Saturday, January 23, 2010

Truck Party! (Part II) - gastroPod

I told you, Starbury, it's not that kind of truck party. Go back to China. Anyway, as I drove south on Biscayne Boulevard, it gleamed like a shining beacon from a block east: the gastroPod! The gastroPod is Chef Jeremiah Bullfrog's mobile foodmobile, a converted 1962 Airstream trailer retrofitted with a high-tech kitchen to crank out some gourmet street eats. I got a preview sampling of some of the gastroPod menu at a Cobaya event we did a couple months ago, but this was my first chance to actually pay a visit to the Silver Submarine.

Though the gastroPod was set up near Biscayne Boulevard and 18th Street for the day, the vintage Airstream trailer would fit right in along the more northerly stretch of Biscayne whose "Miami Modern" architecture earned it the designation as the Biscayne Boulevard Historic District. The guts of the gastroPod, though are completely 21st century.

Along one side is a station rigged for an immersion circulator for sous vide cooking (he's got one running with room for more); along the other is a CVap Cook and Hold oven, another wonder of contemporary technology that uses a combination of air and vapor heat to hold foods at specific temperatures without drying out or overcooking. Eventually a couple CVap warming drawers will be installed underneath the area set up for the grill.

So what's Chef Jeremiah doing with all this new-fangled technology? Here's the menu:

Having already had a burger at Latin Burger, I went in a different direction with gastroPod and started with the "Old Dirty Dawg."

No ordinary hot dog, this one is home-made of beef short rib which is ground, stuffed into a wide casing, and then smoked. It is just loaded with flavor, and has a nice snap and a good meaty bite to it. Chef Jeremiah gives it a shmear of mustard "if you're nice" and then tops it with "stupid slaw," which Chef told me has "something like ten different ingredients." I couldn't figure out ten, but I could detect at least a couple different kinds of cabbage, carrots, possibly some beets (though it could have been red cabbage), possibly some red pepper, all with a lightly vinegared tang and whiffs of spice (turmeric giving the cabbage a neon-yellow hue?). The slaw was the perfect contrast to the smokey dawg, and I liked the Martin's potato bun too which was soft without being mushy.

I had just enough room left for one more thing, and tried the bánh mì taco, one of the items that was previewed at our earlier event with Chef Jeremiah. This cross-cultural mashup fills a corn tortilla with shredded oxtail and pork trotter meat (chef says some pig head will be getting into the mix eventually too, just more difficult to source), pickled shredded carrots, radishes, and thin-sliced jalapeños, sprigs of cilantro, and given a squirt of nước chấm (don't forget to get a squirt of sriracha hot sauce too, it really does complete the package). This hits all the wonderful flavor notes of a bánh mì sandwich (well, almost all - a little chile mayo might be good), just in a different package. Yeah, it was a little wet and sloppy, but some things are better that way.

Other items on offer include a triple-decker slider burger stuffed with shaved pork belly, a "Sloppy Jose" of beef brisket in an espresso-barbecue sauce, a pulled pork sandwich, and a vegan "Curry in a Hurry" over rice. This is real, serious bad-ass food to be coming off a truck, and an exciting addition to the Miami food scene.

on twitter: @gastroPodMiami


  1. I need to find the Pod real soon. Menu sounds awesome. Not sure how I'm going to decide what to go with

  2. Tried the pod at the first screening of the UM documentary. Was quite impressed by the quality served up. He's damn right naming it stupid slaw. Think we also had the sloppy jose (Brisket?). can't wait till he's in my neck of the woods again.