If you have magazines like Seattle Magazine and Seattle Metropolitan on your coffee table, you’d think street food is an amazing new trend we’ve thought up in Seattle – just one step up from espresso and sturdy rain gear. From “in” lists to various restaurant review sites – the StreetFoodThing seems to be everywhere. We had some free time this week and used it to check out two of the most lauded street food vendors – Skillet and Maximus-Minimus. What we found was a miximused bag of tricks:
Maximus-Minimus parks near the tourist melee that is the fish-throwing area at Pike Place Market – 2nd and Pike. They have a variety of locations, but this corner near Deja Vu Showgirls seems to be their main location. The first thing you’ll find out about this location is it one crappy place to park. If you work downtown – it’s great – but we were on a mission to uncover the street food industry’s seamy underbelly (of pork). It was easy to run up an $8+ parking bill although my partner noted that many people seemed to be quietly parking in the unattended lot and – perhaps – not paying… The parking garage next door was not so generous and a Seattle taxi might be a better choice.
The service at Maximus-Minimus was very friendly and helpful – and the menu was simple, available, and easy to understand. They offer pork sandwiches in two sauces; cole slaw in two sauces (thankfully most un-mayonaised); and fried variety of vegetables. There are also two drinks. The prices are reasonable and we ran around $10 each for sandwich, side dish, and drink. Your order is taken with a wireless scanner – and the kitchen brings out food at a pretty good clip.
We really liked the food here – the sandwich was great, and non-greasy- the fries were unusually tasty, and the cole slaw was excellent. The drinks were a lemonade and pomengranate juice – both were great too. They also offfer a small table for a quick eat, as there was no seating nearby.
The truck’s design is unusual and eye catching – our kids loved it. If you see Maximus-Minimus at an event, or nearby where you work – it’s a great thing to try for lunch. Having endured the experience that is Paseo (great food, somewhat crazed location) – Maximus-Minimus was a different type of pork sandwich, but to us a great alternative for good food.
We visited Skillet’s Bellevue location as they slummed it on the Eastside. They were parked in the older Underhill’s Furniture, next to a country music concert and a salon / gym complex. Same deal on the parking – you work near here – it was great. If you had to park – get out the wallet. Downtown Bellevue isn’t exactly downtown Seattle – this was a bit of surprise but I suppose we should be taking the bus to help the environment anyways.
Skillet publishes their changing menu online. The write the menu on the side of the truck in grease marker – which makes it easy to erase items as they run out (eventually they update the board). And they run out of most of them. We thought Skillet kinda sucked.
Skillet had intended to offer: burgers, fries, chicken, dessert, pouline, and corn dogs. They basically had burgers, and I think we got the last chicken. There are drinks served without ice – that get warm fast.
Service was slow, and the kitchen was much slower. The chicken took close to around 20+ minutes to bring out – you may want to plan a longer work break if you’re walking over. The chicken was a thigh piece, with skin – and very burned, cut into pieces. Different foods at Skillet can take wildly varying amounts of time – we seem to have made the wrong call on the chicken as many in the line who came after us, got served well before us.
The burger was pretty good – but no better than various upscale burger options around Seattle. It was served with the fries (which were great), and homemade ketchup where you could taste the fresh tomatos. The beef at Skillet is notably grass-fed and very fresh and the burger was tasty, yet nothing amazing. Skillet’s trademark is the bacon jam which was pretty good although definitely not on my gym’s list of foods to seek out. It also had some very fresh lettuce. We would rate the burger a solid “B” on the “DeluxeBurgerScale”.
A third “intriguing” street food on our list, but not yet checked out is Tako Truk. Their website is particularly intriguing and we hope to see it soon. So – to sum up- Maximus-Minimus: Pretty darn good; Skillet – it’s better than the hot dog vendors at the Mariner’s games, but wouldn’t seek it out.