Yesterday, through the kindness of others, I was able to hit up yet another downtown Minneapolis food truck which had been on my list for quite sometime, Vellee Deli. When Vellee Deli first hit my radar I was fairly unimpressed by the menu however reports had been coming in from coworkers and friends about their “kickers” which are the three levels of hot sauce Vellee offers to give their items a little spice. With spicy and inexpensive food waiting for me, sometimes right outside my building, I was chafing at the bit to get out there and give this truck a taste.
We arrived at around 11:45 on a clear but cold and windy day. Vellee Deli noted on their Twitter account that they had a heater and they were going to be serving up food fast so it seemed almost like it was worth it to brave the October cold and get some spicy food. The line was fairly short and only a few people were around waiting for their orders. We went up to the window and placed an order for their Koren BBQ Burrito (grilled boneless short ribs, kim chi, romaine lettuce, seasoned rice, and salsa rojo) for $7, the Dragon Melt Quesadilla (chicken, fresh shallots, cilantro, lime, queso cheese and baja sauce) for $5, and an order of Vellee Rolls (5 crispy, golden, eggrolls served with sweet and sour) for $4. While the heater was nice when you were ordering, you were still stuck out in the cold while they prepared the food however Vellee Deli’s promise to have our orders up in a flash was true and we were soon making our way to find a place to sit and enjoy our food.
The first thing I noticed about the items we ordered were that they were quite large for the prices charged. While I felt that our recent trip to YumMi was a bit underwhelming in the size to cost department, Vellee Deli had definitely delivered there. The Dragon Melt quesadilla looked much like any other chicken quesadilla I’ve ever seen but after the first bite it definitely set itself apart from the dry, crispy and tasteless versions straight from the microwave that I’ve had far too many times. Vellee Deli’s play on the traditional quesadilla was a complex masterpiece with each bite playing off the one before it beautifully. While most quesadillas are cheese and not much else, the Dragon Melt provided glimpses of the cilantro and lime tucked just behind the gooey queso. The chicken was still juicy and the shallots just perceptible while the “2 Kick” sauce pulled up the rear and provided just enough oomph to make you suck your breath in through your teeth in a nearly futile attempt to cool the growing burn. While I never thought I’d have anything at all good to say about a quesadilla, Vellee Deli’s Dragon Melt definitely gave me a new outlook on the usually tired dish.
Next up was a bite of one of the five eggrolls laid out before us. Similarly unappealing as the usual quesadilla, I have never really been a fan of eggrolls as they are usually tough, over-fried belly bombs with little flavor aside from the remnants of whatever product was previously fried in the same oil. However, much like the Dragon Melt, the Vellee Rolls were nothing like the mental picture I drew for myself. These were light, crispy and definitely not doused in 16 day old oil. The innards were flavorful and bright. The only downside was the sweet and sour. While not the usual orange and pink, syrupy mess which normally accompanies such treats, Vellee’s was still too sickly sweet for me and if I ever ordered them again I’d request a side of their kicker sauces or an empty cup to dump some Sriracha in for dipping. Even so, I was pleasantly surprised with the eggrolls and I wouldn’t hesitate to eat a piece or two again if someone offered them to me.
The final item I bit into was Vellee Deli’s Korean BBQ Burrito. A larger-than-Chipotle sized behemoth, this meal monstrosity made my arm tired as I made my way through the sandwich. Stuffed full of rice which was actually worth eating, tons of cubed short ribs, and some lettuce, my sole complaint came from the lack of obvious kimchi which was I hoping to be able to see and taste throughout the burrito. The meat itself was tasty, tart with the level three kicker and lined up with the rice provided a perfect filler for this Chipotle and World Street Kitchen killer. While I describe the highest level of “kicker” as “tart” above, it started out that way but by the time I reached the bottom folds of the burrito it had unleashed a fiery inferno in my mouth which continued to burn its way throughout the rest of the afternoon.
While I didn’t think it was possible to dethrone World Street Kitchen’s Minneapolis food truck reign, I really have to admit that I was quite impressed with what I had at Vellee Deli yesterday and the wide variety of regular options, low prices, spicy sauces and excellent overall quality put them at the top of the list for downtown food truck eats. Overall I highly recommend you check out Vellee Deli next time you’re out and about and I’m absolutely certain you won’t be disappointed.
Have you eaten at Vellee? If so what did you think? What items did you order and what level of kickers did you spice up your food with? How do you think their offerings compare with the other downtown trucks? Whatever you have to say about Vellee Deli’s street food go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear what you have to say.
See all the pictures from Vellee Deli on Flickr here.