Saturday, May 28, 2011

Neri's Curbside Cravings

We were so excited when we received an invitation to one of my friend's daughter, Natalie's, 5th birthday party today. We were stoked to hear that a food truck was going to cater the food. And my daughter was even more excited to hear that the party will be held at a park with a Tangled theme.

Neri's Curbside Cravings is another Filipino food truck mixing fusion and tradition into their menu. They have a good menu of Filipino favorites such as Tocino, Tapa, and Pork Barbecue, as well as Asian favorites such as Chicken Teriyaki. These meats can be served the traditional way by serving it with rice. The "fusion" part of the menu is that they also serve these meats in a burger style. However you order it, your meal will come with 2 sides: either Lumpia (Filipino egg rolls) or Lobster balls (equivalent to fish balls) and Spaghetti or Pancit (Filipino noodles).

Today's menu was especially prepared for the birthday girl, Natalie. Complete with her very own customized menu.

The owner was suggesting that we order her renowned Toci Burger, which apparently received great reviews on Yelp. So I ordered the Toci Burger with Lobster balls and Spaghetti.

I can see how the Toci burger was quite popular. I love tocino. Its a favorite breakfast dish of mine, with rice and scrambled egg. But the Toci burger puts a twist on the tocino by putting it in between buns (which is a common practice among hard core Filipinos) and topping the meat with a fried egg, bell peppers, carrots, green onions and cilantro. It was quite tasty. The side dishes of spaghetti and lobster balls, I could do without. They were cold and tasted pre-made and not fresh.

We also had a dessert choice of either Ube Mamon cupcake (purple yam sponge cupcake) or Halo Halo. Halo Halo (which literally translates to "mix-mix") is a popular iced dessert. Its a concoction of ingredients such as sweet beans, shredded young coconut, purple yam or flan (to name a few), mixed together with shaved ice and sweetened milk. I was never a huge fan of Halo Halo, so I opted to order the cupcake.

I wasn't all that impressed with the cupcake. It was pretty dry. I thought the frosting, which is my favorite part of the cupcake, would make up for it. But it didn't. I should've just waited to eat dessert from birthday cake.

Even though I liked the Toci burger, I'm not impressed with the service they provided. They were quite slow in serving their food. Many of the guests were complaining about how it took too long to get their food. The owner tried to justify the fact that the burgers usually take longer because they had to be assembled, as opposed to the rice plates where they just threw things on the plate. I haven't experienced too many food trucks, but the ones that I have tried where the lines are super long, like the ever-popular Kogi BBQ truck, usually had their food ready to serve within a few minutes. Maybe because these faster trucks had 2 people cooking and another person taking the orders. Neri was the only one cooking and had just one other person taking the orders.

I gotta hand it to them though, and all the other Filipino fusion trucks out there. They are trying to teach others to learn to love Filipino cuisine without losing the traditional flavors.

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