We tried six food trucks at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale so you don’t have to
The Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction is so much more than just a showcase of vehicles for sale. The cars themselves are so plentiful and broad in spectrum that you can spend hours walking through the tents and window shopping, or sitting in the arena-style main building and watching countless lots pass to the hypnotic rhythm of the auctioneer.
Add to that countless booths selling everything from car parts (of course), boats (OK), and even in-home saunas (what?), and the Barrett-Jackson auction is like a giant bazaar of, well, almost everything. And that extends to the food stalls, with a variety of comestible that would rival a decent state fair.
So what should you eat if you find yourself in a place such as this? That’s what we set to find out. In truth, there were too many choices for us to sample and still be able to walk back to our car, so we went off the beaten path in culinary terms. Everyone loves a good turkey leg (or ought to), but it’s so common at B-J that we restricted our selections to more esoteric offerings. Here’s what we found:
Chicken Noodles – Island Noodles
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We start our adventure as soon as we spy this noodle stand, which is an easy sell for me, especially when I see the deep patina on the cast iron woks. The dish itself came with more vegetables than should be allowed in this setting. Broccoli was a highlight—cooked just right and soaking up the seasonings perfectly. But the overall dish was a little bland, and the chicken more soft than meaty. Playing the flavors safe might work with the larger crowd, but we were hoping for more.
Bison Burger – Arizona Buffalo Company
Price: $17 (includes chips)
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A cheeseburger is standard fare, unless it’s made from something other than a cow. Thus our foray to the bison burger stall. The good news is that bison is tasty—meaty but lean and not at all gamey. But the simple preparation—a cold slice of cheese on a standard white bun—left us wanting. The meat part was great, the rest was so-so. Chalk this one up as a worthy expansion of adventures in food, but lacking in specialness.
Tacos – Off the Hook Fish N Tacos
Price: $11 for two tacos
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We were split on the taco order. The pork al pastor contained standard ingredients like pork and pineapple but otherwise was nothing like the pastor you’ll find at any reputable food truck. Bland and lacking in any trace of dried-chile-based sauce, this one was a dud.
The fish taco, however, was a solid pick. For starters, it’s deep fried, which is always a good sign at any carnival-like setting. Properly crispy on the outside and tender inside, our only complaint was that our taco seemed light on the lime crema.
Navajo Taco – Indian Fry Bread
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Choosing which specific fried bread was a tough choice, because the Indian Fry Bread stand offers everything from strawberry cheesecake to thai chicken. But we chose what seemed to be the flagship offering in the Navajo Taco. With a light chili sauce covered in refried beans, lettuce, shredded cheese, and salsa, this is essentially a tostada on soft and gooey fried bread. It is also huge, taking up all the diameter of a standard paper plate.
At this point, Senior Editor Brandan Gillogly and I are reaching our limits. “We don’t have to eat the whole thing,” I say. Then we both take a taste and proceed to devour the entire taco. The tostada description is spot on, with the chewy fried bread serving as the perfect vector for the savory beans and bright tomato flavor of the salsa.
Chicken and Waffles – The Spot
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Reinvigorated by the fried bread, Brandan and I get our hopes up for Chicken and Waffles. After all, this concoction of dough, syrup, meat, and breading contains all the major state fair food groups. The man at the counter asks if we want syrup and powdered sugar applied directly to the plate, a good sign. Moments later we’re starting a piping hot Belgian waffle topped with white meat chicken strips. Brandan attempts to eat his half taco-style by folding the waffle, while I go for the more genteel plastic fork and knife approach. It’s amazing. The waffle is so crisp that it’s essentially a funnel cake in a grid formation. As is always the case with fried chicken, it pairs perfectly with the sweet, syrupy waffle beneath. This is clearly one of the superior offerings at Barrett.
Roasted Garlic Quiche – Nouveau Quiche
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Brandan and I are both struggling, but we’re inspired by the 1958 Citroën Vanshop that is the Nouveau Quiche stand. Allegedly only one of three known remaining copies, the Citroën is a sight to behold. Its roof slides to the rear to create a giant awning, and the main cabin is an open box with warming ovens for the pre-made savory egg and pastry delights sitting within. The proprietors are just borrowing the sweet Citroën; they’re actively seeking crowdfunding to buy it.
We choose the roasted garlic quiche on the chef’s recommendation, skipping the more-popular bacon option. It also includes caramelized onions, goat cheese, and aged cheddar.
“Wow,” Brandan says, taking his first bite. I can’t respond as I’m at a loss for words. It is amazing. Creamy, salty, silky, all the textures and flavor combine into edible bliss. The crust is just the right amount of crunchy, and the carmelized garlic is downright savory. And somehow, despite the four-digit caloric intake I’ve endured over the previous hour, I’m racing Brandan to get the last bite. Quiche seems like an odd pick at a car auction, but like the cars, sometimes the oddball items are the best choice.