There's something about putting food on a stick that makes it more fun. Perhaps it's the bite-size pieces. Maybe it's being able to gnaw the tasty morsels directly off a skewer. Eschewing knives, forks and plates gives a sense of freedom to the whole act of eating.
I think the folks running the Stick It Truck get that concept: Eating should be fun, and it doesn't have to be fancy to be good. Anyone who has eaten a turkey leg at a Renaissance fair understands the concept.
The food may be fun, but that doesn't mean the culinary pedigree on board isn't serious. Chef Ruth Lipski attended Le Cordon Bleu in Arizona, while her partner Alberto Palmer is a culinary veteran with 12 years of management experience. Chef Ruth interned at Moto and was Executive Chef at Simone's in Chicago.
We dropped by for a visit on a sunny Thursday at lunchtime while they were parked by Soundwaves on Montrose. Chef Ruth (who talked with us while her Alberto was busy cooking) recommended beef tenderloin on a stick. The marinated flavor was fantastic, and I think there must have been some oregano in there. It reminded me a great deal of souvlaki, the Greek dish that is marinated meat grilled on a skewer. It's one of the main reasons I look forward to the city's annual Greek festivals.
There are items at Stick It Truck that are a fantastic value. Bacon-wrapped sausage on a stick was $2. Deep-fried Snickers™ bars (two "fun sizes," cut in half, on one stick made four, bite-sized pieces) were a mere $1. When was the last time you bought a sinful dessert for a dollar? When all was said and done, my partner and I were well-fed for less than $20.
Five of those dollars landed us chunks of creamy brie that were dipped in funnel cake batter, deep fried, and "stickified." It came with a generous little tub of raspberry jam, which was appreciated, but not required to enjoy the fried goodness.
I quite enjoyed the mashed potatoes that came on the side with the steak on a stick. It was just the way I like them and some of the best I've had in awhile. They were chunky and with lots of potato skin. They were almost "smashed" potatoes. They could have used more seasoning, though, and although they were advertised as cheddar and bacon mash, I wasn't really picking up on those flavors.
The other side was an inspired vegetable combination of zucchini, baby portobellos, green beans and bacon. Again, more seasoning would have been desirable; however, when was the last time you got steak with two side dishes for $9?
There are a lot of little extras one can get on the side as well, like a fried egg or some pork belly. "How do you put fried egg on a stick?" asked my partner. "No, no that's not on a stick," replied Chef Ruth. I wouldn't be surprised at all, though, if some other egg incarnation doesn't end up on a stick here.
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I look forward to trying some more of their creative dishes, such as Korean pork belly lettuce wraps with basmati and sesame gastrique, or fried chicken with four peppercorn gravy.
As of this writing, Stick It Truck can often be found at lunchtime at Soundwaves or just down the road at Inversion Coffee. On Wednesday and Thursday evenings, they're at The Boneyard. However, be sure to check their Twitter feed, @stickittruck, before heading out. They're not out every day, and the schedule is apt to change. They are very good about updating their Twitter feed, though, so it's not too challenging to find them.