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.
Hot dogs: the edible version of man’s best friend. Genius in conception and pretty easy to do well. But to do a hot dog great takes some skill and some food trucks have taken this easily portable meal to the streets to some success. Up in North Hollywood, The Wien brought its truck over to my office one day and I thought I should give it a try and see if it could compete.
On a one-night bender, I found myself facing down three strange taco trucks on Main Street in Santa Monica. None looked familiar and none looked particularly amazing. But it was 2 am in Los Angeles, when food options are usually limited to subpar diners and…well…taco trucks. The trucks here seemed to be some sort of missing link between gourmet and roach coaches and so after much circling we wound up at TnB BBQ.
In the grand explosion of gourmet food trucks, tacos have found themselves mixed with all sorts of craziness, from Korean BBQ to fish and grapes to kung pao chicken. Yet, in all this food truck excitement, the bastard cousin/side dish of the taco has been left behind. Yeah, I’m talking ’bout Shaft…err…nachos. But along came The Nacho Truck to remedy this sad predicament. Before this truck arrived at my office, I knew nothing of it, so my expectations were pretty low. Yet, as someone who doesn’t keep nearly enough track of food happenings in LA anymore, it is certainly possible that The Nacho Truck had simply flown/driven under my radar.
By name and color, No Tomatoes! has the makings of an amazing food truck. The name implies an amazing lack of the vegetable known as the tomato (I don’t care if it’s anatomically a fruit, so is a cucumber and you don’t see anyone calling that a fruit) and the orange coloration that enshrouds the truck makes it look beautiful. Oh and if the name doesn’t give it away, it serves up Indian food. But hidden in this supposed gem of a truck is deception. For there is one dish at No Tomatoes! that actually contains tomatoes: Tikka Masala. So while they were serving up lies with Tikka Masala, I looked to other options.
When Great Balls on Tires first debuted last year, I was concerned that such a name for a meatball truck was a bit of a gimmick. Yet, now that GBOT has lasted through the middle of this year, I felt it was time I tried them out. When I walked up to the truck to see what they had to offer, I found there were only a few sets of balls to choose from. Yet, more than one of these balls looked attractive to me. Unfortunately, all balls came in sets of two, so I had to limit myself to only one ball type.
One day outside of my work, a new truck appeared. It was called Bera’s Custom Cheese Steaks and since the best cheese steak I’ve ever eaten came from a food truck, I thought Bera’s was definitely worth a try. They have a surprisingly robust menu for a cheese steak truck, ranging from Thai Chicken Steak to Stromboli Steak. But as good as some of these looked, I was thinking more about the “Custom” in their truck name.
On my way home from the bar one night, I was unsurprisingly jonesing for some grub. The trouble was that I was driving through the area of Pico and Robertson, which isn’t exactly known to be a late-night food hub. But just when I thought my snack options were going to be limited to whatever leftovers I could find in my fridge, I saw a shiny beacon of hope that seemed to be a food truck. When I pulled over to explore, I found that although not exactly a truck, I had stumbled upon some sort of mobile food purveyor. It was called Kosher Grill on Wheels and a schwarma sounded like heaven to me (and with any luck, eating Kosher would bring me one step closer to that heaven).
EDIT: While the truck is off the street, there is a Grill ‘Em All does have a brick and mortar spot in Alhambra these days.
It seems like just yesterday that I was totally caught up in the craze of Gourmet Food Trucks. Within a few months of the launch of Kogi, it seemed like there was a new truck to try every week, serving everything you could imagine. I did my best to try all that I could, but although I predicted the fad would die out quickly, my desire to try every one of them died out even quicker. Some trucks failed, but new trucks kept coming out. And sadly, in the time that I was burned out on trucks, some pretty cool ones began to emerge. These were no longer trucks with one little idea out to make a quick buck to capitalize on the success of Kogi. No, instead, these were carefully crafted culinary machines. One of these was the Grill ‘Em All burger truck.