Wait up, summer's not over yet. You can tell because the streets are still lined with the ever-growing food truck culture in Milwaukee. It's Food Truck Week here at OnMilwaukee.com and all week long we're stopping at some of Brew City's best restaurants on wheels in search of the most interesting dishes on offer.
One of the more difficult choices in life is when you want to experience a new kind of food but don’t want to go and pay restaurant prices for something you are unsure about.
Welcome to Meat on the Street, the first place dedicated to Filipino food in the city and a place where it won’t cost you an arm and a leg to try this delightful stuff. And you never have trouble getting a table because the service is one of a legion of food trucks cruising the city this summer.
Meat on the Street is the brainchild of Alexa Alfaro, a Filipina who was born in Alaska and grew up in Oak Creek with her parents, both engineers, and her two younger brothers, Matt and Christian.
"Our goal in three to five years is to open a Filipino restaurant in Milwaukee, and this is a test to see how people respond to what we have to offer," Alexa said from the window in the truck parked outside the U.S. Bank Plaza Downtown.
My wife and I spent two years in the Philippines and learned to enjoy the food, especially the street food you could find on every corner. It’s much like looking for a hot dog or hot pretzel on the streets of New York, with endless choices.
The most popular item on the streets of Manila is a wide variety of meats on a stick (they could be at State Fair), grilled to a wonderful crusty bite. In Manila, you can get monkey or cat or dog on a stick, but here you can get a selection of pork, beef or chicken.
The meat is flavored for traditional Filipino preparation, where meals often mix something sweet tasting with something a bit sour. The flavors are subtle but unique in Asian cultures.
The other Filipino staple you can sample is pancit, a noodle that is central to most of the country’s cooking. Pancit noodles come in a variety of lengths and diameters. The one you get here is a very thin noodle mixed with carrots, cabbage and a variety of spices that give it a little kick.
Prices are very reasonable, with the best bet being three sticks of meat with one side dish and a drink for $10. The pancit could be your side, but they also make a garlic rice that will put a smile on your face and joy in your mouth. It’s the best I’ve ever had.
Alexa does all the business stuff for the truck while Matt does the cooking. Christian, who could be a male model, jokes that he sits around and smiles at the women walking by, luring them to come to the window. That may be a joke and maybe not.
"This is lots of fun," Alexa said. "The reaction from people has been tremendous. We get so many people who haven’t heard about Filipino food, much less tasted it. Our dad always did all the cooking in our house and we learned from him. I think Milwaukee will really like Filipino food."
With a history in Milwaukee stretching back decades, Dave tries to bring a unique perspective to his writing, whether it's sports, politics, theater or any other issue.
He's seen Milwaukee grow, suffer pangs of growth, strive for success and has been involved in many efforts to both shape and re-shape the city. He's a happy man, now that he's quit playing golf, and enjoys music, his children and grandchildren and the myriad of sports in this state. He loves great food and hates bullies and people who think they are smarter than everyone else.
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