Monday, September 24, 2012

Food Truck Race: The Waffles Don't Make It

by Amy K. Bredemeyer

Wow. Those Nonna's girls have made it all the way to the finale. I'm not the best at picking who is going to win in reality shows (you may recall I struggle with how The Next Great Baker turns out every season!), and I know that I started out pretty middle-ground on them, but I think you can tell that I am not their biggest fan and kinda wanted them to fall behind a while ago. Still, I think that the Seoul Sausage boys want it more, and I'm almost afraid that they're going to be the cheating team which was referenced by Tyler earlier in the season. Either way, I still love the show and hope that a fourth season takes place... though I'm kinda torn on whether I'd prefer it to be with established trucks like in the first two seasons or with rookies like this one... what did you like better? Oh, and one big thought from this episode... if tomatoes are such a big thing there, why did none of the teams try to capitalize on that in their menus??  

The Great Food Truck Race "Mistake by the Lake?" (S03E06): In Cleveland, Ohio, the trucks only receive starting seed money of $100. [I was hoping that we'd see a little more of the struggle! This part was really glossed over, I thought.] The Truck Stop comes early and has the teams come up with a fancy appetizer with a tomato, similar to how Outback Steakhouse has the Bloomin' Onion (the creator of which will be the judge). [I thought that this was a great challenge in concept!] Pop-a-Waffle was the stand-out winner and received $250 credit as well as three extra hours during the dinner rush when the other teams couldn't open their trucks. [my brother voted for their bruschetta as well... I was a little skeptical of all of the dishes, honestly.] The next day, the Speed Bump has the trucks scale down to only being able to use hot dog carts until 6pm. They get 10 cans of sterno, an ice chest, a butane burner, and six cans of butane. [wow... no wonder Pop-A-Waffle didn't end up doing so well...]

Seoul Sausage, Korean Sausages, Los Angeles.They plan to do a Soulish Boy (spicy pork sausage, apple slaw), a play on Polish Boy sausages. [I'm not really familiar with what those are, exactly, but I get the gist. I'd also like to know HOW they got that $35 discount at the grocery store. Did the cashier simply let them get the "membership card prices" without joining? Otherwise, something strange might have been taking place...] They head to Gordon Square and later pair with a local brewery for parking space. For the Truck Stop, they make a cold tomato soup with corn crab relish and shoestring onion rings. It has the "wow factor" in presentation and is great... BUT you don't see the actual tomato. [this would not have bothered me, but I also would have preferred soup not be in a boat, LoL.] They go with the kimchee fried rice balls and Korean burger for their main menu. They win the city with $5,202.

Nonna's Kitchenette, Italian Grandmas' Recipes, NJ. They set-up at a pet adoption event, a restaurant in Cleveland's Little Italy, and a park. [I understand the draw of parks, but I don't get why so many trucks don't get going as soon as the crowds start winding down at those places... it seems unlikely that there will be a flair in pedestrians again! also, I don't understand why an Italian restaurant would welcome the competition like that...?] They start out with just rice balls and ice cream sandwiches (because of the low seed starter), but later add on their meatballs and root beer floats. [how many of these floats do they truly sell?] For the Truck Stop, they go with a parmesan-breadcrumb deepfried tomato with garlic aioli. [that's a mouthful to even day! and I really was annoyed by the "how are you?" vs "how are yooooou?" when they realized that they were talking to the judge!] The appetizer has great flavor but is difficult to eat because it's not crispy enough. Overall, they come in second place with $4,292. 

Pop-a-Waffle, Gourmet Waffles, Los Angeles. They go with a churro waffle, strawberry shortcake waffle, and chicken waffle for the bulk of the weekend, but when they lose their truck and the ability to make waffles, they just sell fried chicken and Polish Boys. [how, exactly, were they prepped to sell Polish Boys? None of those ingredients were on their original menu...] For the Truck Stop, they make a pesto goat cheese on a ciabatta crostini with bruschetta. [another mouthful!] It's not popping visually, but the flavors are great. Unfortunately, their bonus three hours of being open don't get them a lot of business. [I guess it was their location that was causing all of the passersby to have already eaten?] Another unlucky thing for them is that, when the hot dog cart part is over, they try to move to a concert to sell their food, only to be stuck in traffic for 45 minutes, so they wonder if they just should have stayed in one place.They sadly come in third and have to go home, with a total (bonus included!) of $3,408. [I can't believe how it wasn't even close!]
Multi-city race to the finish! They get $500 to work with as they head off to start immediately in Boston, 665 miles East. [I'm really excited about this! I think it will definitely be fun and different!]
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