I’m back with part III of my expedition in the emerging Indianapolis food truck scene. If you get a chance this weekend or next, make sure to head down to Monument Circle where a majority of the city’s food trucks will be dishing out lunch and dinner. It’s a great opportunity to try a wide variety in one location. For more information on the other mobile eateries in the city, make sure to read the previous posts.
One of my favorite sandwich styles is the cheesesteak. The delicious combination of ribeye steak, sautéed peppers and onions and gooey cheese makes my mouth water. As soon as I found out the Indy Cheez Steak truck would be at the office building just across the street from mine a few weeks back, I knew that’s where I would be heading for lunch. The menu reads like the list of inductees into a comfort food hall of fame: Cheesesteak ($7.50), Beer Brat ($7.50), Mac and Cheese Sandwich ($6.00).
I opted for the cheesesteak and loaded it up with a mess of peppers, onions, mushrooms, mayonnaise and melted cheddar “cheez”. Served in a crusty Italian roll nearly bursting at the seams, I had to eat it hot dog style just to prevent the gooey goodness from spilling out all over the place (and even that didn’t quite work). The steak is flavorful and the mushrooms add an interesting touch that you don’t normally find on a cheesesteak.
My only concern was the price, although that was partially assuaged when I saw how large the sandwich was. I still think $7.50 is a little much for a bratwurst but I’ll hold my ultimate judgment until I actually try it. I’ve never had a cheesesteak in Philadelphia, so I can’t tell you how it stands up there but I can say this was as fine a cheesesteak as I’ve had in Indianapolis.
The Indianapolis food truck craze has officially moved north to Kokomo thanks to Rollin With Da Roux. It’s not too often that the truck makes it close enough for me to grab lunch from my downtown office since it usually only comes as far south as Carmel. So, one day when I saw it was going to make a rare appearance downtown, I jumped at my opportunity.
There has been quite the influx of Cajun eateries in Indianapolis over the past year and now we even have two Cajun food trucks. I don’t know if there is some sort of Cajun trend sweeping the nation or if restaurateurs are simply trying to play off the success of Yats. When I approached the bright yellow truck I had a hard time making up my mind. Did I want the catfish po’ boy ($8) or the jambalaya ($7) or the crawfish etouffee ($8)? Cajun food happens to be one of my favorite kinds, especially since it creates a mixture of spiciness and seafood not often found in this area.
After consulting with the owner, I opted for the crawfish etouffee. The chili cheese crawfish etouffee at Yats is in my top five of favorite Indianapolis dishes so this had a lot to live up to. Da Roux smartly avoids direct competition and comparisons with the chili cheese etouffee by producing a more traditional etouffee. The parboiled rice was perfect and the etouffee had a nice kick from the spices. The crawfish took a back seat and, personally, I wish the chunks had been larger but it’s a miracle to just have good crawfish up here to begin with.
While the price isn’t quite as good as what you’ll pay at Yats, it does fall in line with pretty much every other food truck meal out there and can be a lot more conveniently located, making it a great choice when time is of the essence.
Sometimes there’s something that comes along and totally blows you away. That’s what happened when I had my first bite of seasoned fries from Chef Dan’s. It was completely unexpected as well. You see, I had been dying to try out the food truck ever since it hit the streets but had never quite found a time when the location was convenient. The menu reads like a list of personal favorites: pulled pork sandwich, po’ boys, jambalaya. That’s why I went. But the fries are why I will go again.
Chef Dan’s is part of an influx of Southern cooking that’s found its way to Indianapolis. The little yellow trailer dishes out classic Southern dishes, many finished off with their secret rub. I had the pulled pork ($5) and seasoned fries ($2). As far as prices go, these are some of the best in the city. They fall in line with the typical meal elsewhere but you are getting much more food for your buck. The pulled pork was slightly messy, like any pulled pork should be, and had a nice slightly smoky flavor.
The fries, though, were downright amazing. Fried up and then coated with a secret blend of spices, they were slightly reminiscent of what you might find at Red Robin but about twenty times better. A little spicy, a little salty and just a hint of sweetness. These are easily in the running for best food truck fries in the city and best fries I’ve ever had, period. In fact, if Chef Dan wanted to open up a food truck that solely sold his fries, I’d be a frequent customer and surely see my cholesterol level spike, although I’d sure miss the rest of the menu.
I had the opportunity to try out Circle City Spuds on only the second day the truck was open. The concept here is taking the baked potato and turning it into a variety of specialty creations. The menu is pretty limited right now but I’m sure it will expand over time.
I had the Brickyard BBQ Spud ($8). The pulled pork on it was excellent. Mrs. GLP remarked she would eagerly buy a pulled pork sandwich from the truck if they ever offered it. There were a variety of vegetables layered on top, including carrots which I never pictured on a BBQ baked potato. The whole thing is slathered in melted cheese.
The price is even with about how much you’ll spend on a meal at most food trucks. The potato with all of the toppings makes a pretty decent meal, especially during lunch. There’s a lot of potential but definitely room for improvement. The potato lacked seasoning on the outside, which left me disappointed. A baked potato is not done properly unless there is a nice dusting of salt on the skin. The pulled pork was great but the cheese sauce could use some work. I was hoping for something a little more gourmet but it’s pretty much indistinguishable from standard ballpark nacho cheese. It’s not bad by no means but it could be so much better. Finally, I’d love to see more variety and I’m sure that’s something that will come with time. I’ll keep an eye on the truck and look out for them to make a good meal a great one.
Up until recently, the choices for Italian from a food truck were limited to pizza or cold cut sandwiches. This is no longer the case with the debut of Little Eataly. The purple truck is dishing up helpings of Penne alla Vodka ($6), Ravioli Fritti ($5), and Cannoli ($5) alongside sandwiches like the Georgio Sub ($8) and Rosie Chick ($8).
I made the twenty minute walk from my office down to Monument Circle for the first day of the Super Bowl food truck event without any idea of which truck I would visit. Eying my options, I landed on Little Eataly. The line was long enough to indicate tasty, delicious food but not so long that I would be unable to make it back to the office before my lunch hour was up.
I opted for the special of the day, any sandwich, a side of Ravioli Fritti (toasted ravioli) and a drink for $12. For my sandwich I selected the Georgio Sub, an old world meatball sub with marinara sauce. The bread was soft, the meatballs succulent and the marinara flavorful. The Ravioli Fritti consists of ravioli stuffed with ricotta cheese, then covered in breadcrumbs and deep fried before being coated with a sprinkling of parmesan. They were everything toasted ravioli should be, cheesy, crunchy and not overly greasy.
Bravo Little Eataly on creating such a good first impression.