We’re half way into spring in Winnipeg. It seems that just when the warm temps are about to stay, they take a little downward plunge. The food truck scene has been kind of the same way. This week it looks like we’re in for a run of warm weather and it also looks like the food trucks will be hanging around for the summer. A lot of the old favourites are back. There are also a couple of new ones. I saw the Basil Stone pizza truck early in the week on Main, and today visited Better than Baba’s on Broadway.
The menu for Better than Baba’s focuses on perogies and other Ukranian comfort foods such as cabbage rolls and borscht. It’s menu is similar to that of Baba’s Tall Grass Pantry, in The Forks. Given that my day was split up around the lunch hour, I decide I would make two visits. Yes, I ate two lunches in one day. So, here are my thoughts using my usual food truck formula.
Prices here range from $5.50 for four vegetarian cabbage rolls to $15.00 for the meat perogie combo.The combo includes 8 perogies, and side(cabbage roll or kubasa, and a beverage). I ordered the meat combo, and although I think it’s a little pricey for what you get, it’s not to unreasonable. The meat perogies on their own are $12.50, compared to $9.00 for any vegetable filled ones. On the plus side, there were lots of bacon bits with my perogies.
They were out of vegetarian cabbage rolls when I went the second time, but at $7.00 for four good sized and well prepared meat ones, I think that was a good value. The borscht at $5.65 is also real good. On the whole, the serving sizes range from adequate to substantial. The other thing I really liked here is that bottled water and canned pop are each $1.25. There are other higher priced specialty drinks, but you can get the basic offerings at a good price. 4/5
Better than Baba’s is a perogie truck. So, most of what they offer is a variety of perogies. They have seven varieties, including a dessert variety This is one truck that leans towards the vegetarian in the product that they offer. They also offer the chance to turn any perogie combo into poutine. The concept is interesting but I think I’ll stick with The Poutine King on that one. 4.5/5
Having tried a variety of items from the menu, I was pleased with all of them. The cabbage rolls would rank as my favourite. The cabbage had the translucent quality you like to see as far as the cooking goes. The rice and meat mixed was well seasoned, and there was enough tomato sauce to give a flavour counterpoint without overwhelming the cabbage roll itself. Also, it was well filled. The perogies were also well filled. A couple weren’t entirely well sealed, but on the whole the pastry had a good thickness, without being doughy.
I quite liked the borscht, but thought a little more beet and a little less dill would improve the overall quality. The kubasa was fine cut, and lean. 4.5/5
Full marks in this category. As mentioned above the portions lean toward the substantial, and yet there was no trouble fitting any of the order into the containers used. Also, despite carrying my cabbage rolls for quite a time and distance, the container maintained it’s integrity. On top of all that, they use bio-degradable containers and cutlery. 5/5
By going before noon and after 1 pm, I managed to entirely avoid lineups. The service I did receive was prompt and enthusiastic. Given that I was the only one there both times, I also received my food in short order. I’m going to give them a good score, but must add the proviso, that I didn’t have to deal with them during a busy stretch. 4.5/5
Better than Baba’s Overall:
It should be noted that this week they are giving away free water or canned pop for combo purchasers. There are a couple of other trucks on Broadway that sell perogies as part of their menu. Better than Baba’s is decidedly superior to any of them. This is a welcome addition to the truck lineup in the Broadway area. 4.5/5