by Keith Kanderski
Walnut Wednesdays – May 20th
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 will happen each and every Wednesday (rain or shine) from May 6th – September 30th from 11am – 1:30pm. The goal for me is to patronize a different truck each week.
No chances of rain this time around, but the 70 and 80 degree temperature has suddenly given way to temps in the mid to upper 40s. What can you do when you just brought a sweatshirt as a coat? You can get some N’awlins cooking to warm your bones.
After two weeks of trying a truck that was brand new to me, I went for one of my favorites. As I started down the road, I saw the familiar yellow of the Zydeco Mobile Bistro (http://zydecobistro.com), and my mouth already started to salivate. I call them the special guest star truck because they seem to make a limited number of appearances in Cleveland, and they really are a can’t miss stop.
This review will not be for the squeamish. I suggest you stop reading down if you have a weak stomach.
The great thing about doing these reviews is the ability to convince myself of what is needed for a good, thorough review. So, I’ve ordered the shrimp po’boy before, and I know how big it is. I don’t really need the side of Hush Puppies. But, I should probably sample a wider variety than just the sandwich. If that’s the case, I should go ahead and get some beignets, too.
I don’t know how well the picture really captures it, but the shrimp is HUGE. There were also pickles, lettuce and tomato. I’m not a “sauce” guy. I’m pretty plain. The sauce they have on this is excellent. The best part is that the bread stayed firm. I often have an issue with the bread getting too soggy if sauce is involved and falling apart. Not a problem here.
The hush puppies, also in a sauce, were deep-fried to perfection. A wonderful, crunchy exterior. Not overcooked, not undercooked. Perfect. The cornmeal inside is still moist.
The beignets. Oh, the beignets. So warm and wonderful.
I ordered the perfect lunch for two. Each person can have half the po’boy, 3 or 4 hush puppies each, and 2 beignets each. It will be more than enough to satisfy someone for lunch, so I didn’t feel too bad about the $20 spent (including water and $2 tip) because it really came out to $10 per lunch. But, yes. You guessed it. I ate the entire thing. Oh, man. It was worth it.
How does the po’boy compare to Mothers? How do the beignets compare to Café du Monde? To be honest, it’s been quite a while since I was in New Orleans, so I don’t want to compare. All I can say is that I had the same reaction eating today as I did while eating back then.
The only slight issue I think some people may have is that it can take a little longer to get your food. Now, personally, I do not have a problem with this at all. You are waiting because of the freshness and quality you are receiving. Believe me, it is well worth scheduling a couple extra minutes for this. But, if you are in a hurry and still want that taste of N’awlins, you can go with the Jambalaya. I shouldn’t comment on it because I haven’t had it this year, but it’s been excellent in the past, and it’s pretty much ready to go as you order it.
Which trucks will be there in two weeks (I’m on vacation next week)? What will be on their menus? Which one will I try? Tune in later. Same truck time. Same truck channel.