Gobble up Gastro Grub's novel twist on chicken and waffles
Gutbusters is part of an ongoing series that delves into adventurous explorations of food.
Haute cuisine on a food truck? Yes, please.
No longer do diners have to sit at a white table cloth restaurant to nosh on creative dishes. Gastro Grub roves Des Moines with its fair share of good grub.
Owners Sean Gleason and his fiancee Andrea Cunningham made the move from Los Angeles back to Des Moines last year in May and by July started rolling through the city with Gastro Grub. The couple met while working at Legends on 50th Street in West Des Moines.
Gleason, who studied at Le Cordon Bleu in L.A., brings his background as a chef at Fig & Olive and the Village Idiot in Los Angeles to the fare on the truck with dishes. Try the bourbon bacon jam burger, bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with goat cheese or truffle fries.
But the big draw is the fried chicken waffle cone, a dose of Southern hospitality that could even work on the go. Let's deconstruct the dish.
Gleason found it hard to cut the sugar in a waffle cone that should be more of a savory dish, so he adds a little black pepper and cayenne to his recipe for that spice.
The mashed potatoes use garlic roasted for two hours then added to the Yukon gold potatoes, cream, butter and salt.
Next comes a choice of white gravy or Buffalo sauce. Stick with a classic and make it the gravy.
The centerpiece of the dish? The buttermilk fried chicken, which uses all white meat. Gleason marinades the chicken breast for 12 to 24 hours in buttermilk and dredges them through flour, salt and cracked black pepper twice before frying.
The result, a chicken and waffles dish with just enough novelty in it to make it a must-try. Break off a bit of the waffle and a chunk of one of the four crispy chicken nuggets. Dab that bite in the mashed potatoes and gravy and you have a taste of all four flavors. You catch a little of the sweetness of the waffle cone that's more like an ice cream version in thinness than a breakfast variety. The chicken retains its moisture with the help of the buttermilk, yet the coating is still crispy with a nice crunch.
Gleason changes up the menu practically daily, so once you find out where he's parking the truck, check the menu and you might decide to try the chili cheese doughnuts, a dish he plans to revive when the weather gets a little cooler.
Find it: Varies, but typically Gastro Grub parks at the Pappajohn Sculpture Park from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays and at Confluence Brewery Co. (1235 Thomas Beck Road; 515-285-9005) on Wednesdays and Fridays from 5 to 9 p.m.
Rating: 4 / 5 waffles
Breakdown: Adventurous diners who want a new take on chicken and waffles should add this on their rotation.
Interested in Des Moines food news? Follow Susan Stapleton on Twitter at @susanmstapleton