I first encountered the B29 Streatery truck at an event called the Food Truck Round-Up, which was basically to celebrate the grand opening of another truck called Archie's Place (review here). However, since I'd already eaten at Archie's Place that week, my thoughts were focused on B29, a literal full kitchen on wheels spawned by Nampa's Brick 29 Bistro. News hasn't exactly been hard to come by, the truck has not only it's own website, but also pages on Blogger (I recommend going back and reading it from the beginning, there's a complete history of the truck right down to the music listened to on the cross-country trip that brought it here), Facebook and Twitter. B29 works all these outlets, unlike a lot of places that take advantage of social networking sites as they prepare to open and then vanish from them after the grand opening.
Anyway, the Food Truck Round-Up. I've been saying Boise needs something like that for years now, and while I was picturing a dozen or so vendors lined up at Julia Davis Park rather than three (Boise Fry Company's truck joined in the fun) parked outside Bar Gernika, it was definitely a good start. After agonizing for quite a while about what to order, I opted to try one of the then-current specials, the Suckling Pig Porchetta Sandwich with agro dolce onions, baby arugula, and red wine vinaigrette. Just for the hell of it, I added an order of Hand Cut Idaho French Fries with herbal salt, smothered in their blue cheese sauce.
|Suckling Pig Porcetta Sandwich|
Interestingly enough, this was my first time eating suckling pig. I'd been trying to save myself for one of those crispy-skinned, fire-roasted ones you always see on shows about Hawaii and China, but with it right there in front of me I didn't have the power to resist. The pork itself was very good, tender and buttery-soft with a mild but pleasing flavor, the onions were perfectly good (this is coming from someone who's not exactly a fan of cooked onions), the vinaigrette wasn't overused and the bun was terrific, but to be honest the main thing that grabbed me was the baby arugula. I don't think I'd ever had it on a sandwich before, and it made a big impression on me. I can take or leave iceberg lettuce on a sandwich since it brings nothing to the party but a little crunch, but throw some dark greens on there and I'm a happy guy. Usually I use spinach in these cases, but I will definitely be considering arugula when making sandwiches in the future.
|Hand Cut Idaho French Fries with herbal salt and blue cheese sauce|
On the other hand, I was torn about the fries. If I'd known the sandwich came with chips (which were damned good by the way), I'd likely have skipped the fries. Especially since it felt weird to be ordering them with the BFC truck only a stone's throw away! Still, I have a weakness for stinky cheese and I just couldn't resist. The fries themselves were excellent, crispy and seasoned very well with the herbal salt, but the blue cheese sauce just didn't thrill me. A friend who was partaking in the festivities with me thought it was just fine, but as for me, I like blue cheese that's so strong you could likely smell it from the next room. I expected the sauce to have more of that element considering how decadent the sandwich I'd just eaten had been, but if you dig the milder stuff you'll probably like this dish. That reminds me, I still want to try their fries with Swiss cheese fondue...
Moving on. A few days after this event, B29 had their own grand opening at Payette Brewing, and I dropped in to try one of the regular menu items, the "Grilled Cheese". The quotation marks are theirs, not mine...
|The "Grilled Cheese". Yes, you read that right.|
B29 Streatery's version of a grilled cheese is described on their menu as: BBQ Pulled Pork, Garlic Aioli, Monterey Jack. To this I would add that despite what the website menu says, they've ditched the garlic aioli in favor of a jalapeño version, and that the cheese appears to have been battered and fried rather than just melted during the grilling process. This was an evil, over-indulgent sandwich, the kind of thing you love but kind of hate yourself for loving. If there was any fault with it, it would be that the bread was a little greasy from the grill, but when you're eating pulled pork and deep-fried cheese on the same sandwich, you have little right to complain about a little oil. I hear that B29 might be setting up shop once every week just minutes from my office, and that could be dangerous to my health so long as this sandwich is on their menu.
Speaking of which, the third time I crossed paths with B29, it was in an office park west of the Emerald and Maple Grove intersection. I had gone to sample a new special, shredded beef cheeks (don't knock it till you've tried it). Unfortunately, when I got there it wasn't on the menu. This gave me the chance to try their Asian Chicken Salad, something else I've been curious about for a while.
|Asian Chicken Salad|
Even though it wasn't what I had wanted, I was still very impressed with this dish. Shredded Chicken Confit, shredded cabbage, crispy wonton strips, and miso vinaigrette combined to make a salad that by alternating bites seemed very rich or very light. The whole thing was also served in a Chinese style take-out box, a piece of kitsch that I dearly love. As the days get hotter, this is definitely a dish I'll be returning for. But I still wanted those beef cheeks, and yesterday I finally got my chance to have them.
|Shredded Beef Cheek sandwich|
It's amazing the look that will cross some people's face when you mention the idea of eating cheeks, even though their fattiness and tenderness makes for ideal eating. These same people likely eat rump roast on a regular basis, but I digress. These particular cheeks were braised in red wine, shredded, and served with baby arugula and green chile sauce on grilled bread, and more of those delicious chips (barbecue flavor this time, if I'm not mistaken). By the time I got this back to the office, the braising liquid had penetrated the bread and the sandwich was falling apart, not that it matters because despite how small the slices of bread they use are, they always stuff the sandwiches full so a fork would likely have been a necessity anyway. Red wine, green chiles, meat that melts in your mouth...do I even need to say this was delicious?
B29 couldn't have come along too soon as far as I'm concerned. While I love taco trucks and the like, a lot of people have very bad (and mostly unjustifiably so) opinions of them. Between mobile eateries like B29, Archie's Place and The Kilted Kod, people's opinions about truck food are changing in the Treasure Valley, and I can only hope that we'll be seeing more variety sooner rather than later.
Final Grade: A