Last week, the Lansing social media scene was all a-twitter (and a-facebooked) about The Purple Carrot Truck. Locally grown food that comes to you in a truck that changes locations daily? I'm into it.
Today, I tracked them down at Hannah Center near Mt. Hope and Hagadorn in East Lansing. Be advised- this is NOT Hannah Plaza. It is the office complex just south of Hannah Plaza. The truck is orange, and is much smaller than I thought it would be. I don't know how they contain so many different food items in such a little vehicle.
I asked for a little run-down of the menu and learned that they had a special sandwich today- a smoked chicken salad. It sounded wonderful, but after hearing so much excitement about the tofu banh mi last week, I had to try it. I got the full sandwich ($7) and beet borscht soup ($4). I could have gotten a combo (half the sandwich and the soup) for I think $7, but I was staaaarving at lunch today.
The banh mi comes on a hoagie roll and is kind of a tofu salad with lots of cilantro, shredded carrot, and Vietnamese spices. Fun fact- when I was eight years old, a Vietnamese refugee family moved in with my family and that kicked off a series of about two years of Vietnamese people living with us. I have had some Vietnamese food. As a matter of fact, we probably have a bag of egg rolls in the deep freezer right now, just waiting to be dropped into a pot of hot oil.
The banh mi was great. Spicy. Bread was good. Fantastic sandwich all around. I had never had borscht, but I LOVE beets and have been thinking about this soup since I read a recipe for it a few weeks ago. The soup is beautiful- a deep ruby color swirled with cream (?) and topped with dill. It was fragrant and tart and delicious.
I also got a carrot cake pop ($1) that didn't make it home because I shoved it into my mouth as soon as I drove away. The cake seemed like it had a good flavor, but the sickly-sweet purple frosting did nothing to add to it. I'm a purist when it comes to carrot cake- no nuts, no raisins, no canned pineapple, and I like a nice light cream cheese frosting. Of course, that didn't stop me from eating the cake pop in about three bites.
I really hope this food truck is successful. Follow them on Twitter or like them on Facebook, which are the only ways to find out their daily location. Go there, bring cash (because they don't take cards), and keep them open. Lansing should be making better use of our local produce, and The Purple Carrot Truck is leading the charge.