Tag Archives: Downtown Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo

Jack-the-Cat Visits the Vet

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mary_smThe day for Jack’s surgery arrived on September 4th. Since the Vet’s office did not open early enough for me to drop him off before work, I had to drop him off the night before. It was raining so hard at times I could hardly see the road. Jack was crying and trying to get out of his soft carrier. He hates been locked up. He is happy to ride in the car, if I allow him to roam freely. The problem is he likes to get down by my feet which make it difficult to use the brake and the accelerator.

Suddenly the rain stopped and there was a large rainbow, which was relatively close to the ground. It was still there when I pulled into the Vet’s parking lot. As usual, there was a long wait. I have never gone there without having to wait. They tell me the Vet wants to explain the surgery to me. I told the clerk behind the counter, that it was not necessary, because I understood the procedure. Jack was being neutered. She went back to the Vet and told me I did not have to wait and I was on my way.

When I got home, Bob was so happy. He came up to me and wanted to be picked up, which he has not done for ages. He hopped on the bed and roamed over it, lying in various places. It was if he was telling me he was happy that Jack was gone. I think he hoped it was forever.

September 4th was D-Day for the surgery. I received a phone call around 3pm telling me Jack had done well and was ready to go home. I had some concerns because I was afraid that Bob might lick the incision site. I had them keep him an additional night. Once again I arrive home and Bob seemed like a different cat. He was very affectionate and seemed to be making up for the lost affection, since Jack’s arrival. Bob would run every time Jack came near him. I told Bob that Jack was coming back and he would look up at me with sad eyes as if to say “Why”.

Friday evening, Jack returned. He was full of energy and very happy to be home. He kissed and started kneading me. In the cat world it is referred to as paddling, not sure why. But Bob got on the bed, lay on the other side and held his own. He did not run. I think Bob finally realized that Jack is not leaving and he needs to show him who is boss.

It has been nearly a week, the incision area has scabbed over, Jack shows no ill effects and Bob seems like his old self. He is anxious to get back to trying different foods. I got tickets for the Raleigh International Festival and the “Boys” are ready.

The Traveler.

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When Mom put Jack in the crate and took him out of the house, I am ecstatic. It is not that I hate him, but there is such a large age difference between us. Jack wants to play and wrestle, because he is seven-months old.   I am 10 years old and I don’t like to play as rough. Sometimes I will really go at him, but he keeps coming back. He has taken over Mom’s bed and that really bothers me. She tries to give me extra attention, but all I can think of is why did you have to get Jack and bring him into my home.

After he returned from the Vet, he had not changed, still full of energy. But I had decided I was no longer going to allow him to rule the roost. Now, I will get on the bed and get affection from Mom whenever I want. At first Jack seemed surprised, now he sits back and leaves me alone when I tell him to bug off.

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I fought Mom when she tried to put me in Bob’s carrier. But she was too quick and too strong for me. I hate being in a carrier. Bob’s carrier is soft and padded. My carrier is hard. It was raining as she took me to the car. She put me in the front seat so I could see her. I tried to scratch through the mesh on the front of the carrier, but my claws did not cut through. I used my head and feet to push. This got me nowhere. I began to cry and yowl because I was angry.

Mom ignored me, and we continued on our way. She told me we were going to the Vet and I would be spending the night. I think, “What”, why would you make me stay here in this strange smelling place in a hard metal cage? I could not believe she was doing it. At 8 pm, the people took away my food. I love to eat and now I had nothing. It was difficult to sleep.

The next morning, someone comes to my cage. I think they are going to feed me, but they take me out and into a cold room in back. An IV is placed in my left front leg. The next think I remember is being back in my cage. I don’t feel much because they gave me a large shot of pain medication. Now I know what neutering is. They removed my balls. I go back to sleep. I thought Mom was going to pick me up that night, but I had to stay there for another day. I feel well, no pain but I miss the sensation of my balls. I don’t know why She did this to me.

