She Ate / He Ate

On the hunt: Exploring Lansing’s food trucks


The stalwart Picnic Food Truck ( is run by the incredibly talented Karrie Brewer. I’ve had food from Picnic many times and have worked with Brewer to prepare extravagant, beautiful cheese boards for holiday and birthday celebrations. The twist on these cheese boards is she specializes in making them dairy-free, which I needed when a family member was dipping a toe into a dairy-free lifestyle. With a completely straight face, I assure you I never would have known the items on the lavish cheese board were dairy-free. If you’ve looking for a vegan-friendly spread, keep her in mind, but give her plenty of lead time, because these masterpieces take planning. 

The food truck offerings can be similarly modified to meet dietary restrictions, and as someone who dabbles in vegetarianism, I like to try vegetarian and vegan offerings frequently. The plant-based “chicken” sandwich from Picnic delivers the classic flavors of a fried chicken sandwich, but the protein is a slab of lightly breaded tofu. The pickles are so sweet and sour, the paprika aioli is so creamy, and the bun is so pillowy that even Mr. She Ate (a devoted carnivore) said he would be happy to have this sandwich in place of the chicken version. He chose the Smash Burger and we shared an order of garlic herb fries, which are crispy and well-seasoned. His burger was juicy and smelled incredible. 

The following week, we placed an order to-go at Ozone Fire Food (, a new place for me. I was truly blown away by how delicious everything was. I had a grilled cheese with added prosciutto. The bread was hearty and crusty — nothing like the mealy, garbage Texas toast most places use. The cheese was thickly melted and flecked with herbs. A layer of prosciutto was nestled inside. The sandwich was so large and filling that I didn’t finish it, although that was in favor of sampling everyone else’s dinner. Mr. She Ate had the Reuben. The corned beef was thickly sliced and the texture of the grilled rye bread was perfect. His garlic fries were my favorite: salty, seasoned and crispy. My sweet potato fries, which I typically love, were fatally over-seasoned and a bit overdone.  

The Babies She Ate happily shared a cheese pizza. The 4-year-old with the world’s most discerning palate chowed down three entire slices. Unheard of. I shared one with the baby and understood the infatuation. I can’t wait to try the honey and spice version on our return to Ozone’s.  

Our final stop was Eato Chef (, in Horrock’s beer garden. It was magnificent. Rife with picnic tables and lush flower baskets, live music and a manmade pond, you can order pizza and have snacks from inside the store or order from the food truck, via the above-mentioned Eato Chef. Mr. She Ate tried the pad Thai, which satisfied his craving but wasn’t remarkable. The vegetables in his dish were super fresh, the sauce appropriately flavorful and the helping was massive.  

I tried the sausage dish, which was flavored lightly with ginger. It came with a heaping serving of white rice, cabbage and cucumber salad, and flash-fried green beans. Again, satisfying but unremarkable. Eato Chef offers a great option if you’re enjoying the beer garden and aren’t in a pizza mood, but I’m inclined to grab items from the salad bar inside instead.  



Lansing’s food truck scene has many gears but has also had some fits and starts. A few years ago, the corner of Saginaw and Cedar attempted to create a pod of food trucks, where feasters could rev up their taste buds with a variety of choices.  

The pod idea has taken root in many culinary destinations like Portland, Oregon, and Austin, Texas. Later, building on the initial food truck interest, the Meridian Mall hosted Food Truck Rallies, bringing together the best mobile kitchens in the state and beyond.  

The desire for unique flavors in portable bites has no doubt captured the local palette, but locating these tasty treasures can be an odyssey in futility. It all depends on how clearly stated a food truck’s schedule is or what stroke of pure luck you’re rolling with.  

What’s really good 

I love Brussels sprouts, as I’ve shared before. This month I found two strong efforts with similar preparations at different trucks. Both Picnic Food Truck ( and Ozone Fire Food ( serve sprouts roasted with a generous dosing of garlic-kissed olive oil and pomegranate seeds. The former adds crumbled goat cheese while the latter finishes them with a dollop of goat cheese crème. A veritable tie. My bonus visit was another Horrock’s spot: Atomic Tacos ( Their quesadillas are a perfect vehicle for the smoky and sweet pulled pork, although the birria tacos with beef consommé didn’t rev the engine like some of the other iterations around town. Eato Chef, (, also at Horrock’s, was my final destination. Its crunchy spring rolls with glass noodles, taro, carrots and green onions have a sweet-and-sour sauce that purrs. 

What’s fantastic 

The olive burger and smoked meatball hoagie at Ozone are excellent. This cheesy olive burger had sliced olives in a very yummy red mayo-based sauce. It was cooked nicely, but the bun-to-meat ratio skewed a bit too bready. The smoked meatballs were tasty and weren’t overpowered by either smoke or garlic, meshing quite nicely — especially with the house red pasta sauce, Bellissima. Atomic’s walking street corn, served in a cup, is a fiesta of flavor. Roasted corn, crème Fraiche, peppers and cilantro had my wife and me racing for the last bite. The house-made ginger sausage and sticky rice at Eato were also superb. Served with green beans, cabbage and cilantro, this Thai combo is a road map to the corner of fresh and tasty. Picnic’s garlic herb fries are the embodiment of guilty pleasure. Golden, crisp and sinfully umami, I needed help eating the whole basket.  

Best bite 

This month was easily the hardest “best bite” to decide. Several of the bites above also vied for the top spot. I ended up with a three-way tie. The mac and cheese with smoked chicken and bacon at Ozone is a 0-60 mph journey to Comfort Town — only it’s been gentrified in a good way. Flavored with garlic, Sage of Ale beer (yum!) and multiple cheeses, I already need another bowl. Also from Ozone, the buffalo chicken sandwich, with buttered Texas Toast, pickled red onions (and a blue cheese sauce) had a crispy chicken breast slathered in a magical garlic hot sauce.  

Ozone is going way above the speed limit here, so be prepared to get messy. Last but certainly not least on the scrumptious-meter is the Pad Thai at Eato. Holy smokes, it’s good. I knew I was sharing with some lightweights, so I only ordered the spice level at a two. It was good, but kicking it into 4th or 5th gear might be amazing. The chicken, rice noodles and peanut sauce paired with a squeeze of lime took my taste buds into overdrive. 


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