Monday, June 23, 2014

Morgantown Edition: Hash Browns & New Grounds

hash browns & new groundsIf you've seen the dark red truck with a yellow band dotted with animal and food graphics around town, you're not alone. I spotted the Hash Browns & News Grounds truck driving downtown and had been trying for quite some time to track it down and enjoy some of its delicacies.

Hash browns & New GroundsCody Thrasher, the owner of HB&NG, is from Bridgeport (where he sometimes takes the truck for the farmers market). He has a passion for showing folks both classic and new food - all with a creative touch (and fresh, local food!). The "Hash Brown" part of the name is something that is familiar to people and not easy to mess up, he said. The "New Grounds" part of the name is representative of how he wants to show folks something new and different. A friend of his designed the truck for him (which is rad). And he is currently searching the area for places to park and dish out watermelon salads, macaroni and cheese, and chicken on a stick.

Hash browns & New GroundsHash browns & New Groundshash browns & new grounds

For now, a good place to spot him is at Campus Evolution Villages (formerly The District) from about 5:30 to 8ish p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He is getting better about posting where he'll be in advance on his FacebookTwitter and Instagram. Check those out for the menu each day and some foodporn, too.

I've gone twice now: The first time was pretty busy, and he ended up running out of some items. So a second visit was in order. And - disclaimer - because of that, my second visit was free. OK. Prepare your tastebuds.

Hash browns & New Grounds
Summer salad (fresh strawberries, feta, roasted beet, sunflower seeds, extra virgin olive oil, sweet balsamic reduction with crostini) - Pretty tasty. I'm a fan of sweet and tangy. So the strawberry + feta combo made me happy. And I LOVE beets. I know most people don't, but it worked for me.

Hash browns & New Grounds
BBQ spare rib sliders with cheese sauce -  The flavor for these bad boys was on point. A few cartilege-y pieces and pretty messy overall -- not so much two sliders, but meat just piled atop two connected buns. But tasted good.

Hash browns & New GroundsChicken on a stick - Also a basic item; it's literally a piece of chicken on a stick, but still tasty. A little sweet, a little tangy. But all good.

Hash browns & New GroundsFrench fry hash - A basic item that those who are a little hesitant to step outside of their comfort zone. This is a good starting point. Some super tasty potatoes drizzled with Sriracha and just a bit of cheese.

And my second visit just knocked it out of the park.

hash browns & new groundsH20Melon salad (feta, mint oil, balsamic reduction, black hawaiian sea sat) - I truly don't know who is interested in ordering a watermelon salad from a food truck. But everyone should be. The presentation was beautiful, despite what is pictured above. The car ride did a number on it. The drizzles were perfect, and how cute are the square chunks of watermelon? Luckily, the flavor was impeccable. Fresh, juicy, sweet watermelon with salty feta cheese and some mint flavor in the background. I mean, I know you probably don't believe me, but this is REALLY good. Just try it. It's so fresh and crisp, but satisfying. Just awesome.

hash browns & new grounds
BBQ spare ribs - These WOULD have been made into sliders had I gotten there a little later, but I'm really happy Cody asked if I wanted just a whole piece of rib. Because sweet Jesus were these good. The sauce was just so good. Smokey, but tangy, but only slightly sweet. So good that I was licking my fingers GOOD. I don't even know what he did, but I thought about going back to ask.

Jalapeno gnocchi mac & cheese (with grilled pepperoni and a panko topping) - My absolute favorite. I don't know the last time I had something this good. Let alone from a food truck. The gnocchi was incredible, the sauce just delicious, the drizzle of spice, with a bit of crunch from the grilled pepperoni. You're doing yourself a great disservice if you don't try this. Probably the best dish to grace Morgantown in 2014.

hash browns & new grounds
The flavor combinations are bangin'. I love the stark contrast between something sweet and something salty. What's kind of incredible is there is some creative thought put into these dishes, as well as the presentation. It's like a mini piece of art.

Plus Cody seems like a stand-up dude. He cares about what he's serving - which is clear through his service to his customers as well as the thought he puts into his dishes.

Get out, support Morgantown's only food truck operation, and even see if he can come to a place near you. You won't regret it.

Grade: A
Hash Browns & New Grounds on Urbanspoon