At the Columbus Food Truck Festival yesterday, the four of us looked long and hard at the dozens of food truck options. Finally, we settled on the Mixing Bowl Asian Grill. It’s a testament to the food this place offers that a committed meat-eater (me), a vegetarian (the Rising Star), a person who boasts incessantly about her California excursions and California cuisine (the Origamist), and a person committed to eating a taco at all costs (the Investor) were able to agree on a single food truck.
The MBAG was a good choice on two levels. First and foremost, the food was great. Second, the MBAG had a two-person bowl-building operation underway that caused its waiting line to be the fastest moving line at the Food Truck Festival, which is incredibly important if you are really, really hungry and can’t bear to smell the mouth-watering scents for one more second.
The MBAG follows a customer choice approach that appeals to me. You figure out whether you want a rice bowl, a noodle bowl, a salad bowl, a burrito, or a taco. Then you order your protein, hot toppings, cold toppings, sauces, and crunch from a menu that offers multiple choices. I got a rice noodle bowl with grilled chicken (including the “extra protein” option), sauteed bean sprouts, egg, some daikon and carrot slaw, and ginger soy vinaigrette sauce. One window starts the creation process and the other finishes it and rings you up. Prices are reasonable (the basic chicken noodle bowl is only $8, and the extra protein is an additional $3), as shown by the fact that the MBAG would have charged only $1 for bottled water where the Columbus Commons folks were charging $3.
The resulting noodle bowl was excellent, with just the right combination of heat, coolness, and crunch. I used chopsticks to eat every morsel, and even when looking longingly at the empty bowl felt a certain pride at my role in its creation. The Rising Star got some appalling tofu-oriented noodle bowl, the Origamist got a noodle bowl that included kimchi with a spicy kick that made her yearn for a beverage, and the Investor got, well, a taco. The MBAG somehow satisfied us all, and that is what Food Truck Summer is all about.