Innovative Cuisine Food Trucks and their Affordable Specialties
Food trucks have offered a way for highly trained and gifted chefs to operate a restaurant without the enormous overhead of brick and mortar dining establishments. It is a lot less costly to invest in a specially fitted out truck that meets the food inspector’s standards, plus gas, food and a place to park. An up and coming chef can wow the public with signature dishes that go for a lot less money than when prime real estate, white tablecloths, exquisite service and expensive decor must be paid for.
In the past 5 years, gourmet food trucks have been taking over in cities that offer a welcoming attitude. With help from websites, Twitter accounts, and even smart phone messages, everyone from tourists to workers can track the movements of their favorite trucks and plan their dining adventures.
There is no shortage of articles that list the “best” food trucks in the nation. The cities of Miami, San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Portland, Austin and Seattle are rich with highly recognized food trucks. But Michigan, Colorado, Wisconsin, Arizona and other states have their gems, too. The selections in this article were chosen to highlight as many places in the U.S. as possible, and are not in any order of audience favor or critic’s recognition.
The road to finding the best food trucks for 2011 and 2012 begins with FoodTruckTalk which has a list of top food trucks in the U.S.
Santa Rosa, CA: Street-Eatz offers a pulled pork sandwich with Jamaican jerk sauce, plus a wide variety of other dishes to satisfy a wide range of appetites. A Japanese fried tofu dish, a Mexican flauta and a Mediterranean plate are examples of the diversity that can be found at this truck.
San Francisco, CA: 3-Sum Eats is the work of Ryan Scott, who was a contestant on Bravo’s “Top Chef” competition. With offerings like Gnocchi Tater Tots with Dirty Ranch Dressing and pulled pork with poblano aioli, apple cole slaw on Cheddar jalapeno bread. This truck should have no trouble satisfying food cravings.
Atlanta, GA: Yumbii is Yummy! Carries a blend of Asian and Mexican flavors and has a Korean Hot Dog as one of the newer offerings.
Miami, FL: Ms. Cheezious has taken the grilled cheese sandwich to new levels with choices of Cheddar, Swiss, Gruyere, Blue, Brie, Havarti or Provolone. The fillings include crab, bacon, ham, turkey, tomato or even apples! The “Sweet Meltdown” is ricotta cheese, orange marmalade, Texas Toast and a chocolate dipping sauce.
Smithsonian Travel has done some scholarly research, concluding that the following are some of the best trucks in the U.S.
Miami, FL: Gastropod is at the top of the list. The offerings are balanced between a monster burger made of short rib, brisket and sirloin topped with a poached egg and Asian/Mexican fusion dishes like shitaki flan and bahn mi pork tacos.
Portland, OR: Lardo is famous and chef Rick Gencarelli has a thing for pork fatback, calling it “bacon without the meat”. He balances that with hand cut French fries and a grilled sandwich of sloppy mortadella with pickled peppers and gooey provolone.
New York, NY: Schnitzel & Things is the place to go for a crispy fried, super thin pork classic. With a choice of veal, pork, chicken, cod or eggplant, no one should be left hungry. Side dishes include some classic fries and salads.
Cambridge, MA: Vegetarians will thrive at Clover Food Lab which offers a soy B.L.T, whoopie pies, seasonal vegetable preparations and a sweet potato sandwich.
Washington, D.C.: The Fojol Brothers have created an entire set of mythical countries and have invented the street show and cuisines to match! With dishes that incorporate curries, butter chicken and beef berbere. There are lentil and other dishes that remind diners of exotic cuisines.
Phoenix, AZ: Torched goodness specializes in turning creme brulee into something fantastic. With over 30 offerings like basic vanilla, peanut butter and jelly, lavender, and maple bacon, it should not be hard to find a creamy, rich and satisfying delight.
Boulder, CO: Comida is simply good Mexican food that is served from a big pink truck. This is a rare situation where the Comida Cantina serves as a sit down version of the food truck.
Milwaukee, WI: Streetza offers street pizza whole or by the slice. This food truck boasts being named the number one food truck in the U.S. by Bloomberg Businessweek. There are even more accolades from Time Magazine, Food Network and more.
Lansing, MI: The Purple Carrot has a great Michigan “farm to truck” tradition and a Tapas dinner cycle in the Summer.
In summary, the best bet is to try to find one of the above food trucks or to explore the local area for some great surprises and new favorites from the food truck revolution.