Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs

Posts Tagged ‘coleslaw

I have a love-hate relationship with the food truck pod in the Amazon precinct. In a car park on Harrison near Fairview in South Lake Union, there is a diverse selection of food trucks on rotation on weekdays. I love that there’s a location for the mobile eateries in the neighbourhood. I hate that the crowds idle on the footpath. I’m in the area several times a week and it’s an obstacle course to hustle through the blue badge coterie.

I’ve noticed some trucks position their windows towards the car park so the queues are away from the street. Others park their trucks at an angle to maximise the space between their vehicle and the footpath. I appreciate the pedestrian friendly effort!

On the day of the Feast on the Farm dinner, Shirley and I enjoyed a frybread lunch from Off the Rez.

Frybread is a Native American specialty and we both ordered the combo of two Indian tacos and one sweet frybread. On the left is chicken chilli verde and on the right is pulled pork. The frybread was a golden puff, a fluffy pillow for the taco toppings. A sturdy container for the meats, the frybread soaked up the marinade and had a lightly chewy texture.

The Indian tacos were garnished with coleslaw and sprigs of coriander. Braised in beer, the chicken was drizzled with a rich crema sauce. Smoked for ten hours, a honey bourbon barbecue sauce was stirred in the pulled pork. Both were tender and strongly seasoned, an unctuous introduction to frybreads.

Sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, the sweet frybread resembled a doughnut minus the hole. It was ethereal, so delicate and similar to Greek loukoumades and Italian zeppole.

The Nutella version of sweet frybread was a sticky mess, the viscous hazelnut chocolate dripped down the side.

Off the Rez has affirmed my liking for food trucks!

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We returned from a sodden and blustery week in London to a glorious Seattle spring weekend. I check the weather forecast morning and night, converting Fahrenheit to Celsius and scrutinise the predicted precipitation. I wither in the blistering sun in Australia and I wilt in the shades of grey of the Pacific Northwest. C’est la vie!

It was a rejuvenating walk to Fremont for the second Mobile Food Rodeo. Clear sky, a gentle breeze, geese and their goslings pecking the grassy banks of Lake Union, the fresh air soothed the jet lag.

Parallel to the Fremont Sunday Market the Mobile Food Rodeo changed its venue to a closed street this year.

There was no wait to enter with free admission and the atmosphere was congenial. Families picnicked, friends gathered and couples strolled with their dogs.

I patiently queued at Maximus Minimus while Mr S browsed the row of food trucks. Our appetiser was from Happy Grillmore of Portland.

Steadied by a toothpick, the pulled pork slider with jalapeño lime aioli and spicy pineapple coleslaw was a little small for the price but was juicy and tangy. The sweet potato fries were pleasantly crunchy.

The customised pig is back for another season with attitude. I was bewildered the first time I saw Maximus Minimus grunting on a Downtown street!

Wedged in a doughy bun were chunks of Maximus pulled pork. Marinated in a sticky sauce, the pork was tender and spicy. A side of Maximus coleslaw flecked with coriander was refreshing.

A toothy Mohawk tomato is the mascot for Tokyo Dog.

Wrapped in chequered wax paper, the signature Tokyo dog of smoked cheese bratwurst was seasoned with teriyaki grilled onions, furikake, tonkatsu sauce and Japanese mayonnaise. The meaty hot dog had bold umami flavours. We shared a bottle of Calpico Mango, a Japanese yoghurt drink.

Our final food truck was Parfait Organic Artisan Ice Cream, my favourite local ice creamery that delivers!

We happily licked scoops of toasted coconut and chocolate peanut butter cup in sugary waffle cones as we weaved through the Fremont Sunday Market.

The inaugural kinks have been untangled and it was a better organised Mobile Food Rodeo.

I walk through South Lake Union several times a week. The neighbourhood is busy during the week, especially on the Westlake thoroughfare from Whole Foods to Harrison. I noticed the construction site on the corner of Harrison and Terry many months ago and didn’t know it was Cactus until recently. I love the pink window frames!

Next to the trio of Tom Douglas restaurants in the Terry Avenue Building and opposite Portage Bay Café, it is an emerging dining hub. The eateries already do brisk business on weekdays but foot traffic is minimal on weekends.

