by Keith Kanderski
Cleveland, Walnut Wednesday – May 13th
The passageway to summer in downtown Cleveland starts with Walnut Wednesdays, on the corner of East 12th and Walnut. This event is a gathering of food trucks and typically includes performances by local musicians. It happens each and every Wednesday (rain or shine) from May 6th – September 30th from 11am – 1:30pm. My goal is to patronize a different truck each week.
Another overcast day, but the forecast calls for no precipitation. I wasn’t too sure about that. From outside my cubicle window, I see the sun break through. I head out towards Walnut and East 12th and find out that it is downright freezing. Funny how that works. Back up a month, and this mid-40’s temperature would have felt like a heat wave.
Truck: The Proper Pig
We have some smokehouse favorites on the menu here. Pulled pork, Brisket, or Sausage. Everything comes with fries and slaw. They have water and Pepsi products to wash down the food.
My debate today was between the Pulled Pork and the Brisket sandwich. With pig in the name, I know I should go with the pork because that should be their signature, right? Otherwise, they may have a bovine-inspired name if the signature is the beef. The Pulled Pork sandwich is also a dollar cheaper than the Brisket, so right there is the icing on the cake.
“Brisket, please,” I say.
The service is very quick, which surprised me. I got there not long after the event officially started, so I may have been the first customer of the day, and the product may have been freshly cooked, so there was no need to wait. They offer pickles on their condiments table, so I took three. They also offer plenty of napkins, which is good. But, my chilly fingers could not separate them fast enough, and I took more than what I needed. After hearing a different truck call someone out for taking one of their napkins without purchasing an item, I assume the trucks would prefer you just take what you need.
First off, I’m not a coleslaw guy. I’m just not. Not sure if I had a bad experience as a kid or just didn’t like the look, but it’s not my thing. The top of the slaw was somewhat dry, and very slightly sauced. Hey, I thought to myself after the first bite. I can eat this. I don’t know what makes a good or bad slaw, but I enjoyed it. It’s not something that would have me running back to the truck for more, but it was a sturdy side dish, and it may have changed my mind on the idea of eating coleslaw.
The chips appear to be homemade. They were very crispy, and thickly sliced. I don’t know if any additional flavoring was put on the chips (besides salt) or if it’s just the oil, but they tasted great. Sometimes, simplicity really is the best way to go.
Finally, the brisket sandwich. They have a flavorful rub on the brisket, and it was cooked perfectly. I did not have a tough bite in the entire sandwich, and, from eating brisket other places, it seems like it can be very easy to overcook it. I originally took the pickles to put on the sandwich, but I did not want anything coming in between me and this flavorful meat. A piece dropped out of my sandwich and landed in the paper basket. To be honest with you, if it would’ve fallen on the concrete slab I was eating off of or onto the ground itself, I would’ve put it right back on my sandwich. I did not want to waste any of this goodness.
Which trucks will be there next week? What will be on their menus? Which one will I try? Tune in next week. Same truck time. Same truck channel.