He Said, She Said

Taking turns at Streat Food

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

He Said: My work shift that day had been an exceedingly long, hot and sweaty one, so when I finally landed back at the ranch that evening, pretty much all I could think to do was open a frosty brew and lump my grimy, bedraggled carcass down on the couch. 

But, fortunately, the lady of the house had other plans for me.

I had just cracked a cold one and was doggedly en route to the bedroom—just a few steps away from starting to get my work uniform peeled off—when she emerged from the woodwork to adroitly intervene.

“I’ve made a decision,” she announced.

“Oh no,” I thought, assuming it had something to do with my ever-burgeoning backlog of as-yet-to-be-completed home improvement projects.

“A decision about what?” I squeaked.

“I’ve decided I’m taking you out to dinner tonight,” she said. 
“Whew,” I said, relieved beyond belief. “Where?”

“StrEAT Food at Kulshan Brewery,” she said. 

“Mmm,” I fawned, welling up inside with genuine food-cart-induced anticipation. “You can count me in.”

And so, after giving my sourpuss mug a refreshing splash-bath in our kitchen sink, my impromptu benefactor and I were angling down James Street toward some delicious, bread-breaking rapport.

Immediately, I ordered a chorizo burger ($7.50) with a small side of fries ($1.75) and went ducking into the taproom to snag us a couple pints. Meanwhile, she placed her order and secured a roomy, sun-dappled spot for us outside at the long counter fronting the sidewalk. 

Sure enough, by the time I finally brought our pints out after a brief, bar banter-induced delay, our food was ready to snarf.

That mouthwatering burger was just the right kind of spicy, and my basket of perfectly crispy-yet-tender fries didn’t last long. Noting the visible vigor of my banquet, the Lady of the House issued a bright, knowing smile.

“Out of all the possible decisions,” I responded—it was all I could do to gather enough breath between chomps—“this was, bar none, the right decision to make.”

She Said: For the past year, I’ve been meaning to try the edible fare at James and Poem Pitzer’s food cart, StrEAT Food. For one reason or another, I’d always miss (or forget) the days they were in downtown Bellingham.

Last Thursday, the timing was right. StrEAT Food’s Facebook page alerted me they’d be parked in front of Kulshan Brewery until 9pm that night, and, not long after the end of the workday, so were we.

I’d skipped lunch, so my stomach spoke up when it came time to decide on dinner. In addition to ordering the chicken artichoke sandwich ($6.50), I also added a shrimp taco ($4.75), a side of broccoli olive slaw ($3), and a to-go portion of vanilla bean crème brulee ($5).

Not long after my guy returned with our beers, my name was called. “This is all for us?” he said as we carted our goods to the open-air counter. I nodded, and told him to grab a few extra napkins.

I’d read on StrEAT Food’s Facebook page that they featured “full-flavored, unique and healthy food served at various locations in Bellingham and Ferndale,” but I wasn’t prepared for the taste explosion that accompanied my meal.

My chicken artichoke sandwich—a mix of grilled chicken, artichoke, bacon, Swiss cheese, lettuce and onion on a grilled bun—was, without a doubt, the best chicken sandwich I’ve ever had in Bellingham. The pollo was plentiful, the bacon was thick and the half I saved for lunch the next day was just as good cold as it had been fresh off the grill.

The soy caramel-glazed shrimp on the taco was cooked just right and, served with basmati rice, daikon carrot slaw, Serrano chiles and cilantro, was decidedly gourmet without being too snobbish.

I’d like to say the crème brulee I ate later that night was pure perfection, but I dropped it on the floor when I was taking it out of the fridge, and didn’t get to poke my spoon through the glaze on top. Nevertheless, what was left after my clumsy accident was indeed good enough to induce salivation—so good, in fact, that I didn’t share the remains.

The only hiccup in my meal was the broccoli olive slaw, which seemed to be lacking any sort of dressing, and was thus pretty bland. When I packed it for my lunch the next day, I added a little balsamic vinegar and some olive oil and pepper, and it was a perfect accompaniment to what was left of my chicken sandwich.

Since the StrEAT Food menu changes weekly—with a few popular staples that stick around on the regular—we plan on going back soon for more edible experimentation. Next time around, I won’t drop my dessert.

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