Cactus is located in an elongated room with a high ceiling. A bar is at the entrance and the dining room splits to the right and left. A private function room is on the mezzanine level. Floor-to-ceiling glass filters in natural light and patterned cylindrical lampshades are elegant and muted in contrast to the colourful furnishings. Chairs were painted and upholstered in azure, lime, saffron and copper.

We were seated at a booth on a quiet Sunday lunch service. Hand painted motifs featured on each wooden table. The modern and vibrant space is welcoming and cheerful.

Mango agua fresca, a fizzy beverage of agave nectar, fresm lime, mango, mint and sparkling water was refreshing.

The other Cactus restaurants are in Alki Beach, Kirkland and Madison Park and each has a unique logo which is printed on the serviettes.

We nibbled on salsa, guacamole and corn chips while we perused the menu. The salsa casera, homemade salsa, was appetisingly piquant.

A basket of warm corn chips was plentiful for the bowl of guacamole. Avocado, cilantro, lime, onion, serrano chillis and pico de gallo mashed together as a chunky dip.

Mr S selected the fajitas with grilled skirt steak. A plate of condiments and warm flour tortillas accompanied the sizzling skillet of Spanish rice, cumin black beans and caramelised onions. There is a rustic charm in wrapping ingredients and eating it by hand.

There are two tacos per serving and the kitchen kindly accommodated my request to mix and match. Spanish rice and cumin black beans were requisite for a Mexican meal.

On a house made white corn tortilla, the pescado had a fillet of battered fish, coriander and pasilla coleslaw, pico de gallo and buttermilk crema. A little soggy, the flaky white fish absorbed the tangy flavours that were tempered by the squirt of buttermilk crema.

The second taco was carnitas Yucatecas, Carlton Farms pork in achiote marinade and roasted in banana leaves, caramelised pineapple, Cotija cheese and red onion escabeche. It is a delectable combination of tender meat, sweet pineapple and pickled onions.

Flan is a one of my favourite desserts and this three milk Cuban flan is one of the best I’ve tasted. The sepia toned custard was poised in a puddle of sticky sauce. It was firm, smooth and creamy, topped with a vanilla speckled layer of caramel.

Cactus is a welcomed addition to South Lake Union!

Autumn has been deceptive. I’ve been struggling to wake up due to the gloomy mornings, the leaden sky casting a shadow over October. I feel sluggish and have a deep desire to cocoon myself in the warmth of home. I’ve been comforting myself with butter melting on toasted Macrina raisin brioche bread and steeping cups of hot tea.

I glance wistfully out the window, hoping for the day to transform into a brilliant afternoon with a splendid sunset. And thankfully Seattle has been generous this month, gifting us days to embrace the outdoors.

In contrast to the Mobile Food Rodeo, the Seattle Center Mobile Feast was free. Held at Fisher Pavilion and South Fountain Lawn, more than twenty food trucks gathered for ‘urban hops and harvest’.

We leisurely strolled the circular lawn at mid afternoon for a late lunch. Surrounded by leafy trees and with the Space Needle as guardian, it was a spectacular setting for an outdoor event.

Painted a royal blue, Damiana’s Blue Truck Special was plain compared to the other food trucks.

I ordered the curried chicken salad sandwich with apple coleslaw. The roll was overflowing with chunks of curried chicken, crisp apples and slivered almonds.

Next was Snout & Co., a black food truck with a distinctive red logo.

Mr S selected the barbecue pork sandwich. Tender pulled pork and coleslaw were wedged in a soft bun and drizzled with habanero honey.

Adjacent to Snout & Co. was the crimson coloured Charlie’s Buns N’ Stuff.

The Mutt was a teetering stack of beef patty, grilled onions, mushrooms and balsamic mayonnaise in a brioche bun.

I meandered over to the gleaming Skillet Street Food for poutine and luckily got the last serving.

A Québec specialty, poutine is French fries topped with cheese curds and gravy. In the Skillet version, crunchy French fries were covered with salty gravy and molten cheddar, and freshened with a scattering of chopped parsley.