Movie Review for ‘A 100 Foot Journey’

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Since I was not reviewing or eating at food trucks, I went to see the movie, The 100 Feet Journey. While not about food trucks, it a movie about food, change, memories and adaptation. The Kadam family was tragically displaced from their home in India; first moving to England, the settling in France. The father, played by Om Puri, decides to open an Indian restaurant that is located across the street from a well-established French restaurant operated by Madame Mallory played by Hellen Mirren.

Hassan Kadam played by Manish Daval, a young aspiring cook, taught by his mother and self-taught wants to learn to cook French food, while still keeping true to his India roots. His mother had told him scent and taste of food contains the memories of his dead family and friends.

It depicts how change is hard, yet people are adaptable. It made me nostalgic, bringing back memories of the smells of Grandma’s kitchen, my Mom cooking holiday meals and my Dad making coffee and cooking his breakfast after Mom died. I can still smell it all.

While not the best movie I have ever seen, I enjoyed, as did Jack and Bob whom I smuggled into the theatre, since they were bored staying at home. I gave the movie ‘three tires.’ Bob and Jack agreed.

mary_smThe Traveler

Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo – 3rd Edition

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Walking or driving through downtown Raleigh’s Fayetteville Street, you will pass through the business district. Fayetteville Street is tree lined with many benches and tables, giving you an opportunity to relax and enjoy the diversity that has attracted many businesses and residents to call Raleigh, North Carolina their headquarters and home. If, by chance, you are a resident of the greater Triangle Area, you are aware of a myriad of festivals and events that use the Raleigh Downtown district as their backdrop. These events attract thousands of participants from around the state, as well as from around the country. There are several activities to participate in on any given weekend. Once you decide what peaks your interest you can avoid the parking hassles by taking Uber.

For Triangle Street Eats, our vice happens to be food trucks. We have found the Downtown Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo with its energetic atmosphere and numerous food trucks offering diverse flavors to be an event worth attending, again and again.

Attendees are often left to navigate a labyrinth of food trucks and crowds, in order to sample the wonderful fare offered by nearly 50 venders. There are locally crafted beers that can be sampled as well. When you see how the Downtown District is used as a backdrop for this event, you will understand why this event is so popular. If you haven’t had an opportunity to participate in a Downtown Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo, and have been meaning to, you have one more opportunity to do so this year on Sunday, October 12, from 1pm – 6pm.

As is typical for larger events, The Friends started to form a plan-of-action a week or so in advance. Since we have sampled fare from many of the food truck participants, we tried very diligently to sample from those we hadn’t tried yet, as well as from a few tried and true. Below you will find the results of our effort, as well as their links. It is important to appreciate some of what we sampled was specifically offered for the Downtown Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo attendees, as is not necessarily part of their regular menu.


 

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Food Trucks We Visited:

From Virgil’s Jamaica, the Belle and I had sampled the Jerked Chicken before. I enjoyed this flavorful island dish, and asked the Traveler to try it for herself. She said that it was moist and to her liking, but could have used more heat.

From King Creole, we had the blackened pork chop, which again the Belle and myself had sampled at the 2nd Food Truck Rodeo, but the Traveler had not. She commented that it was wonderful in both taste and portion size. She will definitely repeat.

From Hanu Food Truck we sampled the B.S. (Brussel sprouts). They were incredible with a creative medley of flavors. Look forward to having these again, since none of us eat enough greens. We also sampled their duck dumplings, which were delight flavorful, and the dipping sauce was sweet and tangy.

From Parlezvous Crepe, we had a savory special, which is not a regular menu item. It consisted of a delicate crepe, wrapped around smoked salmon, cream cheese, dill and onion. Highly recommended by the friends

Dank Burrito Truck offered jerk chicken tacos, which was one of my favorites of the event. The Traveler commented that it was spicy and great tasting. She loved the moistness of the chicken and would definitely eat it again. A glowing review if ever there was one.

