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Friday, October 15, 2010

Curbside Truck and Go-Ya-Yas

The Curbside Truck
The Baton Rouge food truck craze doesn't seem to be slowing down, which is a good thing as there is still plenty of room for growth.  I've felt bad that I hadn't previously had the fortune of tasting the Curbside Truck or writing about  Go-Ya-Ya's, so yesterday when they announced that they were both setting up shop in United Plaza off of Essen, I knew this would be the right time to crash their street party.





"Gourmet Street Food" just about sums it up.







At lunch time I made my way down to the "curb" to give some gourmet burgers and crepes a "go".  The Curbside Truck serves up burgers and fries, but it is far from your typical fast food.  Promoting themselves as "gourmet street food", they take their ingredients very seriously.  They grind all of the beef themselves for guaranteed fresh burger patties.  Their potatoes are cut into fries each morning, and their lettuce and tomatoes come from local organic farms or the farmers market.  They even make their own pickles, if you like that sort of thing (if you are a regular reader, you know at pickles are my arch nemesis).    
Don't forget the swine!






The Curbside Truck has a few other practices that set them apart even more.  First, their buns come from an artisan bakery in town, not a large commercial bakery that throws extra preservatives in their "enriched" flour.  That bakery is top secret as the bun is often what sets one burger apart from another, but Chef Nick did tell me that it is a mix between a kaiser roll and Hawaiian style bread.  They also make their own pork belly preserves.  Yes that's right, pork belly preserves.  Basically they take a little pork belly, season it up shallots, garlic, and spices, then render it all down until it is just a porky paste that is left.  The preserves are used as a spread on the burgers, which you'll see below.  Not to stop there, they also supply bacon for their burgers in the form of praline bacon.  They basically take really good bacon, cook it until its crispy, and coat it in a homemade Louisiana praline mixture that includes pecans and plenty of sugar.  The sweet and savory condiment is as delicious as any sandwich topping I've ever had.  And I mean that.  It goes to the top of my list.  I even think praline bacon is one better than the previously mentioned on Bite and Booze bacon praline.  You seriously have to get your burger with the pork belly preserves or praline bacon... or if you are like me, you can get it with both!

Curbside's cheeseburger with pork belly preserve spread and praline bacon on the side along with some fresh cut fries
A compostable "plastic" cup filled with Arnold Palmer
At the end of the day though, it really all boils down to whether or not the burger is worth a damn.  Fortunately, it is worth way more than that.  The ground beef is well seasoned and the patty is most certainly substantial without turning into meatloaf on a bun.  Mine was cooked to a medium temperature and juices ran down the back side of my hand as I consumed the succulent sandwich.  The pork belly preserves highlighted every bite in a perfectly complementary way as they were sufficient to taste but by no means overpowering.  And then I added some praline bacon... and... I... became... borderline... speechless.  The sweet, nutty, savory mixture of the praline bacon combined with the garlic-y pork belly preserves and the beef patty and the cheese and lettuce on that slightly sweet, still salty bun... let me tell you friends, next time you think about going to "Five Guys" or some other burger joint, pick up your cellular telephone, access facebook or twitter, and find out where Curbside Truck is set up.  Oh, and while you're there, grab an Arnold Palmer to drink.  It is half lemonade, half tea, but all delicious.  Crap, I forgot to write about the fries.  They were pretty damn tasty.  I recommend them.  There.  Got that covered.

Still, with all that talk about Curbside, there were actually two street food vendors at United Plaza for our dining pleasure.  Go-Ya-Ya's also brought out their gourmet food truck to sell some crepes to the hungry office workers around Essen.  The crepes are stuffed with various combinations of meats, cheeses and vegetables to provide some unique and rather tasty creations.  I took Chef Kevin's suggestion and ordered the Vietnamese crepe.  This overstuffed pasty of sorts came with shredded pork, sautéed onions, bean sprouts, and some garnish with a Vietnamese sauce.  The crepe was certainly enough to fill one's stomach for a lunch on the go.  It is also a very unique street food and I certainly take my hat off to the outside the box thinking.  I really enjoyed the Vietnamese crepe but I think I'd try something else next time.  I found the shredded pork to lack a little it of seasoning and the bean spouts didn't add anything until I got all the way to one side of the crepe.  Perhaps I should have opened it up to even everything out a bit before diving into it.  Still, the fresh crepe on the outside tasted just fine and the overall flavor and concept of the Vietnamese crepe was certainly there.  I'll be excited to try Go-Ya-Ya's again because I definitely believe in their product, but they didn't hit a home run like the Curbside Truck did.


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The United Way's Jambalaya Jam Jams on October 9th!