Last night's episode of The Great Food Truck Race took the remaining five trucks to Manhattan. Not that one. Manhattan, Kansas. The so-called "Little Apple", a small college town with a population of over 50,000. And emphasis was made on simplifying dishes and how college kids wouldn't have much money. But it was Daniel Shemtob of The Lime Truck who said out loud that their strategy for the place was to "dumb down a little" to which there was much cringing.
"I just can not believe Dan said that. I'm absolutely appalled," fellow Lime trucker and chef Jason Quinn said in his sit-down interview, "He chose the worst city to insult because it's such a small place that everyone's going to know about this."
Quinn was right. Later in the selling, Roxy's Gourmet Cheese, The Lime Truck's main rival, made sure the town did know. He used Shemtob's words against them, telling their clients why they should avoid The Lime Truck.
But even Quinn was feeling frisky with his comments. After being judged harshly by a local food critic in the Truck Stop Challenge (assignment: create a dish for only $5), Quinn shot back: "This guest judge dude just doesn't know what the hell he's talking about. He is not a chef. He just eats for a living. It's the easiest job in the world."
Guest judge Charles Ferruzza had called his morning-after pancake "a little pasty, a little gluey, a little too sweet" and no better than what he can make in his EasyBake oven.
The surprise winner for the challenge is fellow Orange County truck, Seabirds, with their "Kansas cupcake," a raw chocolate cupcake and corn fritter with a sweet and spicy barbecue sauce. Their prize is revealed to be a coveted spot in Aggieville, a location in the middle of town next to bars, bookstores and restaurants that by city ordinance allows only one truck to park there at any one time.
Everyone is not pleased that Seabirds secured the only place in town with the most foot traffic. Korilla, on their way to sell at a nearby park, said, "It's totally not fair, but we'll see how they do. It'd be funny if they still lose."
But in the age of Twitter, and the fact that The Great Food Truck Race has become one of the Food Network's highest rated shows, it seems the Aggieville advantage is not what it's cracked up to be. When all the remaining trucks (except for Roxy who went to local Christian college) arrive at the park, waiting for them were what seemed like thousands of people, all ready to spend and tipped off by social media, the news, and well, blogs like this one. It's something that neither the contestants nor the producers anticipated. Next year's show, if there's going to be one, will have to be recalibrated. Perhaps they can go to Amish country?
The Speed Bump, which is usually instated the second day of selling, was instituted early and it's a doozy that throws the usually premium-priced Lime Truck for a loop. Everyone has to sell their wares for less than a buck.
Roxy simply cut their grilled cheeses in fourths. Korilla, with their efficiency already a lock, hardly blinks and just decides it will sell their tacos with only one tortilla instead of the usual two. Observing how well Korilla is doing, the Hodge Podge chef sent his comely girlfriend to steal orders from the Korilla line, advertising that they, too, were offering tacos. This angers Steven from Korilla, and there was much cursing and pronouncements of a breach of food truck etiquette.
Lime Truck, now in dire straits since they've spent all of their seed money on premium ingredients they were going to sell for $11 dishes, has to rethink the strategy. Quinn is later seen at the supermarket crumpling in the aisle bemoaning that they have "lost all of (their) integrity." The gourmet chef's knees seemed to have buckled when he and fellow cook Jesse Brockman consider resorting to offering canned pie filling in a crepe.
Meanwhile, the Seabirds gals are struggling to keep up with demand. They are admittedly slow. Customers are shown grumbling about having to wait an hour or more for their food. Later, there are defections to other trucks when they decide to simplify their menu further. A customer who ran to Roxy's says "I'm glad you guys got some real food, because all Seabirds has are pancakes."
In the end, Korilla's earlier comment turned out to be prophetic. Seabirds was eliminated. Korilla finished first with over $5K, Roxy's made a come back at second. And of course, they did not squander the opportunity to throw out an in-your-face to The Lime Truck with another "Slimeball" comment. Hodge Podge was third, and fourth was The Lime Truck, who, for the first time, were in the bottom two.
Next week's destination will be Memphis, where it was teased that the contestants will all have to turn vegetarian. This has to be either an homage to the departed vegan Seabirds truck or a razzie in their face.
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