fries

Being winners of Food Network’s “The Great Food Truck Race,” there was a lot of expectation. With the new season of the food truck competition underway, it was good to try the last year’s winners. Seeing the truck on TV, it seemed to be almost a celebrity. The lime green was hard to mistake, and even more difficult to miss. The trio of chefs always pumped out amazing dishes and came out on top. I have been yearning to try their food and I finally had a chance. Though I weren’t able to meet the semi-famous chefs, getting a taste of their food was good enough for me.

Their carnitas fries are probably their most famous item on the menu. The pork on top, roasted for 12 hours was soft, but a little try. The help of the crema, guacamole, and chipotle honey slaw helped out a lot. The crunch of the slaw and the tender meet was a great match. The fries were a perfect to soak up all those flavors. The topping of cotija cheese gave it a nice salty flavor which it needed. In my opinion, the cotija was necessary and completed this dish nicely. I just wish I had more of this.

The Short rib sliders were amazing. The beer braised short rib was tender and flavorful as it should be. Topped with spicy ramulade and arugula, the sliders were impressive. Even the bread was soft and helped make these small sandwiches better. This was completely worth it and went perfectly well with the carnitas fries.

There comes a time when you get greedy and order something you regret. The adobo tacos were just that — money well spent. The adobo style pork belly was nearly dry — I was thinking pork belly, fatty, tender, and fatty. The pork in these tacos were lacking in quality and quantity. The green tomatillo, pico de gallo, and sriracha on top was tasty, atleast. The taco as a whole didn’t work for me. The tortilla was kind of cold, the protein a little off — it just didn’t do it for me, especially for 3 bucks. If you are a food truck, doing tacos right is a must. I mean, food trucks were born from this stuff.

The Lime Truck, the famous green gourmet food truck blew up. The semi celebrity status meant more eyes on them, more judging eyes at that. Honestly, if it weren’t for Food Network’s “The Great Food Truck Race,” would I even consider their food? Maybe, maybe not. The reality is, The Lime Truck pumps out pretty awesome food. The incident of the adobo taco might have been on the off chance they were having a bad day. Either way, 2 out of the 3 items I ordered were a home run, and I guess that is what matters. Look at me, showing favoritism to the celebrity food truck — I must be selling out. The reality is, the good items were really good, the bad items were just plain crappy. I guess you just have to order the right things. Plain and simple — carnitas fries / short rib sliders.

The Lime Truck on Urbanspoon

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Dino’s is one of those spots in Los Angeles that is equally dingy as it is delicious. As weird as that may sound, it is true. The place is near on Pico, near Vermont — not the nicest location, but not the worst either. This one is the original that started it all. Even though it is called Dino’s Chicken and Burgers, everyone gets the chicken. I wanted to get the chicken and try maybe a burrito or burger. I asked the guy, “what else is popular?”. He gave me a puzzled answer which led me to believe that chicken was the way to go. I looked around the kitchen, and all I saw was chicken. No burgers were being made, no burritos were being rolled. It was all chicken.

You get a bed of french fries, half a chicken, cole slaw, and tortillas — it all came out to less than 6 bucks. That was an amazing deal for a delicious meal on the cheap. The chicken had a nice char to it, and the taste was intense at times. It has an orange pigmented marinade that turns your finger orange for days (imagine hot Cheetos fingers). The kicker though, is this sauce they pour over the whole plate, fries and all. It is a sweet, salty, vinegary, and spicy mixture. You can easily have too much and have heart burn right after. This was delicious though — it made the dish pop. The tortillas were soft and were actually tasty — they weren’t just thrown in there. The cole slaw was nice too, a good textural crunch amongst the meaty chicken and fries. All of this for 6 bucks is well worth your money.

So there you have it — delicious cheap eats. Don’t bother going to Dino’s and get a burger or Mexican food, though I am curious as to how it is. Do get the chicken plate, and if you don’t want a bed of fries, you can always substitute it with rice. Dino’s is expanding and you can find a few of them around Los Angeles County. Find one near you, bring it home, or enjoy it there — just be ready for orange fingers.

Dino's Burgers on Urbanspoon

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When choosing what food trucks to try, I go by a lot of things. I see what I am in the mood for, if I heard some buzz about them, and the affordability and taste factor of their menu. Frysmith Truck serves fries that you can eat as a meal. They are all about quality and being humane. All of their meat are from free range, and they only use kurobuta pork. All of their utensils and drink containers are all biodegradable. They even reuse the fry oil to run the truck. Amazing. They go the extra mile to be better to the Earth and the animals. That kind of care shows in their food.

It seems like everyone is heading towards the Korean craze, especially with food trucks. At the Frysmith Truck, I could have had the regular chili cheese fries, or poutine, but I wanted something different. Fries and gravy? Been there, done that. I had a choice between the kimchi fries or the rojas fries.

