Rolling wonder! Local food truck by East Falls neighbors promotes fresh seasonal flavors from creatively-sourced ingredients
Chefs Keith & Sara: In Their Own Words
The Clean Plate Club Truck’s new expanded walk-up menu includes an exciting array of flavorful treats available for purchase (& pickup) at several convenient locations.
We love to use local ingredients! When we’re at the East Falls Farmers’ Market it’s fun to grab produce from the McCann’s Farm folks, microgreens from Everwild, maybe some goat cheese from Betty’s Acres and whip up breakfast and lunch dishes.
Wherever we’re at, we like to create something using their products. So when we’re at Wissahickon Brewing, we’ll use their beers for batters and sauces and marinades. When we’re at Herman’s Coffee, we make a barbecue dry rub for our wings and they grind me four shots worth of espresso that we mix into the rub. Same thing when we do pancakes or French toast we use their espresso in the maple syrup. Straight Herman’s espresso mixed with maple syrup? You can’t lose.
The first granola flavor we came up with included Chinese Five Spice. Five Spice is a nice, warm, savory spice that has all sorts of different notes to it. We figured that was an interesting place to start, because there’s just so much depth to it already. And then we added some peanuts to it and worked with Attic and Wissahickon Brewing to offer them as an upscale and nutritious bar snack.
Try our spicy beer pickles, too! Two varieties (so far) plus a Bloody Mary pickle garnish, all using farm-fresh produce and local craft brews from Wissahickon Brewing Company and Attic Brewing Company. Spent-grain granola, too — salty and sweet varieties (dare you to mix them!).
We had to rethink our approach because for a while food trucks weren’t allowed to operate. So we came up with our “Take Home” kits — the menu changes weekly so we started with a risotto, then we did a mac and cheese, a quinoa fried rice kit and this upcoming week we’re offering a make your own gnocchi kit.
Our motto is from our truck to your kitchen! We do all the prep work so you can throw together a great meal in 15 minutes, flat. Order online for Friday pickup at Attic or Herman’s Coffee in Pennsport (UPDATE: the kits are no longer available).
Please follow us online to find us in person, where we’re proud to offer food that’ll make you happy to clean your plate!
LOCAL LIVE: Clean Plate Club (clip)
Mon, 6/22 11:43AM • 14:23
The Local 00:00
This is Steve Fillmore with Local Live. I’m joined this morning by Keith and Sarah of the Clean Plate Club. How are you guys doing this morning?
Feels good to be back on the truck. We haven’t obviously with COVID we haven’t been able to get on here too much with food trucks not being allowed, but we missed her. So we’re happy to be back here and talking to you.
The Local 00:24
We first noticed you when you were down at the East Falls Farmers Market. I know there’s other people out there that would like to know something about you. So just give us a little bit of background about Clean Plate Club and how it came to be. Sure. So we’re actually a husband and wife team. We met at Johnson and Wales University. Actually, the first day of orientation before school even started I walked onto an elevator that Keith was on
The Local 00:55
I don’t even think I asked his name but we started talking and the rest is kind of history
And that was 10 years ago
The Local 01:02
Yeah, I like to say I haven’t been able to get rid of him since. So we’ve been here (in East Falls) for about three years.
Three years in August
Living in East Falls. We love it there. It’s close enough to the main part of the city, but not too close. That’s our favorite point.
About the food truck. We always we wanted to open something that was ours and food trucks are great because there’s a low barrier financially to kind of get it going. And here we are. We opened August 10.
Yeah, August 10 of last year. Our opening party was at Wissahickon Brewing. Right in East Falls. We actually live right next door
In the Gypsy Lane condos
It was nice for us because we figured if we forgot anything at home, it was it was our first shot. So we were right there.
Yeah, I can run up the hill.
The Local 01:55
Yeah, it’s dangerously close. We as you know, we are also in Gypsy Lane and love the fact that it’s right there on the Wissahickon. The gorge obviously is amazing and having that ability to access a huge Park. But also to walk down the hill and get a couple of beers every now and then is a is a nice amenity. So where does where does the name Clean Plate come from?
