The Atlanta Food Truck Park
My husband and I really enjoy trying all sorts of new things from books of different genres to visiting out of the way places. That also includes eating at diverse restaurants and having food we’ve never heard of before. I mean, we are “world-renowned food critics”, remember? Eating the same old stuff gets boring and really, how many different ways can you critique a pepperoni pizza??
Since we need to keep up with the times and keep our food-critiquing skills honed, Scott and I recently decided to check out the Atlanta Food Truck Park. While mobile food vehicles have been around since the late 1800′s, and ice cream trucks and carnival food trucks have been regular fixtures in our neighborhoods for many years, food trucks serving restaurant-like food from the side of the curb seem to have become the latest craze. As we dive into the food truck culture, we are learning that you can find anything from gourmet food to beyond decedent desserts to outlandish, but creative, food combinations being served from these tiny mobile kitchens.
At the Atlanta Food Truck Park, a gathering of different trucks park there every weekend so the food options available are varied every time you visit. (There is a handy schedule posted on their website so you can plan out your visit before you go if you wish.)
It was a beautiful day the Saturday we visited. There was a nice breeze blowing and the sun was warm enough to keep the chills away as we walked through the park checking out the “street food”. We took our time perusing the trucks and the menus that they had posted. Some of the trucks décor was as unique as the food they were serving. It really was hard to make a decision as to what to eat since most of the food looked tempting but it was all a little on the pricey side. In the end, we decided to try three different things from three different trucks and we’d share them.
As I’m trying to go as gluten free as possible, I chose the Kwanza Bowl from the W.O.W! truck, which consisted of roasted potatoes topped with smoked pork, shredded cheddar cheese, their “kicky sauce”, and bacon. From there, Scott decided he wanted something from The Blaxican, Mexican Soulfood, truck. His choice was the Philly Nachos with grilled marinated steak, grilled onions and bell peppers, covered with melted queso cheese. (Another awesome gluten free choice, by the way!) While we were waiting on his nachos to get made, we decided that I would go and order at the Mighty Meatballs truck as they had a couple of sliders that sounded very interesting.
While all our interactions at the other trucks were very pleasant and downright friendly, my experience at the Mighty Meatballs truck wasn’t very good, unfortunately. They had screens down over their service windows and I couldn’t see into the truck. When I first walked up, I couldn’t tell if anyone was behind the screen or not, but then I saw a hand near the bottom of the screen. I asked the person if they could raise the screen so I could see them as I cannot hear and could not tell if they were talking or not. Well, the screen didn’t raise. I then stated that I had no idea if they said anything to me so I’m just going to make my order, which was one Bahn Mi and one Greek slider. The Bahn Mi meatball was a pork meatball topped with fresh thai basil, cilantro, jalapeños, carrot and daikon salad, and sriracha mayonaise. The Greek meatball was a beef and lamb meatball topped with lettuce, red onions, tomato, with the always tasty tzatziki sauce.
After a moment, the screen slid up just enough for a hand to come out for the money. It was only then that I learned it was a woman behind the screen. She took my money and then raised the screen once more to give me my change. I stepped aside to wait as I had no idea, still, if she had said anything to me or not. A few minutes later, she opened the other screen and I saw her waving my food in my direction. When I got there to take my order from her, I briefly saw her face as she flatly told me to “enjoy”. No emotion, no smile, no indication at all that she was pleased to serve me my food. I walked away from that truck thinking that she really needed to find a new job if she was that unhappy to not be able to even attempt to muster enough strength to be pleasant to the customers. Sheesh! And, with being deaf, I always feel slightly intimidated in a situation where I cannot hear what is being said. So, having not been able to see the person in the truck (since I read lips) made me completely deaf and I did not like that feeling one bit!
At that point, we finally had all our food and went in search of somewhere to sit in the shade. They do have a very nice seating area with picnic benches and umbrellas and apparently, there is always some type of music playing for the guests. It makes for a pretty chic setting overall. On this day, there was a DJ mixing up some pretty groovy, albeit loud, tunes for us to nod our heads to while we were eating.
I dug into my Kwanza Bowl first since I couldn’t resist the bacon anymore! Oh, it was absolutely wonderful. The “kicky sauce” is creamed cilantro and jalepeno and truly did give my bowl a terrific kick! Scott’s Philly Nachos were simply delicious. The steak was moist and tender, the onions and peppers were cooked down enough to just have a slight crunch, and the cheese – oh man, the cheese was A-MAZING!! I know cheese is such a simple thing, but when it’s the real thing – no imitation crap – and it is drenching the food in all its gooey wonderfulness, OH! It is close to heavenly! Then we each took bites of each of the sliders…
Well, let me tell ya. It became instantly even more obvious that whoever was working in that truck that day really did not care about their job. The Greek meatball was okay. It wasn’t outstanding, even with the tzatziki sauce. Disappointing really. The Bahn Mi? Well, it was RAW! Raw and even cold in the middle. Under normal circumstances, I would have immediately marched right back up to the truck and demanded my money back. However, because of my experience at the truck, I decided that I could live without my $3 for that slider and would, instead, do something I seem to do very well, and that is to share my experience on all public venues for all to see.
I researched the Mighty Meatballs franchise and learned that two brothers took their great-grandmothers secret meatball recipe and their love of street food and grew it into the Mighty Meatballs food truck. I honestly felt really bad for these guys and the fact that they had some employee(s) really messing up their dream. After posting my review on a couple of well known user-review sites, less than 24 hours later, I had an email from one of the brothers.
“Debilee71, I am one of the owners of mighty meatballs and can truly not express how sorry I am about your experience at the food truck park. There is absolutely no excuses for your experience and your undercooked food. Please know that this is not a norm for us and we have an extreme interest in addressing this issue with the employees involved. Can you please email me at (private) and tell me the date and time that you visited the trailer. Also if you have any other description of the employee that you delt with. Trust that measures will be taken to ensure that this Never happens to anyone ever again. Again please accept my deepest apology for your horrible experience”
Of course, I emailed him back with as much description as I could, which wasn’t much, and thanked him for caring enough to address the incident. For that reason alone, I would be willing to try Mighty Meatballs one more time. Cooked properly, I’m sure those meatballs could be scrumptious!
Overall, the food and the experience was worth the drive and the cost. I know we’ll go back again one day while the Farmer’s Market is open so we can check that out too. If you haven’t eaten at a food truck yet, what are waiting for??