Sunday, December 11, 2011

Schnitzel & Things

I have a confession. Before investigating the Schnitzel & Things truck further, I had no idea what a schnitzel was, besides a funny sounding word. What usually comes to mind when I hear the word schnitzel are the terms bratwurst, sauerkraut, German bar-maidens with two thick braids, and Beerfest, because these are obvious symbols of Germany. Regardless, I saw Schnitzel & Things on Food Network, which completely legitimized it. Whether I liked this mystifying schnitzel or not, if it was on Food Network, it was my duty to find something on the menu worth trying.

I opted for the Chicken Schnitzel sandwich as it seemed the least intimidating. Mild conflict arose when it came to choosing my accompanying sandwich condiment. I carefully detailed to the schnitzel lady how I was a first timer on my maiden schnitzel voyage and explained my temptation with the Chipotle Sour Cream. I inquired what more seasoned patrons usually order, and I appreciated her honesty when she warned that the Chipotle Sour Cream was probably spicier than I could handle and that the most popular choice was the Spicy Sriracha Mayo. In that instant, a small seed of trust was planted with the schnitzel lady. A comrade navigating me and my taste buds on the right path on the rocky seas of schnitzel.

I initially was against this notion that Spicy Sriracha Mayo was the appropriate choice, because my research (Wikipedia) clarified that Sriracha is of Thai descent. That is simply too much culture in one sandwich. Thai and German? Let’s not get carried away, I’m already about to eat a sandwich that I know nothing about because I am a sucker for Food Network. However, the seed of trust had been planted by the schnitzel lady (and the Yelp reviews), so I acquiesced. Much to my delight, this gem of a woman sensed my hesitation with her German superpowers and informed me she she’d throw in a Chipotle Sour Cream, just so I could try it anyway (Take notes Frying Dutchmen. Schnitzel & Things doesn’t even promote their sauces as a cornerstone of their brand, and not only did they have four available, but they gave it away for free. Schnitzel & Things 1, Frying Dutchmen 0. Ouch).

With the addition of my extra sauce, I was primed to enjoy this fantastic chicken sandwich. The chicken was perfectly cooked, with none of those unidentified crunchy or stringy lurking objects. The ones that you roll around your tongue trying to decipher whether it’s really part of the chicken, and then in a split second of shocked horror realize it is not and eject into a napkin. This prize piece of chicken was not too greasy or heavy, which is what I realistically expect when ordering a piece of meat from a vehicle. Not only could the Schnitzel & Things truck make a mean schnitzel, but they complemented it perfectly with the warm and flaky bread. The Chicken Schnitzel sandwich was really an ideal lunch, extremely tasty, not too heavy, and accompanying flavorful sauces. With regards to the sauces, the schnitzel lady was right. The Chipotle Sour Cream would have been too spicy to spread over a whole sandwich, but I did manage a handful of nice sandwich dips before my taste buds closed for business.

That being said, I was a little bummed at the whole schnitzel concept. In reality, this was just a phenomenal chicken sandwich. However, this whole schnitzel thing had me thinking I’d be experiencing a new cuisine, or new flavor of sorts. In reality, after looking up the definition of schnitzel, it really is just a breaded chicken breast, so I only have myself to blame for setting my expectations too high. Putting the exceptional quality on hold, this sandwich could have come from a variety of other food trucks or deli’s, there was nothing about it that was particularly distinguishable as being from a German-themed schnitzel truck. On the other hand, I easily could have gotten a schnitzel platter with 2 sides such as the Austrian Potato Salad, Cucumber Salad, Roasted Beet & Feta Salad, Chickpea Salad, Mesclun Salad, Braised Sauerkraut, Red Cabbage Salad, Yukon Gold French Fries, or Sweet Potato Fries. I’m fairly confident any of these sides would have contributed to the German theme I apparently felt I was missing, but I was already braving a completely unfamiliar food and didn’t have the courage to try anything even more exotic. I was my own worst enemy.

If my mild disappointment with my lack of German culture is my biggest complaint, I think that speaks for itself. Exceptionally tasty, friendly service, and you aren’t faced with the predicament of gracefully launching questionable pieces of meat out of your mouth. I’d call it a win.

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