Monday, September 10, 2012

Food Truck Race: Surprises in Arkansas!

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

I think the most surprising thing about this episode is how greatly outside variables can affect a team. If Momma's Grizzly Grub didn't have to pay that deductible, they would have come in ahead of Pop-a-Waffle. And, if Nonna's Kitchenette hadn't won the TruckStop and earned $750 extra, Seoul Sausage would have come in first for the fourth time. PLUS, if the mayor of Fayetteville had made Momma's Grizzly Grub pay for the lightpole instead of running it through the insurance company, they would have gone home instead of Coast of Atlanta. Quite a few changes!!

One problem I am having with this show in general (and it would be a much bigger problem if the seasons were longer!) is the previews. Not only do they mention major scenes (allowing you to know in advance who has an accident or even who wins a Truck Stop!), but they also show snippets from all of the episodes yet to come, not just the one in the immediate future, so you're looking for things (like a cheating team) in an episode where it's not going to appear.

I think, at this point, that Pop-a-Waffle needs to step-up their game if they want to keep competing... I just don't think that their menu is diverse enough to keep charging the higher prices. Nonna's seems to have a handle on things, but I thought the same thing about Pizza Mike's, so there's no safe zone! And, with the Seoul Sausage boys being so clearly in the lead for so long, tragedy has to strike... As long as Momma's Grizzly Grub doesn't win it all in the end, I think I'll be happy. My beef with them? I don't feel like they care enough, are learning enough, or are as cooperative as the other teams.

The Great Food Truck Race "Baby Got Razorback" (S03E04): They're in Fayetteville, Arkansas, which is smaller than last episode's Amarillo. They only get $300 in seed money, but the weekend will be 24 hours longer!

The Truck Stop has the trucks shut down early because the next morning they'll have to do a dish with a secret ingredient - Strawberry PopTarts! [um, hate to break it to you, but PopTarts are expensive for college kids! we survived on cereal, yo!] They also get a second flavor - Brown Sugar, Chocolate Fudge, or Blueberry. [I think those are the only flavors I saw.] The judge is an acclaimed teenage chef, who deems the outstanding teams to be Nonna's and Seoul Sausage, with Nonna's taking the lead and earning a mounted Razorback head and $750. The Speed Bump comes immediately afterward, announcing that the trucks are shutdown until 1am, and they can work until 10am. [wow! crazy graveyard shift!] All the trucks plan to hit the bar scene on Dickson Street, except Pop-A-Waffle, who parks near a beer garden.  

Nonna's Kitchenette, Italian Grandmas' Recipes, NJ. Before they hear about any restrictions, they plan to do root beer floats, quesadillas, donuts, and meatballs. [the grandmothers had root beer float recipes??] For the Truck Stop, they chop up the poptarts (their extra flavor is chocolate fudge) and dip french toast in them, selling at the Farmer's Market. [I like how much interest they have in partnering, but part of it is kinda mooching...] The crispiness is great, but it's a little doughy inside. That night, they run donuts and quesadillas, and return to the Farmer's Market for their mid/late-morning sales. Overall, they finish the weekend with $3,005 (with the bonus).

Seoul Sausage, Korean Sausages, Los Angeles. Their plans are to make a turkey hamburger that they'll call The Razorback for $7, then sell the fried balls at 2/$8. They'll be at the Farmer's Market with Nonna's. For the Truck Stop, they go with a french toast sandwich with bacon, fried egg, and spices. It's a heavy but delicious dish. [strange Aerosmith reference! $6 a ball later on??] The next morning they go with breakfast tacos at Dickson Street and finish with a total of $2,907.

Pop-a-Waffle, Gourmet Waffles, Los Angeles. They want to stick with chicken and waffles, plus a fruitier option. [haha, they count the money to make sure it's $300!] They go to set-up in front of Costco again before the Truck Stop derails them. They chop up the poptarts and putting them in waffle batter with some strawberries... okay but nothing unique. They also sell at the Farmer's Market. The following morning they hit Dickson Street and do a strawberry shortcake waffle. Their weekend total is $1,936. 

Momma's Grizzly Grub, Homestyle Comfort Food, Wasilla, AK. They add a teriyaki taco to the menu for variety but buy rotisserie chicken to cut down on prep. [as soon as Momma's realized they forgot tortillas and had no money left, I wondered if they were going to be the "cheaters" and buy ingredients with their own money. buuut, apparently that's still coming in a future episode...] They take apart the poptarts to make Napoleons, so they use their last $16 to buy cool whip along with the tortillas. The dish is just too much. [really? I thought it sounded simple and boring!] They plan to park on the outskirts of the Farmer's Market but they crash into a light pole! To pay for the expenses, they'll have to take money from their sales. In the morning, they're at North College Avenue. [small sign they're holding up by the road!] The lightpost will cost $1,900 to replace, but the mayor agreed to treat it as an insurance matter, so they only owe the deductible of $250! [I was curious as to why the mayor came out to look at the damage in the first place...] Their final take is $1,842.

Coast of Atlanta, Gourmet Seafood. They want to stick with the fish basket and brown sugar peach lemonade but go with tilapia because it's cheaper than catfish. [what?? where?? I've seen some really cheap catfish!!] Plus, smaller portions at lower prices is their model. They set-up in front of a bar early on, and are clueless about the Truck Stop, but Mike comes up with tossing the PopTarts with potatoes and bacon for Poptart Hash. [that sounds SO GROSS!] The flavors meld well together but the quality of the potatoes is a bit weak. By the time they call the Farmer's Market, there's no space, so they have to plan to set-up on the outskirts. [I can't believe they waited until they were at the grocery store to call!!] They're pretty worried that they're in the bottom because they didn't call into the Farmer's Market early enough the first day... and, sure enough, they lose by a margin of just $24, hauling in $1,818 for the weekend.
The next episode will feature the four remaining trucks heading 530 miles East to Nashville, Tennessee!
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