Springfield Ohio Rotary Gourmet Food Truck Competition 2016

Anita and I just returned from our first trip to the Springfield Ohio Rotary Gourmet Food truck competition. Man, what a great trip! The competition is held in a nice park in down Springfield, alongside a slow-flowing creek with lots of trees. Over 30 trucks were on site, lining a street through the park. As you can expect, just about every cuisine you could imagine was available, from BBQ to pizza to crab cakes to Korean tacos. The trucks were competing for a $10,000 first prize, which is huge, so you know they all brought their A-game and the best foods you can get!

Springfield Ohio Rotary Gourmet Food Truck Competition 1 We got to the event just as it opened and it got busy and crowded fast! I was able to sneak in a few pictures before the lines got long.

Springfield Ohio Rotary Gourmet Food Truck Competition 2The event location is quite ideal. They had a stage set up for live music, which was quite enjoyable to listen to while devouring a few loaded gyros from the Pitabilities truck that were the best either of us had ever had. The toppings screamed fresh.

Springfield Ohio Rotary Gourmet Food Truck Competition 6Another really great thing about the event were the facilities. From the picnic tables to restrooms, it was all very pleasant. There was parking on-site, or up the street at the hospital.

Springfield Ohio Rotary Gourmet Food Truck Competition 5We enjoyed a few trucks, then grabbed a pepperoni pizza from the Raging Bull Wood-Fired pizza truck to take home for dinner back in Indianapolis.

Springfield Ohio Rotary Gourmet Food Truck Competition 3And believe it or not, I ended up getting interviewed by the Springfield-News Sun paper about the food truck event! How cool is that?

Springfield Ohio Rotary Gourmet Food Truck Competition 4I cannot wait to return next year!

Union Centre Food Truck Rally 2016

Anita and I just returned from the 2016 Union Centre Food Truck Rally. Over 40 of the most amazing food trucks in one place just north of Cincinnati, Ohio, the rally was enough to bring tears to this foodie’s eye. Truck after truck, cuisine after cuisine. It’s hard to describe, but I’ll try.

I should start by saying we were at the rally for lunch. The event actually goes on through the night, culminating in a fireworks display. Beer and music are available all day. Me, I was there for the food trucks, so we got there early so I could get some pictures, but the crowds got big and got big fast.

Union Centre Food Truck Rally 2The trucks were arranged down three streets, noted as green, blue and red. There’s something for everyone. I’ll start by highlighting some of the trucks we ate at, and then follow up with pics of the other various trucks (not all of them). You can’t go wrong at the food truck rally. Great food, great folks.

So for starters we grabbed some fried crushed potatoes at the Street Chef Brigade truck. Buttery yellow potatoes cooked then crushed and (I think) flash-fried. Topped with the best combination of cheeses, truffle oil and fresh herbs. Addicting.

Union Centre Food Truck Rally 6Next, I grabbed an Italian sausage dog at U-Lucky Dawg (fantastic), and headed on down the line of trucks. I grabbed some churros and Anita grabbed some ice cream.

I could not go to a food truck rally without getting chili from my favorite chili truck, the Chili Hut. I didn’t care that it was 104 out with the humidity, I was getting a few 3-way chilis. I first ate at the Chili Hut at a cluster truck that Jungle Jim’s put on years ago and I’ve been jonesin’ to return ever since.

Union Centre Food Truck Rally 12Then, more truly amazing goodness at the Quite Frankly truck. I had (and devoured) the Darth Reuben, which made any other Reuben pale in comparison. I could sit down with a bowl of their homemade kraut right now. Anita had the Granny Brie, a crazy good combination of smooth brie with apple butter and Granny Smith apples. Like a dessert sandwich. Well, not like one, it was one.

Union Centre Food Truck Rally 14The food was too much to describe, with so much good stuff that you just have to go to experience it. Here are just a few of the other trucks that were at the rally. Don’t let the lack of lines fool you. We got there right at the moment the rally started. Minutes later it was busy as busy can be. So don’t be surprised to wait for your food for a few minutes. Take the time to chat with your fellow eaters or the great folks in the trucks (about the nicest people you’ll meet).

Union Centre Food Truck Rally 15 Union Centre Food Truck Rally 13 Union Centre Food Truck Rally 11 Union Centre Food Truck Rally 10 Union Centre Food Truck Rally 9 Union Centre Food Truck Rally 8 Union Centre Food Truck Rally 7 Union Centre Food Truck Rally 5 Union Centre Food Truck Rally 4 Union Centre Food Truck Rally 3 Union Centre Food Truck Rally 1I so cannot wait to return in 2017. Although I packed a few coolers to take food back with us, I definitely did not pack enough. Next year I’m bringing more food containers and coolers and ice.

