Wednesday, May 9, 2012

To Wiz or not to Wiz?

No, that's not the name of a Michael Jackson musical based on the Wizard of Oz; it is an ingredient quietly being offered from a new truck.  The rain stayed away and I made my inaugural trip to Phillies Phamous Cheesesteaks, (not that the rain would have stopped me.)  6" or 12" subs with chicken or beef with all the fixings you'd want for $7 & $13, respectively, or a special with chips & a soda for a couple bucks more.  For the first time (I'm aware of) from a DC food truck, these guys are trying something new by handing you an order sheet with a pen when you walk up so you don't have to try to explain your order to someone else ... just circle what you want, or otherwise make a note.

This morning tweets indicated "by popular demand, you can now ask for Wiz."  Typically I order my cheesesteaks with some sort of cheese that comes by the slice, but since I know Philadelphians(?) order it "with Wiz," I figured I go that route on my beef six-inch.  No offense to the noted Philadelphites(?) but, "You're doing it wrong."  (Jk.)  In all seriousness, I think I'm just more used to the way everyone else does it outside of the City of Brotherly Love and prefer the creaminess, texture, and general binding effect the melted slices of cheese provide to a cheesesteak.  So, I hardly noticed the Wiz, but that allowed me to take in all of the flavor of finely chopped, well seasoned beef and perfectly prepped onions stuffed in a pillowy-soft sub roll.  I'll go back to sliced cheese when I make my fast return to Phillies Phamous which may tip the balance to 4 honks.  3.5 honks 'til then.  Oh, and thanks for the mint I found at the bottom of my bag...

Meanwhile, I'm guessing it was not planned, but both popcorn trucks found themselves on opposite edges of Farragut today as well; it is Stella's PopKern's normal Wednesday spot, (although I was really happy she got there substantially earlier than her usual second-half of lunch arrival,) and Popped! Republic was involved in some DC101 promotional event.  I have been a fan and frequent customer of Stella's since she launched about 2.5 months ago, often spending $10-$12 a week on my habit, particularly when basil & Thai ginger is on the board.  Then you have Popped! Republic who launched on Saturday at Curbside Cookoff.  The differences "on the surface" between the two trucks:
Stella's PopKern: More flavors, including sweet, traditional, and more savory options.
Popped! Republic: Kettle Korn and otherwise traditional flavors like movie theater, caramel, cheddar.  Better packaging, mostly because it can be properly closed easily.  More options in portion size with 4 instead of Stella's 2.  Loyalty cards are a nice feature as well. 

For the 8 or 9 flavors I've tried between the two, I prefer the caramel at Stella's due to its milky-er quality.  On the other side, the kettle korn from Republic was an excellent blend of salty and sweet, save the large chunks of coating I caught while I absentmindedly shoveled from the bag to my mouth.  (See pic -- that's wide margin looseleaf.)  Other than the single time I received a bag of way too salty buttered popcorn from Stella, one recurring problem I've had is the flaky part of the kernel's hulls have a high tendency to get stuck in teeth.  It may sound petty to mention it, but I've never seen popcorn containing so much of it, and I can only guess it is the type of popcorn being popped.  I'm still quite content to return to Stella's and will be equally obliged to go back to Popped! Republic.  As such, 3.5 honks for P!R as well.

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