August 16, 2014

End Of The Road? Not So Fast!

It was about two years ago when my wife and I decided to stop into a new Mexican restaurant that had just opened up in Rosemount called Las Tortillas Mexican Restaurant. Everything they made was far too Americanized and they even served french fries with their meals. Maybe the owners were listening to Boys II Men when they opened the doors for the first time, because I had no time for them to be playing with my heart AND mind. 

Our first experience really was not a good one and decided to never step foot in the restaurant again. We could find better authentic Mexican food that we're always looking for elsewhere. After 2 years of saying no, we decided it was time to give them another try. What changed? It helps when your parents tell you,"We just had an amazing catered dinner from there and you might want to give it another try!" So, with a slight hesitation, we entered Las Tortillas for just the second time in a very long time. 

We sat down, received chips and salsa like every Mexican place offers and after the first bite, I wanted to drink the salsa, it was that good! So far so good, right? My wife and I both decided to order the Trio Taco Combo and between the two of us, we had; 2 beef tacos, 1 beef pastor, 1 pork, 1 chicken and 1 chorizo. As soon as we saw those tacos, we were already smiling knowing they looked completely different. We both went right for the pork and I am happy to say, they rock! Pushed those to the side (gotta' save the best for last) and started in on the chicken. Again, outstanding! Next was the chorizo and again, they were yummy. Started on the beef pastor and still had a smile on my face. Finally, like most places, plain beef is plain beef, often a little dry, but at last here they were edible with some fixings. 

Although we though we were going to come to the end of the road and we were ready to let go, I'm glad we decided to give them another shot. Now, I don't have to head north into St. Paul for my taco fix, I have a place right down the road. I just have one thing to say - don't order the fixings if you want an authentic meal and please Las Tortillas, don't change a thing. You've got us hooked with what you're serving your patrons now and we'll be back for more, especially that outstanding salsa!

Maybe I'll forgive me Las Tortillas, hmm - Maybe you'll try - We should be happy together, Forever, you and I! :)

15051 Crestone Ave. 
Rosemount, MN 55068 

Somethin 'bout a FOOD truck'

There truly is something special about a food truck sittin' on Hennepin Ave. where there's no trespass signs and plenty of time to kill. Plus, unless you decide to eat far too much food, nobody's gonna get hurt. Yep, I spent some time recently at the 3rd Annual Uptown Food Truck Fair and tried a bunch of new stuff so I thought, it's time to share with the rest of you food loving creatures, what the best trucks that are out there on the roads. Now, these are simply the ones that I enjoy and think make the best food...

You know, that Kip Moore fella I bet loves food trucks just as much as I do and if he wasn't singing about cold brew, some girl in a red sun dress and trucks in a field, I bet he would have included food trucks in his recent hit... :) So, which trucks do I think you should pay a little extra attention to? Here ya go (and in no particular order);

Butcher Salt
This is one of the newest trucks to the growing fleet of food trucks and thanks to our friend Angie S. for telling us all about her friends' new truck. Their Butcher Salt Sliders are hands down some of the best sliders you'll find anywhere and we were told by one of their outgoing and friendly workers that our next visit, we should try the Butcher Salted Browns - hash browns, pepper jack, bacon and rosemary. They sound amazing and while we were standing by the truck enjoying our sliders, we saw people either getting the sliders or the Browns. Guess we'll have to find the truck again soon!

Twin City Fritter & Philly Company
The newest truck to the fleet of food trucks just launched a little more than a month ago and serving some delicious Philly's and fritters as well as some pretty tasty fries. Owner and friend, J.J. put his heart and sole into his newest venture and he's got a great future ahead of him. Had the opportunity to try both his chicken and beef Philly and both are tasty! As for the fritter, they're just as tasty and are a must try as well. If you see the T.C. Fritter & Philly truck around town and hungry, it wouldn't be a bad decision to pay them a visit. Check out On The Streets Of Phillasota! to see how they ranked among other great Philly's around town.

B52's Slider Squad
Another slider addition to the fleet and my pal Brandon with B52's Burgers & Brew have some amazing sliders that you simply will not find anywhere else. Prepared completely differently than Butcher Salt (that's a good thing), these bad boys are a must try as well and again, easily one of the best sliders you can find around town. They make them so darn perfectly with the awesome marinade they prep their burgers with which isn't a secret really, but I'll refrain from sharing.

Pimento Jamaican Kitchen
These guys have a store front in the Burnsville Mall and are working on putting together a food truck as well. For now, they pitch a tent, set up and fire up the grills and serve some of the very best Jamaican jerk cuisine you'll find anywhere in Minnesota, PERIOD! Their jerk pork and chicken is outstanding as is the red beans and rice. It helps to have one of the owners and master minds behind their creations be a Jamaican immigrant and I had the chance to meet two of the owners, Tomme and Yoni and these guys are amazing. If you're ever at their mall location, make sure you get some fried plantains for desert. AWESOME!

Hot Indian Food
This a new truck to the fleet (or at least my first time ever seeing it) and I ordered their Lamb Indurrito (awesome spin off name if I do-say-so-myself) and it was divine. All kinds of amazing Indian spices hit your taste buds as you start to enjoy this delicious meal. The lamb was tender and moist and house made roti had some awesome flavors as well and made this dish that much better. I like Indian food and this one's a keeper. We also tried a lemon lime Indian drink and if we ever find it around town, it's going to be a new addition to our home.

The Kitchen Window
You will only find these guys making food during the Uptown Food Truck Fair as well as the Uptown Art Fair and I wish they had a truck at all times and had this next dish permanently on the menu. What is so amazing? Paella! If someone asked me what my last meal would be before I perished from this planet would be, Paella would be on the menu as one of my options (You know it would be a feast!). Paella, if prepared correctly, is easily one of the best meals any one person will ever have. It's traditionally prepared with rice, chicken, pork/sausage, seafood of your choice (tends to be shrimp/prawns, scallops, calamari and/or a white fish), onions, peppers, a ton of delicious spices (garlic, saffron, paprika, sea salt, fresh pepper, parsley) and finally, some olive oil and stock. The Kitchen Window's was easily one of the best my wife and I have had while we weren't traveling.

Tot Boss
Tots, tots and more tots! Tots are awesome, just ask Napoleon Dynamite, he even keeps them in his pocket for a little snack later. If it can be prepared with tots, the Tot Boss will figure it out. They cook their tots just right; not completely rock hard, but not soggy either. We've had their poutine and loaded tots and they're both delicious.

I've had plenty of other food at some of the other trucks, but it wasn't jaw dropping and memorable. It's not to say you won't like them, but I just like these ones better and I think they're providing patrons with better quality food. A couple of trucks that I've walked by that I want to still try after reading their menu's are; the MidNord Empanada Truck, Gastrotruck, Wacky Wing Wagon and The Cave Cafe. All of these sound like keepers and worth checking out. There are some 60+ trucks in the food trucks fleet, it just depends on what you're hungry for, but one thing is certain... If you're craving a particular food, chances are high there's a truck for that!