Street Meat

Trust me to know all about food.  There are a number of food trucks situated locally, fish and chips wagons, burger and fries trucks.  Most of them have been anchored in the same spots for so long that they’ve added shaded, or completely enclosed eating areas.  There’s even a tiny, original, brick, Dairy Queen store, that used to be on my route to work at my last job, which now serves up “Newfy Fries”.

This is a delicacy (?) brought up from Newfoundland, consisting of French fries, served with seasoned bread stuffing, and often cooked peas.  I never saw the point of adding carbs, to carbs, and just stuck to gravy on my fries.

Apparently there are a number of more upscale food-service vehicles, affectionately known as gut-trucks, which remain mobile, and move from place to place, as the opportunities present.  They’re not allowed at the Multi-Cultural Festival, or the Croatian Food Festival, or the Greek Festival, held in the parking lot of the Greek Orthodox Church.  One or more of them show up at places like the daughter’s Cherry Park Festival, the Non-Violence Festival, or Afro-Fest, and move on to The Word On The Street.

To all these worthy causes, the City has added another festival (?), a Battle Of The All-Stars, food-truck display at city hall.  No history, no heritage, no information handouts, this is strictly a commercial venture  The city hall is U-shaped, with wings that almost reach the sidewalk on the main street, but the main body of the building sits back.  The rear part of this open space is a paved area, sometimes used for concerts, behind a reflecting pool/fountain/winter skating area.

Recently, the city invited eight of these food vehicles to show up at city hall.  They closed off three blocks of the street, centered on city hall, put supports in the pool and covered them with a plywood floor.  They placed four of these trucks behind, and two on each side of the street, in front.

The trucks are gaily painted, with bright graphics.  Access http://www.schmucktruck.ca, or any of the others, for menu and prices, and a list of upcoming locations.  There is an Ontario Association of Food Trucks.  I saw a rep. wearing an association tee-shirt, photographing and videoing all of the trucks with his tablet.  Aside from merely the type of food each provides, most of them present some sort of theme.

One of them appears to be a big SWAT van, because they serve Sandwiches With A Twist, cold or grilled sandwiches with premium ingredients and side dishes.  There is a British Bakery truck, covered with Union Jacks and bunting, which serves English meat pies, steak and kidney, ham and Swiss, fish and finger, Melton Mobray and Cornish pasties, which are not worn by Cockney strippers.

There was one rather plain-Jane creepy crepes truck which offered “healthy food.”  I’ll eat healthy food at home, if the wife can catch me.  If I go to a food-truck, I want breaded and deep-fried cholesterol, with lots of salt, and a beer, not Evian.  I’m told that Mr. Schmucktruck, above, serves more than just hot-dogs, burgers and fries, but even they are Angus beef burgers and fries cooked in peanut oil.

They must have had a good day.  It was supposed to last from 11 AM, to 7 PM.  The son and I went down just before 6 PM, and they, and the Brits were out of stock, and closed.  Feisty Jack serves fish and chips, chicken tikka, and a masala box.  West of Seoul provides Korean and Asian street food, including a WOS Asian, Big Mac wannabe.

El Luchador is a Spanish name which means the warrior, or fighter.  It’s the name given to the soap-opera-style Mexican wrestlers.  The couple who run that highly-decorated food-cart, dress in tight black jeans and tee-shirts, and serve customers wearing the strange masks that the Mexican wrestlers wear.

My taste for Mexican food is what drew me downtown, and to the Luchador truck, where I was disappointed.  They don’t really serve Mexican food.  In fact, they don’t really serve anything I wanted.  It’s a yuppy fusion-food wagon.  See the menu.

Menu Board 1

The son and I walked several blocks to a well-reviewed, new, Mexican restaurant, but we, and all the densified, gentrified residents of all the new, downtown condos and lofts, found it, and every other decent downtown restaurant closed on Sunday.  There were several bars open, where you could get pub-grub, but for that, we could have gone to East Side Mario’s, three blocks from the house.

We trudged back to El Luchador, stood in line an outrageous amount of time, and settled for the chicken (?) burrito.  No mention of “cat” or “gila monster”, so it must have been chicken, Thai chicken, but chicken.  For dessert, Kool Jim’s Ice Cream Truck doled out chocolate dipped, frozen bananas, banana splits, sundaes, and soft ice cream.

Overall, I was disappointed with this spew of crass commercialism, masquerading as culture.  Sitting in the sun, on concrete, eating overpriced, pretentious grub, with hundreds of strangers doesn’t really appeal to me, but the paper says that thousands attended, and a survey says that most were thrilled.  Me??!  I’ve been there twice, the first time – and the last time!