You can follow the Union Centre Food Truck rally on their Facebook page, here. You’ll get notifications of the trucks that will be attending (so you can plan your food truck dining!).

KG Slider Station Food Truck

Oh, how I dread colder days. Not so much because it’s grey and gloomy, but because most food trucks go into hibernation during winter. Fortunately, I took plenty of pics of the food from various Indy food trucks to help get me through. Like the wonderful sliders from the KG Slider Station, which I’ve visited many times.

KG Slider Station Food TruckAlthough their menu includes dishes other than sliders, I’m all over the sliders. The Cajun Pulled Pork (left) had just the right amount of sauce and spice, with a great slaw to cool it down. The Southern Belle Rosemary Chicken (right) is my favorite. Creamy roasted chicken with a sweet and tart mayonnaise sauce that is really great.

KG Slider Station Food TruckThe Station Turkey Burger (left) was a wonderful surprise. Turkey burgers can be tricky, but these are great. Topped with caramelized onions and my other favorite, a blackberry BBQ sauce (which probably should be sold by the bottle). And of course, there’s Grandma’s Old Timer Burger. A slider burger patty with the (fresh) toppings you’d expect from a great diner.

KG Slider Station Food TruckThe buns from the KG Slider Station are always sooooo fresh. They’re like little slider pillows. And I know it’s weird, but I really love that they have a TV screen showing the menu items and pictures above the ordering window. It’s very easy to read.

I’m a big fan of the KG Slider Station. As you can tell by my rating of them on the ‘Mater Rater.

'Mater Rater Restaurant Score 5-5-4-5

Der Pretzel Wagen Food Truck

One of my favorite food trucks in Indy isn’t a food truck. It’s a little wagon. Er, wagen. Der Pretzel Wagen. You can smell the wonderful pretzel bread as you get closer and closer. Warm, soft, salty… Perfect as buns for sandwiches, and of course, perfect as a pretzel.

Der Pretzel Wagen Food TruckMy favorite sandwich is probably the Ham Solo. Besides the great bread, there’s Bavarian ham, BBQ sauce, cheddar cheese, and a surprise crunch from crumbled Doritos.

Der Pretzel Wagen Food TruckI also recommend the Skywalker, The Big Helga, and the Das Fritz. If you’re into horseradish, they have several other sandwiches that are right up your alley. Me, I’m not so much the horseradish guy, but like I was with cilantro years ago, I’m working on it and I’m sure I’ll come to love it too.

You have to grab a pretzel from Der Pretzel Wagen. You can get one with a sandwich (part of the Uber Combo deal), or grab one by itself. They’re soooo good. Available in cinnamoned or salted. Do like I do and grab extras to take home. Pop them in the oven for a few minutes to get them all warm and soft, and then enjoy!

Der Pretzel Wagen Food Truck

Pretzels. Good. And rated high on the ‘Mater Rater. And make sure to tell the nice folks in the wagen Hi!

'Mater Rater Restaurant Score 5-5-5-5

Groovy Guys Fries Food Truck

“Love, peace and fry grease.” I’ll second that! That’s what is says on the side of the Groovy Guys Fries food truck here in Indianapolis. Before I tell you just how great the fries are, I have some advice on where to stand after the nice folks on the truck take your order. Near the back. In the picture below, it’d be to the far left (sadly, the guy in the photo isn’t aware of this, but if I’d told him then I wouldn’t have been able to stand there, so… gotta do what you gotta do).

Groovy Guys FriesWhy stand at the back of the truck? Well, because it smells WONDERFUL! Natural, fresh cut fries getting all happy in the truck, the aroma wafts out the back and you’ll just want to stand there and close your eyes and enjoy.

My first time at Groovy Guys Fries I ordered the steak and cheese fries. Perfectly seasoned and cooked fries topped with seasoned beef, cheese and a bit of A-1 sauce. The meat was tender and tasty, but the fries are the star.

Groovy Guys FriesThe next time I ordered the taco fries. These are winners for sure. Again, perfectly seasoned and cooked fries, topped with taco-seasoned tender ground beef, salsa, cheese sauce and a bit of sour cream. Not only good, but these fries get better as you go because all of the topping happiness sinks to the bottom of the container and everything gets all gooey and yummy and mixed together. I’ve read where some folks aren’t thrilled that some of the fry toppings are canned or jarred. I’m not really that hung up on that. Groovy Guys is a food truck with a friendly crew that cranks out really good fries that taste fantastic. I consider them a treat to eat, and I’d go back again. And again.

Groovy Guys FriesGroovy Guys Fries also sells “just” fries (called Natty Fries), with a wide assortment of dipping sauces. Perfect as a side or main.

