By far, the launch of the Fishin' Ships food truck was the one I was looking forward to the most. I followed the build-out of the truck on facebook, I counted down to their launch at Rising Tide Brewing Co. (and then was disappointed when it was delayed by a day), and promoted their appearances at Flea Bites food truck clusters on the First Friday of each month this summer. You'd never know, for all that, that I hadn't actually eaten from the locally-sourced fish and chips truck until last Tuesday night.
|Owner Sam Brown taking orders|
Fishin' Ships, along with several other food trucks, was at Portland Greendrinks, the monthly environmental networking event, at Thompson's Point. While I sipped on a Sebago Bonfire Rye, I ordered up an O.G. fish and chips ($10), described as "a classic preparation," on the truck's chalkboard menu. The hearty pieces of pollack were coated in a pleasing PBR batter and served with tartar sauce, plenty of fries, and a lemon.
|The O.G. fish and chips|
Because I've been chatting with the Fishin' Ships guys on twitter, they kindly kicked me over a fish taco to try as well. The fish taco ($5) also featured pollock, crusted in what they call their High Thai'd batter, a ginger, thai basil and chili-flavored batter, made with Bissell Brothers Substance Ale. The fried fish is served in a corn tortilla and topped with a poblano-mango salsa, cilantro, and a spicy aioli.
The O.G. preparation of the fish and chips was certainly good - crispy batter, flaky fish, not unpleasantly greasy, with crunchy fries - but the taco was my favorite. Next time, I'll explore the flavored batters and dipping sauces, as I'm more excited by the unusual flavors the rest of the fish and chips preparations have to offer.
|High Thai'd fish taco|
And about that fish: Fishin' Ships is a Gulf of Maine Research Institute Culinary Partner, which means they have pledged to always have a locally-caught and sustainable seafood option on their menu, are educated on sustainability issues surrounding the Gulf of Maine's fishing industry, and are working on increasing the overall environmental sustainability of their business. Pretty cool for a food truck.
When the Fishin' Ships food truck first launched early this summer, I'd heard complaints from customers that the portion sizes were small and the prices high. I was satisfied with my portion of fish and chips for $10, and while my fish taco was on the larger size compared to other options in Portland, I would want to eat more of them than I could reasonably afford at $5 a pop.
However, I trust that the guys behind the Fishin' Ships truck have set prices that allow them to use local ingredients while still eking out a profit. Perhaps Fishin' Ships sits at the intersection of the expectation that food from mobile vendors should be inexpensive and the fact that local and ethical food sources are not always the cheapest option.
If that was too much food systems analysis for you in a food truck review, I leave you with this beautiful sunset: