September 27, 2011

LIFESTYLE: Jag Grub Visits...Scratch Truck

by Michael Hadley

Growing up, the only time I saw food being served out of a truck was when the ice cream man drove by. Times have changed, and so has the cuisine coming from these trucks. Places like Portland, Los Angeles, and New York City have been cultivating the food truck scene for years, and just recently it has taken root in Indianapolis. I've been lucky enough to try a good number of them as they pop up across the Circle City, but none compare to the gourmet comfort food coming from Scratch Truck.

Scratch Truck, All Over Indianapolis

At first look, Scratch looks pretty much like any other food truck, minus the bright red paint on the side. But a quick glance at the menu tells one a lot about the type of cuisine being prepared in the close quarters inside. Sure they have burgers, chicken, lemonade, and a few specials that rotate every two weeks. Inspect a little further, and your eyes begin to bulge.

The Scratch Burger, my selection, is 1/3 pound custom ground burger, bacon marmalade, arugula, and gorgonzola cheese on a fresh, toasted soft roll. It comes with twice-fried French fries that are tossed in a mixture of garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Another staple on the menu is the Spicy Chicken Cone, a hand breaded, spicy chicken tender with mango-jalapeno coleslaw and ancho chile aioli, all served inside of a flour tortilla cone. Specials range from a Hoity Toity BLT to the Scratch Grilled Cheese. Need something to drink? How about a Watermelon-Jalapeno or Basil Lemonade?

There is nothing normal about this truck. The burger was by far the best I've ever had in my life, and believe me, I've had a few hundred in my 21 years. I'm not normally a fan of "stinky cheeses" like gorgonzola, but the bitterness plays perfectly along side the sweetness of the bacon marmalade and slight pepperiness of the arugula. The fries are a perfectly sweet and salty compliment on the side, and my Watermelon-Jalapeno Lemonade could be the most oddly-working combination of all time.

If you've never had a food truck, Scratch is the best place to start. They have a great selection, a menu that both rotates (specials) and keeps a couple staple favorites. There are opportunities to be adventurous and safe.

And, let's be fair, the fact that I can still taste that Scratch Burger hours later leaves me craving more.

Food: A -- I've never had a bite or sip that wasn't absolutely perfect.
Atmosphere: A -- It's hard for there to be an atmosphere without a building/room. That said, the food truck experience is done right at Scratch.
Staff: A -- Everyone is super friendly!
Overall: A -- I'll be taking every opportunity I get to try more of their food. Brilliant stuff.

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