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Gaztro-Wagon

April 27, 2011

Continuing with the food truck craze that is gaining steam in the “City of Broad Shoulders”, I bring you Gaztro-Wagon.

I, along with a few co-workers, went to check out the Gaztro-Wagon’s food truck last week. Gaztro-Wagon serves up what they call “Naan-Wiches.” In short, a sandwich wrapped in naan (flatbread) rather than your typical loaf bread. I ordered the Pork Pozole Naan-Wich.

Initially, I was excited to sink my teeth into this ‘naan-wich.’ I love shredded pork and most flavors that come from Central or South America, are pretty solid. However, the first couple of bites were “naan-thing” special. Yeah, there was pork, there was naan, but I couldn’t taste anything. Nothing stood out.

I decided to get down and dirty and really dissect the sandwich. Inside the “naan-wich,” I found the shredded pork along with hominy and oregano salsa. Individually, these flavors were great. The pork had more flavor than previously thought. There was definitely more seasoning in the pork than what was revealed in the first few bites. However, the pork seemed a bit dry. I am going to attribute this to the juices being soaked up by the naan bread. The hominy was mixed in with the pork. Once you dug out these kernels, they were really good. They were prepared to just the right texture. Soft, but not mushy. Al dente. Unfortunately, there were very few of these nuggets to be found. They just seemed to get lost in the pork. I would have like more of a presence from the hominy. The oregano salsa was maybe the best part of the naan-wich. I love oregano. This “salsa” almost seemed more like a pesto. The oregano seemed to have a deeper, richer flavor that was more savory than bitter. I am sure this would have added greatly to the overall flavor of the wrap. However, once again, I think the proportions were all wrong.

I don’t know if it was the naan bread that muted the flavors (or soaked them up) or if the proportions of the elements to the naan-wich were off-balance but I was somewhat disappointed with my Gaztro-Wagon experience. The people on the truck serving the food were great. They were joking around with us and quick in bagging our orders. That part of the experience was very good. However, at $9.00 plus tax (Cook County tax) and up (my fiancée’s was $12 for the lobster), it was hard to find any value in what I was eating. The naan-wich, as a whole was flavor-less, and lacked anything that was dynamic. Once you broke it down and sort of ‘reverse engineered’ the sandwich, it was actually something worth eating. But when I order a sandwich, wrap, or pita I am not expecting to actually have to get my hands dirty to enjoy it. That is kind of the point of these hand foods.

Part of this let down, I blame on Chicago’s ridiculous restrictions on food trucks. If vendors were able to actually prepare food in their trucks, I think that many of these problems could have been solved. Instead of flavors and juices getting lost or sopped up in the bread, they could sit in their rightful place towards the foreground. Yet, this is not the case. Maybe our new mayor, “Rahm-bo,” can get the County Council to come to their senses.

Overall, with the lack of satisfaction in the end product and the somewhat high price that doesn’t correlate with portion size, I don’t think Gaztro-Wagon’s food truck makes the Castor-Rated cut. I want to like them. I want to give them high marks but I just can’t…right now.

I will say this….

Out of the four of us who tried the Gaztro-Wagon, one co-worker did say it was his favorite food truck so far. Saying, “My pita was fine…didn’t fall apart at all and was pretty moist.  It had a pretty solid flavor too.” He got the wild boar belly with fig and bacon relish. I must admit, that sounds absolutely delicious. However, the other two had these comments:

[Yeah] I am not that impressed… – He had the lobster naan-wich.

And

Yeah I mean, the potatoes had a good taste…and mixing with the lobster was a nice combo, but it didn’t WOW me, not for $13 anyway….And I just ended up eating all the fixings and leaving the pita because the pita was kind of dry and kept falling apart.   – She also had the lobster.

The time for redemption will come. They will get a second chance. I will let you know how that turns out.  The people at Gaztro-Wagon also have a storefront in Edgewater. This is not far from where I live so I plan on visiting them there and hoping for a more satisfying, fresher experience.

You can follow Gaztro-Wagon on Twitter: @wherezthewagon

You can like Gaztro-Wagon on Facebook: Gaztro-Wagon

Castor-Rated:

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