Every month, hipsters and art lovers gather downtown to gawk at the abstract paintings and pricey sculptures of First Fridays. However, the hordes of perfectly curated food trucks are what draw me (and hundreds of other Kansas Citians) to the event. Once I arrived in the Crossroads for this month’s First Friday, I was overwhelmed with dinner options ranging from authentic Cuban to exoitc Thai. In a parking lot outlined with food trucks, Pip’s Burgers, which was swarmed with hungry customers, seemed to be a clear First Friday favorite.
The wait to the ordering counter was a lengthy one but was made more entertaining by the upbeat atmosphere and street music. At the window, a worker with a scruffy beard and grease-stained apron pointed me toward the chalkboard menu sign. The focus of Pip’s cuisine was exotic twists on the classic hamburger, like one garnished with pico de gallo and fried tortilla crisps. I stuck with the classic “Famous Pip’s Burger” and house-made Sriracha Lime kettle chips. My total added up to $10, which seemed a little pricey for street food, but it later turned out to be well worth the expense.
The burger’s brioche bun and bamboo skewer through the center added a hip, trendy flair that made it look like something straight off of the Food Network. My mouth was watering at just the looks of the juicy sandwich. I sunk my teeth into the juicy sandwich and was hit with a plethora of robust, full flavors. The beef tasted tender and smoky and was topped with a melted cheddar cheese that stretched from my mouth to the burger when I took a bite. But the highlight was the garlic aioli, which made the the flavors a perfect medley of hearty and sophisticated. By the time I devoured the burger, I had grease dripping down my hand and a satisfied stomach.
The homemade Sriracha Lime chips also bursted with distinctive flavor. Their zesty, sour taste was a refreshing touch to the savory dish. They also had as crispy rustic taste and texture to them.
When you’re in the mood for a classic burger, Winstead’s and McDonald’s are your go-to options. However, if you are wanting to try something more adventurous than the typical Big Mac, Pip’s Burgers is your best contender.
While searching for a place to satisfy my dessert craving, I discovered Simply Frosted, which was tucked away inside the hub of food trucks. The eatery was covered in Easter egg pastels and labeled with a sign that read “Featured on Cupcake Wars,” which made me curious to see if their desserts were all they were hyped up to be.
The menu included the basic cupcake flavors like chocolate, vanilla and salted caramel— nothing particularly outside-the-box. Each dessert was decently priced at $3. The most exotic — and I use that term loosely — flavor on the menu was a cookie dough cupcake, so I had to give it a shot. I also ordered a birthday cake cupcake, which turned out to be a simple vanilla cupcake topped with sprinkles.
Decked out in chocolate chips and coated with creamy frosting, the cookie dough cupcake had already won me over in the presentation category, but it lost points in flavor. The frosting tasted bitter and almost tangy, not sweet like I expected. The cupcake was also stuffed with a cookie dough filling that oozed out from the core when you bit into it. I’m a huge fan of cookie dough, and I’m no stranger to eating it straight from the tube at home, but the frosting and filling together overpowered the cake itself.
As for the birthday cake, it was delicious, but it wasn’t anything that I couldn’t find in the bakery section of Hen House — and for a much cheaper cost.
Even though some aspects of these cupcakes didn’t live up to their Cupcake Wars status, I found that the cake itself was the true star: moist, dense and scrumptious. I consider myself more of a frosting gal, but Simply Frosted may have converted me to team cake.
Booyah, a food truck serving “Asian Fusion” cuisine, caught my attention when I saw that its Yelp page was filled with raving reviews about the remarkable service and exquisite dishes. So I ventured out to Macken Park in North Kansas City to see what all the buzz was about.
Once I arrived at Macken Park after a 25 minute drive, I immediately inhaled the aroma of egg rolls and teriyaki chicken. This bimonthly event wasn’t anywhere near as crowded as First Fridays, and it had a much more laid-back atmosphere.
After ordering off the extensive menu, a perky employee offered me a free sample plate of their most popular menu item: Booyah chicken. If this was just a marketing ploy to convince me to buy more of it, it worked.
To start off the meal, I ordered a $5 plate of egg rolls. Biting into the roll, I received exactly what I had hoped for: a crispy outer shell and fresh, diced carrot and celery filling that put the Panda Express version to shame. Usually, I despise vegetables, but these egg rolls made me actually enjoy the flavor.
Next up was the fried rice with summer sausage.The rice was much more flavorful than I would’ve expected, and the mixed in pork bits tasted tender, artfully seasoned and smoky. My final dish was the sampling of Booyah chicken. It may have been small, but what it lacked in size, it made up for in flavor. The chicken was doused in a spicy curry ginger sauce that added an enticing kick to the meal—so enticing that I picked up an extra plate of it on my way out.
Booyah surpassed my expectations in both flavor and quality. Their Asian cuisine turned out to be much more authentic than the American-ized version I expected.