We sampled the truffle mac bites from Olio & Aceto before, and had them again at the Raleigh Downtown Food Truck Rodeo. As they were previously, they were to our collective liking and would recommend them to anyone looking for gooey goodness.

From Mama Dukes, we sampled their breaded shrimp. They were tasty but would have preferred more shrimp and less fries and salad. $10 for only 5 shrimp is over-priced.

From Barone Meatball we sampled the crab balls. We collectively determined that they had too much filler, and seemed slightly undercooked.

From American Meltdown, one of most popular food truck in the Triangle, we sampled their Pigs & Figs. It is no wonder that this is one of their more popular sandwiches – very sweet, smooth and moist.

From Gussy’s Greeks, we sampled Greek Lasagna and gyro. The lasagna was not spicy enough. The béchamel sauce was light and fluffy, but lacked flavor. The gyro, on the other hand was very good, loved the meat and sauce.

The sheer amount of food that can be sampled at one of these events can be overwhelming. Try as we did, it was impossible to taste more than we did, even when we paced ourselves. One thing is certain, to experience one of these events first-hand is a must if you want to get a feel for the extraordinary phenomena culture surrounding food trucks, and all things related, like this blog. Stay hungry my friends!

The Traveler, Southern Belle and Bad Boy

 

 

 

Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo – 2nd Edition

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The Southern Belle

The Three Friends were ready for second 2014 Downtown Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo. We had each made our picks off the Highlights Menu and I had organized our selections according to the Rodeo map and made assignments for each of us. Then early this morning The Traveler let us know about car troubles and that she wouldn’t be able to join us. So the Bad Boy and I made a few adjustments and headed for the rodeo with our Early Bird bands in place.

Once again the weather was perfect for the rodeo. When we arrived we took a few minutes to take in the wonderful aromas that greeted us and sights on the street. We could see the food trucks getting ready for early birds 12:30 start, visiting with each other or talking with people on the street.   After a few minutes of soaking up the spirit of the food truck rodeo, it was time for the Bad Boy and I to put our plan into action. Our revised plan was for each of us to start at opposite ends of Fayetteville Street and meet in the middle with our food truck delights.

Lesson learned from the first rodeo was that the line at Chirba Chirba gets very long very fast, so I made Chirba Chirba my first stop and then began my trek towards the center. When Bad Boy and I met up around Martin Street, we had quite a spread of tasty selections: Chirba Chirba – Juicy Buns and Ginger Chicken Bun; King Creole– Blackened Pork Chop; Stoke and Smoke– “Burnt Ends” Brisket platter, and Chai’s Global Street Food– Korean Cheese Steak. I was not disappointed by any; however my favorites were the Burnt Ends Brisket and Blackened Pork Chop. The “Burnt Ends” brisket was nice and juicy with a sauce that was the perfect blend of Down East and Western NC barbeque sauces. Another added touch to the platter was real butter for the roll.   The presentation of the Blackened Pork Chop was outstanding with the pork chop atop a bed of dirty rice and some greens on the side. The pork chop had just the right amount of heat and sweet and the dirty rice was just right.

Besides enjoying the food today, I also enjoyed talking with others partaking in the rodeo. At Chirba Chirba I met another early birder with an insulated bag and plastic containers who said it’s so much good food at the rodeo she liked to take some home to have later in the week. Further down the street I ran into some tablemates from the stuff your face dinner and we took a few minutes to compare notes. After finishing our smorgasbord lunch, we were taking a few minutes to sit back and people watch when a first time “rodeoer” couple from Fayetteville asked us for recommendations. We shared the highlight menu with them and they shared they had tried a very good pulled pork sandwich from Red Hot and Blue. Then there were the two brothers who were enjoying treats from Belgium Waffology Truck. The brothers highly recommended Waffology.

We missed you Traveler.

