On Wednesday, July 20th, we served at the Taste of Somerville in the historic Nathan Tufts Park. And devils, we served the best nuggets we’ve ever made. They should rename the space Nugget Nugs Park. We've been perfecting our batter and frying methods for weeks, so this was the perfect moment to hit our stride.
What a crazy fun evening! We handed out nugget samples with our house-made dipping sauces to everyone, from loyal Bartleby’s devils, to local Villens who had never before heard of seitan. It was so great to see each and every person get excited about our truck, our food, and then seek out our service schedule. What really struck me during ToS was just how unique the Bartleby offerings are―our signature seitan stood out! Seitan is not something you come across often, which is surprising when you know what a great source of protein it is, and how versatile of an ingredient it is. You can bake it, steam it, grill it, marinate it, or—like Bartleby’s does—fry it up Southern style. Watching people try our nuggets and seeing their faces light up confirmed for me that there should be more seitan on these streets.
There were tons of other amazing vendors there, too, including one my favorite places, Whole Heart Provisions (have you been to their new location in Cambridge yet?). I also had the pleasure of meeting the owners of Veggie Galaxy, one of the best restaurants around! Near the end of the night, I was able to sneak away from the truck for a few minutes and take in the entire scene. I had so much fun connecting with each person who came to the truck.
I live right around the corner from Tufts Park, so it was an honor to be parked and serving the devils in my own neighborhood for a change!
We’ve been been able to serve at a lot of community events lately! In June we celebrated at the Cambridge Arts River Festival on the 2nd and at the Feast of the East in Arlington on June 16th.
Cambridge Arts River Festival
Joyce, who coordinated the vendors for the World of Food, was wonderful to work with, and the entire festival was very, very well organized. There were dozens and dozen of vendors serving food, and displaying their art, wearables, and decorative items. I found a beautiful blanket scarf made from bamboo and had to splurge on it! All proceeds from the sale went to help empower women, so you know I was glad to support that cause.
We traded tasty eats with our food truck neighbors, including Zaaki, which serves Mediterranean delights. I was so excited to learn they had delicious vegan options available. I’ll be visiting Zaaki again soon as hungry customer, and not just as food truck pal.
We had visits from my roommate and many other loyal devils who don’t always have the chance to eat with us during our normal service days. I loved being on the Cambridge side of the Charles River for a change. We’d love to provide more regular service days in Cambridge or Somerville, but are wicked happy to be enjoying these special community events in the meanwhile.
Feast of the East
The devils of Arlington are so, so nice. Seriously. So nice. The Feast of the East was held on a beautiful summer day. From our truck window, we saw lots of puppies, gaggles of children in face-paint, heaps of nuggets―and oceans of lemonade. We had such a great time meeting new friends and reconnecting with old friends around the wheat-meats. Plus, I was doing my favorite thing: serving people food! Many of the folks lining both sides of Mass Ave were already friendly fans of seitan, and, if not, they were willing to try a free sample (and then immediately buy a 13-piece order as new and enthusiastic converts).
We loved seeing so many kids with wild face-paint, and I’d highly recommend this event for families. I hope we can participate again next year!
On Sunday, May 20th, we got to be a part of The Vegan Market in Somerville. This incredible community event was hosted by Katie Upchurch of Soy Much Brighter Candle Co. and Tamara Lyn of Striped Cat Metal Works. The event space at Warehouse XI was filled with stellar, shining plant-based vendors, sharing their food, art, homegoods, and beauty products to the huge and very enthusiastic crowds.
Bartleby’s joined up with the team from Food by Grubby’s to create a special seitan combo plate. Brie Swift, the fearless leader of Grubby’s, provided her now-famous seitan wings (which I happily scarfed down during the New England VegFest in April―so good!) and my team provided the nuggets. We were all blown away by the nonstop line of hungry customers. You were at least 30 devils deep the entire day!
My Favorite Thing
This was the first event I worked without my truck, and I learned a lot. It was way cool to be shoulder-to-shoulder with our customers, as opposed to communicating through the window of the truck. I felt like I was able to talk to so many more people and see so many more smiling faces. My favorite part of working in the food industry has always been serving people, and the Vegan Market reminded me of that. I loved that every time I handed someone their nuggets, their face lit up!
My Least Favorite Thing
The truck has two commercial-grade deep fat fryers installed to keep up with our demand. I couldn’t take my truck with those hearty appliances to the Vegan Market, so I had only one table-top fryer at my disposal (electrical power was shared, and so we could only drain so much before risking a blown fuse). This little fryer did the best he could, but it was slow going, especially compared to the pace we’ve become accustomed to in the truck. My least favorite part about working in the food industry is disappointing people. Even though we had prepped plenty of food for the day, our slowed pace prevented us from being able to serve everyone. I was heartbroken to have to turn away those patient folks who had been waiting in line for so long. I hope you can come find our truck on the streets and let me serve you hot, crispy, craggy nuggets, fast and with plenty of sauce, just the way Bartleby intended.
I’m committed now to ensuring that my setup can serve each person that arrives to eat with us, and to serve them the best food that I can make. It doesn’t matter if that’s in the truck, at a table, or on a boat (cause who doesn’t want to eat nuggets on a boat?). I still have a lot to learn about electrical hook-ups, and I think now I will push to bring my truck to events whenever possible. I love that truck, all the equipment in it, all the food I serve out of it, and all you hungry devils that gobble it up.