It was a great day to spend in the Hill Country foothills at the Point Park & Eats. The Eat St. crew, which has spent the past string of days filming the food truck scene in San Antonio, had a hot but breezy afternoon to work outside and even cozier conditions inside as they invaded the mobile kitchen of Say.She.Ate to film the cooks in action.
Say.She.Ate is one of city’s most popular food trucks, which brought its signature version of chicken and waffles, justly popular Akaushi beef sliders and duck fat french fries out to the Point. This happy picnic menu was rounded out with roast corn on the cob smeared with aioli, seasoned, rolled in Parmesan cheese and served with fresh lime.
Customers were curious about the goings on at Say.She.Ate, but it didn’t stop them grabbing a weighty mushroom and Swiss cheeseburger from Blazin’ Burgers, or fried rolls from Kitchen Fusionz or spicy pork-laden arepas from Texasana Mexican Street Food.
The Park visitors, including us, stayed in the shade on the comfortable deck, a short distance from the walk-up bar. We sampled beer from Alamo Beer Company and a Real Ale Lost Gold IPA and bestowed our blessing on the not-too-sweet white Zin sangria that was being served at the bar. Plenty of cold bottled water, dogs to pet, and discussions with neighbors gave the day a homey feel. It was only natural to settle in to a discussion or two about the general appeal of food trucks.
“I think one of the reasons we’re popular is that we move from place to place a lot,” says Say.She.Ate cook and co-owner, Brandon McElvey. (And really, when you think of it, why have a moveable feast and park it in just one place?)
One of the “Eat St.” crew, Austin resident Taryn Hall, mentioned the casual factor involved in the burgeoning truck scene. “I don’t have to dress up for dinner,” she said. No need, when you’re going to sit at a picnic table under a string of lights outside, and trek from one truck to the other. Austin’s food truck scene is more pervasive, spread around “all over town,” she said.
We think San Antonio is doing a good job of establishing its own food truck identity.
For us, the fact that each truck limits its fare to a few items that the crew does very well, plus the fact that hot food has a much shorter distance to travel from the cook’s hands to the customer’s, means your choices will be good and hot. You get to know your cooks; you can get to know their regular customers, too, if you like.
We were awaiting some camera time ourselves, and our turns came after the crews moved outside the truck to get some shots of the waiting line and to talk to customers. We lucked out and got to stay in the shade to chat a few minutes about what we liked about the menu at Say.She.Ate.
Say.She.Ate’s chicken and waffles wrap marinated, breaded and fried, boneless chicken wrapped in the “waffle.” This is, as San Antonio truck foodies know well, a waffle cone. This, says Brandon, came about when instead of getting the waffle machine they’d ordered, they got a waffle cone maker. They took a look at it, looked at each and said, “This can work.”
The cone is sweet and crisp, but they add herbs, such as rosemary, to the batter. Traditionally, waffles and chicken is served with maple syrup, but the maple sauce Say.She.Ate makes is thick, a little ice cream sauce. It’s made with cream, butter, maple syrup and some Wild Turkey 101. The chicken is spicy from cayenne pepper in the breading, but if you want hot sauce with it, Say.She.Ate will provide a dab of the fiery sriracha. With a cool sip of beer between bites, the dish is a taste and textural treat.
The Akaushi beef sliders come with hand-cut duck-fat fries. That duck fat doesn’t really lend a “ducky” taste to the fries, but seems to lend an extra bit of oomph to the richness.
In the end, it’s comfort food, only it’s not the way Mom ever made it. And it will leave you satiated, no matter how you spell it.
“Eat St.” will be filming Rickshaw Stop Sunday at the Boardwalk on Bulverde, 14732 Bulverde Road, starting around noon. The food truck park is also the scene of the second annual Food Truck Throw Down, featuring more than 20 trucks. On Monday, Society Bakery has its closeup, also at Boardwalk on Bulverde.