Out-of-town blog visitors, don’t be intimidated by “The Regulars”.  I appreciate your visits, and all comments are gratefully welcomed and responded to.  Feel free to have your say and ask questions.

Archon

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18 thoughts on “Street Meat

  1. aFrankAngle says:

    Love the name of the Schmuck Truck. I never realized that Canada was so focused on culinary treats! Glad you got to attend twice. 🙂

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    • Archon's Den says:

      I don’t think that Canada is focused on culinary treats, as much as entrepreneurs are focused on marketing them, to make money. There’s a SchmuckTruckdotCom that works out of L.A., but I don’t think they’re related. 😀

      Like

  2. BrainRants says:

    I still don’t get gravy on fries, but I’m not saying that is a bad thing.

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    • Archon's Den says:

      To each his own, no gravy unless I can get vinegar, malt vinegar preferably. How ’bout you?? Vinegar/no vinegar? White? Malt? Cider? Anything but white even available in beautiful, downtown Kansas, or high-plains California? 🙂

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  3. Sightsnbytes says:

    It is ironic that ‘Newfie Fries’ are known in Newfoundland as Trucker’s Special…You really need to visit the island and enjoy true Newfoundland Cuisine

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  4. Sightsnbytes says:

    My uncle runs a chip truck. He used to work as a mechanic, but lacks the training to work on the newer cars, so now he cooks and sells his product. Thing is, he isn’t the most sanitary guy ever. His hands long stained from years working as a grease monkey, presentation isn’t his high point. I once witnessed a very hungry and very drunk woman who who ordered a burger from the guy. Without using a napkin or a plate, he simply reached his greasy hand out the window to pass the girl her burger. She took one look at his hands and ran away screaming. One has to wonder if health food inspectors treat those guys the same as they they do restaurant owners. Nice article, as usual. Great reading while I enjoy my Trucker’s Special!

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    • Archon's Den says:

      Health inspectors are supposed to check them. I think that may have been part of what the guy from the Food Truck Assn. was up to. If we come down, can we skip lunch at the uncle’s? 😕 Brother moved to a town of 600. First time we visited, he took us out to a food truck at the edge of town called Gibby’s Grub, a name to conjure with. 🙂

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  5. whiteladyinthehood says:

    Pretty interesting. I’ve never eaten from a “food truck.” We have a family in the Hood that own one, though. I just don’t know where they go to sell their food. If they sold a giant loaded taco – I’m sure I would try one!

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  6. Archon's Den says:

    For me, they were like book stores, only with French fries. “Welcome back Mr. Smith, your usual?” When I still had a motorcycle, I knew every operator by name. 😀 With my exercise cut back, the only name I know is Jenny Craig. 😦 I wish we had taco/tortilla wagons like they do in L.A.

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  7. Kayjai says:

    I’ve never heard of what Ted is referring to as Trucker’s special or your Newfie fries. I’ve heard of the kitchen sink (fries, gravy, stuffing, and some sort of ‘vegetable’ on top)…perhaps it’s along the same lines. Those festivals never really appealed to hubby or myself when we lived in Ontario…I guess we were just not culturally sophisticated enough.

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    • Archon's Den says:

      I guess they’re all area-specific names. I like the “Kitchen Sink”. Some of these festivals are better than others. I like the Multi-Cultural – but only for the food. Move from Ontario to The Rock, and drink wine, and you’re the most sophisticated person on the island. 😉

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  8. benzeknees says:

    We have a similar thing here in Edmonton at our City Hall area which I think they call Taste of Edmonton. Not only do they have food trucks, but they set up large tents as well. They don’t close down our pool though. You have to buy tickets at one specific place because the food servers don’t handle any money (it’s dirty after all). I guess it helps them keep from getting robbed too.

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  9. Archon's Den says:

    Each truck has at least two attendants. One takes orders and money. The other delivers the food. Prices vary. Your way means the city gets their cut first, and the trucks get any that’s left. 😦

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  10. 1jaded1 says:

    Fries are awesome with sour cream. Chicago has gut trucks. I’ve never purchased anything from one.

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  11. Archon's Den says:

    I’ve never tried fries with just sour cream, but I’ve got a meal of chili-fries coming up that adds the chili, shredded cheese and chopped green onions, as well.
    “He’s so fat that, when he sits around the house, he sits AROUND the house.” 😀

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