Going Whole Hog for The Whole Hog: A Food Truck That’s More Than Pork!

whole hog truck1

The Whole Hog!

What's on the menu?

What’s on the menu?

I’m going to say two words that will change your eating world for the better: Whole Hog. If you don’t know what The Whole Hog isright now, don’t worry; you will, and your taste buds will thank you — probably even love you! On Tuesday afternoon I had the pleasure of heading downtown to Larkin Square for the first time. If you are like me and had never made it down there, I STRONGLY suggest you take the time to head down on a Tuesday either for lunch or in the evening for live music and, of course, Food Truck Tuesdays! Once there, locate the big pink truck called The Whole Hog, the one with the flat screen and chalkboard menu surrounding the ordering window. There, you will find great food and a great group of guys led by current Owner/Operator Brenden Haggerty. Maybe you’re hearing the name Whole Hog and are going to say: “But Jason, I’m not a big fan of pork!” To that, my friends, I say: don’t let the name confuse you! They may be called The Whole Hog, but they are the WHOLE PACKAGE! They offer plenty more than just pork. Before I get into the juicy details of how delicious the Summer Tomato Sandwich with arugula & mayo on a Garlic Toasted roll was, let me tell you a little bit about Brenden and his pink gourmet kitchen on wheels.

It didn't take long for a line to form!

It didn’t take long for a line to form!

A few years ago, Brenden and his Aunt Kathleen sat down with an idea that would become the Whole Hog. In 2011, a star was born, priding itself on using all locally grown fruits, vegetables and meats in everything they cook. For the first two years the Whole Hog was run by Kathleen, but in 2013, after five years in the restaurant business as a chef, Brenden was ready to take over. He wanted to get closer to the pulse, all the positive energy and everything going on in Buffalo! Most of all Brenden wanted to bring his own artistically crafted culinary masterpieces to the mouths of the people of WNY. And be grateful he did, my friends, as they are mouthwatering!

He loved the idea of the food truck, which would provide him freedoms he lacked as a chef in a typical restaurant. Now, Brenden and crew put together four or five entrees at a time, preparing and selling them until they are gone. Then it’s erase and replace on the old chalk board menu, so you won’t find the same thing on the menu hour-by-hour much less day in and day out. They do try to have a rice, bean or legume offering for those whose diets are vegetarian. So there truly is something for everyone. There’s always something new and delicious to look forward to. Again, DON’T let the name confuse you! The Whole Hog isn’t all about Pork; while, yes, you’ll find their delicious staple version of kitchen-style French brazed pulled pork as well as side staple homemade Mac and Cheese a top of their fluid chalk board menu, they have something for every pallet. For example, today I could have ordered a Beef Burger, The Summer Tomato Sandwich (Described and pictured above), Potato Salad with Roasted Poblanos, bacon and crumbled blue cheese or Mac and Cheese with a side of pulled pork, and all items were $6 and under. Drinks included water and Pepsi — each for $1. I can’t begin to describe how delicious of a lunch this was and for up to $6? People are wasting that much and more at fast food places for garbage?

tomato sandwich

Summer Tomato Sandwich with Arugula & Mayo served on a garlic toasted Bun.

I was lucky enough to sample two amazing sandwiches; first up was the Summer Tomato sandwich mentioned above. Right away I noticed the amazing smell. There were two slices of tomato — one red, one orange — followed by the green arugula, white mayo and golden yellow garlic toasted bun, which made the sandwich look great! See why I called his food culinary art! Everything tasted very fresh and the bun was perfectly toasted. It was so good all I could do was take a bite and savor it. I chewed a little slower and took my time finishing the rest. It was truly a tasty experience — this coming from the guy who doesn’t eat tomatoes unless they are diced!

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Cilantro Chicken Taco served on a perfectly toasted tortilla

Next up was the Cilantro Chicken Taco served on a perfectly toasted tortilla. The toasted tortilla made the taco a lot easier to hold and kept in all the chicken and Pico de Gallo in the taco. Before I even took a bite, I was impressed with just that. The chicken was super moist and flavorful, not just a mouthful of seasoning like at your chain food shop. The Pico de Gallo was again amazingly fresh, and the fresh cilantro added the perfect compliment. The sandwiches were so satisfyingly fresh, moist and delicious I didn’t even need to get a drink to wash it down! So there I was — sitting in a nice Adirondack chair, in the shade on a gorgeous Buffalo summer afternoon with the breeze in my face, enjoying a most excellent meal and thinking to myself life doesn’t get much better than this! Thank you Brenden and The Whole Hog Crew!

I just want to say the name Whole Hog wasn’t meant to pigeon-hole Brenden into one type of food to provide. The name stems from the old saying “go whole hog”, implying go all-in, giving it your all, being the best most prepared and detailed. I think that name is quite fitting for the man, team and food I had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with today. I know I’m going whole hog for The Whole Hog! What about you Buffalo? Make sure you check out Brenden and The Whole Hog either Tuesdays at Larkin or wherever The Whole Hog may roam. To find them, just make sure you follow them on Twitter @wholehogtruck and on Facebook. Happy hog hunting!

By: Jason Sinsabaugh

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