dessert. The lasagna tasted fresh and homemade. The lasagna noodles were intact, easy to cut and soft to chew. There were no rough or rubbery corners. The tomato sauce was perfect in flavor. And the lasagna was neither greasy nor overloaded with cheese, however I did not taste much basil or other herbs in the lasagna. If I were to suggest any modifications to the recipe it would be to add more Thyme and Basel as the truck name implies. The side salad was mixed greens (primarily arugula), with pitted kalamata olives and a sliced cucumber. It had the perfect amount of dressing- I like to taste the greens in my salad, not the dressing. For dessert I had the cannoli which tasted wonderful.  I would say it is probably the best cannoli I have had in a super long time. The cannoli was soft yet firm. You can taste the cinnamon in the cannoli which made it so tasty. The cream was not too sweet nor too thick. I didn't feel like I was eating sweetened butter-like cream. The cream was soft and whipped. I would definitely go back to try out other meals on their menu.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday 6/20- Big Cheese

I tried the Big Cheese truck today for the first time.  They serve the classic comfort food of Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with a gourmet touch!  This truck has been out for quite a while and despite several other trucks at Farragut Park today, they still managed to attract the largest crowed and after trying it myself, I can see why.  
Midnight Moon Sandwich (Goat Cheese Gouda with Caramelized Onions on Multi-Grain) $6.50, Gazpacho $2

Big Cheese offers 4-5 different varieties of grilled cheese sandwiches, including Chevre with Fig spread, Brie with Fuji Apple, classic Cheddar on sour dough, and the Goat Cheese Gouda with Caramelized onions, which is what I ordered.  They also offer some sides, I went for the Gazpacho, which for $2 is a bargain.

I was very happy with my sandwich, it was like eating French Onion Soup in Sandwich form.  It came with a generous serving of cheese smothered with carmelized onions!  The bread was also full of whole grains which gave it a nice texture.  I do think that $6.50 is a bit costly for what you get, but in terms of taste, I have no complaints.  The Gazpacho was delicious, it was very chunky and tasted very fresh, for two dollars you get a paper coffee cup serving, which I think is a pretty good deal.  I was left a bit hungry after the sandwich, so maybe next time I might just get a double or triple order of Gazpacho.  If you are seeking a light, but tasty lunch- Big Cheese is the way to go!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

June 14 - Fojol Bros of Benethopia

Fojol Bros is my favorite food truck  franchise, so I am not sure why it has taken me this long to post a review.  Fojol Bros of Merlinda (aka the Indian Food Truck) is my favorite of the food trucks and never disappoints.  The food is always delicious and the staff, dressed up in their goofy outfits complete with huge fake mustaches and turbans always have something hilarious to say.  Today I tried their newest truck, called Fojol Bros of Benethopia which as the name implies, serves up Ethopian food.  Its the same style 70's funky truck as the Indian truck, also blasting funky tunes and also has a witty staff making the lunch process enjoyable for their customers.  They even put out chairs and blankets on the grass for customers to enjoy!  Even better, this truck has a sink on the outside to wash your hands, which comes in handy since Ethiopian food is best eaten with your hands! 
Pick 2 Combo with Beef Berbere and Berber Lentils- $7

Like their their Merlindian relatives, the fojol bros of Benethopia have combo options of 2 or 3 items, both come with plenty of Injera bread.  I like Ethopian food a lot, and despite DC being full of Ethopian restaurants, I have found, with few exception, most to be hit or miss.  Fojol Bros did not let me down, I found the combo of Beef Berbere and the Berber Lentils to be delicious!  They were both very tasty and generous in proportion and had just the right amount of spice kick- not too spicy and not too bland.  As far as I can tell, this is pretty authentic Ethopian food and definitely well prepared.  The beef is very moist and comes in a tomato based sauce.  The lentils also come in a tomato based sauce and are cooked to perfection, not soggy or smushed and not hard-- just right!  I dont know if you can go wrong with Injera bread, but I should note that the Injera bread is also just good and comes pre cut in easy to eat triangles.

I am glad to have found another solid food truck in town.  When I am not in the mood to experiment I know I can get a solid meal at an excellent price, at $7 for the 2-item combo, its cheaper than all of the lamewhich/salad places that are scheming to keep the DC lunch scene bland!

I look forward to trying the other offerings at Fojol Brothers of Benethopia, and also to write about the original Fojol Bros of Merlinda, I definitely recommend trying both trucks, you cant go wrong with Fojol Bros!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Monday 6/13 - Oh Captain, Fry Captain

When I heard that the Fry Captain food truck had hit the streets of DC, I immediately recalled fond memories of Pommes Frites in NYC and hoped this truck would be of similar caliber.  For those who have not been to Pommes Frites, take my advice and GO!  I would say its even worth a special trip to NYC, for it.  Unfortunately for us in DC, Fry Captain does not come close and does not even warrant a special trip down the block.

I purchased the regular order of fries for $4, they also have an option for a double order for $6, and if I wanted them fried in Duck Oil (whatever that is), add $1.50 extra.  They also have shakes which I did not try.

