Monday, September 9, 2013

Food Trucks: Buffalo in South Dakota

From first place to last, Bowled and Beautiful certainly took a dive. It just goes to show you that being innovative chefs with a great product isn't all there is to being a successful food truck. Regional complications, unrelated challenges, and finding the right location all matter just as much, at least in this competition. Personally, I was not a huge fan, but I did appreciate how their menu was more diverse than some of the other competitors. The trucks that will move on all have a specific niche... how far you can stretch what "Indian" or "Hawaiian" means for food, and at what point will people just not be interested in burgers/sandwiches? The remaining rounds will certainly be interesting, and I sure wish that I could taste their products in order to make my rooting more logical!  

Remaining Trucks:
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. It was a dream, but he had to close it.

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

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 Great Food Truck Race "About Face in South Dakota" (S04E04): They meet at the Crazy Horse memorial in the Black Hills, 35 miles from Rapid City, which has a sophisticated tourism industry. [what does that mean, exactly?] They get only $50 to start with, and a quick Speed Bump forces them to struggle with transportation as well. They lose their cars, which means one person from each time won't have a way to get from place to place. [so, not only could they not stock up for the entire day, but they cant easily go get more supplies, either!] At the end of the day, it costs each team $100 to get their cars back, and the cash boxes get counted to allow for the highest sellers to have an advantage on Sunday. That's right, after only a short period of sales on Sunday, the Truck Stop requires the trucks to sell buffalo as their only animal protein. But, first, they have to butcher their own buffalo, and the order in which they do so is determined by who sold the most the previous day. They get to leave in fifteen-minute increments, and Aloha is first. Then Slide Show, Tikka, Bowled, and, finally, Philly. [but they're only in last by $190.] With those buffalo menus, there's an upper limit of $10 dishes, and once $1500 in sales is made, the trucks are to close down and go to Skyline Drive, where there are prizes of $750, $500, and $250. This must happen by 8:30pm. [wow! the trucks' total was just under $25,000!]

Aloha Plate thinks that tourists will be a big market for them so they prepare lettuce wraps with strawberry lemonade. They set up at Main Street Square, with Lanai running there during the Speed Bump. They return to the same location on Sunday, and because they butcher deer in Hawaii, they know what they're doing with the buffalo. [I had no idea there were deer in Hawaii!] They again turn to lettuce wraps and are the first team to earn $1500, getting them the biggest bonus. They round out the weekend with a total of $6,841.

The Slide Show uses buffalo meat with BBQ sauce in their original dish, and they picked up some ingredients from a local bakery. Das rides in a tow truck to Main Street Square during the Speed Bump. [good idea.] They hit a church on Sunday morning, then move a block away from Main Street after the Trick Stop. However, wanting to be away from the other trucks was a bad idea, so the relocate again to a church hosting Vacation Bible School, where they start to run out of meat. [I wouldn't think that would be a big money-maker...] They stretch it thin and finish just before time runs out. Their earnings total $6,199.

Tikka Tikka Taco wants to keep their menu items great but make them simpler so they can sell them faster. [interesting.] So, tortillas, chicken, spices, spinach, and yogurt make simple tacos. They sell at a farmer's market, with Shaun running there. Later, they give a free taco to anyone who will give them a ride to the store. [haha.] When they have to sell two blocks from the Square later, they learn that location makes a big difference, and head right back on Sunday. They don't know much about meat-cutting, but move to a warehouse store's parking lot to start selling, only to head to the Square once more. They even buy Aloha's last two plates to get them out of the market. [I thought this was a good idea, actually.] They finish second to get to $1500, but third overall with $5,865.

Philly's Finest Sambonis uses the small amount of seed money to do grilled cheese sandwiches with chicken cheesesteak meat, then set up at the Farmer's Market. [those do not sound good, and I love grilled cheese.] Eric bums a ride to the market. [yeah, I guess I'd round South Dakota to be a safe state for hitchhiking, LoL.] They relocate to the Square when things die down (again bumming a ride), but there's a food truck limit, so they have to try selling by a movie theater. [not a bad location for a small town, I thought.] On Sunday they struggle with their rolls again when the bakery has them frozen, but they actually get into a bigger fight when they accidentally leave their moneybox in the car. [how far away was that? why are they acting like it caused a huge delay?] They don't know a lot about cutting the meat, but head to a warehouse store's parking lot to sell before returning Main Street. They run out of food and can't reach $1500, ending the weekend with $3,800.

Bowled and Beautiful use buffalo ("it's a lean meat") and beans ("low-cost filler") in their chili, and set up at the Farmer's Market. Liza bums a ride from a local to get there. Later, they call a friend of a friend to taxi them to the store. [man, I'd be hard-pressed to think of someone I know who might know someone in a random city across the country!] They move to a "haunted" hotel, but it's a bust so they try to sell to Philly's crowd. On Sunday they hit the Square, then a warehouse store's parking lot where they run out of food before they hit $1500. Their grand total to $3,678, sending them home.
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The next stop is Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota!
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