So it’s just a nostalgic factor for us. Our parents used to say it to us. And since we don’t keep our menu constant, and it’s always changing, we didn’t want to pick anything that was too specific to certain genre.
The Local 02:36
That’s great. So you, when we were speaking, you talked about how with the recent COVID restrictions, you guys have had this sort of pivot. So can you tell me a little bit about that pivot and a little bit about some of the businesses you’re working with?
Yeah. So we kind of from the beginning started our business plan with an idea to sell some retail items to breweries and local stores because in Pennsylvania, you can’t really serve liquor without having snacks. And a lot of bars and local breweries and places are serving things like bags of potato chips, popcorn and stuff like that, but nothing really, that had like a local flair or was crafted to be theirs. So we started these granolas and pickles a while ago, probably a couple months after we launched the truck, but we didn’t really have time to put much energy into them because we got a little too busy too fast.
So one of the good things that’s come about is we’ve had the chance to ramp up production and get out to new artisans that we can work with.
Right. So off of the truck, we often serve our fried beer pickles, and those came about because of the beer pickles that we make. So basically, we take beer and substitute the water in our pickle recipe. We have some here to show you while Keith talks about some of the breweries that we’re working with
So we came up with their spicy refrigerator beer pickle that actually we’ve changed the beer in here a few times based on what they have on tap.
So early, before we even had the truck, I went to Wissahickon Brewing and talked to Luke, who’s the head brewer there. And I said let me sit with you for 30 minutes and just pitch you what we’re thinking and see if it’s a good idea. And he was very gracious and said ‘Sure, let’s do it.’ And one of the things we talked about was would you guys like to do like a beer pickle? And granola. We wanted to pair it as a type of bar snack. And then it kind of grew from there talking about their interests? Things like what’s Luke’s favorite pickle? He loves spicy stuff. This one is Hail Mary IPA that they have on tap right now. And the spice comes from red chili flakes and habaneros.
Right. So we do that for them and then we also started working with other local breweries. We work with Attic Brewing as well and their favorite pickle is a spicy dill. This is brand new — it might not even be there by the time we’re talking about this. This might be some insider info
The Local 05:18
We’ve got a scoop.
Yeah, we just gave them a tester of this. Their favorite pickle is a spicy dill. So we went for (unintelligible) and chili flakes and fresh garlic.
And that’s made with their Gtown Strutter. Each pickle is very different.
The Local 05:57
Which is their Pilsner
So each pickle has like a completely different profile just from the beers that we’re using. So it’s cool because, I don’t want to say they’re collectible but they’re unique to each place that sells them. So the pickle at Attic Brewery is different than the pickle at Wissahickon.
Right. We’re trying to pair what they like with their beers and what’s going to work
And we’ve also begun selling them at NouVaux Market, which is an East Falls market. So they have a few varieties in stock. And then a little outside of East Falls, Herman’s Coffee in Pennsport for their customers to pick up as they’re just getting coffee. It’s really kind of cool for us to be able to sell them in all different places across the city.
The Local 07:00
And it kind of works into your seasonality approach as well. You’re changing the pickles depending on what the beer is at that current time.
Right. So we started out at Wissahickon with Devil’s Pool, I think, and we’ve done a few other varieties there too. And it changes constantly, which is kind of cool.
And they’re very open — a lot of these people who have breweries are just very (unintelligible) There’s another one (holds up container) that we did with them — is a bloody mary garnish pickle.
We came, we came up with a recipe for a brewed Bloody Mary that uses their beer in the Bloody Mary. And those are inspired by the New Orleans style Bloody Mary which has about 85 toppings on it
Which is my favorite
It’s more of a meal than it is a drink. So you got all the toppings in there to finish off your Bloody Mary, which is kind of cool. And then the other retail product that we have is our granola. Which again, started out early on, but we came out with two new flavors since COVID started, which is pretty exciting.
So the granola that one started out as like a true blue bar snack. It comes from the idea of like peanuts on the bar. And from the fact that breweries have so much spent grain. And we asked how can we utilize that to make a product that’s mostly (made up of). We’re making a dent in it but they go through thousands of pounds of spent grain. After months and months it’s staggering.
