A couple of days after Hogtown Smoke, I ventured back to the corner of Sherbourne and Front to take on Food Dudes. An established catering company in Toronto, Food Dudes joined the truck craze a few months back. I’m learning with food trucks to get there early to avoid longs lines and product shortages if possible. I’m also learning that gas station parking lots are an interesting place to meet people. In this case, I was first in line, narrowly beating out a woman with a large parrot on her shoulder. They were there for the Mac and Cheese balls.
Who am I to question a parrot? The Mac and Cheese balls were a great start, served hot and in a shallow pool of fresh, spicy marinara. The crisp outside and gooey, rich middle was balanced by the tart, acidic and spicy sauce. The shaved cheese and fresh herbs filled out the flavor profile. A fun, balanced dish overall. Based on the parrot’s reaction, I wasn’t alone.
Other than the fact they were round, I wondered why they were called nutella bombs. I made the mistake of biting into one (I guess the normal protocol is to eat the whole thing at once) and found out. There was a minor explosion, luckily away from me and on to the ground. The remnants were delicious; a sinful mix of banana bread and nutella coated with corn flakes and garnished with whipped cream and bourbon caramel sauce. They had an intense sweetness but it was contained in a small morsel and was a funky way to end the meal.
The fish taco can be described as Cap’n Crunch meets Captain Highliner. Served in pairs, these cod tacos were decent. The coating didn’t have the intensity of sweetness I expected from the cereal and it provided an appreciated crunch instead of a soggy batter which often come with other fish tacos. Whether it was the shape or the texture they did, however, remind me a little of the fish sticks that went from blue box to cookie sheet to oven that haunted my childhood. The condiments were a bit scarce and a little underwhelming but the sauce was tasty and fresh.
The BBQ pork shoulder was served on a cheddar jalapeno biscuit and topped with a southwest slaw providing most of the components of a southern barbeque meal with the added benefit of being able to hold it on one hand. The biscuit was delicious and the other components were decent. The pork was moist but it was more about the sauce and less about the meat itself. Not a bad sandwich overall, but it was like an anchor in my stomach and I don’t think I could finish it on a good day.
The chicken curry was a bit of a mess. It was served overflowing in an asian-style take out container which eventually leaked out the bottom. The dish itself was average, lacking any of the extremities of flavour and spiciness of a good curry. Call me a purist, but I like a plain basmati rice with a curry. Instead, this curry was served with a sticky rice which didn’t do much to help.
With exploding balls, tacos inspired by fictional sea captains, anchor-like sandwiches and a mac and cheese eating parrot I felt I was in “Pirates of the Caribbean”. The mates behind the counter were courteous and the booty was fine. Stick with the staples such as the cod tacos, and you’ll yell yo-ho-ho. The mac and cheese and nutella balls made me shiver me timbers but the curry was blimey. With great variety, great service and an established catering business in a hot food truck market (check out http://torontofoodtrucks.ca/), I don’t see Food Dudes sinking to meet Davy Jones’ anytime soon.