These days, it seems like you can’t go anywhere without running into a food truck, but Rockford has yet to catch up with other urban areas in this movement. However, while we might be underserved in numbers, our area is fortunate enough to be home to Fork and Stein Urban Gourmet.
Since making their debut at a summertime River District block party last summer, the Fork and Stein team has dazzled diners everywhere they’ve popped up with their signature alchemy of infusing quality dishes with craft beer. Seeking out and experimenting with a wide variety of beers has led to some very special results, according to truck honcho Andrew Carlson.
“The variety and singular experiences of most craft beers is what truly fuels our inspirations to create each dish,” according to Carlson. “Much like home brewing and some of the local and national craft brewers, you may only have one chance to experience certain brews. Some of our dishes will be created specifically for certain beers and events and will hopefully deliver a unique food experience each time.”
The truck’s menu at the recent Record Store Day event at Culture Shock certainly lived up to that. With Delaware brewery Dogfish Head serving as RSD’s official brewery, Carlson decided that he had an easy match. The truck offered a jambalaya-inspired smoked chicken slider dubbed the Voodoo Down, topped with andouille sausage and onions sautéed in Dogfish Head’s Bitches Brew brown ale, a chocolate stout-infused cake pop, and their popular Sheboygan Kegger, a soft pretzel bite stuffed with bratwurst, bacon and onions and served with a beer cheese dipping sauce.
This summer, fans of the truck will have a much wider opportunity to get their fix. Besides returning to Rockford City Market and the GPS Farmers Market for a second season with each, F&S is shooting to be on the streets of the Rockford area five days each week. Adding a full-time team member will allow them to add events such as the Churchill’s Grove garage sale, the Urban Farmgirl market at Midway Village, and Byronfest to the docket.
Opening up the schedule also allows Carlson and his crafty collaborators to add to their menu. Hinting at what’s to come, Carlson promises, “We are working on dessert keggers (their puff pastry bites) including a killer Boston Creme Pie variation. We’re introducing drunken cake pops. You’ll see a few different sliders hit the street this year that are oddly inspired by some classic dishes such as chicken cordon bleu, French onion soup and London broil, as well as our new ‘beer bellies’ – imagine beer infused gourmet hot pockets!”
You can stay on top of the busier but just as tasty truck’s schedule via Facebook at facebook.com/forkandstein.