A downtown office worker — especially in Minneapolis, but also in St. Paul — is spoiled for food truck choices at the lunch hour. Just wander down Marquette or over to Rice Park and see what strikes your fancy.
But what about the office early birds? The ones who want to grab a bite before settling into the cube, or the ones who prefer to eat like a king in the morning, not at noon? When it comes to food trucks, those folks, by our count, have two choices. Paulette Bakery serves up fresh croissants — classic, chocolate, and savory — while Kabomelette (best food mash-up name ever) is the choice for a filling, hot breakfast.
Kabomelette usually avoids the scrum of trucks in the heart of downtown Minneapolis, although they sometimes park at 2nd and 5th or along Marquette. You can find them on Thursdays on Washington Avenue, in the parking lot of the Loft Literary Center, and at farmers markets and festivals on the weekend.
Before 11am, you’ve got omelettes or hash on the menu for $5 to $6. Omelettes may just be the ultimate food truck food: A good, thin, French-style omelette goes from griddle to service window in two minutes. With bacon and home fries hanging out on one side of the griddle, you’re all set to to serve a filling hash topped with a fried egg.
Eggs aren’t complicated, but they’re a telling test of a good short order cook. Kabomelette’s more than pass muster: firm, not tough, wrapped around hot, flavorful filling. (Choose chorizo and beans or bacon and veggies.)
Just to experience the other half of the mash-up, we visited Kabomelette at lunch, too, and tried the Jerk Kabob (at $6, an excellent food truck deal). It was tender and veggie-licious, with thick slices of zucchini and pepper that were just as tasty as the chicken. And it was H. O. T. hot — as we had been warned. The only downside was the thick slathering of jerk marinade still coating it — gritty, like a mouthful of barely reconstituted dried herbs.
Paulette Bakery parks on Hennepin or on Washington Avenue in the North Loop in the earlier morning hours. And they sell out fast. Worker bees picking up boxes for the office (and a bag or two for themselves) have sometimes cleaned out the truck by 8am.
These are no pale, floppy grocery store croissants. They’re the real deal, as flaky and as fluffy as Dieu in heaven intended. And ribbon of chocolate in the pain au chocolat is dark and cocoa-y and not too sweet. The savory croissant varies, sometimes spinach, sometimes ham, always rich, and ideal with a cup of Paulette’s Peace Coffee.
Breakfast trucks — it’s the sort of dead simple idea that makes you wonder why more people aren’t doing it. Maybe, as the line of lunchtime trucks grows ever longer, more people will.