Restaurant News: Delicious food truck fare worth the drive

This review is meant to inspire readers. Many of us have a touch of cabin fever these days. Consider this a nudge. Get out of the house, into the car, pull up Google Maps and enter an address, navigate some traffic. Not always easy to find a new eatery, or in this case a new food truck. For your consideration I offer up options located in a nice community neighborhood in north Lynnwood or parked outside a brew pub in Mountlake Terrace.

Food trucks are a boon for those who tire of their own home cooking, long for something new, exciting, perhaps a bit exotic? I hope to convince all of you with these reviews, that it is worth the trip, the time, and that your taste buds will thank you for the effort.

Food trucks have upped their game, widened the scope of their territories, and organized via social media to become more accessible for culinary adventurers. Sites like Street Food Finder  or Seattle Food Trucks make it super easy to find the cuisine you’d like to try, and locate the truck(s) offering that fare, the menus, locations where the trucks park on a calendar, and even place your orders.

Some of the experienced trucks have their own systems, links to Google docs that one can place orders into and get email confirmation of your appointment time. Some are old school — you just show up at the truck’s location for the day, masked up, of course. Place your order and pay — most prefer credit cards but some will still take cash (always good to ask). A short wait and culinary delights are handed out a window to be enjoyed in the comfort of your dining room at home.

First up is Where Ya At Matt?  Matt Lewis brings New Orleans soul food to your neighborhood via his truck. The menu reads like a culinary trip to the Big Easy. Mardi Gras is just around the corner, but you do not need a plane ticket to enjoy Fat Tuesday food fare.

Consult the link on Where Ya At Matt, make your order and hop in your car. Beads are optional.

Matt is proud to be one of Seattle’s original food trucks. The order system is polished and easy to use, links on his site take one to a Facebook site that has calendar list of dates and places, each with a link for the preorder sheet. While one can just show up at the truck locations, it is recommended to place your order and get a reservation time to minimize your wait at the truck site. On a blustery cold evening, I truly appreciated this aspect.

Restaurant News salivated over the menu choices and photos posted on site, made choosing with restraint even more difficult.

Po Boys are a favorite with my guys, and choices ranged from classics like shrimp, oyster, Creole pork, catfish and smoked portabella for the vegetarians, and included in this list — Muffuletta.

Shrimp Po Boy
Muffuletta Po Boy

All Po Boys come on classic rolls, with lettuce, pickles, tomato and their house-made mayo.

The tender shrimp was lightly breaded, the cornmeal crust perfect and tasted fresh atop all the veggies. The Creole pork sported granny smith apple slaw, caramelized onions, and a cilantro puree that paired well with well-seasoned pork.

The toasted sesame bun on the Muffuletta, whose name is derived from Italian for mushroom, contained the slices of cured meats, provolone cheese and a generous portion of house-made olive tapenade in addition to the fresh veggies and mayo. This sandwich took me on a side trip to Little Italy and a neighborhood sandwich shop in New York City. We sat on kiddie tables in a nearby park — a memorable picnic on a hot July day.

The menu also lists Southern standards. Cue up Jimmy Buffet as you order dishes like jambalaya, or chicken and andouille gumbo.

Gumbo

Be warned — portions are generous. A bowl of shrimp and grits, smothered in red gravy and oozing cheese, fed two grown men. I loved the tender kernels of whole corn in the mix.

Jambalaya (think Creole paella) featured rice and red beans, chunks of chicken and Andouille sausage — and a few shrimp topped off the bowl.

We enjoyed the tender, moist corn muffin and homemade honey butter melted right in. I read that Matt keeps bees on Vashon Island — hmmm. I’d recommend sides of slaw to match up with the bowls of hot entrees — its crispy crunch and slightly sweet dressing are a nice counter to the spicy fare.

Desserts — slices of pecan and sweet potato pie were an absolute treat. Pecan so rich and gooey we swore there might be a touch of chocolate in the filling, and sweet potato is so rich and colorful, in addition to tasty, I may consider that for next year’s Thanksgiving dessert table.

