November 4, 2004

Finger Lake'n Good

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If the Cayuga’s Waiters have ever done anything besides make all the Cornell girls, and me, beg for more manly a capella versions of Madonna songs, it was deliver a line in one of their hits that made me think. When I first heard the ballad “We Didn’t Go To Harvard,” in which those raucous, womanizing Waiters sing a grocery list of reasons to love Cornell, there’s a line that goes, “Louie’s Lunch kind of sucks, wait around for Hot Truck.” I was a freshman at the time and too naive to know any discrepancy between the two; I thought it was the same stuff, only in different locations. When I was a freshman, Hot Truck was only a name, a whisper in the freezing 200 mph winds on the Slope in April.

North is all about Louie’s. I’m really not sure why, but I’m gonna take a stab at it and say it could be the location. I mean, even Zeta Psi is formally known as the “Louie’s Lunch Fraternity.” When freshmen stumble back drunk from a crazy night of waiting in line to get into parties, it’s inevitable that they will pass it, and most likely want to puke up a Pizza Sub. I know I did. If freshmen have Louie’s lunch, they’re probably not going to follow the Waiter’s sound advice (Get it? That’s called a pun) and hike all the way down to Stewart Ave. Since both meals on wheels have many great foods to offer, I thought I would do a little undercover investiging to make my own judgments. I realized that I would need to blend in with the demographic. So I slapped on my Diesel jeans and Puma tracksuit and made my senior ass into a freshman like it was ’01, biatch.

First, I took shots in Donlon in some kid’s room until everyone realized they had no idea who I was. “Whatever,” I said in a huff, “I’m gonna be pulling some major ass tonight.” I then made my way to the lobby, where I found a small group of 40 kids who were about to head out together. “Hey guys, that Psych 101 prelim sucked, huh?” Everyone just looked at me, so I gave up talking and followed them out the door.

Three hours and some four gallons of jungle juice and beast later, I triumphantly returned to North with the traditional ugly drunk girl hanging on my arm. Ugly she was, but to my friends, “She was pretty cute. I couldn’t really tell.” Anyway, we stood at the back of the long line and waited, and finally ordered a Plain Pizza Sub ($2.75), one with pepperoni ($3.00), a single Tully Burger ($2.40) and Cajun fries ($1.60) … all for the lady. I ordered the Buffalo Chicken Wing Sub ($3.75) spicy and Mozzarella Sticks ($3.25). It wasn’t long before they called my name and I got my food. My date passed out on the hood of a car, so I did what any nice guy would do and took all of her food.

Since West has a lot of transfer students and no freshmen, I had to change my costume to blend in with them, so I quickly put on a SUNY Buffalo sweatshirt, SUNY Albany Sweatpants, and then draped myself in a SUNY Oneonta flag. To say the least, it was a sweet outfit. Still clutching my Louie’s, I waited in line for Hot Truck for about the same time as I did on North. I broke my do-not-speak clause when I asked some cute transfer girls, “don’t you think Cornell has hotter guys than our old schools?” Obviously, I was right.

My God does Hot Truck have a lot of crazy sounding sandwiches and cryptic terminology to describe additions to them. The only one I remembered was the famous PMP, or Poor Man’s Pizza, which is a lot like Louie’s Pizza Sub. Some of the sandwich names made sense: The Full Suicide ($6.25) is Mozzarella, mushrooms, sausage, pepperoni and sauce, which I guess is like killing yourself with deliciousness. The Flaming Turkey Bone ($4.75) has chicken, onions, hot peppers and hot sauce, but no turkey, so that kind of makes sense. The Krazy Korean ($5.25) is sausage, cheese, mushrooms and onions, but again, no Koreans. This was becoming confusing. So, I ordered a PMP ($3.25) and a Mr. Pink ($4.75), which is chicken, pink tomato sauce and onions. I wanted some additions, which meant that I had use Hot Truck language. So I told them to “put my Mr. Pink through the garden, and make it extra wet,” which is lettuce and more sauce.

Comparing the two establishments’ physical spaces is not easy: one is a truck, and the other is also a truck. Okay, that was kind of easy. As far as food, the only two similar items are the PMP and Pizza Sub. Both are served hot and gooey, with the right amounts of sauce and cheese that work together evenly. But the PMP is still king. My favorite part about it and Hot Truck’s other sandwiches is the crusty French bread they use, which is more texturally pleasing than Louie’s Italian subs. My favorite from Louie’s is the Buffalo Chicken Finger sandwich. It’s so good — it’s like Wings in a sandwich. Don’t puss out — get it hot. Aside from the PMP, I recommend the Mr. Pink at Hot Truck.

Neither is really better than the other (although Louie’s does sell yummy cigarettes) because they’re selections are different, which are both mostly good. So I propose that they unite, leave stupid North and West, and park in Collegetown for only $40,000 a year.

Archived article by Jon Rich
Sun Staff Writer