To kick off the food truck project I’m going to be blogging about here for the next couple of weeks, I went with something I had at least some familiarity with. I got here a few minutes before the typical Noon lunch hour, and found that there was already a pretty decent line in front of the truck. Might as well dive in…
- Food Truck: Jemil’s Big Easy
- Cuisine: Cajun
- Website: http://jemilsbigeasy.com/
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jemilsbigeasy
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/JemilsBigEasy
- Yelp: 4 stars, 18 reviews
- Location: Boren Avenue, near Harrison
- Days: Mondays, Thursdays
- Payment Methods: Cash, cards
- Sales Tax included in prices: No
- Jambalaya (Medium Size): $5.99
- Red Beans and Rice (Medium Size): $3,99
- Total price (with tax and tip:) $11.96
- Time to order and pay: About 5 minutes
- Time to receive food after ordering: 1 minute
Jemil’s Big Easy is one of the few food trucks in South Lake Union that I have actually tried before, although I have only done so once. Even so, the first time was good enough to warrant another try, thus I have chosen this one to kick off my little project. Although I got here a few minutes before noon, the line was already several people deep, but they had someone out writing down orders to pass to the cashier in order to expedite the process of ordering. Fortunately, things moved along quickly, and it took just a few minutes in line to pay, after which my food was ready pretty quickly.
Before I proceed, there are a couple of things I would like to note about food trucks in general: Although most of the food trucks include the sales tax in their prices (presumably because it allows them to work with whole dollar prices), this isn’t always the case, and Jemil’s is one of the food trucks that doesn’t include tax. Another thing I’ve found is that payment options can be hit-or-miss too. Cash is obviously king in this business, but some food trucks do actually take cards as well (although I have seen occasionally seen extra fees added for credit cards.) In addition to this, a handful of trucks also take payment through LevelUp, a Smartphone-based mobile payment system that seems to have popped up in various locations around the neighborhood (and which occasionally does include some extra promos as incentives to use it,) although I’ve never actually tried using it. Either way, I will be sure to note payment options as I go through these.
In the interest of trying different things I opted for two smaller entrees rather than one large one. This approach came with the unintended side effect of causing me to already blow past my self-imposed $10 limit right on day one. Technically if you only count pre-tax prices I was (barely) under the limit. Anyway, the one on the left is Red Beans and Rice, while the Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya is on the left. Each of these also comes in a larger size for a couple dollars more, and based on past experience most people should find one of the larger entrees to be a more than adequate meal. In addition to these and the customary Gumbo, the menu also has a number of Po Boy sandwiches, as well as various specials.
Of these two items, I would have to say the better of the two was the Red Beans and Rice. In a lot of different cuisines, I often find that there’s one or two items that tend to be a good benchmark for how well a particular restaurant handles that type of food, and for Cajun I tend to go with either the Red Beans and Rice or the Gumbo. These particular ones were quite flavorful, and happened to contain the same big chunks of sausage that you see in the Jambalaya . The Jambalaya also had plenty of sausage and chicken in it, but didn’t seem quite as good for some reason. In both cases, I was expecting these to be a bit spicier than they were (I suspect they have to cater to local tastes, which means turning down the spices a bit,) and I thought that the Jambalaya in particular would have been a bit better if it was just a bit warmer when it was served. I was half-tempted to microwave it for a bit.
Ultimately, these are relatively minor quibbles, and I thought the food here was quite good overall. I’ll definitely have to be back and try more of the menu. In particular, the Muffaletta looks like it could be quite good. Anyway, I’d have to say this is off to a decent start, Hopefully my luck holds out…