I had heard about the food trucks in the Twin Cities a few weeks ago. I moved here at the end of last summer and I am still getting to know the area. Especially as summer blossoms and there is more to do outside, I am always interested in checking out new places and, especially, foods. Although it wasn’t a very warm and sunny day, that didn’t keep me from heading to downtown Saint Paul to see what these mobile vendors had to offer.
While food trucks and carts are ubiquitous in big cities, they can still be found in smaller cities and towns where people are just as eager to grab a bite outdoors. The food trucks in Saint Paul congregate in different spots downtown ready to feed people emerging from their offices for their lunch breaks. They post their locations via twitter and provide a variety of food choices.
I arrived before noon to find two trucks settled next to Mears Park. On Wednesdays a crowd of food trucks creates an outdoor food court downtown, but I didn’t mind fewer choices since the park was the perfect tree filled spot to sit and eat. After perusing my options, I decided on Chef Shack, a bright red truck offering an eclectic mix of pulled pork tacos, vegetable curry, pasta salad and more. I ordered the sweet potato taco, which turned out to be vegan. The combination of flavors was unexpected, but perfect. The soft taco surrounded a pile of very light mashed sweet potatoes. Black beans and a pickled purple cabbage (with a hint of ginger) covered the sweet potatoes and the whole thing was garnished with a sauce that was just spicy enough, but not overwhelming.
I’m not sure if it was because I don’t go out to lunch very often and this was my first food truck experience in Saint Paul, but the two tacos in their little paper dish really hit the spot. After enjoying the park and the people watching for a bit, I set off to find some dessert. I couldn’t resist the call of the crepe stand which Meritage sets up outside during the week. I’ve always wanted to open a crepe stand somewhere. I might get tired of sweeping the batter around the pan for each crepe, but there are so many possibilities and flavor combinations and it never hurts to be reminded of Paris
Meritage offers one sweet and one savory crepe each day. The sweet crepe of the day was lingonberry jam with whipped cream. I ate my crepe as the sun came out, turning into a perfect early summer day. Sometimes, even when it tastes really good, food is greatly enhanced by the experience. Going in search of something new and changing my routine added its own flavor to my food truck experience.
410 St Peter Street
Saint Paul Minnesota