As Beer Week approaches its opening weekend, calendars fill up, and schedules start to get hectic. It’s nice to take a step back and consider the important questions — specifically, who is going to win this year’s Red Door Food Truck Battle?
The battle goes down from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday at Red Door’s main brewery location at 1001 Candelaria. There is no cover charge, and if you just want to pay for the food, but are not drinking, that is allowed.
Now entering its fourth year, the battle is already heating up with four food trucks in the running.
Returning champion Kamikaze won last year with miniature versions of its menu items, served ”tapas” style. This year will be more of the same, with a few new surprises to make the food even more appealing, along with extra help to get the food out more quickly to even more people.
”Our plan for this year’s battle is, of course, to win,” said Libbe Ricardi, co-owner and scheduling manager, who runs Kamikaze with her husband, and chef, Nic.
Not big beer drinkers themselves, the Riccardis do, however, both enjoy Red Door’s rotating ciders.
”The sweetness of the cider pairs well with the saltiness of our food, and makes for a yummy meal,” Libbe said.
Although unable to attend last year, Cheesy Street took first place in 2017, and is looking forward to competing again, but the owners know the competition has been, and will be, fierce.
”We were honored to have won, as our competition was pretty stiff!” said Kelly Nelson of Cheesy Street.
This year, Cheesy Street plans to feature its Frito Pie Grilled Cheese, but had yet to decide on any beer pairings.
”Some favorite beers of ours from Red Door are the White Ale and Unhinged Cider, so we will be particularly interested in what we can match up with those,” Nelson said.
Late addition Nomad’s BBQ stepped up to compete after Street Food Sensations, which was originally scheduled to participate, discovered it would be unable to attend.
According to its website, Nomad’s specialty is smoked meat sandwiches, with choices including pulled pork, hot links, and chicken breast on 6-inch hoagie rolls. The staff did not provide a comment on their plans for this year’s competition, but patrons will most likely to be able to smell what they are cooking even before walking through the Red Door.
And, of course, Red Door fixture Sidedoor Kitchen will round out the competition with its offering of cider-braised pork tacos made with Unhinged Cider. They don’t want to give all their secrets away, however, and have a few more tricks up their sleeve as a surprise for the battle.
While eating a bunch of amazing food, and mulling over which truck should be crowned this year’s winner, guests can enjoy a pint of one (or three) of Red Door’s brews and listen to live music performed by Reuben Krussick, vocalist and guitarist for Rio Rancho rock band WholeHearted.
Thanks to Johnny Padilla, Candelaria location taproom manager, for providing information about this event, and thank you to the food truck participants for your input as well. Best of luck to everyone!