So I order my fries and am charged $5, when I refer to the menu and ask aren't they $4, he informs me that they ran out of regular oil so they are using Duck Oil and so they have to charge me $1 more!  I don't mind so much when trucks run out of stuff, its part of the nature of the truck biz, but not to be informed upfront (say I was a vegetarian and didn't want Duck Oil).. that was the first put off.   Second strike, was the size of the fries, for $4 I was expecting a decent size order of fries, well the picture above is a bit misleading, and it was a lot smaller than it looks in the picture.    Third strike was they had no napkins!  How can your core business be fries and you do not have any napkins!  So as you can see this truck struck out with me before I even tasted the food.

Fry Captain did not redeem itself with the quality of the food.  The Fries were over salted, greasy, and small.. and all broken up.  It was like the fries that gather at the bottom of an order that usually get tossed, except my WHOLE order was like that.  I kept eating after the first couple of bites because I felt bad wasting $5, but by the time I got half way through I asked my self why I was still eating this ball of grease and salt and I tossed the rest! 

Bottom Line- Fry Captain = Complete FAIL.   Very unfortunate as I really wanted to love this truck.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tuesday 3/22 - Yellow Vendor

Yellow Vendor is one of the first trucks I ever tried and a big reason why I initially fell in love with truck food, thereby vowing not to bore myself by lunching at ABP, Cosi, Panera, etc again!  Yellow Vendor is the "hole in the wall" of food trucks, but one you don't want to miss.  The truck and set up is very simple, and the cost is only $7 for anything on the menu.  Every single time I have gone, its the young , very friendly, Korean guy working the truck and (who I presume) his dad sitting on a chair in the back.  The menu consists of bulgogi, chicken teriyaki (both come in spicy and non-spicy versions), combo of the two, and bibimap (vegetarian).  You really cant go wrong they are all delicious!

Beef Bulgogi / Chicken Teriyaki Combo- $7
Today I got the combo (regular, not spicy) which comes with very generous servings of both Chicken Teriyaki and Beef Bulgogi over a bed of rice.  The dish comes with spicy Kimchi and salad.  All this for $7 is an amazing deal.  On my previous visits to Yellow Vendor I got the spicy combo which is also very tasty but also extremely spicy (even for me).  I found that getting the regular version and adding spice to my liking (from the included side of spicy sauce) allowed me to spice it up to my ideal level.  Both the Chicken and the Beef are very tasty and very fresh.  The rice is also very good, just the right level of stickiness to eat with chop sticks.  The side of Kimchi and salad is a great addition adding the perfect spicy/sour twist to the meal.   I cant say enough good things about the food at this truck, and I will continue to be a return customer!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Monday 3/21- CapMac

Despite the mediocre reviews on yelp, I went for the CapMac truck today.  As indicated by its name, this truck is all about Macaroni and Cheese (and soup).  They usually serve up 3-4 diffferent varieties of Mac and Cheese, from original to more exotic varieties.  I had heard about long and inefficient lines at this truck, but it only took me about 5-6 minutes to order and receive my food, despite several people in line a head of me.  All in all I was quite pleased with the experience.
Goat Cheese Mac w/ Chicken $9

I went for the goat cheese Mac and opted to get it w/chicken for $1 extra.  First impression upon receiving my food is that its a bit small for $9, but it did feel pretty heavy.  Upon reaching my office I weighed it, and as you can see from the picture, it comes in just shy of a pound.  I must say, I am still quite stuffed about an hour after eating it.  The macaroni was cooked good and tasted fresh and the goat cheese was generous and was of good quality.  It was topped with pesto and bread crumbs which added a very nice flavor and texture element.  The shredded chicken was mixed in with the mac, and was a bit on the sparse side, but then again it was only $1 extra.  They serve the mac in environmental friendly containers which is also a plus.  I would say this was a pretty darn good bowl of Mac and Cheese which left me fully satisfied, although the price is a bit on the high side.  I would definitely come back here again.  

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday 3/18 (take 2) - Austin Grill

My experience earlier in the day left me hungry and still craving a decent lunch, so I headed over to Farragut park for Farragut Fridays.  It was great seeing so many trucks out so late in the day (1:30 PM), many with long lines.  Since I had to rush back to work I made my decision based on shortest line, which led me to Austin Grill, which serves typical bar/grill fare of wings, burgers and burritos.  Apparently this truck is part of the local chain with the same name.  While I thought the truck was very nice, I found the menu to be a bit uninspired.

Chicken Burrito Bowl $8
I ordered a chicken burrito but they did not have any tortillas so I had to opt for the burrito bowl.  The burrito comes in a plastic bowl and comes with grilled chicken, pinto beans, rice, tomatoes, lettuce, pico, guacamole and mystery yellow sauce.  The dish is presented quite nicely, the grilled chicken is tasty and moist, and the tomatoes and lettuce are fresh but thats about all they get right.  The rice is dry and tasteless, the guacamole is runny, I was not too impressed with the beans and the yellow mystery sauce tasted funky.  I did finish it, but would have been better off at baja fresh.  This truck and it's food lacks character and can be summarized as "blah".  It probably does better late night serving those too inebriated to care what they are consuming as long as it fills them up.

So I went 0 for 2 today and would not return to Austin Grill again either.  Here is hoping for better luck next week!