Monday, August 26, 2013

Great Food Truck Race: Does Portland Eat Breakfast?

I knew that Portland was home to hipsters, but didn't really have much of an idea beyond that what the culinary landscape would be like. Apparently, there is a market for Hawaiian food! They earned more than double (when you don't factor in the free $500 token) the next closest competitor! Of course, it was advantageous that Adam went to culinary school in the area, and especially that he had worked with geoduck before. Speaking of which, I don't believe I have ever had that delicacy before, but I've never been or Oregon. Next time I'm in Seattle I'll keep an eye out for it, as I do enjoy clams. I was sad to see my favorite truck, Boardwalk Breakfast Empire, go home, but this type of competition isn't really ideal for a truck that has a limiting factor like "breakfast." It's rare that folks on the street are going to dive in for a brunchy item between 2pm and midnight, which is a huge chunk of time. That said, I'm shocked that Frankfoota is still in this. I thought they had a rough go in the first round, but it seemed like they had even more difficulties this time around! I'm intrigued to see how Idaho will work for all of the groups!

Remaining Trucks:
Boardwalk Breakfast Empire, Classic Comfort Food, Seabright, NJ. Joanne ran a coffeeshop but Sandy destroyed the place in 2012. To help her get back on her feet, Tim and Ilene are helping.

Bowled and Beautiful
, Fresh California Bowls, Los Angeles. Heather, Liza, and Jess are single moms who met in culinary school and are out to prove it's never too late to follow your dreams.

Philly's Finest Sambonis, serving Authentic Philly Cheesesteaks, Philadelphia. Childhood BFFs Erik, Joe, and Chris have come together after Erik had a bad car accident that ruined his career as an electrician.

The Slide Show, Gourmet Burgers and Fries, West Hollywood, CA. Trained chefs Das, Ahren, and Maurice are trying something new, as Das previously had a restaurant after appearing on another Food Network series.

Tikka Tikka Taco, Indian Street Food, St. Louis. Brothers Mike and Shaun work with their uncle, Sam.

Aloha Plate, Authentic Hawaiian Cuisine. Brothers Adam and Lanai, plus friend Shawn, are from a remote Hawaiian island and want to share their food. Adam went to culinary school, thanks to a benefactor whose life he saved.

The Frankfoota Truck, Gourmet Hot Dogs, Brooklyn. Friends Dana, Victoria, and Mirlinda are running this one.

The Great Food Truck Race "A Strange Brew in Portland" (S04E02): The teams receive $350 seed money and there are no menu restrictions this time, but the trucks can only sell on private property, not on city streets! [wow, that really changes things! I also thought it was interesting that there is no styrofoam in Portland, being an environmentally friendly city.] It's a rainy Saturday, so there isn't a lot of foot traffic. The Speed Bump forces the trucks to avoid re-stocking their supplies for about 24 hours. [wow, that's rough! Only Aloha, Bowled, Boardwalk, and Slide Show had enough food to keep on selling after a while.] The Truck Stop lifts the ban on stocking, but also requires all dishes to cost $10 or less and contain geoduck (pronounced gooey-duck), a crunchy clam-like local food. When the teams sell $100 (later raised to $200) of geoduck product, they should close and race to Council Crest Park. The first team there receives an extra $500 on the books. [the bump in numbers really changed things! I was interested to see how everyone would adjust, but they only showed a few.]

Aloha Plate looks to what they know - the local Polynesian population as well as Adam's culinary school contacts. They park near a bar (The Barrel Room) and add a lettuce wrap to their menu. They up prices to $20 for burgers and $25 for combos. [too steep for me. but, clearly, it worked!] They put the geoduck in their lettuce wraps, are the third group to hit the $200 mark, but they're the second group to get to the park. They do finish with the highest income, however, of $2,505.

Bowled and Beautiful
calls an Irish restaurant on the waterfront and have a great location. They serve quinoa with lettuce, grilled meat, vegetables, and sauce, and increase their prices from $5-7 to $7-10. [I wonder why they value their food lower?] They marinade the geoduck and throw it in their bowls, but the portions keep getting smaller. They are the second team to hit the $200 goal and are the first to find the prize at the park, getting their total all the way up to $1,662.

Tikka Tikka Taco adds tacquitos to their menu and park with a bunch of food carts at Cartlandia. [play on Portlandia a little bit?] They throw the geoduck in tacos and reach a grand total of $1,219.

The Slide Show does a beef slide with gorgonzola and grilled onions, a chicken slider with guacamole and bacon, truffled fries, fried pickles. [sounds like a winner.] They chop up the geoduck and throw it with lemon juice, salt, pepper, roasted red peppers, onions, Old Bay, and make patties. Problematically, they only make 10 patties to sell for $10 each. [and we don't see how they stretch it!] Their total is $1,121.

Philly's Finest Sambonis contacts a convention center and park over there. They think of deep-frying the geoduck but go with geoduck fritters with cheesesteak fries on the side. [I'd go for these.] Their total is $961. [I really wonder how sustainable cheesesteaks would be outside of the northeast! I mean, when I lived outside Philly we are them, but nowhere else I've ever lived has had them unless in a specialty sandwich place!]

The Frankfoota Truck works with $100 less than the others initially, figuring that they'd save the shopping money rather than buy the wrong stuff. [problem #1: doubting themselves.] They park at a brewery, and serve a Veggie Mexican dog and the "big & juicy," a maple-glazed sausage with potatoes and peppers. [gross to me, but I know some people like sweet on their sausages...] They get a $60 parking ticket. [problem #2: they assumed every place is like NYC.] They relocate to Portland State College and sell geoduck fritters with tartar sauce. They run out of food to sell before they reach $200. [problem #3: did they portion too much or not get enough "meat" out of the shell] Their total is $727.

Boardwalk Breakfast Empire meets up with A La Cartes, another food cart pod. They serve a cheddar cheese pancake club sandwich, a goat cheese grilled cheese with olive tapanade, and vegetable soup. [I'd buy the first one!] They take the geoduck with red peppers, corn, and batter it into a pancake. [pass!] They get to $200 first and roll out, but get lost on the way to the park and waste 30-40 minutes. [ya know, this is how Murphy's Spud Truck lost, too...] Their total is $655, though at least all the profits of the weekend get donated to charity Sea Bright Rising ($6400) helping post-Sandy relief.
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The next stop will be 664 miles east to the Smile Capital of the country: Pocatello, Idaho!
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