Food Truck Update: Red River Kitchen, Cafe Racer

John Garland / Heavy Table
John Garland / Heavy Table

‘Tis officially the season to eat on the street, and our efforts to update our Street Food Directory ramp up once again. This week we encounter a newbie with only a week under its belt and catch up with a seasoned veteran.

Are there trucks you’ve seen around that we haven’t covered? Ones with a curious menu you’d rather us try first? Email and we’ll get to work.

Red River Kitchen

We’ve always appreciated the bar food at both Republic locations, because it never tries to be anything it’s not. Republic has always been a reliable standby for a burger or a taco — ones that won’t cause culinary shock waves but don’t ever leave you disappointed.

So count us happy to see that same sensibility has transferred to their new food truck. Red River Kitchen’s menu seems designed with flexibility in mind to suit multiple venues. At Artcrank, they were slinging fries and cheese curds, alongside tacos, burgers, and chicken chorizo sausage. The next morning, at the Linden Hills Farmers market, we spied them with breakfast tacos (scrambled eggs over romesco potatoes) breakfast sandwiches, and that same chicken chorizo now featured in a breakfast poutine.

Both days, they were serving pork tacos ($8), and that’s an excellent place to start with this truck. Lots of guacamole and chipotle sour cream top a slaw of red onion, jalapeño, cabbage, and radish on a corn tortilla. The pork was all the juicy goodness it should be. Add in some queso fresco and cilantro, and all that’s missing is the Steel Toe Size 7 we’d expect to down on their Seven Corners patio.

@RedRiverKitchen can be found at tap rooms, farmers markets, and special events around town, though probably not in the downtown lunch fray for the time being.

John Garland / Heavy Table
John Garland / Heavy Table

Cafe Racer

People love this truck, and have for some time now — they’ve been dishing up slow-roasted meats since late 2012. (Follow our ride-along part 1 and 2.) Their delivery system has been tweaked through the season, but the meat remains the star of the show and it is, indeed, worth seeking out.

Patrons can choose to order the meat alone and receive two sides ($8), or they can opt for the meat in an arepa with one side. You might be saying, “If I want an arepa, I know exactly where to go,” though you’d be doing yourself a disservice by not giving Racer’s version a shot. Otherwise, the meat on its own makes for a satisfying lunch: We prefer the braised pork to the chicken, but you can’t go wrong with either. Add on some roasted veggies and a carrot souffle (shredded carrot and queso fresco, mixed with egg and baked in a little muffin tin). Such flavor and balance (and not served on slider buns!) makes Racer especially a truck for the gluten-watchers to know about.

They also serve up a pair of “Colombian-Style” hot dogs ($7) — their take on the perro caliente. They’re pretty standard dogs (a soy version is also available) that are a tad sparse on the toppings, if you ask us. The sweet peppers, red onions, crushed potato chips, and queso fresco with a couple house sauces are all great, but we’d love the option to pay an extra buck to get them loaded on there. Still, if you’ve got the jones for a dog, these will do you fine as is.

@CafeRacerMN can be found at various special events and tap rooms, and intermittently in the lunch lineups in Minneapolis and St. Paul.