Most of the items on the Street Treats menu had been crossed out and I was happy to find salted brown butter krispy last on the list and not struckthrough.

The salted brown butter krispy was a cube of sticky, chewy sweetness with a hint of nuttiness.

In search of a beverage, we joined the queue at Boyd’s Coffee.

We shared an apple cider. A little tart and fragrant with spices, it was a warming conclusion to the Mobile Feast.

It was a well organised event benefiting the Seattle Center Foundation.

On a dreary weekend, we meandered towards Downtown in search of a warm lunch. We have walked by Icon Grill many times, its scaffolding shielding its entrance for months. A large banner draped over the metal rods declared the restaurant ‘open during construction’.

The menu is displayed in a glass case at the front and a colourful board advertises with the slogan ‘aroused Americana cooking’. We gasped at the photo of the chocolate cake and counted six layers!

Stepping inside is an opulent dining room. Chandeliers of freckled glass shells dangle in nets, there is a comfortable distance between tables and the seats are plush.

Juggling between the standard menu, the ‘blunch’ menu and the lunch specials menu, we ordered an apéritif to ponder the options. The orange drop was a mix of mandarin infused vodka, lemon and orange juice in a sugar rimmed glass.

A warm basket of complimentary bread was served with three globs of butter. Clockwise from top: salted, red pepper, and garlic and chives.

We picked two lunch specials to share. The hot Italian ciabatta sandwich was wedged with prosciutto, pepperoni, roasted red peppers, pesto mayonnaise, mozzarella and arugula. The toasted sandwich was served with a bowl of French onion soup and a tomato dip.

Topped with a slice of baguette and with Gruyère bubbling over, the French onion soup was scrumptious. I also relished dipping my half of the ciabatta into the thick tomato sauce.

Two pulled pork sliders with cherry barbecue sauce were accompanied by a pot of coleslaw and French fries. The meat was a little dry but was easily remedied with a spread of the sticky cherry barbecue sauce. The generous side of shoestring fries were light and crunchy.

Warmed by the cocktail and a hearty meal, we exited into the familiar Seattle drizzle.

Marination Station. I love that the name rhymes. After our failed attempt a couple of months ago, we knew exactly where to find the permanent location of Marination Mobile. Above the QFC on the corner of Broadway and Pike, Marination Station is concealed from the busy thoroughfare.

Outside is a patio with a narrow communal bench. A laminated menu is tacked on the glass door and inside is a small space with additional seating and the ordering counter.

‘Aloha served daily’, the cuisine is a fusion of Korean and Hawaiian influences.

Customer feedback quotes, photos and drawings decorate the stainless steel fridge. Pithy comments are scrawled on by staff.

Mr S quenched his thirst with a Hawaiian Sun tropical iced tea which was non-carbonated and refreshingly sweet.

We shared a miso ginger chicken taco as an appetiser. Tender pieces of marinated chicken are topped with their signature nunya sauce and coleslaw, and wrapped in two warm tortillas. A squeeze of lime and the taco was devoured quickly.

Mr S selected the spicy pork torta. Slices of spicy pork drizzled with their signature nunya sauce, pickled peppers and onions, and coleslaw are stuffed into a Macrina demi baguette with a thick spread of guacamole. The crusty bread soaked up the condiments and the torta was pleasantly crunchy.

I opted for the kimchi rice bowl with kalbi beef served with a sunny side up fried egg, green onions and furikake (Japanese seasoning). There was a generous amount of marinated beef short ribs. The sweet saltiness contrasted with the fiery kimchi fried rice. The creamy yolk tempered the heat of the chilli momentarily!

I recall eating an omelette with diced spam when I was a child, an easy meal cooked by my grandmother while babysitting me. I pondered the spam slider as we left.

I had a question mark next to the Mobile Food Rodeo on my calendar as Mr S was returning from a three week work trip on the same day. I hesitated when the lovely Carol offered me a spare ticket but Mr S assured me he would be sleeping off jet lag so I happily accepted.

It was cool and cloudy as we joined the queue just before midday. VIP ticket holders were to have an extra hour before general admission but they were delayed by the fire marshal inspection and thus had a cascading effect on us. Hungry and windswept, we finally entered just before one o’clock.

