It’s a sure sign that summer weather has hit the Rio Grande Valley when you have to time your outdoor dining, in accordance with the anticipated sunset, just to prevent a potential heatstroke. Okay, somewhat dramatic, but you know it’s not TOO far fetched in this lovely area we call home. Well, being the dedicated researchers that we are, we took on the scorching heat and ventured out to the Cavazos Sports Institute.
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. So glad we adhered to this age old nugget of wisdom. Had we not made a second attempt to visit this particular food truck, we would not have ended up at the tropical likes of Pineapple Ninjaz.
Trisha: Just arrived. In the parking lot next to the truck. Where you at?
Gaby: Same here. I’m parked on the shaded side, facing 29th Street.
Trisha: Good thinking. Moving over to that area.
Obviously, we were taking necessary precautions, with the unforgiving sun blazing down on the concrete and all. As we exited our vehicles and turned the corner of the building, we could see the eye-catching, brightly colored, yellow food truck facing Buddy Owens, with a couple of round, high top tables set up in front of it.
Gaby: Do you think we could get him to move one of those tables over into the shaded area for us? (lol)
Trisha: Yeah, that would be nice, but highly unlikely. I think we’d be setting off the whole scheme of things.
Once we reached the food truck, we were instantly greeted by the friendly owner/operator, Mr. Jerry Leal, a proud native of the RGV. After Leal provided us with a couple of menus, he eagerly answered questions about his three-month old business and did so with genuine pride and enthusiasm. His passion for the unique work that he does was clearly conveyed.
In talking with Leal, we learned that his original idea for this concept began almost exactly one year ago in May of 2017 and, after completion of the custom built food truck, has now been in operation since January 2018. In just a matter of months, they have gained tremendous, positive exposure and will be taking their mobile truck to make stops in a few major Texas cities outside of the RGV area.
As much as we enjoyed talking with Leal, it was time to get to the business at hand, FOOD! It was now way past dinner time for us and with only minor hesitation, due to so many appealing menu options, we ultimately decided to start with a Slize Bowl filled with fresh sliced pineapple, garnished with Mexican “chilito” and accompanied by a slice of lime. Then, just when we were eyeing the beef bistek and chicken pastor tacos on the menu, we heard one of the Ninjaz shout out, “we’re out of tacos!”. *Internal screaming, “NOOOOO!”*
In hopes that there was some kind of error made, we double checked with Leal on the taco situation and were informed that, sadly, they had in fact run out of taco meat (both chicken and beef). We jokingly suggested they run down to the corner meat market to replenish their stock, but were told that although they had debated on that idea themselves, the Ninjaz were loyal to one local meat distributor for quality and consistency purposes.
Okay, can’t really disagree with their logic. So, on to the other options for seafood and/or chicken breast in
a gutted, coreless fresh pineapple. Yeah, we definitely did not just try one. In fact, we shared three (“no judging” rule still applies).
We dove into our Kickin Chicken Bowl (pan-seared Orange Chicken and seasoned veggies on a bed of Jasmine rice, garnished with fresh fruit) and the seafood Guhmp Bowl (premium grilled shrimp and pan-seared veggies on a bed of Jasmine rice, garnished with tropical fruit). Veggies, chicken and shrimp were seasoned just right with the Ninjaz’ blend of spices used to create their very own Cajun seasoning. NO salt is used to season the food. Don’t get too excited, though, you won’t find their unique seasoning in stores…well, maybe not just yet (wink).
No, we didn’t forget about the top of the Ninjaz’ food menu pyramid, the Tail Bowl prepared with premium seasoned, grilled lobster! When visiting the Ninjaz, this glorious shellfish delight is a must. Unlike us, you don’t have to share if you don’t want to.
Pineapple Ninjaz’ home base can normally be found on South Padre Island at 200 W. Pike St., in front of Tequila Sunset. To keep yourself up to date on their daily hours of operation, and to find out when they might be visiting your city, make sure to follow them on Facebook @pineappleninjaz. Also, for more information and details on delivery, call/text (956) 662-8782.
Gaby Jones and Trisha Watts work hand-in-hand with the service industry. Jones is in charge of craft and imported beer for L&F Distributors and Watts is the communications director for Visit McAllen. Each week they will have a new adventure and provide an opinion on various locations throughout the Rio Grande Valley.