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Neue food truck

The food truck movement is happening all over the country. Finally it has found Greenville, SC. Yay for me and other foodies!

I found out about Neue from a friend of a friend who knew that I liked trying new things. There was a food truck rodeo going on at Community Tap (Stones Point shopping center) and I knew I wanted to check it out. There were two trucks participating Asada and Neue.

Neue describes their food as an eclectic mix of Southern and European cuisine creating a wonderful fusion of flavors. Okay. It works for me. All I know is that it is good food. What they offer is missing all those preservatives and chemicals that are present in many of the chain restaurants. The food is not mass produced, chemical concoctions, or ground up mystery meat. They use really fresh, local ingredients which lends to the intensity of the flavors of the food. They even have vegan dishes and some gluten free. Eating their food is not just a meal, it is an experience. A delightful jaunt for your taste buds.

I ordered the Korean fried chicken, Brussels sprouts, and the sour cream donut holes. The Korean fried chicken was fried to perfection. The skin was crispy with a hint of Korean seasonings. The Asian slaw was crunchy and vinegary and balanced well with the chicken. The meat of the chicken was marinated well and tender. I was surprised how crispy the skin was in comparison to the moisture of the chicken meat. It was as if the skin held all the infused juices inside until the flavor bubbles burst in my mouth.

The Brussels sprouts were like nothing I ever had. When I got to the truck and was in line, everyone was raving about the Brussels sprouts. I was curious and a little doubtful. My only experiences with Brussels sprouts were when my mom made me eat them as a child. I did not remember them as being very appetizing. In this instance, however, I bowed to peer pressure and order a side of Brussels sprouts (funny that peer pressure made me eat more veggies 🙂 ) From the first bite, I was hooked. I became a fan of Brussels sprouts, as long as Neue was cooking them. The sprouts were a little sweet, with crispy outer leaves. I think they were tossed in a balsamic reduction or some other sweet vinegar to finish off the dish. This was the first time in my life that I ever willingly ate all my Brussels sprouts.

As for the sour cream donut holes, they were good too. I was not wow-ed over the top about them, but they were super yummy. I was still coming off of the Brussels-sprouts-high that I could not fully appreciate any other food. The donut holes had the texture of cake and were not too sweet. I wished I had had a cup of coffee to go alongside them.

As for the food truck rodeo, both trucks were AMAZING. I decided I needed to follow Neue and Asada on Facebook so I would know where they would be and when. Every time I order from their truck, they have different food on the menu. Since they use local farm ingredients, they cook what is in season. If you are in Greenville and see the brightly colored orange Neue food truck, stop and order up some deliciousness. If it is not raining, chances are that they might be in the Community Tap parking lot most Saturday nights (I recommend following them on Facebook to know exactly where they will be). If you are not familiar with where Community Tap is located, it is on Wade Hampton Blvd near downtown Greenville and the Handlebar.

I can confirm, not even knowing what you will order, it will be awesome.

 

Nomad dosa – food truck Austin TX

If you are like me, you probably never had a dosa before. It is best described as an Indian crepe.
I was in Austin for dinner and I did not know what I wanted to eat. After driving around, I knew that I wanted something light because I did not feel like eating too much. I decided on the food truck Nomad Dosa.

I ordered crispy dosa Kerala Kokonut (butternut squash, zucchini, carrots, eggplant, cauliflower, avocado). I chose basmati rice and sambar lentil soup as my side items. The lentil soup was good. Usually I don’t like eating beans, but if they are pureed into a smooth milkshake-like consistency, it is palatable.

By accident, I ended up eating a purely vegetarian meal. It was so tasty that it was not until afterwards that I realized, "Hey I did not eat any meat." From the picture of the food, you can see that once I began to eat , the filling is not the most appealing looking food. Trust me when I say it tasted better than it looked. It was just what I needed too- something light, but filling. The feeling of fullness made me start to wonder if I should try to go vegetarian for the health benefits, but then I thought about bacon and nixed that. Mmmmm bacon. But I digress.

Overall, this is a dish that will appeal to meat eaters and vegetarians alike. It has enough depth that you won’t miss the meat. Like most Indian food, it was full of spicy (not heat) flavors that stayed with me after I finished my meal. I had to brush my teeth and rinse with mouthwash to regain feeling in my taste buds.

Closing 2012 with THE Opinionated Woman awards

Opinionated Woman Awards for 2012

As year 2012 comes to an end, I decided that as part of my reflection over the past year I will give awards based on categories that I chose. There are two main categories: Literary and Foodie awards. I know these awards have little significance, but since this is my blog I make the rules.

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Literary Awards

Favorite author of the year Brenda Jackson

Her books have consistency and predictability in a good way. I have liked all of her books so far. The characters were alike in many ways but different enough so it was not the retelling of the same story over and over.

