Saturday, October 1, 2011

Food Truck Finale: Miami

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

I can't believe we're at the finale already! But, when it's just a seven-episode season, I guess it's inevitable! .

A reminder of who is left:
The Lime Truck: From Orange County, California and using that to inspire their food. The team wears lime-colored headbands. They tend to be ingredient-driven, meaning they change their menu based on where they are.
Hodge Podge: From Cleveland, Chris started a food truck because he saw one and knew he could do better. His teammates are his sister and his girlfriend. They just throw food together, really.

The Great Food Truck Race
"Miami Heat" (S02E07): They have a simple mission - one team has to make $15,000, then meet at a park in South Beach. Sell whatever, wherever, whenever, until there are interruptions and changes. Plus, the Truck Stop won't be at the beginning, AND there will be multiple Speed Bumps! They get $500 to start with, and the first Speed Bump is that the trucks get towed! With five minutes of warning, they have to pull stuff off to keep selling food. When they earn $200 they can go get the truck back form an impound. Later, the Truck Stop changes things the first night and the next morning. They close up early, having to meet at the marina at dawn. The teams then find out that they're only separated by $176 at the moment. [exciting!] They need to go catch fish on commercial fishing boats - they'll get 30 minutes to fish, then when they get back to land they get 30 minutes to prepare their fish however they want, with their own truck's ingredients PLUS a bunch of things to select from. [I kinda like that they have their standard items to work with, since it gives them their own advantages based on what they're accustomed to.] The judge is a local chef, who picks Lime as the winner. [I totally thought Hodge Podge was going to get it!] Lime wins $1500 toward their $15,000. [10% is a big difference!] Their second Speed Bump forces them to close down early at night again (before dark, even), plus they have to open as a dessert truck for the first two hours the next day. When they're at $124 and $190 away from $15,000, it becomes clear that it's going to come down to the wire. [I don't even know who I want to win at this point!] It looks like Hodge left a little sooner than Lime, but Lime gets to Tyler first. [location matters...] Hodge arrives like five minutes later.

Hodge Podge: They want to serve gourmet food in Miami, so they first head to Red's Steakhouse - run by Chris' old boss. They buy truffles, foie gras, lobster, etc. directly from them. Chris drives to a food truck meetup, as he knows of another guy down there. [this kid is so unbelievably hooked up...] Their menu consists of ribeye steak taco (they heard tacos sell well), crab dip, and lobster taco, among other things. [and the food looks awesome!] For the first Speed Bump, they serve foie gras, hamachi, and sashimi at name-your-own-price. They come up with $200 in about 45 minutes... before the food in the truck even cooled down! They make about $5,000 on the first day, $176 more than Lime Truck. For the Truck Stop, they do king mackerel steaks with a Spanish-influenced potato-tomato-kale-onion mixture. It's well-seasoned, perfectly cooked, but maybe too many ingredients - the judge tells them to scale it back to feature the fish. [not a bad suggestion...] Hodge admits later that the remoulade might have put it over the edge. [and he beats himself up over this, really.] On the second day, they head to Kendall Car Wash, which is very centrally located. There's a food truck meetup there where Chris has another hook-up, and they have a line before they even arrive! [I call shenanigans...] They're at $12k after the second day. For the second Speed Bump, they want to do 3 desserts at $10 each, which turns into $35 plates for four items: tarts, a chex-mix thing, a berry waffle, and a bananas foster-like dish. They go to a produce wholesaler to buy stuff, and go ahead and sell to the employees! [smart and quick thinking, I guess.]

The Lime Truck: They think they're pretty suited for Miami between their food, the truck, and their personalities. [? whatever.] They want to focus on selling to the night life. [never got to see how that would pan out...] They also think that comfort food won't go over well in Miami and feel that they have an advantage there.. They thought they'd have a Truck Stop taking up time, and had ideas for later on, so their plans get muddy. They go get some product from Restaurant Depot, and plan to make crab ceviche, Philly cheesesteak french fries, and mussels, among other items. They're getting business through social media and word-of-mouth. [nice to see both the old-fashioned and the modern versions at use.] To make money without the truck, they do a live demonstration of cooking mussels. [...I wouldn't stop for that.] It takes a while, but eventually they come up with the money. When they get their truck back, they head to Little Havana, near a bunch of bars and restaurants. For the Truck Stop, they play with a few ideas, and go with an amuse bouche and an entree. [gutsy!] Their dish is "well-seasoned and well-executed." It focused on the ingredient, but was too vintage. [I don't know that I've ever heard that term used in relation to food...] For the second day they go to South Miami and park near a brewery. They try to drum up business by talking to pedestrians and people in stores. [I'm starting to hate this idea....] They're at $13k after the second day. For the second Speed Bump, they want to sell desserts at breakfast items, like bread pudding, coconut cake, nutella and marscapone quesadilla, french toast, and mango limeade. They buy stuff from a restaurant and go downtown. They want to start opening their own restaurant with the money. [wonder how that'll go....?]

Hope we'll see another season! And maybe I'll go check out Season 1 in the meantime!
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