It’s the second weekend of September and that means it’s time for Manyfest. Manyfest means it’s time for Food Truck Wars. This year there are 52 trucks entered. Although it may surprise some people, I won’t be trying them all. Instead I’m focusing on trucks like Meltdown Grilled Cheese and Tia Maria’s Taqueria, neither of which I’ve tried before.
To attempt to cover several trucks over the course of the weekend will require eating of epic, heroic, or simply foolish proportions. Fortunately, I’m on the scene with more stomach than sense.To make sure that I will be able to cover several trucks, I started my eating at 4:30 pm. One advantage of this is that during my first couple of visits there weren’t any particularly large line-ups. There was just me and approximately 4 millions wasps. (The wasps disappeared as the evening went on. Part cooler temperatures and part wasp control efforts on the part of the organizers).
The Meltdown Gourmet Grilled Cheese
Grilled cheese sandwiches seem to have become a big fast food thing of late. I tried Melt”Wich” a few months ago and wasn’t very impressed, so I wondered what to expect from The Meltdown. The Meltdown is an event based food truck. That is they don’t hit the streets on a regular basis, but you can look for them at a wide variety of festival and fairs throughout Manitoba. I also wasn’t able to find any social media for them.
The prices for most of the sandwiches at The Meltdown run from around $6.00 to $10.00 dollars. Combos are available for an extra $3.00 for fries or $6.00 for poutine. Each of the sandwiches I had was generously filled. 4/5
The Meltdown has a real good choice of sandwiches, including a ‘smores dessert sandwich. With fries and poutine you can make several combinations You can make several trips back without having to repeat choices. 5/5
The Tourtiere sandwich was really good. On the first bite you recognize the genuine tourtiere seasonings. I also like that the bread tastes like it has come out of a toaster, as opposed to a sandwich press. I don’t know whether or not they use a toaster, but they’ve managed to achieve a toaster texture. The ‘Smore dessert sandwich does as good job of mixing in the marshmallow and Nutella in such a way as to take the edge off of both ingredients. You don’t really miss the fact that it’s on toast instead of on a Graham Cracker. 4.5/5
All of the sandwiches are served in cardboard boxes, with lids that fold over, meaning you can easily carry the dish with you while you look for a place to sit and eat, which unfortunately on Friday, was a little challenging. 5/5
Going twice in one day, meant that I had a chance to observe service when it was slow, and when it was busy. Both times I was well and quickly served. On my second time when I had seven orders in front of me, it was 5 minutes from placing my order to receiving my sandwich. That’s good and quick. 5/5
The Meltdown Overall
Overall the Meltdown really delivers the goods. They are a little pricier than some of the trucks in relation to portion size, but their service is good and the flavours are spot on. 4.5/5
While I had seen The Meltdown at one or two events, my only awareness of Tia Maria’s Taqueria is through so social media .I regularly find references to them on Twitter. It’s nice to see another taco truck bag on Winnipeg’s streets. I liked it when both El Torrito and Habanero Sombrero were around.
The value here is really good. My first order was the Three tacos for $9.50. That a good price to start with and they are really well filled. The Shrimp Ceviche was $7.50 and that was also a sizable portion. 5/5
The selection here is pretty good as well. there are four different types of tacos as well as three or four other dishes on the menu. This gives you a good opportunity to mix and match. 4.5/5
The quality here is top shelf. It’s also the place where I have a bit of a disagreement with the operator. First of all, the tacos were all really good. I was in line for my second visit later in the day, and was talking with a couple of people behind me. They were debating what type of taco to get, and I told them it didn’t matter whether chicken, beef or pork, they were all very good.
The tacos are also piled high with coleslaw. I found that the juice ran down the side of my hands when I tried to eat. I’m not a big fan of messy food. I brought this up with the owner when I placed my second order, and she told me that the juicy coleslaw was sort of their calling card. It’s not my favoured way of eating tacos, but I appreciate it when an owner makes a conscious decision to serve their food a certain way, and stake their name to it. Also, it should be noted, that while the coleslaw was juicy it wasn’t watery. You get full value for the flavour in the dressing.
The Ceviche and chips was also excellent. Their were bits of shrimp dotted throughout, and the vegetables were good and fresh. The chips are of a thicker nature. This is really good, because even with the Ceviche dressing soaking in, they maintained a really good crunch and crispiness. 5/5
The dishes are all served on paper plates. This leaves them a little unprotected from the elements, but the plates are good and sturdy and can handle all the liquids. 4.5/5
Again, I went in the later afternoon for my first visit, and then revisited later in the evening. As with the Meltdown, service on both occasions was quick and efficient. The owner is also friendly and willing to engage with customers. 5/5
Tia Maria’s Overall
I’m glad that I’ve finally been able to visit this truck. I’m definitely going to look for it at other events. 5/5
Well, that’s it for the first day of Manyfest. I’ll try and find a couple of new truck during today. I’m not a fan of mini donuts, but my friend Kent Dueck from Inner City Youth Alive is helping his wife Sandy with her truck, so I may have to pop by. Bros before Do(nut)s as it were.