Last night, I was lucky enough to be invited to a preview of the Blue Route Taco Truck at the Whole Foods Market in Plymouth Meeting. Being that I love tacos, and I love free food, I couldn’t deny it. I even cancelled plans with friends. Yup, I am a horrible friend when it comes to free food. Consider that my blogger disclaimer. I did not pay for this food. But, if I am willing to admit I am a horrible friend, you can also trust that my opinions of the free food are my own. So enjoy 🙂
Pulling up to the Whole Foods, you might expect to see a taco truck in the lot. You would be looking for a while. This taco truck is on the roof! For a whole different perspective on the truck and some thoughts on the concept itself, head over to My Latest Distraction. I made PTB go along with me and he shared his thoughts on the “food truck”.
I’ve been excited about this truck for the months and months that it was sitting outside the store just waiting for the crane to hoist it to its new home at the Rooftop Cafe. The team that joined together in creating the menus and recipes for the truck were invested in the idea from start to finish. They visited Philadelphia and New York on a “tour of food trucks” to bring that grease truck feel to the newest part of their prepared foods family. A little thing I learned while there, this is the only Whole Foods to have a taco truck, and one of only 3 to have the burgers! Man, those are some good burgers.
The 3 Chris’s were our hosts for the evening. It was nice being able to easily remember the names of all the chefs! We have had Chris and Other Chris help us in the store before. Third Chris (not necessarily in photo order) is seen but rarely heard 🙂 They are all great guys and were amazing hosts answering any and all questions we had and visiting the tables in between order prep. The same friendliness you get from all the Whole Foods employees when you shop there was a clear part of this truck experience. A friend recently had her first Whole Foods experience (I like to convert people). When she told me about it her exact words were “I never smiled the entire time I was in a grocery store!”
Unlike a mobile food truck, the cab has been converted into an order window/cash register. While some may not like that this is different from a “real” food truck, I like paying with plastic as I rarely carry cash. The menu is short and sweet, and if they don’t have a beverage you want from the truck, try to remember to buy it downstairs first and bring it with you. Tacos are $2.50 each or 3 for $6. Cans of beer are available for $2.99 along with soda, tea and water.
Ordering is done in a similar fashion to the custom burgers inside. Pick up a slip, fill in the quantities you would like and put your name at the bottom. The slip does note that they will make no ingredient substitutions. To keep things quick, this makes sense and I would much rather have it on the order slip than have a cook yell at me. Once your order is ready, they will call your name. Easy enough. The beer list is obviously not as extensive as the options in their pub, but there was a decent variety and I was happy to see Phoenixville’s Sly Fox Brewery represented. I haven’t had my first post-baby drink yet though, so I stuck to soda and water. Oh – and I know I haven’t mentioned this before. The 365 Sodas are awesome. They are made with natural cane sugar and so yummy. The Black Cherry Soda is my favorite, but it might just be because it is clear. One issue I had with the menus was a bit of a discrepancy on Figi Water listed as $1.39 on the paper menu but $1.89 on the board.
Onto the food! While the guys do have the full store at their disposal for whatever they may need, all the ingredients are prepped on the truck. I love that all the ingredients are the same items I would buy in the store. Although, they may change later in the Summer as they are hoping to grow their own jalapenos and cilantro on the rooftop. I went down the menu in order trying each of the tacos, before I got to the vegetarian option I had snuck onto the truck for some pictures and saw the veggies being grilled…I couldn’t wait to get to that one!
First up Carne Asada with Queso Fresco (above left), Yellow Spanish Onion, Cilantro and spices. All the tacos were served in soft shells. The spices on the carne asada were great. The beef was tender and delicious. Overall, it was a people pleaser taco. Not too season-y, not too bland, simple but delightful.
Next, Pork Carnitas with Tomatillo Sauce (above right). This salsa was fresh Tomatillos, Yellow Spanish Onion, Jalapeno Peppers, Cilantro, Green Onion and Lime juice. This was probably both of our favorites. PTB is typically not a pork fan, but he couldn’t resist the kick of the jalapenos in the salsa. I concur. The pulled pork was beyond tender and juicy. The salsa was chunky and cold and had the perfect bit of heat from the peppers. mmmmm
The next taco on the list was the Tecate Fish Taco with Chipotle Mayo. If you have ever paid attention to the “About Me” you know I don’t eat fish. But for you, I did. Just the tiniest bite. The nice thing was that this beer battered Haddock fillet was not fishy at all. Topped with a Curtido Slaw consisting of cabbage, carrot, lime and cumin, this taco reminded me of the Kimchee Quesadilla at Tyson Bee’s (post coming soon, I swear). Decent, but definitely not the taco for me.
PTB was sure the next taco would be his favorite. It wasn’t. He liked it, but it wasn’t as good as he was hoping it would be. Spiced Chicken Taco with Pico de Gallo. It certainly did look delicious. We are typically huge fans of the Pico de Gallo that Whole Foods makes. Consisting of tomato, yellow Spanish onion, cilantro, jalapenos, and yellow bell peppers, it is colorful and tasty. When we buy small containers of it to bring home, we go through it almost too quickly. Maybe the jalapeno in this batch was a little too bland for our tastes. Overall, the taco was good. The chicken was nice and juicy, but the pico was maybe too sweet for our tastes. I would say this is a taco anyone could eat and enjoy regardless of their taste for heat.
The last taco on the list was a vegetarian option: Grilled Vegetables with Black Beans and Jicama. This came in a close second for my favorite. And depending on the day could have possibly come in first. Notice, I got a second Carnitas along with the veggie to try and compare side by side. The vegetarian taco is filled with yellow Spanish onion, summer squash, red & yellow bell peppers, jalapenos, black beans, and topped with jicama and cilantro. The grilling spices used are so yummy and give an amazing flavor to the taco.
Some tacos were double shelled, others were not. According to Chris, this was something they were learning as they built the menu. Some just were too juicy to be handled by one shell. I would probably suggest double shelling in general. The only one that didn’t seem to need it was the fish.
I will definitely be going back to the Blue Route Taco Truck. At $2.50/taco I can’t resist. I have had a horrible tendency to grab some pulled pork and mashed potatoes on my way out of the store from the prepared foods section lately. It turned into a leftover habit from pregnancy. But at $7.99/lb… that is an expensive “snack”. Tacos may have to replace that habit 🙂
The Blue Route Taco Truck will debut this Friday, April 15th, during a day-long grand opening starting at 12pm. The truck’s menu will feature the five unique varieties of tacos pictured above. Ice-cold canned beer, soda, and water will also be available to wash it all down. Don’t miss the opening day festivities that will feature a 5-piece Latin Jazz band, maraca painting for kids and giveaways. No rain is scheduled and the high is 63. Sounds kind of perfect to me!
Whole Foods Market Plymouth Meeting is located at 500 West Germantown Pike at the Plymouth Meeting Mall in Plymouth Meeting, Pa 19462. Be sure to check them out on Facebook or follow on Twitter to keep up with all their latest offerings and specials. I’m personally looking forward to hearing about possible new offerings on the truck. There were rumors of tortas and fresh made chips and guacamole on the rooftop last night…Only time will tell!
Oh, and how could I not include this adorableness? Ben was a little jealous of the tacos getting all the attention from the camera. Look at him making eyes at me. Seriously.
And now that you have read one of my longest posts ever, go check out My Latest Distraction‘s article about the concept of a food truck on a rooftop.