Favorite book of the yearThe billionaire wins the game by Melody Anne

This book is super sweet. I love the story of Amy and Lucas. They are wonderful characters and their story is heartwarming. This book has become my go to novel when I went to read something pleasant and comforting.

Favorite thriller of the yearAll for one by Ryne Douglas Pearson

I had so many emotions reading this book. A bully is murdered and his victims are the suspects. Even though I wanted justice to be served, I was sympathetic to his victims and part of me did not want them to be found guilty even if they were. The author did a wonderful job of weaving an engaging story.

Hottest romance of the yearThe Proposal by Brenda Jackson

It is no surprise that Jackson is bringing the heat. Jason and Bella have a super steamy romance and a wonderful story to go along with it.

Creepiest book of the yearAuld Lang Sigh by Jennifer Connor

In this story Ella and Lee hook up after she misses her bus going home. He owns a copy shop in the building where she lives. To me, he comes off like a stalker because he is super observant regarding the details of Ella’s life. He is a stranger but knows a lot about her lifestyle since he has been watching her. As he recounted many of his observations, warning bells should have been ringing in Ella’s head. Instead she sleeps with him! This is very risky behavior to me even if this is a nonsensical romance novel.

Foodie Awards

Favorite restaurant of the yearChicago Grill

What can I say? I love the chicken Philly. The bread is wonderful, there is plenty of seasoning on the meat, and the peppers and cheese are scrumptious.

Favorite food truck of the yearAsada

Everything that I have tried from Asada has been delicious. I am following them on Facebook so that I know where they will be serving lunch when I have an opportunity to be in Greenville. And as I followed them around town, I hope that they will decide to serve empanadas that day since that is my favorite dish from their food truck.

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So even though it does not mean much, I congratulate all of the 2012 award winners. I look forward to trying even more things, reading more books, and sharing more opinions in 2013.

Hey Cupcake – Austin TX

Hey Cupcake – in a food truck park on Congress in Austin Texas
If you have not figured out by now, I love desserts especially cupcakes. When I was in Austin Texas I saw this on the converted it into a food truck selling cupcakes. I had to have one of course.

Of all the flavors, carrot cake cupcakes stood out the most for me. I used a couple of factors in determining my choice.

  • The difficulty or time involved for me to make myself. I like to bake so I know what goes in to baking a cake. So if I am going to buy a cupcake I like to choose flavors that are very complex and would require more time and effort for me to make myself.
  • The availability in my home town. There are several bakeries in my hometown that also serve cupcakes. If I’m going to buy a flavor of cupcake, I wanted to be something that I cannot readily purchase in my hometown.

So that being said, any time I can get a carrot cake cupcake I’m going to try that one (I don’t like spending all that time shredding carrots).

heycupcake

This carrot cake cupcake was so delicious. It had large pieces of walnuts in its which made me so happy. The cake was moist and full of carrot pieces which provided a rich flavor. The cream cheese frosting was also very tasty. It was super creamy with a consistency of room temperature butter. This was quite possibly one of the best carrot cake cupcakes that I have ever had. I did not ask the food truck vendor for the recipe for the cupcake (I think that would have been rude to ask for the recipe at a restaurant since they might think you want to make at home instead of buying from them) but the cake tasted very similar to a recipe that I downloaded from food network’s website. It was an Emeril’s carrot cake recipe.

Final verdict: When I am in Austin Texas again, I definitely have to stop by Hey Cupcake for more delicious treats.

Asada food truck – Greenville

Asada food truck in Greenville gets two thumbs up from me. I have been to several of the food truck events where Asada and Neue (another Greenville food truck to be discussed in another post) have set up shop.

Asada focuses on Latin fusion of flavors. I don’t know from which countries the chefs hail, but their food has influences in a lot of different styles. The mainstay on their menu is the different variation of tacos. However, there are different daily specials in addition to the menu. I usually try the specials just because I know I can get the regular menu items any time.

The picture shows what I ordered one evening in November 2012: (top) short ribs with plantain chips and fried cheese (bottom) chicken empanadas

The short ribs were cooked in a Honduran style. There was not any sauce on the ribs. The intense seasoning permeated the meat so that any sauce would have been deemed extraneous. I could have had an entire plate of the fried cheese. It was so yummy. I think it was the queso tropical para freir. For those of you who don’t know Spanish, that means tropical cheese for frying. It is not gooey like mozzarella. Its texture is firm but soft when fried.

The chicken empanadas were to die for. The crust was so flaky like a perfect savory pie crust that it crumbled in my mouth when I bit into it. I could not focus on the flavor of the filling because I was so captivated with the crust. When I finished, I was left checking the plate for crumbs and wanting more.

If you live in Greenville SC and do not know about the food trucks, follow them on Facebook or Twitter. Their food is AMAZING! Get on location early so that you can get dessert. Every time I have ordered dessert from Asada, they have been sold out. Boo hoo for me. But people who have had their tres leches and flan have said it was pretty delicious as well.