"I think Minneapolis is lacking a really solid option for a meatball sandwich," said Burt, explaining her business strategy. Agreed. "Plus, it's a great item to sell out of a food cart," she said.
Her $7 version certainly is: a soft torpedo roll filled with three velvety veal-beef-pork meatballs that are splashed with a red sauce that's flecked with parsley, oregano and basil.
Burt is a relative newcomer to the culinary industry. She spent nearly a decade in politics -- lobbying, managing campaigns and working for Rep. Keith Ellison -- before deciding she wanted to do something more creative.
Cooking her way through "The French Laundry Cookbook" eventually led to a job in the kitchen at HauteDish. She launched Saucy Burt's last week, feeding downtowners on Nicollet Mall at 5th Street, weekdays between 11 a.m. and 2 or 3 p.m. (Follow Burt on Twitter, @SaucyBurts.)
The best thing about street food? The people. "As a line cook, I miss interacting with customers," said Burt. "But at the cart, they're eating in front of me, I'm getting reactions and we're talking about food."
Next up: an expanded menu. "Street food is a good opportunity for a young chef like me to make the food we want to make, rather than work as someone else's sous chef for five years," said Burt. "Right now I'm thinking about chicken cacciatore. I have a really great recipe."Food truck roundups
The street-food-curious have two upcoming opportunities to check out what's what in a single visit. Next Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m., Vellee Deli, Simply Steve's, Natedogs, Gai Gai Thai and a few other vendors are setting up shop outside Kindred Kitchen (1200 W. Broadway, Mpls., www.kindredkitchen.org) in a fundraiser for the nonprofit food-business breeding ground. Fifteen dollars a head opens up samples, and full entree items will also be available.
Starting at noon on Aug. 13, Canterbury Park (1100 Canterbury Rd., Shakopee, www.canterburypark.com) is hosting what's being billed as the state's first Food Truck Festival, corraling Eli's Donut Burgers, Fork in the Road, Gastrotruck, Grill Works, Hola Arepa, 128 Cafe, Smack Shack, Natedogs, Simply Steve's, Vellee Deli and World Street Kitchen.Meet, greet and eat
The first-Thursday-of-the-month events continue next week from 5 to 9 p.m. at Gather (1750 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls., www.walkerart.org), when 112 Eatery and Bar La Grassa chef/co-owner Isaac Becker drops in for conversation and free samples of gnocchi with foie gras meatballs and cold porchetta and horseradish cream on Parmesan crackers.Mea culpa
Last week's item about Mike Ryan and Matthew Bickford's exciting new Eat Street bar/restaurant contained an error. I called the place Icebox, but the correct name is Icehouse. Call it a brain freeze. My apologies.