Review: Cafe de Wheels
Cafe de Wheels is the grandaddy of food trucks here in Cincinnati– it’s probably the best-known and certainly the most established. They, like yesterday’s Senor Roy’s, use Twitter and Facebook to communicate their locations. They have a few regular hang-outs: the School for the Creative and Performing Arts, outside of Fries Cafe, outside of Below Zero, and the corner of 12th and Vine, which is where I found them one day after having a cocktail at Senate. That evening was originally going to involve a trip over to ForkHeartKnife, but considering every time I’ve walked past them on 12th I’d already eaten dinner, I realized that ForkHeartKnife could wait (sorry, ladies): there was a Cuban in my future.
You can’t miss the big, black truck, nor their newly acquired yellow chairs and tables. You also can’t miss the line– there is always a line, whether it’s 2 or 3 people, or halfway down the street. They’re obviously doing something right– plus, it always smells amazing. Terry and I each picked up a sandwich: for me, a Cuban, which is easily a favorite, but hard to come by around here, and for Terry, a burger. We split an order of sweet potato fries.
The burger is substantial– topped with American cheese, a “special mayo”, mustard, lettuce, and grilled balsamic onions. It was juicy, about a medium in doneness, and extremely flavorful. Now I know why this truck always has a line. The burger really is something special, and at $6, pretty affordable. The sweet potato fries were particularly good– cut thin and flat, so they were extra crispy, with just a bit of softness in the middle. Delicious– you don’t need to dip them in anything, they’re that good.
The Cuban was equally as good– ham and roast pork, Swiss cheese, mustard, more of those delicious balsamic onions, all pressed in a crusty roll. It’s about as close to an authentic Cuban as you’ll get in town (Liz agrees), though the pork was just a bit on the dry side, but incredibly flavorful. No matter, the combination of flavors– the balance of rich, sweet, sour and savory is almost magical. I don’t know if I can bear to order anything else. It’s that good.
They’re also adding items to their menu constantly– they’ve just added barbecued pork, which they’re using as a topper on a burger (my arteries harden at the thought, yet I want to try it…) and on their fries. Top it with cheese sauce and you have Southern poutine (that idea’s free, Cafe de Wheels).
If you want to find them, it’s best to follow them on Twitter.