Tuesday, August 30, 2011

food (food) | food trucks

Ever since my friends and family in LA were ranting and raving about these great food trucks, I've been in awe of the concept in general.  I mean if you ask me, New York has always been known as the city of food trucks - I mean sure you can consider the hot dog and pretzel cart a version of it, but what about the guys pushing falafel and shawarma - they've been there way before the food trucks became the rage.  Also, what about the sandwich and hot food trucks that pull up to construction sites - those roach coaches were jumping from one site to another serving food to those folks.  So why now have they become so popular?

I must say that I watch The Great Food Truck Race like it's my J-O-B and truly believe that if I had been handed down some great recipes that I could have my own food truck.  However, I enjoy eating much more than cooking and pinning down one of the popular food trucks in Chicago has been quite a challenge.  Yes, they've come around my office, but by the time I realize they're there most of the food is gone (womp womp)!  So when I heard that some of Chicago's most popular food trucks (combined with local celebrity chefs including Stephanie Izard from Top Chef) were congregating in one area for Time Out Chicago's Food Truck Social, you bet I dragged Matt to check it out.

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I fasted the entire morning knowing that I would want to try a little bit of everything and also planned to get there right when they opened the gates because I know how crazy long those lines can get.  Thankfully I sometimes have the smarts because we got there right at Noon and as we started ordering food, the lines started forming behind us.

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We started with the highly talked about Wagyu Wagon.  They had everything from tacos to mac n' cheese with cheetos to kobe beef burgers and as you can assume, everything had some form of the Japanese meat in it (except the mac n' cheese).  Matt went with sloppy joes and I went with a sample taco.  Although it was good - it definitely wasn't my favorite.  I know how good Japanese meat can taste and the strips in the taco were too big that it was a little too chewy.  The flavors were delicious, but I don't think I'll be trying hard to find the truck again in the city.

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Next, Matt I took a stroll scoping out the Tamale Spaceship, Haute Sausage and LilliQ's, but what I was dying to try was The Isla Cafe.  Based on all the reviews I had read not only was it delicious food, but it had the most bang for your buck.  The food options were limited with a number of sandwiches, but there were tons of sweets and coffee based drinks that looked divine.  I settled for a tuna sandwich that cost me $4, but could feed 2 people.  Grilled on a panini press the ahi tuna sandwich had a ton of spice and acidity with lime juice, jalepeno, oil and tons of black pepper.  The best thing to balance it out were crunchy onions and lettuce.  I personally don't like mayo, so finding a good tuna salad is hard, but theirs was truly amazing.

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Matt decided to settle for a lamb strip sandwich with olive tapenade and sauteed collard greens on a cibatta roll from Hummingbird which he loved. He's not as adventurous as I am when it comes to food so for him to try something new and like it was well worth the trip.

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Beyond the 2 items we got, I was too stuffed to proceed with a food crawl, but everything we tasted was good. My verdict on food trucks? I don't love them enough to be following their trail and making a trek to go find them in the city, but if it happens to be parked outside my front door - absolutely it would be my first choice when hungry.

|Are food trucks big in your city? If so, what have been your favorite trucks you've tried?|

11 comments:

Olivia said...

Great review, I'm from NY and I'm constantly bumping into food trucks all the time. The best one I've had is the business savy Halal truck who parks outside the nightclubs of midtown and racks up on hungry post-partiers. Maybe the food taste better under the influence...?

Rebecca said...

The Twin Cities recently passed some laws to allow food trucks, so we have been getting a lot more of them here. I haven't tried most of the trucks that are supposed to be good, since I work in the suburbs and the food trucks tend to mostly operate in the downtown areas.

Piper Alexander said...

Man, I'm bummed I missed this! Haute sausage is pretty good, I've had a sample. I really want to try Southern Mac & Cheese and the pie from Uptown Pie Company (they have a mac & cheese pie!).

Jen said...

I can't believe I missed this! Great way to try different things, but agree with you, so far I haven't had a food truck that was to die for :). Always make me hungry when I see food posts.

Alyssa said...

Everything looks yummy! I have always been sketch of food trucks but after trying The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck, and learning more about them, I def have a list of other trucks I want to try around NYC. I love the options and various cuisine they offer at such a great price!

Kristen said...

Y-U-M. Looks amazing! What a fun event!

Delane said...

I love the food trucks in Chicago. I was one of the first to get a nanwich when the Gaztro Wagon launched.

I really loved the Bridgeport pasties and the sloppy joe from Waygu Wagon. We also had Stephanie Izards 7 layer dip and chips.

sartoriography said...

Aaaaaaaaaaaaagh, food trucks! I want a snack from one right now! Here on the South Side we don't get a lot of delicious rolling meals, but I'm looking forward to some Ethel's on Thursday to make up for that. Or maybe I can swing by your office downtown and we can hit up one for lunch? :)

Jo said...

Ooh! I'm new to your blog and I love your blog layout a lot! The first thing I noticed was the font and I thought it looks like newspaper prints. Then after that I realised it's dictionary font! So unique and cute, the way you introduced your blog.

I wished we have food trucks here in Singapore. I often see them in the movies and photos.

I can't look at food photos now. I'm dying of famine. lol

Lisa - Archives Vintage said...

UGH. i am filled with incredible jealousy! i have yet to hit up any food trucks! can we please track down one of the cupcake trucks soon?!

The Thriftaholic (Leilani) said...

Sara & I stopped by the food truck social in the evening... sadly a bad idea as half the trucks were sold out of food and the lines were 50 people deep for most of the trucks!

I'm only a fan of a food truck if the food is reasonably priced and I can track them down fairly easily. Glad you liked Isla, did you see my post about them? http://thriftaholic.blogspot.com/2011/08/food-truck-picnic.html

Back in L.A. I used to eat at a taco truck that parked near USC... $1 DELICIOUS tacos and they also had $3 cheeseburger meals that included a drink and fries. SO tasty and cheap. Those were the days.