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The Bad Boy

Unlike the earlier Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo, held back on May 4th, Team Triangle Street Eats had decided that we would attend this one with more zeal. We had devised a plan of attack, and had spent time reviewing the map, as well as the menu to determine whom we would visit, and who would be responsible for collecting which items. Early this morning, the Southern Belle and myself learned that we had to modify this plan, because the Traveler had car trouble, and she would not be accompanying us.

We quickly condensed our menu, and were ready to attend shortly before 11am with a new plan. Using a divide-and-conquer approach to collecting our samples, we were seated and ready to dissect and devour our selection before 1 pm.

The selection, as mentioned in the Belle’s posting above, was designed to cover an array of foods and a spectrum of flavorings. If I had to say, I would admit that I was pleasantly surprised by the blackened pork chop. I mean, I am one of those people that think that everything is better blackened! The dumplings from Chirba Chirba were spectacular, and lived up to their billing. I look forward to giving all of the food trucks we visited today a proper review. I hope that they look forward to serving us as well.

I couldn’t help but procure a 4-pak of Not Just Icing’s cupcakes before we left, you know – for later in the week. If there was a fifth food group, it’d have to be cupcakes…right? If you have never attended one of these events, you will have an opportunity on August 10 from 4-9 pm. Go to http://www.downtownraleighfoodtruckrodeo.com to learn more. Until next time, Stay hungry my friends…Badboy.

Downtown Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo

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mary_smToday was the first of four Food Truck Rodeos in Raleigh, North Carolina. The weather was beautiful, the sun was shining and there was a nice breeze, which carried the various scents of food prepared by the different food trucks. The Bad Boy, Southern Bell and I decided to take cab to the event so we could drink if we wished and we did not have to worry about parking.

The Southern Belle had supplied us with menus and a map, so we could take advantage of the extra time we had as VIPs before it opened to the general public, since we were Kickstarter Backers of the Rodeo. This was our first Rodeo, so next time we will know how to organize and budget our time.

For this event we are not rating the individual trucks but looking at the entire experience. It is obvious the various trucks have large followings. I wanted to try the Valentino’s jalapeno poppers, but did not get it done before the crowd poured into Fayetteville Street. The line was long and remained that the entire time we were there. It was the same for many popular food trucks such as Chirba Chirba and Porchetta to name a few.

As with anything there were ups and downs. I was very excited about a couple of things on the menu. I love soft shell crab. The Belle and I arrived at the same time. They took my order first. I received my soft shell crab sliders and the crab was limp and watery. A great disappointment. However the Belle’s crab was cooked perfectly. I was jealous!

We sampled wonderful crab cakes, awesome crayfish Etoufee and Boudin, which could have been made in Louisiana. We also had some items that were not as good, but it did not spoil our day. There were many dogs at the event, but no cats, so Bob was glad he decided to stay home. He is not big on crowds and has become less trusting since our house was robbed.

We sampled ice cream for dessert. Once again Belle received the better dish. My Elvis Milk Shake was melted as soon as the vendor handed it to me, therefore diluting the flavors. The Bad Boy was busy tweeting and taking pictures, so he sampled dishes selected by the Belle and myself. Of course he sampled some of the beer selections along with the food truck food items.

The Belle and I nearly came to blows when I complained about the extra-large baby strollers that assaulted me, abruptly stopped in front of me or in general annoyed me. She felt I was inpatient and had a lacking of understanding for the parents because I never had children. The Bad Boy took the safe course and said nothing. We finally switched topics so no injuries were sustained.

We left the Rodeo feeling full and content, utilizing the new transportation service called Uber. We felt the Food Truck Rodeo was a success and a great way to spend the day.   We are excited about the next three Rodeos and will be better prepared at the next event.

Until we meet again….

The Traveler

Never Have I Had a Better Time

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bruce_smAs mentioned in a previous blog, the Southern Belle and I were contributors for the Kickstarter fund for Downtown Raleigh Food Truck Rodeo. These food truck rodeos will be held over the summer. In return, contributors received various awards. One such reward was an event delightfully entitled, “Stuff Your Face Food Truck Dinner“.

