Friday, April 2, 2010

The Smoothie Truck

Thursday April 1st 2010
The Smoothie Truck, 4th and Spring Garden, Philadelphia, PA

Every day I’d been looking for it, waiting, hoping it would be there. The weather would be nice and I’d say, “Today. Today’s the day they’ll be back.” And today my friends, today was that day. This place is on some next level realm where names are meaningless, portions although taken into consideration are not abided by, and the threat of giving product away resulting in loss of profit is nonexistent. Simplicity reigns supreme.
Like I said, this place has no name. The closest it comes is where in the boldest of all the letters on the truck it clearly and simply states what they have; Fruit Salad and Smoothies. I have personally taken to referring to it as ‘The Smoothie Truck’. A truck who’s absence made this multiple blizzard Winter just that much worse to deal with.
Standing at the front of the truck you can see through a glass window their freshly cut selection of fruits to which you can point and add to your salad. Mango, pineapple, strawberries, coconut, melons, it’s a pretty decent selection. Two women run the whole operation. One cuts up and prepares the fruit while the other does all the blending and assembly.
Lets tackle each specialty separately. The fruit salads come in large and small sizes in circular plastic ‘to go’ containers with lids that snap in place. Only they don’t snap them shut. So much fruit is placed in the bed of the container that the lid is unable to close and is rubber banded on leaving an exposed gap of fruit all the way around. As if that already isn’t going the extra mile, once the rubber bands are in place, she then stuffs more fruit into the open crevasses left in the exposed gap, handing you a fruit salad that is literally exploding out the sides.

Smoothies are offered mostly in colada form (pina colada, strawberry colada) except the number five ‘special mixed fruit shake’, which is what you see here. This special mixed fruit shake, having watched the creation process, is just a few pieces of every kind of fruit they have ready to go tossed into a blender with some ice and pulverized into a delicious slurry. You figure if you order the medium size they’d grab the appropriate cup, fill it up to the top and give it over. It would even be possible that they would know what point to fill the blender to equal a medium or large size. Not the case. They seem to always be over guessing the amount to blend, leaving them with extra smoothie at the end. Is it stored in the fridge until the next person orders a number five? No! It is given to you in an additional cup at no extra charge. In the dead of the summer I’ve seen this lady point to people on the street who are waiting in line for the truck and hand them complimentary smoothie samples to make the wait, which can be quite long, more enjoyable.
One time, taking it back a few years, I worked at Subway (the miracle weight loss sandwich chain) for one full day. During my time there an employee explained to me that were a cookie to break, either by it falling on the floor or simply being handled too roughly, it was not under any circumstances to be consumed. A note explaining its loss was to be left in a log book and approved by the manager on duty. The same went for leftover bread. Obviously this was on my mind on the walk back to work the next day, a walk which was never completed.
Clearly, The Smoothie Truck is not a chain, exact amounts are not measured and calculated, there is no log book. And although it didn’t change the way I was feeling after a random walk around North Philly until 4:30 AM with Matt “The Priv Dog” Sullivan, pockets lined with National Bohemian, it was comforting.

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