Friday, June 11, 2010

Schnitzel & Things & Serious Stuff

This week, Jessica Lappin, a city councilwoman from the Upper East Side, proved herself a tone-deaf moron by proposing to do away with any food truck that gets three parking violations in a 12 month period. With this law, Lappin seems to have found a solution in search of a problem, as apparently no one besides her has complained. Afterwards, Zach Brooks, of Midtown Lunch had a conniption (can't blame im).

Zach's letter to Lappin (linked above) gets to the heart of the matter-- why unfairly target food vendors for a supposed problem caused more by FedEx and UPS trucks and companies like FreshDirect? I do admit that it would be funny to see some of the shark-jumping corporate food trucks lose their licenses (although I seriously doubt they would allow that to happen), but this law is insane. It boils down to the fact that food trucks don't have as much clout as FedEx, while Lappin is too shortsighted to realize she's destroying a potent revenue source at a time when everyone is struggling. I'm a cynical guy, so I am not surprised.

With that said, I felt bad for slacking on my post about Schnitzel & Things, one of the kings of the new wave of food trucks. In light of Lappin's Folly, writing about Schnitzel & Things, and any other food truck, has added relevancy.

Though I was interested in truck purchased schnitzel as soon as they opened for business last year, I never seemed to be in the vicinity of their truck at lunchtime. A desperate schnitzel craving (I know, weird) a few weeks ago left me seeking out the truck, which I found it parked outside the Fox building. I walked to the end of a fierce looking line as the faces of Glen Beck and Sean Hannity glared down at me. I kept busy playing backgammon on my iPod, and finally ordered a chicken schnitzel. Unfortunately, two ladies standing in front of me placed what was apparently deemed "our largest order ever" for their entire office. I had time to wait, but after 30 minutes an overweight guy in front of me freaked out at them for making him miss his entire lunch break. He took a refund and stormed off to get a sandwich.

I finally got this:

The schnitzel was pounded extremely thin, and was a little chewy, which I actually like (if I wanted a chicken cutlet I would get one instead). It was fried perfectly crisp, with a well-seasoned bread crumb crust that held up on the trip back to my apartment.

The sauerkraut was really good. I was more ambivalent about the potato salad, which was a little oily and needed some pepper and heat to make it sing.

My next encounter with Schnitzel & Things was a few weeks later, when my schnitzel craving was replaced with a desire for a hamburger. I decided to go with the Schnitzburger, which, if you didn't already know, is coated and fried in their schnitzel crust and served with lettuce, tomato on a ciabatta-like bun. Seems harmless right?

But like a Dateline voiceover woulds say: little did I know, the Schnitzburger might destroy me.

I added my homemade salted chiles to the sriracha mayo (not enough heat and salt). This tasted awesome at the time, but may have been a mistake. The crust obviously tasted exactly like the schnitzel, and I was surprised that the burger itself wasn't overcooked. The fries were good, but also tasted like the schnitzel, which got to be a little bit of overkill by this point. I also got the cucumber salad, which was kind of boring (I'll stick with the sauerkraut next time).

As I finished the last few bites of my burger, I could feel a rumble in my belly, and knew that, despite it's deliciousness (or because of it), trouble was coming. I spent the rest of the afternoon doubled over on the couch, as I held my stomach in pain. I like to think that I have an iron stomach, but the Schnitzburger beat me, and I must now give it respect.

Maybe that's what happened to Lappin. She had her assistant fetch a Schnitzburger from the innocuous sounding "Schnitzel & Things" truck, and spent the rest of the afternoon on the toilet, ultimately laying on the couch, clutching a handful of Tums and a giant bottle of water, screaming at her assistants to get these damn food trucks off the streets or else!

Not likely, but my theory is as equally as farfetched as her reasoning for the proposed law. So I say: check out Schnitzel & Things, and support your other food trucks before it's too late. Don't let Lappin (or the Schnitzburger) win.

Schnitzel & Things
Check the Twitter feed for their daily location.

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