Event Review: Boise Food Truck Rally
I’m a little late to the street foodie party with this review, but I’ve been wanting to write about the Boise Food Truck Rally for a while now. If you haven’t heard of this event yet, then hopefully this review will inspire to come join me at next month’s rally. If you have been to a rally already, then I hope this write up will bring a smile to your face as you relive the event through my words.
The Boise Food Truck Rally was modeled after similar events in cities such as Portland and Seattle. They are absolutely great ideas, and lots of fun. Basically, it’s just an evening of local food trucks circling their “wagons” together for a fun gluttonous gathering of people who love to eat and experience something a little different.
Boise street food is coming along nicely, and is growing all the time. There are certainly some gems and some failures in that crowd, but in many ways even the failures are better than going to an $18 a plate brick-and-mortar restaurant. Some people worry about health concerns and such with food trucks, but they are stringently checked by the food safety police, possibly more than sit down restaurants are. So don’t worry about non-factual myths of cockroaches or dirt. Rather, focus on the menus and the fact that the owners are living a little dream of serving their versions of good food to the people of Boise. Once you do, you’ll likely chase down any taco truck or Asian food bus you land your eyes on.
One word of caution with the Rally though; it is extremely popular and draws a very large crowd in the hundreds. My first Rally was a complete disappointment because of that crowd, and because the location chosen for the event was way too small to get an adequate number of trucks in to feed that crowd. All the really good stuff was sold out by the time I was able to make my way through the lines to order anything. What I did get to taste was enough to make me want to come back though. And even though I haven’t had the chance to try all of the trucks yet, I’m going to give you my take on what I have had, and encourage you to go to the next Rally (2nd Friday of each month from 5-9 pm at varying locations, listed each month at https://www.facebook.com/FoodTruckRally).
Somehow, I managed to lose all of my personal pictures of my first Rally , so I’m borrowing some shots off of Facebook, namely for Calle 75, Boise Fry Company, B29 Streatery, and Brown Shuga Soul Food (I hope you all don’t mind!). I had them, now they’re gone. Much like the tasty Rally treats from my plate I guess.
Calle 75 Street Tacos Review
This was one of the few treats I got to try at my first Rally, and they were delicious! Rather on the expensive side, but delicious. We ordered 4 tacos that night:
- Shrimp with Baja Sauce – damn that was a good taco. The shrimp was cooked perfectly and seasoned well, and was paired perfectly with cabbage (red and green) and a very tasty Baja sauce.
- Carnitas – even better than the shrimp! Very moist, tender, and full of Mexican porky flavor. 5 more please!
- Carne Asada – it was good, but not fantastic. There are much better carne asada tacos to be had elsewhere, but order one or two if you’d like. They’re worth eating.
- Brisket – I got the feeling that Calle is proud of this taco. And I guess that if I loved the flavor of beer more than that of beef, I would be too. They rub a whole brisket in a Mexican spice rub, then marinate the hell out of it in beer. Sounds great, but unfortunately all I could taste was the beer. No thanks. Lose the beer and replace it with a smokey chipotle barbecue sauce or something and this taco would be a winner.
Rice Works Asian Food Review
If you’re a long-term reader, you know how much I love Asian food. I’m a total slut for it, spending thousands of dollars on 2 week vacations for the sole purpose of eating it at the source. It’s a little much perhaps. But it brings me joy so who cares. So it was with great anticipation that I finally got to try Rice Works food at the last Rally (they were sold out on my first Rally attempt). I was told by some friends that their Korean BBQ Beef wasn’t great, but that their Korean Spicy Tacos were awesome. I ordered accordingly. Yup, they were great, despite them being completely non-Asian.
What they were, though, was a very clever fusion of super moist and flavorful sweet Korean chicken, pickled Asian vegetables (cucumbers), a spicy Sriracha sauce, and cilantro, all stacked on some white corn tortillas. They were absolutely awesome, and got my mind racing will all sorts of hybrid taco creations I could do at home for my next dinner party. My girlfriend thought that they were too spicy and didn’t like them because of it, but I absolutely loved them and can’t wait to have them again. Great job Rice Works! Absolutely awesome!
Rice Works has other great sounding creations that I look forward to trying as well, such as rice bowls, Vietnamese and Korean meat sliders, Tonkatsu pork, fresh spring rolls, crispy fried rolls, curries, and more.
Archie’s Place Review
I’d heard a lot of hype about this place in foodieville, so I was very sad when they were all sold out of their sloppy Joes at my first Rally, but I arrived early my second go around and ordered Archie’s “famous” Joe sliders before anything else. I ordered a beef House Joe, and a pork verde Mean Joe Green. Umm….ya. These were terrific sloppy Joes. The beef was actually ground Wagyu beef, some of the best cattle on the planet. It was cooked in a traditional tomato sauce, with what I think were cloves. The sauce was good, a bit spicy, and a little sweet (molasses maybe?), but not the best I’ve ever had. Well worth the $2.50 though. The Pork Verde was fantastic. Ground pork cooked in a green tomatillo sauce. I was expecting more sauce than it came with, but somehow the little bit that clung to the pork was so power punched with flavor that I started to forget that my potato bun was not soaked with sauce. I’ve never had, nor even heard of a green sloppy Joe before this, but thanks to Archie’s, I think I’m now addicted.
Archie’s also has ground turkey Joe, and a Unicorn Joe, which is their funny code for vegan. These different Joe’s are served up in slider form, taco form, mashed potato bowl form, and grilled cheese sandwich form; all of which I’m sure are equally delicious. They also have soups and skewers, and offer everything in vegan and gluten free form.
Thanks for bringing sloppy Joe’s back into my life Archie. I’ll be seeing you again soon.
