Like in LA, food trucks are a thing in the Phoenix area. And it makes much more sense here because everything is so damn spread out. Pasadena spoiled me. But I digress. The good news is that my office is all about bringing food trucks in every month (not for free, of course) to mix things up and to keep us from driving literal miles to the nearest food. This last time, it was Sweet Magnolia Smokehouse, serving up BBQ.
It has been an admittedly long time since I have eaten from a food truck, let alone one in LA. Yet, while the fad has ended, there are still plenty of food trucks to chow down with as the truck still offers a low-cost entry into food-slinging. One such truck goes by the name of CreativEats and breaks essentially all (two) rules I thought necessary for a food truck’s survival.
Every now and again a restaurant comes along and changes everything, It gives you something you never knew existed or something you knew existed, but just hadn’t found yet. The new taco truck at Carnegie Mellon creatively calling itself Camion Mexicana Universidad that just opened a couple of weeks ago is not one of those places. But for myself and a couple of guys from California, it was greeted with immediate excitement.
Over in Lewiston for a nice little night of music in the Artpark, I found my way to a food truck called Macarollin’. Interestingly enough, this truck wasn’t some old school taco truck, but more of a U-Haul truck, which I’m guessing had to go through some sort of crazing zoning board before getting to sell food. But I digress, Macarollin’ served only four things on their menu and they were all varieties of mac and cheese. This was a good thing, because I hate it when food trucks try to do to much.
Even Buffalo has succumbed to the nation-wide food truck craze, one of these going by the name of Lloyd Taco Truck. In fact, this truck seems to be so successful that it has spawned a fleet that even reaches sunny East Aurora. With high expectations, I once again set out far away from the land of Mexico to eat some Mexican food. What I found was a big green truck and a menu that sported some good-looking food if not authentic-looking.
Back in LA, you could hardly throw a stone without hitting a food truck. In Pittsburgh, though, things are a little different. Supposedly the laws are pretty prohibitive, but a couple have still made their way to the streets. One of which is the creatively named PGH Taco Truck and I got the opportunity to try it out when Carnegie Mellon offered its free tacos to grad students like me.
If you could have one final meal in LA that truly represents the city, what would you choose? Umami Burger? Korean BBQ? Some sort of Asian fusion? Anything with avocado in it? Seeing as I had eaten Umami the night before, for me it was a taco truck. You see, taco trucks just might represent LA better than any other food purveyor. Their mobility is all-important in a city that relies so much on cars. Their Mexican dishes feel perfectly at home in a place that was once Mexico and is chock-full of Mexican heritage. And their relatively low barrier to entry provides a great opportunity in a city that brings new opportunists in every day. For my last meal in LA, I chose Leo’s Taco Truck.
EDIT: Looks like real physical location downtown has displaced the truck, so you can still get in on this chicken.
From the casual diner to the most ardent foodie, everyone who enjoys eating out in LA has heard of Chef Ludo Lefebvre and his LudoBites pop-up restaurants that appear from time to time. Yet, while the LudoBites are impossible to get reservations for (and even when you get reservations, you don’t even pick the times), there is a Ludo Truck that roams around town dishing out Chef Ludo’s fried chicken with no reservations (thinly veiled Anthony Bourdain reference) necessary. During a time in which I was eating a lot of fried chicken, the truck came around my office.
On the way to basketball one night, I stumbled upon what appeared to be a food truck festival in a high school parking lot. I am nothing if not a man who takes advantage of such opportunities, so I pulled up and saw what they had to offer. A few of the trucks I had seen and eaten before, but some were new to me. One of these, freakishly painted as a Brisk iced tea ad, had just what I was looking for. Called The Greasy Wiener, this trucked dished out…well…hot dogs, with a side of sexual innuendo.
Da Burger Boss is part of the newer wave of food trucks and while they aren’t brand new, they’re still plenty new to me. Their schtick is naming burgers after mob terms like The Strongarm, The Collector and so on. It’s an interesting schtick that has produced some interesting-looking combinations, but the sole reason I found myself waiting for Da Boss was to partake in The Patrolman.
You see, The Patrolman is no ordinary burger. Sure, it’s filled with a half-pound patty, bacon and blue cheese dressing, but after that the burger goes in a frightening and exciting direction. First is the cran-apple reduction, which is not crazy on its own, but when you throw in the grilled glazed donut bun, things get goddamn nuts. Yes, I said a grilled glazed donut bun. I was unsure of how any degree of this would be pulled off and figure it was worth the 9 bucks to find out.