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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

On the Prowl: Charleston Food Truck Rodeo, Take Two

It was take two for me this past weekend in Charleston for their food truck rodeo. This time located close to the downtown area at Post and Courier, the rodeo saw double, some places even triple the number of people, meaning some long waits at a few of the popular stops, but with more trucks and food to take in, it was worth the wait.

Before the rodeo, however, I made a stop earlier at the day at Charleston's farmers market in Marion Square. Many food truck vendors were there booth style, but one stand in particular stood out for me - Street Food Hero, a banh mi station. They had several varieties of banh mi (a Vietnamese sandwich) available, including lemongrass chicken and five spiced pork. Grabbing the last banh mi of the day (score!), I tried their take on the classic banh mi with pate and Vietnamese meats. The sandwich definitely had a more modern spin to it with all the ingredients and the consistency of the pate, but at the heart of the sandwich was a very good banh mi that I'd love to tackle again any time of the week.

After a brief rest and some shopping, it was time to move up King St. to Post and Courier for the rodeo. With the goal of a five buck max/min at every food truck, I embarked on my second excursion into the slightly more but still relatively unknown, starting with Roti Rolls. An eclectic truck serving up a variety of local rolls on roti, a South Asian bread similar to Indian naan but a bit flakier like filo dough, Roti serves up a pretty interesting menu ranging from more conservative choices like the curry vegetable roti roll to the more sinister with the Thurman Murman, a dangerous concoction involving creole mac and cheese and braised short ribs. Being on the $5-per-truck rampage though, I opted for their ceviche. Fresh jack fish hit with citrus and heirloom peppers, the ceviche was a nice, cool refreshing start to the trip. The ceviche also came with a piece of roti. Hot, flaky, and a little buttery, it was a great compliment to the cold, tangy ceviche. For four bucks, this was a steal.

Next, I hit up a familiar face from my last trip, the Happy Camper Snoball truck to pick up a luscious lemon lime snoball, the perfect snack to have in hand while waiting for my "Holy City Brewing Porter braised barbecue sandwich with pickled onions on brioche" at Hello My Name is Barbecue. Unfortunately, the six degrees of Kevin Bacon, a barbecue sandwich with six slices of beer braised bacon (!) was out of my budget, but the porter braised barbecue sandwich was good and hefty on its own. It was a bit on the dry side with the giant brioche and sauceless bbq, but a choice of five homemade sauces on the side changed that quickly. Butternut squash barbecue sauce? Hello indeed! They also served taco versions of the sandwich, which may be the better bet to cut the dry factor.

After a small break, a friend arrived in time to check out PotKettleBlack. On my last trip there, they had a pretty devilish bacon theme going on, but this time they had a light and had an apple-inspired menu up. My friend opted for the curry apple squash soup, which was topped with bacon. It makes everything better doesn't it? Mild, with a bit of spice from that curry, it was a good buy for $4. I decided to move my day into desert, grabbing some fresh apple slices topped with their homemade caramel. Pretty much fail proof in design. A smattering of toppings were left on the side for anyone to play with, keeping things fun and interesting. Just don't touch those red hots.

Sensing a crash about to occur, we decided to go out with a bang and tackle the most popular truck at the rodeo the day, Diggity Donuts. I already loved the heck out of this place the first time around, so I was pretty excited and willing to wait in the gargantuan line for this one. Unfortunately, a chunk of the menu had been slashed by the time we made it to their window (hour wait!), but we managed to gather up what was left, including the peanut butter sriracha, classic cinnamon sugar, two butternutmeg squash, and a minty moijito. I have some slight reservations about the squash, but the moijito was a sinister pleasure. You could really taste the mint in this one, and a sour spike of the moijito hits you like a train on first bite - in a very, very good way. Not a bad way to end a long and delicious day.


Anonymous said...

Great description. Love Street Food Hero so I'm glad you made it to the farmer's market.

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