A barren bitumen block enclosed by a barbwire fence, about a dozen food trucks ringed the perimeter and there were a couple of canopies with stacked hay bales for seating.

The bright graffiti on the Skillet Street Food van greeted us.

We spotted a retro Jeep Fleetvan painted in Whole Foods Market green selling cold beverages. It reminded me of the British television series Heartbeat!

Next to the petite Whole Foods truck was Maximus Minimus, a pig with attitude in sunglasses!

Our first food truck was Curry Now. By the time we got our wristbands, I was shivering and in need of sustenance.

We shared a small chicken curry with rice and topped with cilantro. We ate this quickly and appreciated the spiciness.

Street Treats was adjacent and we peeked at the menu. Although tempted by ice cream cookie sandwiches we opted to purchase a salted brown butter crispy bar for later. We split this in the car and it was a sticky treat of sweet nuttiness.

A regular at Queen Anne Farmers Market, Parfait Organic Artisan Ice Cream was another sweet truck present. Street Donuts was there too.

When we were outside the line was moving steadily until we paused at Fusion on the Run. We noticed a menu leaning against a window and were intrigued by the coconut ginger chicken bánh mì.

As we were waiting for our bánh mì, a guy picked up his tacos order. On the left is ono, kalua pork with mango salsa and surfer sauce. The other two are KV fusion, marinated short rib with cilantro and onions.

A crusty baguette was filled with julienned and pickled carrots and daikon, lettuce, cilantro, sesame seeds and coconut ginger chicken. Each bite of the bánh mì was crunchy and juicy, the sour vegetables tempered the richness of the marinated chicken. This was the highlight of the Mobile Food Rodeo!

By now the crowds have at least quadrupled since we got in. Groups were huddled together, balancing plates and trays while standing. Those perched on hay bales were elbow to elbow.

We continued our rotation and walked by Lumpia World, Where Ya At and Kaosamai. After the bánh mì, we skipped burgers, sliders and sandwiches at Bistro Box, Buns on Wheels and Charlie’s Buns N’ Stuff.

The pig shaped chalkboard at The Box caught our attention! A recent addition to the fleet of local food trucks, they’re based in Kirkland.

We ordered a pork belly hum bao each and these were speedily assembled. Slow braised in soy and mirin, a generous slice of pork belly with a scattering of coleslaw was wedged between a steamed bun. The fresh and zingy slaw was a textural contrast to the yielding pork belly and the soft bun soaked up the tasty marinade.

A band entertained the crowds and later, Mayor McGinn appeared on the stage and a cupcake eating contest was held.

The sun had emerged and the atmosphere had livened up. There were some long queues so Carol lined up at Bigfood and I went searching for fries.

I was keen to try poutine, the Québec specialty. Surprised by only a handful of people lingering at Skillet, I joined the short queue just in time for the announcement that they were sold out.

Disappointed, I returned to the area where Bigfood was parked and caught a glimpse of the Happy Grillmore menu. Yukon gold fries with garlic and Parmesan? Yes please!

Unfortunately I was defeated by the wait time. The two chefs were cooking at a frantic pace but they were limited by space. The size of the event overwhelmed the charm of food trucks.

A jungle themed food truck, Bigfood also had a long queue but we were determined to try their grilled flatbreads.

On the left is sasquatch, spicy pulled pork shoulder with green mango chutney and coleslaw. On the right is yeti, braised beef with curried fruit and coleslaw. Colourful ingredients rested on fluffy flatbreads with perfect grill marks! These were tender and luscious, the grilled flatbread was a sturdy utensil for the shredded meat and fruity condiments.

And finally, a red velvet muffin. We scraped off the buttercream and halved the dense and buttery muffin.

Another new food truck, Snout & Co. has ‘soulful food from Cuba to South Carolina’.

As we exited, we were thankful that we arrived early and mostly avoided queuing by the dozens. Hopefully the organisation will improve for next year but it is a fun event to sample the diverse food trucks of Seattle and Portland.

Mobile Food Rodeo was a fundraiser for Solid Ground.


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