The first flavor, we came up with was a Chinese five spice. Five spice is a nice, warm, savory spice that has all different notes to it. So we figured that was an interesting place to start, because there’s just so much depth to it already. And that one has like peanuts in it which came from the idea of peanuts on the bar. And that’s probably our most savory flavor. And that that sells again at Attic Brewing, Wissahickon, Hermans, and NouVaux Market. Also Thunder Mug Cafe down in East Falls sells the granolas as well. These two guys right here are sweet flavors. We have a Coffee Craisin beer grain granola and then a chocolate coconut sea salt which is our newest but I think probably our most popular already
And we started savory because we wanted to make a granola which is known to be sweet and make it into a bar snack. So that’s why we started with the Chinese Five Spice but then people asked us Why don’t you guys make a sweet one because they want to put it on their yogurt in the morning not necessarily drink it with a beer and it opens up new possibilities right?
The Local 09:55
And not only the granolas, but are the pickles also available online?
So the pickles aren’t available online because we can’t really ship them refrigerated. You can only really get them in East Falls or in Pennsport, so it’s pretty exciting.
The Local 10:14
That’s neat. Speaking of Attic you have some Make Your Own kits. Could you tell us a little bit about those Make Your Own kits?
That’s part of the pivot that we’re talking about, you know due to Coronavirus.
We’ve had to rethink what we’re doing because for a while food trucks weren’t allowed (to operate). With these we change the menu weekly so we started with a risotto, we’ve done a mac and cheese, a quinoa fried rice kit and this upcoming week we’re actually doing a make your own gnocchi kit. And then we have pickup available I Attic Brewing and Herman’s Coffee on Fridays. So the pre order is through our website. There’s a link that you can click, and then on Friday with your beer or coffee, you can pick up your meal kit. And then you can make — we like to say from from our truck to your kitchen — you can make these meals in like 15 minutes or less.
So we try and do everything we can to make it a nice, easy 15 minute meal for you, but also, you know, reserved the things that can be last so they’re the best. So in the gnocchi kit, for example, we hand make the gnocchi and blanch them off and then you’re going to sear them at home just so they’re nice and fresh.
Right. So this week’s kit is it’s handmade gnocchi, we’re pairing it with some arugula, some ricotta, a little bit of lemon zest, because it’s somewhere between spring and summer right now. Right? And so we want it to be like a fresh bright meal. And some parmesan cheese so it kind of has a little bit of a bite to it but it’s nice and light and fresh. It’s not a huge, heavy dish. And then we have a couple different options — either sausage, chicken, or caprese mushroom stack that you can pair with it to round out the meal. And they’ve been doing really well, it’s exciting to hear customers like, be able to cook on their own what they’ve grown to love from the truck and realize that they can cook it at home as well.
The Local 12:24
Okay to get them you go online, is that how you place that order?
Correct. So, if you go to our website, it’s www.thecleanplateclub.com. And there’s gonna be a little picture of the weekly menu. So like this week, it’s a picture of all the ingredients that go into gnocchi and it says, to preorder click here, and you click on that and it takes you right to the form where you can order from, and then we’re pretty much good to go. You just come and pick up.
The Local 12:56
Could you tell us a little bit more about other local farms or artisans that you deal with to source some of your foods
Wherever we’re at we like to work with that person. So when we’re at Wissahickon Brewing, we’re using their beers and making beer batters to finish sauces to cook meats. When we’re at Herman’s Coffee, one of my favorite things to do is make a barbecue dry rub for our wings and when we get there, they grind me four shots worth of espresso and we mix that fresh into the rub so it plays off of their ingredients. Same thing when we do pancakes or French toast we use their espresso in the maple syrup. Straight Herman’s espresso mixed with maple syrup and you can’t lose
We also work with a Philadelphia small family owned bakery called Wildflower Bakery, and people really love our egg sandwiches and they’ll compliment us on our egg sandwiches all the time. And I like to pass the credit right off to Wildflower Bakery because we crack an egg and melt some cheese but the bun is what makes that sandwich.
The Local 14:10
Once again, this is Local Live. This has been Keith and Sarah from the Clean Plate Food Club. Thank you very much for taking some time with us.
Thanks so much.