Food Truck Article: Quad Writers Take on the Trucks

by LIZZY GRIFFITHS & SAMANATHA WALLA, Contributor & Production Editor

Quadchella marks many annual treats for Manhattan College students; the completion of the first week of classes, the first tradition experienced by the freshman class, but most of all, a music event that is a thinly-veiled food truck festival.

While food trucks are a staple at every Quadchella, this year Student Government seemed to take it up a notch.

As Kris Allen wrapped up his set, droves of students lined up to trucks offering Shake Shack, cheesesteaks, halal and “over the top” donut milkshakes.

Each truck offered a tasting menu of their most popular items, but did not skimp on portion sizes or quality despite the volume of food produced for the student body.

The name recognition of Shake Shack cinched its position as the clear favorite; the line wrapped around Jasper Hall for two hours without diminishing. Despite their lack of name recognition, Carnivale Donut Bar, Gary’s Steaks and Chef Samir Truck did their best to compete.

Samantha Walla

We started our odyssey at Shake Shack a good twenty minutes before opening, securing a respectable spot as the line built. Despite the fact that most Manhattan College students are familiar with the taste of a Shake Shack burger and fries, I couldn’t resist. What can I say? I’m a sheep.

Screen Shot 2019-09-05 at 11.10.10 AMWhile not a dissenting opinion, Shake Shack offers an admirable burger/fries/shake combo that does live up to its hype. I am happy to report that the thin but juicy patty was topped with fresh vegetables and appeared to be made to order, despite the mass of waiting students. The piping hot fries were salted to perfection in typical Shake Shack style, and the chocolate milkshake served as a good baseline for later judging Carnivale’s offerings.

Although I consider myself to have a good appetite, a full meal from Shake Shack leaves an almost sickening afterglow, as I stood in line for Carnivale Donut Bar feeling stuffed, sweaty and slightly embarrassed that I was about to complete a second milkshake.

Because I am a dedicated journalist, I braved the second-longest line at Quadchella and received a Reese’s shake. Carnivale offered the best presentation of any truck by far, serving milkshakes in glasses fit for a vintage diner, rimmed with chocolate in peanuts and sitting beneath a mountain of whipped cream and Reese’s Pieces-topped donut.

The excitement of receiving such a decedent shake was the highlight of the truck’s offerings. The donut was delicious, especially with the addition of candy and whipped cream, but the milkshake paled in comparison to that of Shake Shack. What was advertised as a peanut-butter chocolate milkshake bore more of a resemblance to a vanilla shake, and the consistency was thinner than I typically seek in a milkshake. In my opinion, there are no losers when it comes to milkshakes, but die-hard milkshake lovers would find more satisfaction with a thick and creamy Shake Shack milkshake, while those on the hunt for their next Insta photo would enjoy the spectacle at Carnivale Donut Bar. If you are anything like me, you were not afraid to try both and preach to anyone else on line about their strengths and weaknesses.

Screen Shot 2019-09-05 at 11.09.52 AMI did visit Chef Samir Truck for takeout, as I was unable to eat anything else after my first two stops. Chef Samir Truck served your typical halal offerings, I opted for the falafel over rice, doused in white sauce. This truck was the top choice for both vegetarians and those who were avoiding a mid-afternoon nap.

Chef Samir delivered delicious top of the line halal; while nothing in particular set it apart from other trucks in the city, its addition to the roster gave a complete sampling of the food on wheels that New York City has to offer.

Lizzy Griffiths

It’s not every day you hear that your school is having a donut bar truck cater to the students. The whole experience was so different from a usual day on campus, and was an exceptional way to end syllabus week.

I started off at Shake Shack, but my eye was on every donut shake that other students were walking by with. As I made my way to by far the most aesthetically pleasing truck, which was actually more of a van, I realized that the line was already at least thirty people back.

The truck, Carnivale, read “Over the Top Shakes,” and I knew I was in the right line.

Screen Shot 2019-09-05 at 11.08.58 AMAfter debating between the options of Reese’s, Oreo, Funfetti, and salted caramel shakes, my stomach spoke: Oreo it was. The line may have been long, but the feeling of watching him hand over the shakes was unmatched.

The wait time was due to the fact they were crafting each shake to perfection, all the way down to the Oreo-crumble rim. The donut fit the cup seamlessly, the layers and layers of whipped cream and Oreo beneath the donut melted in my mouth. The shake itself was incomparably creamy.

Only a few photos later and a walk across campus, the fashionable shake was devoured, down to the Oreo crumble on the rim. The Carnivale donut truck was remarkably unique and worth every calorie.

My food coma was already in full effect, so unfortunately I was not able to squeeze in a cheesesteak, but I wish that someone would look at me the way that my friend was looking at his meal. Gary’s Steaks truck line was just as long as Carnivale’s only minutes after they opened.

Screen Shot 2019-09-05 at 11.09.21 AMI knew I had to take a bite and I did not regret it. He got “the classic cheesesteak,” a large roll with cheese melted on the steak and then drenched in hot sauce (per request). This was actually my first time having cheesesteak ever, and it is definitely going to be one of my new favorite foods. It was like having all my favorite meals in one bite.  After my friend scarfed down his cheesesteak in under two minutes, he had joined me in my food coma.

The comfort food offered at Quadchella made it feel like home. To me, the food trucks were a well-deserved award for getting out of summer-mode and making it through the first week of classes. Gazing at my friends holding their cheesesteaks and burgers, is a picture I never want to forget.