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Skillet Transforms Street Food Into Gourmet Experience

The popular food cart serves a blend of comfort food and haute cuisine from its Airstream trailer and will be at the Chateau Ste. Michelle winery Sunday.

If eating food out of a truck doesn’t sound up your alley, it's quite possible you just haven’t been looking in the right trucks.

The gourmet food truck craze started a couple of years ago, elevating the common catering truck known for feeding construction workers, to haute cuisine. The new food trend has found its way to Woodinville to feed wine tourists and resident foodies the gourmet fare.

One of the truck companies seen most in Woodinville is Skillet Street Food, which bills itself as a modern American diner serving gourmet comfort food out of an Airstream trailer in locations throughout Seattle and the Eastside.

The food cart, which has been in operation for about three years, moves daily, and will be in Woodinville from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday for an event at Chateau Ste. Michelle. Billed as a “stay-cation,” the event, which is open to the public, will allow attendees to buy wine by the glass and food from a number of providers, including Skillet.

Collaborating with wineries tends to mean good business, said Skillet owner and Chef Joshua Henderson.

“Typically speaking, it’s a pretty positive experience because people are drinking, so they’re a little more happy,” he said. “If it’s a nice day, no matter what winery it is, they definitely bring out the crowds.”

Skillet also just opened a permanent location on Capitol Hill in Seattle last week, but cook Mark Knue said the traveling trailer will continue to operate at full capacity.

“Everyone’s going to be trained up to do both (the restaurant and the trailer),” he said.

Trust me — this is good news. Skillet offers an ever-changing menu with a couple of permanent standbys, and chances are, you’ll be eager to check out each week’s new concoctions. The fixtures include a burger and poutine, a Canadian dish that’s been reimagined to delicious effect by the folks at Skillet.

Traditional poutine features gravy and cheese curds poured over French fries, and it’s pretty much a love-it-or-hate-it deal. On the other hand, it’s hard to imagine anyone having any feeling besides love (or heart palpitations — it’s kind of the same thing) for Skillet’s poutine ($8 for large, $5 for small), which lathers on the gravy, cheddar and Grana Padano cheeses and herbs on top of hand-cut fries.

You’re a champ if you can eat a whole serving of these singlehandedly, as they are incredibly rich. Most other cheese fries probably won’t seem worth the calories after these.

The burger ($12, $14 with fries, $17 with poutine) doesn’t need a fancier name than that — the taste speaks for itself. Sitting between two halves of a soft roll is a generous patty, made of locally and naturally grown beef, topped with bleu cheese, brie, arugula and bacon jam. That’s right, bacon jam. This nectar of the gods — move over, ambrosia — is made from a reduced and pureed bacon/onions/spices mixture, and it’s so good, Skillet has a whole page of its website devoted to the stuff, where you can buy your own jars for home use.

The rest of the menu is always changing but usually incorporates several other entrees, a soup, a dessert and a homemade drink. When I visited the trailer in Redmond last week, other featured dishes were braised duck with Yukon potatoes ($11) and shitake penne ($8). A refreshing orange ginger iced tea ($2) was the drink of the day, while the dessert — chocolate pudding cream pie in a bowl ($5) — was gone only 45 minutes in.

You’ll need to find your own place to sit, whether it’s the curb or your parked car, after being served. The food comes in compostable take-out containers, making it easy to transport back to the office if need be. But if you take a couple bites before then, just be aware it’ll probably be gone before you reach the parking lot.

Skillet generally comes to Woodinville about once a month, Henderson said, and the schedule often changes at the last minute. You can find the location of the trailer throughout the week on Skillet’s websiteand Twitter and Facebook pages.

 

Kat Stremlau May 26, 2011 at 05:23 PM
I'm heading there at noon! We love the bacon jam...
Kat Stremlau May 31, 2011 at 04:07 AM
An hour wait...and nit that great. Next time, I'll go to Red Hook for a burger!

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