Monday, June 22, 2015

Stamford Food Carts

One of the things I am super excited about during my forthcoming trip to Portland this summer is the abundance of food carts.  Food carts are huge there, but are a relatively new thing here, and as such, I haven't had many experiences with them.

When I found out Three60 Events posted on Facebook that they were hosting a Food Cart Rodeo and Music Festival in Stamford, CT, I knew I had to buy tickets!

I went there with an empty belly, an unusual tolerance for the misty rain and way too much excitement over the prospect of trying new foods!

Entering the Mill River Park in downtown Stamford, I quickly took stock of the trucks and made a game plan with my fellow food aficionados. I wanted to try at least 8 trucks and thought that by splitting food items with my friends, I could juusssst do it.  Well, we'll see.

Our group diverged to start with half heading to CHOMPERS and myself and my friend Lauren off toThe Poutine King.  ( I couldn't find websites for these trucks, so the links are to Facebook.  There they have hours and locations to help you find them when hunger hits)

Beef, Cheese and Bacon
Chompers are somewhat like deep friend meatballs.  Melissa got the chicken, basil and mozzarella and her friend Jody got the beef, bacon and cheddar. Both balls (hehe..) are served with marinara and have a nice crunch when you bite into them.  The breading on the outside is like breadcrumbs, not batter which makes it so they are minimally greasy.  Lauren preferred the chicken, but I loved the beef, bacon and cheddar.  I found the textures and flavors better, whereas the chicken seemed one-note to me.

I have never had Poutine before, but have heard about it and desperately wanted to try it. We opted for the special with bacon and onions.  Honestly, I think we should have just gone with the original as the onions were extremely sweet and overpowering enough that it was difficult to get a good understanding of the actual dish.  Pushing some aside I was able to get a good taste of fries, cheese curd and gravy.

I thought it would be like any other cheese fries you would get at a diner, but it wasn't.  Cheese curds are...interesting.  They taste like cheese, but definitely don't feel like it in your mouth.  They squeak.  Which I am told is the sign of a good cheese curd. The gravy has a good brown creaminess and was not overly salty, which can be difficult to do.  Overall verdict? We liked it. Definitely enough to have it again.  The portions are HUGE, even with two people we couldn't finish the whole thing.

Cheesy goodness
After the fries, we made our way over to Lauren's favorite Szabos Seafood, for the much loved Lobster Roll. The lobster roll was $15 and came with fries and coleslaw.  We were fried out and the coleslaw was just your average type, so we ended up tossing them and focusing on the lobsta!

I really liked this lobster roll.  Chunks of bright red lobster piled on a buttery split hot dog roll is the stuff of dreams.  I  am not a huge mayo lover (I'll eat it, but am not one to be piling it on things) and I loved that this lobster roll had none. Zero. Just straight up lobster doused in butter. The way God intended. Lauren and I are not of the same mind on this and while she also liked the lobster roll, she prefers hers with just a touch of mayo.

Three carts in and we were going strong.  Definitely no longer hungry, but we weren't at our thresholds yet.  As we crossed to the other side of the field, Lauren and I split ways again with me going to The Melt Mobile and Lauren going to Pierogies on Wheels.  There were SO many options at Melt Mobile that I had difficulty deciding.  I went with the MonteCristo (and will definitely be back to try others - hopefully they still have the Madamoiselle special)

The Monte Cristo is herb baked country ham, farm fresh turkey and house cheese blend on Challah bread dipped in French toast batter and grilled. It is then sprinkled with powdered sugar and served with mixed berry preserves. 

Monte Cristo - Look at that French Toast crust!

Holy Mother of God.  This is AMAZING! I know some people are put off by the ham with french toast and powdered sugar, but I love a sweet and savory combo. It works so well.  The saltiness of the ham and turkey, the creamy goodness of the cheese, with the crunch of the french toast just melts (see what I did there...) together with the sweetness of powdered sugar.  Add the tang of red berry preserves and it is a complete, well rounded taste. Am I gushing?
Everything compliments and is such a pleasure to eat.  Yup, I'm gushing.

Again, portions are good sized.  I split this with Lauren and since we had already sampled other things, even forcing myself, I wasn't able to finish.

Attractive picture #1
Attractive picture #2 - Sexy

Lauren got the potato and farmers' cheese pierogis with a side of sour cream. They were perfectly fluffy. The insides were moist and the dough to filling ration was perfect! These were everything pierogis are supposed to be.

Ok, at this point we were full, no doubt about it, but I had only tried 5 carts! This would not do.  We decided to take a walk around the park to see if that would help ease our bellies and gear us up for round two.  It did not, we were so full there was no way we were going to last much longer.  It was decided that we would get dessert and leave as I admitted defeat.

Dessert came in the form of Orange Side Donuts.  Lauren plumbed for the Samoa Donut and I went for the Almond Butter Crunch.  The donuts were square! Both were delicious and while the donuts are fried, they have a very cake-y texture.  They are definitely best with a cup of coffee.  If I had to choose my favorite, I would say the Samoa, but honestly both were scrumptious. Big too!

Samoa Doughnut
Almond Butter Crunch
On the way out I grabbed some fresh squeeze lemonade bringing my cart total up to 7! I almost made my goal and there were so many other carts I wanted to try.

Maybe if we stayed longer I could have gotten a pizza made from a converted fire truck courtesy of The Fire Engine Pizza Co. Some friends of mine did get to sample it after I left and gave it two very satisfied thumbs up!

Anyone looking for food carts in and around the Stamford area for a quick lunch or to add a cool element to an event you're planning should follow the links provided as they will take you to sites with times, locations and contact info.

I was sorry to leave, but excited for my afternoon plans.  Lauren and I went to get tattoos! It was her first and my fifth.  She was nervous, but was such an amazing trooper.  Not enough to report to warrant a blog post, but below is a picture of my new ink.

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." - The Lorax

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