trinity kitchen september 2014 5
Last month, I forgot to visit Trinity Kitchen. But blaming a heavy workload (read: latte lunches) and respectfully mourning the loss of The Cauldron and Banh Mi Booth only got me so far. With the turn of the trucks, I sped over to Trinity Leeds as soon as the September gang arrived.

Drawn visually to PopaBall, I sampled their reinvented Asian bubble tea – which trades tapioca balls for jelly balls – and delighted at every flavour. Out of lychee, strawberry, mango, vanilla and kiwi balls, the latter was my personal (but tough-to-choose) favourite. The tiny truck is even offering a mini afternoon tea – with drink, finger food and cake – for just £12.

But a drink alone does not a food review make.

Darting between the menus of Street Fodder (worldly weekly menus), The Salty Cow (moreish salt beef sandwiches done three ways), and Rice Shack, I settled on
the global gluttony of the latter. Unlike the majority of street food vendors, Rice Shack doesn’t focus on any one cuisine or food trend. Simply, Rice Shack is a diverse selection of meals served with rice – all made from scratch. With The Manfriend craving a crispy shredded beef (even after the owner himself telling him he made a ‘boring choice’) and my intrigue over the Japanese Drunken Duck fried rice winning over my carb-consciousness, we sat down with our paper tubs and tucked in.

No taste phenomenon in the rice department, but both of the proteins were fantastic.

I’m coming back for you, Brio Gelati

trinity kitchen september 2014 1
trinity kitchen september 2014 9
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trinity kitchen july 2014
As each month of Trinity Kitchen goes by, I think I get more and more judgmental.

I’m still feeling pretty sour about losing Dogtown and The Cheese Truck back to London.

Thankfully, Trinity Leeds keep pulling rabbits out of their proverbial hat. This month? I made a trip to Banh Mi Booth twice in the first week alone. Emily Boothroyd’s ‘booth’ serves what I consider to be the Daddy of Street Food – succulent char siu pork banh mi sandwiches (the only complaint: the bread seemed to change with every visit, meaning my classic soft/crisp expectations weren’t always met).

The Cauldron, however, wins for must-visit food truck of the month. Slightly burnt out on Vietnamese when I finally took The Manfriend for a trial, I read through The Cauldron’s whiteboard menu items and settled on the ‘Pig Out’ – a slow cooked free range pork belly wrap with a fennel, garlic and chilli rub, ‘bang bang’ sauce, salad, and a minted yoghurt dressing.

I couldn’t imagine spending a better £6. It was the most flavourful and filling meal I have ever had.

As I seem to always catch Flavours Found (Shake Maroc and Roll) when they’re on a break (TEAR! I love Moroccan!) and tend to be far too full to indulge in the seductive lassis or crumpets of Indie Ices and Cook It Up, I sincerely hope I have time to visit the other vendors this month.

Then again…look at that wrap!

trinity kitchen the cauldron

The Cauldron

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hay latin america
Not saying I was obsessed with The Cheese Truck or anything, but this month’s retailers of Trinity Kitchen had a whole lot to live up to.

Thank goodness my first dip in June’s street food pool took place at Hay Latin America.

Hay (pronounced AYE! – with as much Mexican emphasis as you can muster) is the brainchild of Fred Parkes – a man who decided the lovely town of Huddersfield needed a little South American flavour after falling in love with the cuisine during his personal travels.

With fellow foodies in tow, we rocked up to the van (named Valdes) last week to sample some of Fred’s favourite dishes. Kicking things off with a glass of Torrontés (the most drinkable white Argentinian vino in the land), we were quickly welcomed with a few small plates of ‘pollo a la brasa’ and sweet potato empanadas while Fred talked us through Hay’s history. The empanadas – heavily packed with spiced shredded chicken and herbs – were as good as any I’ve had in the Midwest.

(It doesn’t sound like it makes sense, I’m aware, but the Midwest is where all my South American friends live.)

According to Fred, even those of the Yorkshire-based South American community have been known to rave over his international version.

Next up? The best quinoa salad I’ve had in quite some time. Though I tend to opt for quinoa over rice, I do it strictly for the superfood benefits. Quinoa is not exciting. That is, unless you’re eating it in a bowl from Hay Latin America.

Topping his organic quinoa with Peruvian-style marinated chicken, mint, red onion, cherry tomatoes, and guasacaca (which can be swapped out completely for chicken if you’re a vegetarian), this ‘main’ was a flavourful, healthful delight.

Finally, the alfajores. Though they have a range of desserts (including sweet empanadas), I had heard buzz of Hay’s moreish alfajores for days in advance so decided to focus my sweet efforts completely on the light ‘shortbreads’.

