If you are lucky enough to have lunched in Red Deer all summer long on the company’s tab, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for food trucks are a moveable feast.
Now that I’ve set Ernest Hemingway’s remains a-spinning in Ketchum, Idaho, I will look back on my summer of Food Truck Fridays and a couple of side trips to Sylvan Lake’s Food Truck Thursdays.
So what comes to mind?
I ate well. When a man eats well at a food truck, it is something pure and good and natural. For those moments, what was once bad seems better and what was good feels changed, more honest.
Dang! Can’t seem to shake that Hemingway vibe. Sorry whirring Papa.
Let’s start again.
My biggest take-away from my food truck experience was that that the dishes were a cut above.
Bottom line: I’d heard the food trucks are good. And they are.
Just look at a few of the dishes I sampled:
l Southeast Asia-inspired pork and cabbage bowl, topped surprisingly with a fried egg. (The Good Stuff)
l Grilled cheese sandwich with maple syrup, bacon and slices of Granny Smith apple (Chedda’ Heads)
l Filipino barbecue skewers with pancit noodles (Simple Spice)
l Garlic fries with chocolate ganache cake chaser (Queen Bees Frites & Sweets)
l Bulgarian sausage on organic fresh-cut fries (Mr. Happy Day Fries)
l Fish tacos with a secret sauce (The Stache)
l Garlic fries with a hotdog bored into the bun (Dawg’n It)
l Roasted chicken sandwich with sweet fig jam (Cool Beans)
l Pork butt sandwich (Longhorn Southern BBQ)
See what I mean?
There was something for just about every palate, even for vegetarians. Not sure about vegans though. You’re on your own.
I learned a lot too. I learned aioli is a thing.
I learned not to fear garlic. It works in almost everything.
I learned that fries are the basis of any healthy diet and go great with Parmesan and — you guessed it — garlic. (Nutritionists, save your emails, I realize the science is still unproven on that claim.)
I learned that sometimes just one additional ingredient, an unexpected taste, an oddball combination, turns a standard into a standout.
But I also learned that Central Alberta has a lot of entrepreneurial cooks, chefs and bakers who took leaps of faith to get into the food truck business.
All were excited about their ventures and buoyed by their loyal followers among the lunch-time crowd.
Many of them were already dreaming of new recipes or twists they could put on their dishes for next year.
There was also something about the relaxed, communal atmosphere at the Food Truck Fridays hangout across from the courthouse that made lunch a social experience.
Conversation with strangers came easily with so many happy to champion their favourite dishes.
Lastly, I learned sometimes I have the best job ever.
firstname.lastname@example.org and @PaulCowley1 on Twitter