'Mater Rater Restaurant Score 5-5-4-5

Mac Genie Food Truck

Sadly, it appears that Mac Genie has closed it’s doors. I’m really going to miss their great service and of course, the mac and cheese. ~ Mike

I actually dreamed about mac-and-cheese the other night. That’s because I knew that Anita was going to swing by the Mac Genie food truck near her work the next day and pick up some Genie Mac. Mac-and-cheese from Mac Genie will make you dream about it again and again.

Mac Genie Food TruckI’ve had nothing but delicious goodness from the Mac Genie truck. They’re super-friendly folk with super-yummy food. You’ll find that same friendliness and good food at just about all of the food trucks around Indianapolis. We’re lucky to have so many!

Mac Genie Food TruckThe Genie Mac is topped with breadcrumbs, sour cream, and chives. And bacon. It’s just downright pretty and tastes even better than it looks, which is saying a lot.

Mac Genie Food TruckThe Buffalo Mac is crazy good. It combines two of my favorite things: creamy good mac and Buffalo chicken. Not hot, just spicy good. Breadcrumbs and cool Ranch top it off.

Mac Genie Food TruckThe Mac Genie truck is out and about Indianapolis, and well worth the visit! The fine food and folk rate this truck high on the ‘Mater Rater.

'Mater Rater Restaurant Score 5-5-5-5

Serendipity Food Truck

The Serendipity food truck is another one of my favorite Indianapolis-area food trucks. Like many of the trucks here, Serendipity offers really great food with really pleasant service. Serendipity Food TruckThe main items on the Serendipity menu are arranged by geographical region: The North East (crab cake sliders), South East (Cuban sandwich), Mid West (rotating grilled cheese), North West (elk sliders), and South West (mole tacos). Now, here’s where I have to admit I’ve only had the North East. I so love their crab cakes that I have to order them. Each and every time (and I’ve been there several times). The toppings are fresh, the buns are fresh, and the red pepper aioli is perfect with the crab. The cakes are very lightly fried. You get two in an order. You’ll want eight. I will try the tacos next time, I promise. I usually get my North East with the truffle fries, which are so addictingly good. The fries are hand cut, cooked fresh. They have super great potato flavor by themselves. Add truffle oil and Parmesan and well, they’re just silly good. Serendipity Food TruckA friend of mine recently stopped by Serendipity and had the Mid West. The evening he was there the Mid West was a grilled spinach and artichoke cheese sandwich. I liked the idea so much that I made my own version (that I’ll post tomorrow). Oh, and don’t forget that you can add a mini taco or elk slider for just a few bucks more! Serendipity Food TruckI’ve spent time watching the folks on the truck do their thing (but not like stalking in a creepy way), from taking orders to cooking to serving, and they do it all right. So, I gave them the highest marks on the ‘Mater Rater. 'Mater Rater Restaurant Score 5-5-5-5

Byrne’s Grilled Pizza Food Truck

Byrne’s Grilled Pizza food truck has been on my food truck bucket list for a while, and thankfully, yesterday was the day I was finally able to catch up to it. And boy am I glad I did.

Byrne's Pizza Food TruckAlthough Bryne’s also serves stromboli, I was there for the personal-sized pizza.

Byrne's Grilled Pizza Food TruckThe pizzas are 10″ big, the perfect size for one for lunch or dinner. They are grilled on grills on the back of the trailer. It took only minutes between giving my order (the truck folk were super friendly) and getting my pizza. The crust is super thin and really crunchy, which I really love. The toppings were fresh and tasty, specially the Italian sausage.

I ordered two pizzas. The first was a Hey Zeus (pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, onion and banana peppers). Mmmmmm. Just look at that pizza. I could eat another one right now. Sauce and toppings to the edge, grilled perfectly. A great pizza.

Byrne's Grilled Pizza Food TruckThe second pizza I ordered was a Big Mama (which I incorrectly ordered as a Big Momma, but they probably get that a lot). Pepperoni, sausage and mushroom. Similar to the Hey Zeus and just as good. You can tell that the dough is scratch made. No machine-made, mass-produced pizzas here.

Byrne's Grilled Pizza Food TruckByrne’s is another example of the great food trucks we have here in Indianapolis. I encourage you to give them a try if you haven’t already. You’ll find a great variety in menus and really, really nice people. If you’re new to the food truck scene, give a Cluster Truck a shot. You’ll find multiple trucks at one spot. You’re sure to find something (or many things) that you’ll love. Check the Indy FTA site and find a truck near you today!

Bryne’s nailed it on the ‘Mater Rater. Great pizza, great staff.

'Mater Rater Restaurant Score 5-5-5-5There are other great pizza trucks in the Indianapolis area. Also try Cutie Pies Pizza and The NY Slice!