Cue up the Rebecca Black, because it’s Friday, Friday, Friday and around these here parts that means it’s time for Food Truck Friday, sponsored by the fine folks at Citizens Bank of Edmond. Heard on Hurd returns to Edmond April 21, so we’re reviewing trucks you can visit at the event and around the metro.
My not-so-secret shame is that my wonderful, brilliant, beautiful, caring, empathetic children have some serious crap taste when it comes to food.
While my family has long come from a line of face-down food shovelers, my kids have this lackadaisical approach to dining that is probably prized in the Netherlands but is deeply frustrating for a dad who needs to give them both baths.
My daughter, in addition to eating her food so slowly that she has burned off all the calories by the time she’s finished, is also incredibly averse to spice. Not just heat. Spice in general.
“It hurts my mouth,” she cries, frantically grasping for her milk.
“Uh-huh,” I say. “Oregano will do that.”
It was with some apprehension that I took my tiny spice-haters with me to Open Streets. Not only because the weather was colder than my shriveled black heart, but because we were going to eat someplace I feared would cause a full-blown insurrection: Sizzle n Spice.
Two things were working in my favor, though.
1. My daughter was complaining about being hungry as we strolled from The Paseo to 23rd Street, so she was primed for food.
2. The owners of Sizzle n Spice ALSO have a daughter. And though she’s older, they’re well-versed in the art of making flavorful food that doesn’t cross the line into overly spicy.
Though my sweet unicorn was hesitant to dive in, she soon became enamoured with the food.
“Daddy,” she said. “This is good.”
My kids are not strangers to Indian and Pakistani cuisine, which Sizzle n Spice specializes in, but they’re mostly in it for the naan and rice.
But when my daughter grabbed the lamb and beef shawarma wrap ($8) and declared it was hers, I knew we’d made a breakthrough.
This is pretty close to a gyro, all things considered, but the meat isn’t shaved off a cone. The stack of thinly sliced meat gives it a substantial quality and the taste is comforting and familiar. The creamy tzatziki sauce coats the lettuce, tomato and onion and keeps what could be a fairly dry sandwich easy to devour. Even while we were walking around, my daughter held onto the shawarma with a vice-like grip. I was lucky to get a bite or two when she wasn’t looking.
A little spicier, but not necessarily hotter, was the spicy chicken wrap ($8). The cilantro chutney sauce provided plenty of flavor, but Sizzle n Spice also made a wise choice by using chicken thighs instead of breasts in the sandwich.
The darker meat stays juicy longer, avoiding the often chalky texture of chicken breast when it’s overcooked. The mix of salad, meat and sauce inside the chewy pita was delicious, but also a little messy. Grab those napkins; you’ll need them.
For a decadent treat, check out the dumplings/samosas (three for $3) but let them cool down before you dig in. The sheen on the crispy shell comes from hot oil, because these are freshly fried and plenty warm when you get them. The chutney dipping sauce is a must, as well, tamping down on the spice of the potato and veggie filling.
If you’ve got time to sit and enjoy your meal, I recommend the curry bowls ($12), which come with a hefty helping of rice.
The chicken and rice bowl could just as easily be called a chicken tikka masala bowl, but as the owner told me, plenty of people still don’t know what that is. The rice is piled high with tender grilled chicken that’s been tossed in flavorful yogurt sauce, which keeps everything easy to chew. On top of that are the usual mix of lettuce, tomato and onions with cilantro chutney.
If you’re new to Indian/Pakistani food, this is a great place to start. The spice level is perfectly moderated for kids and those who mistakenly think all foods from that region will definitely burn them from the inside out.
“If it’s too hot, you can’t taste it,” said truck co-owner Tanya Sheikh.
At a sit-down restaurant, it makes sense that food can go from mild to wild. In the confines of a mobile eatery, the owners have made sure the food is palatable to everyone.
Which isn’t to say it lacks flavor. Every bite of the vegetable chickpea curry bowl is bursting with tasty spices, but they won’t leave your mouth stinging.
Much like the chicken curry bowl is similar to chicken tikka masala, this one is a translation of chana masala — a restaurant mainstay of chickpeas in a tasty curry sauce. This tastes like getting a warm hug from a friend. Everything about it is comforting. It’s like eating a future nap, except the chickpeas don’t weigh you down so heavily. If you’re a vegetarian, Sizzle n Spice should be your first stop. If you’re a meat eater, well, you won’t be disappointed, either.
Food Truck Friday reviews are brought to you by Citizens Bank of Edmond, which presents the monthly street festival, Heard on Hurd in Downtown Edmond. Heard on Hurd is an authentic block party style festival that features three dozen food trucks, a live concert with local artists and retail pop-up shops. Edmond has a special vibe of its own and Citizens Bank of Edmond provides an outlet for the Edmond community to shine. Heard on Hurd highlights the importance of supporting local eateries, artists and retailers. At the heart of Heard on Hurd is Citizens Bank of Edmond which is proud to provide the means for so many local thriving businesses.
The next Heard on Hurd is 6-10 p.m. April 21 at the corner of Broadway and Hurd in Edmond. For updates, follow @HeardonHurd on social media with hashtag #JointheHurd