Blowin' Smoke BBQ (cart)
In a word: B-R-I-S-K-E-T heaven.
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JM ate the ribs with mild sauce, potato salad, and a Sierra Mist.
Nichole ate the beef brisket sandwich with hot sauce, coleslaw, 3-bean salad, and a Diet Coke.
We split a ginger cookie.
The bill was $18, or $9/person, plus tip.
JM and Nichole gave Blowin' Smoke BBQ an A- (see our grading rubric).
Blowin' Smoke has a buy-10-get-one-free loyalty card*, which is bold but brilliant. With food as craveworthy as theirs, there's no risk of tiring of their meals before buying ten in a summer. Especially if you bring a friend, the kind who, when it comes to sauce on your face and bits between your teeth, has your back. Or would that be "has your front"?
"Ribs, ribs, ribs" (delivered almost as a chant) was a line from a puppet production JM wrote in high school. (Seriously, that happened.) In it, a character ends up travelling a long distance to tussle with another man over his order of ribs. If they were Blowin' Smoke ribs, we'd totally understand. Tender without being too messy, these ribs are walkin' around meatcicles. Not too much fat on either end and not too much recoil in the meat themselves. Very tasty.
The beef brisket sandwich was wrapped in paper speared shut with a toothpick and a pickle. The sandwich was hefty and came on a fresh white roll that doubled as a napkin. The roll reminded Nichole of the kind you can (could? please say you still can) get in Milwaukee on a Sunday morning with your hot ham: yeasty, soft yet springy, crusty yet not hard. Perfect. The beef itself was pleasantly chewy and the hot sauce had a deep pepper-hot heat.
On a later visit (told you so) a smoked turkey BLT had only the roll to redeem it; haphazardly assembled deli slices, long strips of thin bacon, and leaf lettuce flopped everywhere, making the sandwich hard to handle and hardly worth it. It's wise to stick to the quadruped choices.
There are usually four side dishes available: potato salad, coleslaw, broccoli salad, and three-bean salad. All tasted immaculately fresh and had a kick of fresh-ground black pepper. All but the three-bean salad are mayo-based. The potato salad used small pieces of red skin-on potatoes and had a touch of mustard. The slaw was a crunchy mix of cabbage and carrots with almost a pineapple sweetness. While the broccoli salad is a good source of folate, it's no light choice due to a liberal helping of sunflower seeds. Speaking of folate, the sweet-and-sour three bean salad is a winner, with red onions and kidney beans with a distinctly non-canned texture.
And there's usually a choice of cookies for dessert. Winner!
*Zen Sushi had a buy-6-get-one card, with the extra bonus that they kept a little file box with them so you didn't need to cart your own card around. Although they appear on the city's official list of food carts (pdf), they're off the List and we haven't seen them all summer. Anyone know what's up?