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Redmond Bites: Skillet Turns Street Food Into Gourmet Experience

The popular food cart serves a blend of comfort food and haute cuisine from its Airstream trailer and is usually in Redmond on Mondays.

If eating food out of a truck doesn’t sound up your alley, it's quite possible you just haven’t been looking in the right trucks.

Skillet Street Food, billed as a modern American diner, serves gourmet comfort food out of an Airstream trailer in locations throughout Seattle and the Eastside.

The food cart, which has been in operation for about three years, moves daily, with most Mondays reserved for a spot in Redmond. Skillet is also opening a permanent location on Capitol Hill in Seattle this week, but cook Mark Knue said the traveling trailer will continue to operate at full capacity.

“Everyone’s going to be trained up to do both (the restaurant and the trailer),” he said.

Trust me — this is good news. Skillet offers an ever-changing menu with a couple of permanent standbys, and chances are, you’ll be eager to check out each week’s new concoctions. The fixtures include a burger and poutine, a Canadian dish that’s been reimagined to delicious effect by the folks at Skillet.

Traditional poutine features gravy and cheese curds poured over French fries, and it’s pretty much a love-it-or-hate-it deal. On the other hand, it’s hard to imagine anyone having any feeling besides love (or heart palpitations — it’s kind of the same thing) for Skillet’s poutine ($8 for large, $5 for small), which lathers on the gravy, cheddar and Grana Padano cheeses and herbs on top of hand-cut fries.

You’re a champ if you can eat a whole serving of these singlehandedly, as they are incredibly rich. Most other cheese fries probably won’t seem worth the calories after these.

The burger ($12, $14 with fries, $17 with poutine) doesn’t need a fancier name than that — the taste speaks for itself. Sitting between two halves of a soft roll is a generous patty, made of locally and naturally grown beef, topped with bleu cheese, brie, arugula and bacon jam. That’s right, bacon jam. This nectar of the gods — move over, ambrosia — is made from a reduced and pureed bacon/onions/spices mixture, and it’s so good, Skillet has a whole page of its website devoted to the stuff, where you can buy your own jars for home use.

The rest of the menu is always changing but usually incorporates several other entrees, a soup, a dessert and a homemade drink. At Monday’s stop, other featured dishes were braised duck with Yukon potatoes ($11) and shitake penne ($8). A refreshing orange ginger iced tea ($2) was the drink of the day, while the dessert — chocolate pudding cream pie in a bowl ($5) — was gone only 45 minutes in.

You’ll need to find your own place to sit, whether it’s the curb or your parked car, after being served. The food comes in compostable take-out containers, making it easy to transport back to the office if need be. But if you take a couple bites before then, just be aware it’ll probably be gone before you reach the parking lot.

Skillet constantly updates the location of its trailer throughout the week on its website and Twitter and Facebook pages. The schedule is subject to change, so be sure to check in before you head out.

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