Another night, another meals-on-wheels spectacle. This one took place last evening behind the Publix at Biscayne Boulevard and 47th Street -- a temporary move from 81st Street due to some hiccup that is apparently being solved. The crowds were thin relative to recent round-ups, perhaps due to the air having a bit of nip to it; plus I left before 8 p.m., so maybe things got busier later on. What follows are photos of some of the foods sampled, with quick impressions of each. It's not good enough to be photo journalism, but how about we call it photo blogism?
Best Non-Fish Sandwich
You're looking at it: The Dim Ssäm A Go Go's crispy duck sandwich with cilantro, pickle, red onion, and ssämjang mayo sauce ($7). That's all the flavors and textures you can ask of one sandwich. Delicous. This truck (from Sakaya Kitchen), and Jeremiah Bullfrog's gastroPod (which wasn't around last night), seem to be the two trucks consistently delivering the sort of special chef-driven foods that epitomize what is best about the food truck movement. Then again, The Fish Box is up there too...
Best Non-Meat Sandwich
"The Original 'Minuta Sandwich'" ($5) at The Fish Box (by la Camaronera) was a damn near perfect fried fish sandwich: fresh snapper fillet with tail on, cooked in clean oil, served on soft bun with tartare sauce, ketchup, and onions. The ketchup is a new one on me, but they go fairly light with it.
That would be the Burger Beast, Sef Gonzalez, the Grandmaster of Ceremonies concerning the whole Food Truck Court shebang. He rolled in with his new Beastmobile, on this evening manned by El Mago de las Fritas, famous makers of the famous Cuban hamburger with onions and paprika and potato sticks and things. "Don't get your frita with cheese unless you want to look like a tourist," advises The Beast. I didn't get cheese with my frita, but it was the fifth hamburger of the night for me, so...I couldn't even judge it. To me, at that point, it tasted exactly like an overdose of chopped meat. I'll make it the first burger next time.
The $6 Grilled Cheese Sandwich
I can't really complain about Ms. Cheezious' grilled cheese sandwich. I tried one with American cheese, on Texas toast, with bacon. The price seems steep for skinny grilled cheese (traditionally the wispiest of sandwiches), but the griddle masters of the truck really do make a textbook, golden brown, lightly buttered sandwich. Jonathan and Cindy, she a Miami native and he originally from Massachusetts, thought the grilled cheese sandwich, on sourdough and with bacon, was "great." The couple were on their way home and about to stop at Publix to shop for dinner when they espied the caravan of food. "This is one of the best things I've seen in a long time," said Jonathan. "It gives me faith in Miami again."
Pretty good for a grilled cheese sandwich, no?
The Non-Latin Latin House Grill Burgers
It's not a bad deal at all for $10: Choice of 2 of 3 internationally-styled sliders, soda and fries. The trio offered: American (American cheese, bacon); Italian (mozzarella cheese, basil, tomato); and French (brie, honey, chopped almonds). I chose the first two, both fat, juicy, and pretty tasty. Fries were cooked in less-than-fresh oil. Soda was cold. There are better burgers around but not many better deals. But why doesn't The Latin House Grill offer some sort of Latin burger? Not enough Hispanics in Miami? While they're at it, they might consider posting some sort of menu, too. A lot of folks left because they couldn't figure out what was being served.
Where The Hell Do You Sit?
Former New York Times food critic Mimi Sheraton incurred some blogger wrath recently when, in response to the food truck scene, she wondered in print: "And the truck thing. I don't know how long that'll last. I don't know where they eat it, that's what I can't figure out about a truck. Where the hell do they eat it?" At the Biscayne Triangle Round-Up there are grassy areas where some folks eat picnic-style. No such luck at last night's setting, although, as you can see, people found their spots.
Messiest Sandwich By Far
The chicken jerk sandwich from The Rolling Stove seemingly weighed about five pounds, wasn't cut in half, and dripped with jerk sauce and cole slaw. The bread was griddled with butter, and the sandwich was fairly tasty ($7) -- but just about impossible to eat without a fork.
Most Refreshing Finish To A Rather Heavy, Greasy Parade Of Foods:
The coconut-white chocolate bomb ($3) from the Sugar Rush truck (by Sweetness Bake Shop & Cafe in South Miami) was unbelievably invigorating to the palate after all the spices, meats, etc. Also liked the lemon box cake and Krispy Kreme bread pudding (with espresso créme anglaise) but -- the coconut ice cream hit the spot in a blissful way.
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I'll describe some other foods and impressions next week.