Remembering Carnival tradition, I had to order a slice of King Cake.

King Cake

Covered in colorful icing and sugar, the flavor of brioche dough filled with brown sugar and butter isn’t as sweet as one would imagine. I didn’t find a baby in my slice. I hear from Matt that closer to Mardi Gras, the cream cheese filling will be added to make this cake truly traditional. Whole cakes can be ordered from their commissary too in Ballard (4332 N.W. Leary Way, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday, (card or exact cash only) or at Chucks Hop Shop in Seattle’s  Ridgecrest neighborhood, or at No Boat Brewing in Snoqualmie.  Email info@whereyaatmatt.comwith your full name, date/location of pick up, number of cakes, approximate time of pick up.

The guys at Hemlock State Brewing in Mountlake Terrace were ecstatic at the response when they hosted the WhereYaAtMatt food truck earlier this week. I hear it’s scheduled back in March. Keep an eye on the schedule posted on the truck’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/whereyaatmatt

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Next up: A community in Lynnwood coaxes food trucks to park in their neighborhood

Silver Peaks/Larch Way Food Trucks is another spot to find good eats. Yes, a few minutes’ drive, about 15 to 20 depending on traffic and which route you take — closer for those in Lynnwood or north Edmonds — it’s a drive well worth making. Hat’s off to the lucky folks who live in this community. I spotted a few “locals” in fuzzy slippers, and very casual attire on individuals in line at the truck the morning I investigated this group.

The Ultimate Melt is one of a group of trucks that go into this development on Larch Way, and the lucky homeowners only have to walk out the front doors and down the street to get some amazing food. More trucks are scheduled this weekend.

Some of us get a bit house crazy and so the drive would be a welcome change of scenery. Your truly is always happy to drive a few miles when there’s a promise of amazing food at the end of the line.

Obviously a truck like The Ultimate Melt has their signature grilled cheese sandwich — they call it The Original, to differentiate from The Ultimate — which allows the individual to order up to three different types of cheeses in addition to add on items like grilled onions, bacon etc.

We BrieJammin
Meltdown
Original

They like to mix it up at this truck and have an item called We Brie Jammin, a whimsical nod to the Brie cheese, fig jam and other delights folded between the slices of bun. In addition to the lovely flow of melted Brie, there are chopped pecans to add crunch, and the fig jam to heighten the flavor intensity.

Take your cheese melt to new heights and sensations on your tongue and taste buds. The Meltdown is loaded with peppers, melted cheese and grilled onions. Sriracha seasoning is the first thing you smell when you unwrap the paper, and a preview of the tactile sensations about to hit on your taste buds.

In my opinion, any truck or restaurant selling a grilled cheese sandwich has an obligation to offer up some sort of tomato soup. The Ultimate Melt has a vegetarian tomato offered in a bowl or cup, and the thyme and other herbs in the seasoning add interest to the smooth, textured tomato spoonfuls. Yummy indeed.

There’s more — with every 5th purchase of a sandwich, one receives a free cup of soup, and a full card merits one a free sandwich. Ya gotta love a truck with a customer loyalty card.

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Cottage Bakery macarons

Speaking of loyalty, local bread maker The Cottage Community Bakery hosts pop-up events in Perrinville each Saturday morning, which attract a large group, even in inclement weather — which is very commendable local support at its best. Owner Conor O’Neil has a brand-new website at cottagecommunitybakery.com.

O’Neil says in addition to important info on products available both at the pop-up each Saturday, and at various local restaurants and coffee shops that offer some of his bread items on menu, he will post “drool-worthy” shots like this one of macarons to tempt all of us.

— By Kathy Passage

A specialty gourmet food broker for over 30 years, Kathy Passage has in-depth knowledge on food and the special qualities of ingredients used in the exquisite products she helped bring to market. Kathy brings this unique perspective from the “other side of the plate” to writing about the food and restaurant scene in Edmonds, Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace.

 

 

 

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