The event was May 1st between 6 and 9 PM at the historic City Market/Cobblestone Hall. Just this particular setting alone set the tone for what promised to be an enchanted evening. We had decided since we were going to participate in something that would likely be very trendy, as well as an annual event, we would add one more element of excitement to the evening. We used Uber,a startup transportation service new to Raleigh that offers riders significant discounts. I am certain that this service will catch on. If you have an opportunity, try it out yourself.

Walking into this large historic venue, I noticed the room already swirled with anticipation. Beer on tap, wine, as well as sodas and bottled water were available. Beer had been provided by two local microbreweries, Lone Rider and White Street Brewery. I had decided to sample a Shotgun Betty, while I enjoyed the Mint Julep Jazz Band. This was my first exposure to jazz in the Raleigh area and it proved to be delightful. Perhaps I need to make a point to get out more often.

While we waited for the dinner hour, the Southern Belle and I took the opportunity to walk around and chat with other contributors, as well as do a little networking before going to our previously assigned table. When we arrived at our table we introduced ourselves to our tablemates, who were from Smith Mountain Lake Virginia, and Wake Forest, North Carolina.

Happy and Hale provided a Walters Harvest Salads, with arugula, roasted butternut squash, dried cranberries, walnuts, goat cheese and fresh pressed orange honey vinaigrette that was waiting for us on the table.

Shortly after we had finished sampling the fine, fresh, delightful salad, the next course, from Chirba Chirba arrived at our table. It was at this time that I realized how unique it was to be at a sit-down dinner event, and being served what is usually eaten in an outdoor venue. The selection provided included:

  • Juicy Buns: Succulent pork-filled steamed dumplings…yum!
  • Bayside Chive: Pork dumplings with Chinese chives, carrots and cabbage
  • Veggieling: Dumplings filled with three types of mushroom, carrots and scallions

My favorite from this selection was the Juicy Buns. They were sweet and tender.

The next course arrived. It had been prepared by Porchetta. It included Rosemary and Juniper Berry Brined Pork Loin, and a side of fluffy pimento cheese polenta cakes. I had previously sampled their pork a few months before. I found it to be tender, moist and delicious. I knew they wouldn’t disappoint.

It would be some time before the next course, prepared by American Meltdown, would arrive. As you have likely guest, their specialty is grilled cheese. However, their grilled cheese sandwiches are award winning. A Whitman Sampler of the following were provided to each table;

  • Hangover Melt: Their signature sandwich featuring their own recipe pimento cheese, a runny egg and salsa verde with bread baked from Durham’s Guglhupg Bakery
  • Honey Pot: a combination of tucks sheep’s milk ricotta cheese, with toasted pecans and peach balsamic compote, with grilled brioche from La Farm in Cary, NC.
  • Grilled Cheese of Champions: Durham jack cheese from the Cultured Cow, between slices of Havarti bread.

I believe it was the Grilled Cheese of Champions I found to be most to my liking.

Of course, at the end, there were cupcakes! These cupcakes were prepared by Not Just Icing. The cupcakes had been taunting diners since the beginning of the event from the elegant display in the back of the room. Now it was time to bid them ado. From a selection that is too vast to list here, the Southern Belle and I took delight in their mocha love cupcakes.

When there was a delay between courses, we had great “food” conversations with our tablemates or sent out tweets about the food and music we were enjoying. I had noticed that other diners were doing the same and some of us were inadvertently following one another’s tweets and re-tweeting about the event. All seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Bellow you will find our patented rating system for the night’s events. Rest assured that it was one of the most memorable night outs I’ve had in a while. I only hope this becomes an annual fundraising event. Make no mistake; although our meal was prepare by food trucks the quality of the food was right at home for a sit-down banquet

Until Next Time…Stay Hungry My Friends            Badboy

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