Food lust from this weekend's The Great Food Truck Race adventure in Denver -- and grades, greatest hits and misses and predictions

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Lori Midson

For concrete, unassailable proof that Denverites have well and truly embraced the street-food phenomena, all you had to do was walk outside this weekend -- straight into food-truck utopia. As you all know by now, the Food Network's The Great Food Truck Race made an extended pit stop in the Mile High metropolis this weekend as part of a multi-city, cross-country tour that started in Las Vegas, swept through Salt Lake City and Denver and is now en route to Kansas City -- minus one truck, which was eliminated this morning (at Red Rocks, we hear) due to having the lowest sales. Judging from what I saw (and ate) this weekend, that truck is Cafe con Leche, the Cuban truck from Van Nuys, California.

But I digress.

All in all, it was a spectacular weekend full of camaraderie, spirited competition, pranks, speed bumps, theatrics, drama and, for the most part, chow-worthy grub that required six teams from here, there and everywhere to pump out as much food as they possibly could under a ton of pressure: the weight of time constraints, prep constraints, kitchen constraints, parking constraints (thanks to Denver's finest police officers in Wash Park for your leeway!), the strain of having to make enough money to move on, and long queues of crowds with rumbling guts.

The food-truck rivals posted up all over the city, many in collaboration with local mobile food vendors, in Washington Park, in the parking lot of Steuben's, in front of Atomic Cowboy, Marczyk Fine Foods and Cuba Cuba, at the Horseshoe Craft and Flea Market, and, last night, curbside at Great Divide Brewery, which was interesting, mainly because the crew manning the Cafe con Leche truck had hoped to protect its turf without the interference of its competitors.

But, no! The Korilla BBQ truck, hailing from New York, skunked the Cubans, pulling up around 7 p.m., and after a lengthy discussion (all of it caught on camera), the boys were allowed to stay -- with Cafe con Leche's permission. But the Cafe con Leche crew talked smack about the Lime Truck, which one member deemed "Lime slime," as well as the Hodge Podge truck " -- "Hodgey Podgey" -- the two of which stuck together for the duration of the weekend. Neither of those trucks crashed the Great Divide party, but Roxy's Gourmet Grilled Cheese, from Boston, Massachusetts, which had spent the majority of its hours in Wash Park, was fashionably late, and while there was a bit of stomping and kvetching on the part of Frankie, the chef of Cafe con Leche, in the end the trucks managed to amicably co-exist.

We, of course, were there to catch it all on camera, the photos of which are below. Bring your appetite.

Truck: Roxy Gourmet Grilled Cheese
Home turf: Boston, Massachusetts
Denver board: French port salut, foie gras, candied walnut and cherry compote grilled cheese; Vermont goat cheese, Il Mondo Vecchio duck breast prosciutto and fig preserves grilled cheese; Vermont extra sharp cheddar, applewood smoked bacon and caramelized onions grilled cheese; rosemary hand-cut fries with garlic and herb cheddar; beer-battered pickles; Grandma's tomato soup
Biggest hit: The crew running the truck were some of the friendliest boys you'll ever meet, and they sourced locally, from Il Mondo Vecchio; excellent grilled cheese sandwiches, to boot -- and, damn, those fried pickles!
Biggest miss: The lines on Sunday inched along about as quickly as a worn-out worm.
Grade: A-
Prediction: The truck keeps rolling.

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Lori Midson

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Lori Midson

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Lori Midson

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Lori Midson


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18 comments
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belle
belle

I was excited to learn that the Great Food Truck Race was in my hometown this weekend, I was visiting friends in Denver (as I no longer live in Colorado) and was excited to make a day out of chasing down food trucks. On Saturday,I tried the Korilla BBQ's tiger tacos, the meat was excellent but overshadowed by the falling apart corn tortilla. The tacos were good but not as good as Kogi BBQ's and took an hour in line to get food, they were slammed the whole time!Still full from Korilla, I managed to try the Lime's Truck's roasted corn on Saturday, it was pretty tasty and was a little sad to see that the truck had no line when we arrived. The guys were super friendly. Hodge Podge's truck was down on Saturday, so I was not able to try anything from them. On Sunday,We went to Great Divide Brewery to eat at the Quiero Arepas truck and supported the Cafe Con Leche Truck by buying a coffee drink from them. Ended up getting an arepa, which is something I have never tried before and it was the best thing I ate all weekend from a food truck!Cafe Con Leche's menu was definitely overpriced and seemed overwhelmed. The Quiero Arepas guys were telling people to support the Cafe Con Leche Truck. So it was nice to see the Denver businesses supporting the food trucks in their efforts.

Foodie#1
Foodie#1

 Cafe Con Leche's sandwiches are $7 in LA. Clearly a way to try and get the edge over competitors by hiking up the prices. THey don't serve plates from the truck either so they added that and are charging crazy prices. They also don't pay their investors or employees. These dudes are bad news!

CJ Powell
CJ Powell

I strolled by Wash Park last weekend, and I too fell in love with Roxy. The guys were hysterical, and the food was un-bel-ievable.

BSquared
BSquared

Great food PORN!! What a great weekend, and I think you are right about the Lime truck. That was delicious and accesable. Though Seabirds could give them a run if they get their shit together.

Thanks for all the updates on twitter this weekend!

Chefpat
Chefpat

Love the article, Lori and so great to meet you!

Mantonat
Mantonat

I thought the Denver trucks totally held their own against national competition. If Cafe con Leche did not sell well, it's probably because there were amazing arepas from the Quiero truck and excellent skewers from Stick it to Me. Their Korean skewer was unbelievably juicy and tender.

Carly
Carly

There's more than one Lime truck. The one that was here was made especially for the show and the original one is still serving in the OC.

ocfooodieee
ocfooodieee

I'm pretty sure theres only one lime truck. All of the food served in the lime truck is prepared or served by chef Jason Quinn.

Erika Pettite
Erika Pettite

 That is a negative.  There are two Lime Trucks because 1 of the trucks were at the Fullerton High School Fundraiser Event last Friday (13th) and I had spoke to them and they told me they have two trucks...one specially made for the show.   sorry.

Jason
Jason

I've always found that one of the great things about street food in Denver is being to chat with the cook while they're preparing food and to that end, friendliness is certainly an important characteristic. To that end, I'm glad you noted the personalities on the Roxy truck because it was the only time I felt like a customer rather an ends to a 100k means this weekend.

OCLimeTruck Fan
OCLimeTruck Fan

I'm from the OC and LOVE the lime truck. Knowing the guys personally they have a great attitude and I hope they make it to the end. They deserve it.

Aiizen
Aiizen

Does Korilla have more than one truck? They were advertising their NYC location for lunch on twitter today.

mike
mike

three trucks total they have they told me

BG
BG

No love for the Biker Jim Crew?

;)

Dennis
Dennis

You got some great pictures. I suspect you might be right about Lime Truck but I became a die-hard Roxy fan - love that grilled cheese and those fries! If they could win on friendly alone the Roxy boys would have it in the bag.

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