Food trucks have started popping up all over Seattle thanks to recent efforts by the mayor and local health officials to relax some of the city’s strict regulations on street food. The latest – and certainly the most elaborate – addition to the group is Maximus Minimus (a.k.a. “the mobile pig.”) Owned by the same people behind Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, the focus at Maximus Minimus is on pork. Specifically, they are boasting “the best pulled-pork sandwich you’ve ever had.” Current plans are to keep the “pigstream” parked at 2nd & Pike downtown during lunchtime. At night, it will be roaming the streets of Seattle looking for the hottest spot in town. If you want to track where it will be next, you can follow their updates on twitter:

The other day, my friend and I snuck away from work and headed down to Maximus Minimus for lunch. The line was long but moved pretty quickly – things seemed fairly well-organized considering that they had only been in business for three days. The menu is limited: sandwiches, chips, slaw and drinks. You can add Beecher’s Flagship cheese to any sandwich. Sandwiches and slaw can each be ordered “maximus” (spicy) or “minimus” (sweet and tangy.) Between the two of us, my friend and I managed to order everything on the menu. I opted for a maximus vegetarian sandwich, chips and hibiscus nectar, and my friend had the pulled pork sandwich, slaw and ginger lemonade.

The vegetarian sandwich consists of barley, roasted mixed vegetables and currants bathed in maximus or minimus barbecue sauce. It was flavorful and the barley had a nice texture, but I was disappointed that the bun wasn’t toasted. The maximus sauce was not especially spicy. I later learned that you can order your maximus sauce with extra “hurt” if you like things really spicy. The sandwich was very messy which I don’t mind too much if I’m sitting at a table with plenty of napkins and a sink nearby – when you are hunkered down on the steps of Benaroya Hall, trying to eat your lunch while simultaneously keeping your napkin from blowing away in the wind, a messy sandwich might not be for everyone. The chips are a mix of potatoes, carrots, beets and green beans topped with fried chilies. They were an excellent surprise. The crisp and herb-rich slaw was equally tasty. I am a sucker for unusual drinks so I particularly liked the hibiscus nectar. My friend enjoyed his pork sandwich, but agreed with me that the bun should have been toasted.

My total for lunch came to $12.50; the sandwich alone was a hefty $7.50. This may not seem like much for a downtown lunch, but this is street food! To my mind, the whole point of street food is that you get really yummy food for really cheap. Without the additional overhead of tables and a waitstaff, street food should be cheaper than restaurant food. Or, if you are going to charge higher prices, the food had better be mind-blowingly good (my lunch was merely decent.) I think it’s great that Seattle is starting to get a street food scene, and I love that Maximus Minimus has, for now at least, transformed this sketchy corner into a jovial community scene at lunch time (patrons in line were downright giddy at the prospect of ordering food from a big, shiny pig.) I just hope that some of the upcoming food vendors plan on offering better deals (I’m looking at you, Marination Mobile!)

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