Being Korean and all, and wanting to see what this is all about, I opted for the kimchi fries. The fries were freshly cut — it reminded me of the fries at In-n-Out. On top, they melted cheddar cheese and put a generous amount of kimchi. Though they could have added a little more pork on top, the quality was superb. The kimchi had a sweet, not too spicy aspect which was perfect with the crispy fries. The green onions brought everything together.  This hit home, yet it was so different for me. From the looks of the empty plate, it was delicious.

It was a great experience to try this food truck. Fries loaded with some of my favorite foods. What isn’t there to love? I wish I had room in my stomach to try the rojas fries which consisted of chilis, steak, and cheese. Definitely something for the future. Though the menu is small, they know what the people want. Fries with a bunch of tasty stuff on top. It doesn’t get any better.

Frysmith (food truck) on Urbanspoon

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Mandalay Bay has some of my favorite things.  It is away from the busy party hardy vibe from the center strip, it has one of the best pools in Vegas, and it has Stripsteak. From the outside, it just looks and give off a normal steakhouse feel.  Once you dine there, you are treated so importantly — you are taken care of.

You know the caliber of a restaurant by the water.  If the ice is foggy and the water tastes like tap, most likely, the food won’t be good.  What amazed me at Stripsteak was that the water they served is bottled Fuji water. It was that good artesian water, and quite honestly, the best tasting water of all time.  For them to take the time and money to serve good water to the customers really impressed me.  I knew from there on out, the food would be amazing.

The bartender was helpful in picking a drink for us.  In our indecisiveness, he made us a pineapple mojito. It was good and special custom made drink.

Sadly, we did not get to try a full on steak here.  We were here for a late night snack and drinks, and this was perfect beyond words.  Thinking a table would be a bit much, we ditched our reservations and just sat casually at the bar. The vibe was very relaxing — No nose in the air kind of attitude here.

I asked the bartender. “Can we order the truffle fries trio?  I do not see it on the menu.”  He responded with, “Oh, those are complimentary, on the house with every order.”  For a restaurant to give complimentary fries was amazing to me.  It wasn’t the boring bread and butter here.  And it wasn’t just ordinary french fries either.  These were duck fat fries, done three ways with three dipping sauces — truffle fries, garlic herb fries, and cajun bay seasoning. I will say this — These were the best fries I ever had in my life.  The duck fat made it very rich and flavorful.  The truffle fries were amazing.  It had a light crisp texture, with a meaty and buttery depth.  The cajun and garlic herb fries were good as well, especially with the truffle aoli, house made ketchup, and cajun sauce.  I will definitely eat these every time I go to Vegas.  All for free, and amazing.

We just ordered the truffle mac and cheese.  It was alright.  It could have been more cheesy and less watery.  The taste was there, but I just wanted it gooey and cheesy.

The truffle flavor was there, something I don’t get to have a lot.  It was buttery, somewhat cheesy, and definitely truffled.  The broccoli inside was a nice touch, and it was especially delicious with the fries.

All in all, it was a great meal and snack.  Our mouths were open to the rib eye the guy next to us was enjoying.  Next time, after a good run on the craps tables, I will have my rib eye.

Stripsteak (Mandalay Bay) on Urbanspoon

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It looks like the predominantly East Coast eatery has made its way well into the West.  Upon arriving, 5 Guys seems to have the color scheme of the very West coast hamburger joint, In-n-Out. The red and white tiles were really familiar.  Perhaps this is why there is much talk about 5 Guys vs. In-n-Out.  Without any suspense, let me just tell you.  In-n-Out is better.  Yeah, I am from the west, so of course I will be biased.  I’m not saying 5 Guys makes horrible hamburgers — they are amazing. I don’t want this post to be some sort of comparison test.  Maybe for a later date.

The taste of these burgers are one of a kind.  Condiments include the normal ketchup mustard, and lettuce, but I got mine with bacon and jalapenos as well.  The flavor profile was amazing — spicy from the jalapenos, and a little sweet from the grilled onions. I would have liked the bacon less crispy — I like bacon more on the chewy side than the cookie crisp side.  The meat was superb, grilled on the flat top with a perfect crust.  Though it was a little dry, I would have liked it a bit on the rare side.  All in all, it was a solid burger.

The fries were okay.  Yeah, just okay.  It was kind of soggy — no crisp at all.  The Cajun seasoning was really good on it, though not my cup of tea.  The malt vinegar was good — mixing it with ketchup really made it really pop. I even experimented and made a trifecta sauce – ketchup, malt vinegar, and Cajun spices.

Basically, 5 Guys is a solid burger joint.  Their burgers are flavorful and you have lots to choose from toppings wise.  Free peanuts too.  I wouldn’t say they have the perfect burger though.  Maybe it’s the west coast in me. Maybe it’s because they charge a lot more than the other guys.  Or it could be something as minuscule as them serving their burgers with cold buns.  It must be a sign — Keep trying it until it hits me.  Yeah, that must be it.

5 Guys Burgers and Fries on Urbanspoon

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