Doing a big one for The North by mixing a custard and Yorkshire rhubarb alfajore up, I expected it to be my favourite until I took a bite of the salted ‘dulce de leche’-filled chocolate shortbread. Both versions melted in the mouth (and could easily be credited as a reward after such a healthy lunch).

10 out of 10, Hay.

hay latin america trinity kitchen
hay latin america trinity kitchen
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the cheese truck
Confession: Over the past few years, I have become a bit of a cheese snob.

Though I try (and fail) my very best to not be a food wanker, something about moving back to the UK after an American teenagehood of cheese – apologies, cheez – crackers, sprays, and slices gave me the green flag to become more particular about the yellow stuff.

Rediscovering Brie alone was a pretty emotional time for me.

Proving I still get jazzed over a good block of dairy, when The Cheese Truck invited me over to Trinity Leeds for a chat and gorge last week, my heart went pitter patter.

I’m a freak, I know; but…GOURMET GRILLED CHEESE, YOU GUYS.

On the arranged evening, myself and a few fellow bloggers sat down with Matthew (half of ‘Team The Cheese Truck’) and loved on cheese – verbally – for a good hour or so between tasters from the truck’s varied ingredient stash.

From the tasters I knew I was in lust with the Ogleshield from Montgomery’s but was blown away when it arrived in a grilled sourdough alongside Keen’s Cheddar and some thinly sliced red onions. Oglesheild is immensely, gloriously stretchy and ‘calms’ the cheddar into a moreish slice of heaven. Veggie food porn, to say the least.

(It is worth nothing that while they are residents of Trinity Kitchen all of their thick-cut sourdough is coming straight from our city’s own Leeds Bread Co-op; a decision to applaud both ethically and tastefully.)

Next up, a grilled cheese filled with chunky chorizo, rocket and ‘Queso Chihuahua’ from Gringa Dairy. As both of the names suggest, this Mexican cheese (made by an Illinois native living in Peckham) is a classically tangy tex mex creation that plays off the chorizo beautifully. It was our table’s favourite.

Unsure of how well the next two sandwich samples would go down, I bit into a blend of Cropwell Bishop Stilton, bacon, and spiced pear chutney with an open mind. Stilton is one of my least favourite cheeses (especially for its overabundant presence in salads), but somehow this savoury pairing just worked. It’s a little naughty. Which makes it very nice.

On the naughty-ometer, the final sandwich probably takes the cake. After combining Capricorn Somerset Goats Cheese with honey and walnuts, The Cheese Truck push the envelope a little bit further and glaze the sourdough in Rosemary butter. I thought it would be sickly. It was just plain SICK. After a year of business, the guys of The Cheese Truck have still been known to eat this baby for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If that’s not endorsement enough, I’m not sure what is.

With just enough room left to sample their dessert, our evening was capped off with a sumptuous plate of dark chocolate and Stilton brownies.

Yes, chocolate and cheese.

Yes, it was (like everything else) awesome.

If you’re not able to get to Leeds before the end of this month’s residency, you can look forward to sampling The Cheese Truck’s goods at Glastonbury and Sonisphere over the summer, as well as a bevy of other locations throughout the year.

Matthew hopes the next stage for The Cheese Truck is an artisan cheese bar a la Mission Cheese. Investors, getcha pesos out.

the cheese truck
the cheese truck
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trinity kitchen may 2014
After last month’s curryfest, I was more than excited to get a few new dudes (and their accompanying food trucks) in at Trinity Kitchen.

I could not be more pleased with the line-up: from left to right, Trinity has set up shop for The Cheese Truck (fully reviewed in the following post), Pemberman’s, Dogtown London, The Marvellous Tea Shed, and Mei Mei.

Though I have heard far too much about Dogtown to head anywhere else for my first dinner (of the month…week, let’s be honest), each trader had an item or two that tempted me to reconsider.

Of course, I couldn’t stray from Dogtown’s so-called ‘pedigree’ hotdogs (they even offer vegan dogs!). It took me a few more minutes to order in comparison the Manfriend as I felt spoilt for choice, but I ended up biting the biggest bullet and ordering the Chilli-Cheese Dog. While Mr. Plain Hotdog poured a good slop of their of home-made chipotle sauce on top of his meat, I watched Dogtown carefully prepare the beef and bone marrow chilli, sour cream, and fresh coriander over my own ‘Dog’.

While mine tasted as good as it looks (aka #FOODPORN), the Manfriend’s tasted infinitely better than its crime-scene appearance. The chipotle sauce seemed slightly smoked, slightly chillied, and ended up being the unassuming power player of Dogtown’s set-up.

Later in the evening some new friends crooned over the Char Siu goodness of Mei Mei’s Jian Bing wraps, but – as you’ll see in my next blog – there was absolutely zero room left for a sneaky taste.

Until next time…

trinity kitchen may 2014
trinity kitchen may 2014
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