Saint Lawrence Gridiron Review
I don’t know what their name means, but these guys have a beautiful food truck and cook up some fancy meat dishes for street food fare. “Upscale bar food on wheels” might be an appropriate description, or maybe just “shut up and eat my high calorie deliciousness.” Whatever their slogan, this place is sure to please anyone that isn’t a vegan. They take street food to such a new level of “nice” that their serving ware isn’t even plastic, but rather made out of wood. Very cool.
Their cheese covered meaty fries is what what drew us in, but everything on their menu that I saw coming out of their bright orange truck looked fantastic. What we had was good, but I look forward to trying one of their sandwiches on my next visit.
We ordered two items off the menu; the Poutine, and the Fried Mac ‘n Cheese. The Poutine was a take on the Canadian classic. Saint Lawrence’s was made with the traditional fries (excellent by the way), then topped with an ale cheddar sauce, some sweet and sticky dark brown reduction sauce, perfectly barbequed brisket ends, and hefty chunks of quality Gorgonzola cheese. It looked beautifully scrumptious. On my first bite, I grabbed a fry that had all the toppings on it, and popped it in my mouth. My first thought was that the fry was perfect. My next thought was that the ale cheddar sauce tasted far too much of beer. My third thought was spent wondering where the sweetness was coming from. And my final thought was that this entire concoction suddenly worked perfectly in my mouth. The beer disappeared as it suddenly blended with everything else in a perfect cacophony of delight. Those were some damn good loaded fries. Definitely worth ordering.
The Fried Mac ‘n Cheese sounded so great on our brisk November night. It came out and was perfectly golden brown. We couldn’t hardly wait to tear into its gooey pasta center. But to our utter horror, the block of carby goodness was ice cold in the center. Ugh! If you’re going to make these ahead and keep them in the freezer, as you need to for an item like this, please have the courtesy to thaw them an hour before you start service for the evening. Sad. But we took it home with us, popped it in the toaster oven until pipping hot, and then dove it. It was delicious! Very creamy and full of cheese, with a strong herb flavor (rosemary), and the perfect amount of salt. It was then rolled in panko bread crumbs and fried, then served with a very sweet marinara sauce for dipping. Good for your body, no. Good for your soul, absolutely.
Boise Fry Company Food Truck Review
It is possible that Boise Fry Company has the best burgers to be found in Boise. Their exceptionally high quality fresh local grass-fed beef is expertly seasoned. They use real cheddar cheese, high quality mayo, and fresh locally baked organic potato rolls (which just happen to be delicious too). They top their burgers with nice thick bacon, organic Spring mix lettuces, and pickled red onions for a nice gourmet touch, all of which accentuate the burger perfectly. But burgers are not really what Boise Fry Company is known for now is it? They have staked their marketing claim in the fried potato world, and they do them very well. A robust selection of potatoes (including purple and Yukon gold), are lovingly prepped (typically with the skins on), and are then fried to a perfect golden crunch in peanut oil. They are served with a wide selection of house-made ketchups and seasoning salts to appease the flavor desires of the masses (even blueberry lovers). Boise Fry Company is a master of their art, and it’s very nice to see their Picasso being the same at their brick-and-mortar location as well as on the road. One taste at either will have you coming back for more. Perfect gourmet burgers and perfect gourmet fries are a culinary pairing that is hard to beat, so look for the Boise Fry Company truck at the next Rally.
Brown Shuga Soul Food Review
It is my understanding that Brown Shuga Soul Food has a faithful following of fans here in town, but based on my experience at the Rally, I’m a bit confused as to why. Maybe because they’re one of the only places in town where you can order soul food quintessentials like black eyed peas, red beans and rice, collard greens, southern barbeque and deserts. But you need more than nostalgia to win me over. First in my book is taste, and Brown Shuga is missing the mark here. Maybe all their good stuff that their fans love was sold out (over half the menu was by the time my place in line got to the counter), but if the flavor and quality of what I got to order is indicative of the rest of their menu, I’ll pass.
I ordered their pulled pork sandwich, red beans, and mac ‘n cheese. The pork was litely basted in a vinegar based barbecue sauce, wasn’t overly moist itself, and was under seasoned. The bun it was served on was more air than bread, and the whole thing only mildly tasted good; OK, but not anything to get excited about. The red beans were awful, and the mac ‘n cheese was so bad that it went straight in the garbage after only three bites. Their only redeeming item I got to taste was their bread pudding. It was actually very delicious, and was served with an awesome Jamaican rum sauce all over it. The bread pudding was moist, a bit caramelized on the outsides, and had a great flavor. The only issue that I had with it was that is was served cold. A quick 30 seconds in the microwave would have been better than cold, but it tasted good anyway.
B29 Streatery Food Truck Review
B29 Streatery is a mobile extension of Dustan Bristol’s Brick 29 restaurant in Nampa. I gave Brick 29 pretty high marks in my review of them, which they deserved by serving up some very excellent food. And though I haven’t had a chance to try much on their mobile menu, it has many of the same items and flavor components as their restaurant location, including their famous BLT made with their house candied bacon. One of their mobile stars is their Kobe Patty melt, with caramelized onions, jalapeno aioli, and blue cheese. It was terrific, especially with some added candied bacon. Very high quality and great flavor, rivaling the greatness of Boise Fry Company’s burgers.
The Bald Gourmet Recommends Boise Food Truck Rally
If you’re looking for good food in a completely different and fun environment, give next month’s Food Truck Rally a try. It’s a total blast, and you can take comfort in knowing that the people surrounding you at the event are there solely because they appreciate food. Family friendly, vegan friendly, fat piggy friendly, and welcoming to everything in between, the Boise Food Truck Rally is a tasty blast. They have stand heaters and fire pits in the winter, plenty of beverages on tap, and music year round. I for one will be making it a monthly tradition. Hope to see you there next time!
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