15 of America’s Must-Try Food Trucks
The food truck phenom exploded at a time when America’s finances were on shaky ground, but makers, cooks and creatives borrowed on an old idea, transforming culinary kitchens into the new incubators of the food revolution. Food truckers offer fast, delicious eats with an experience — and it’s an idea that keeps on truckin’. Venture across America to try unique food truck eats, meet the creators, hear their stories and indulge in 15 of America’s best dishes on wheels.
1. Mariscos Jalisco: Our journey begins in LA, where the food truck phenom got its start back in the ’30s (think roadside stands and drive-ins). Raul Ortega from San Juan de los Lagos, Mexico brought his taco skills to the city of dreams 11 years ago with his famed seafood truck, Mariscos Jalisco. People make their pilgrimage to Ortega’s taco truck from all over. What makes Ortega’s tacos worth the trip? He believes it’s not only the tortilla and fillings that make a taco, but also a superb salsa. Make the trek to sample the signature: Taco Dorado de Camarones, a shell of fried tortilla stuffed with shrimp, drowning in spicy salsa and crowned with a few slices of avocado. Or, try some plump oysters on the half shell topped with whole shrimp and lime. (via Facebook)
2. Off the Grill: Calling all ‘cue lovers! Off the Grill is literally off the hook! What’s even more off the hook? To celebrate his 18th birthday, the truck’s owner Adrian Padilla began selling brisket, pulled pork and barbecue tacos off of his new set of wheels. This young, innovative culinarian is sparking the dream of making it out on your own and is getting some well-deserved recognition — his truck was named the best BBQ food truck of 2014. Padilla is cooking up street food ‘cue like a pro. Try the brisket, we hear it’s to die for! (via Facebook)
3. Kargi Gogo: Prolific for cyclists and hipsters, Portland, OR is home to lots of trendy food trucks — err, food pods as they call ’em in the hipster city. Street food aficionados can find over 500 food carts dotted throughout the city. For a taste of something truly unique, hit up this Georgian (as in, the country nestled between Russia and Turkey) food truck, run by a pair of US Peace Corps volunteers who spent plenty of time in the kitchens of Georgian homes. After a memorable bite of khachapuri, a buttered and sliced gooey cheesy bread, Sean and McKinze knew they had to introduce Georgian food and culture to Americans. When they returned stateside, Kargi Gogo got its start. Now, the best kept foodie secrets of Georgia are being shared and cherished over good food and great conversation. (via Kargi Gogo)
4. Dim Ssam a Gogo: From brick and mortar to a kitchen on wheels, Dim Ssam a Gogo is one of the best places to grab some grub in the south (of Florida, that is). Say goodbye to bad Chinese food because Richard Hales brings Asian funk fusion to the mouths of Miami. It all began on a backpacking journey through Asia, where Hales worked for free to learn how to create these delicious eats. On his return to Miami, he opened up shop with Sakaya Kitchen, dishing out Asian fusion and even curing meats and pickling veg in-house! Dubbed as “The Ninja of Flavortown,” Hales later took his concept to the road with his Dim Ssam a Gogo food truck. You absolutely can’t miss out on the Duck Cracklin’ Sandwich. (via Sakaya Kitchen)
5. Little Lucy’s: Hit up this awesome hot pink truck for simple, delicious mini donuts. It all started when a little boy visited San Fran’s Pier 39 and got hold of a bag of mini-donuts from a tiny shop. As an adult, that same small boy made a visit back to that same tiny shop with a friend, who was equally enamored with the mini-donuts, and the two became business partners. Together, they brought those tiny bites to Austin, Texas in an neon pink truck with their mascot, Lucy. If you’re in the area, don’t skip out on a pink bag filled with warm, cinnamon and sugar sprinkled donuts. You won’t be sorry! (via Facebook)
6. Captain Cookie and The Milkman: If you want a delicious, fresh baked chocolate chip cookie, hit up DC’s famed mobile bakery and dairy bar, Captain Cookie. On top of cookies, they also dish out local creamery milk and ice cream cookie sandwiches! The owner of the truck, Captain Cookie made his first cookie at age four and has twenty-plus years dedicated to perfecting, the ultimate chocolate chip cookie. All of his experimenting has led him to a menu of must-try cookies featured on the truck. We’re talking flavors like Mayan Cayenne, Nutella and Snickerdoodle with a secret ingredient. And don’t forget a glass of refreshing milk for dunking, ’cause really, what’s better than fresh milk and warm cookies?! (via Serious Eats)
7. King of Pops: Okay folks, pops are popping up on the streets of Hotlanta! Thanks to King of Pops, Atlanta foodies can cool off with Latin America’s favorite icy treat, paletas. While lying on the beach in South America, three brothers came to love the Latin American ice pop and turned their fruit-filled, paleta-eating dreams into a reality. After a job layoff, trading a cubicle for a kitchen and plenty of all-night pop sessions, King of Pops hit the streets. Oh, and if you can’t get your butt to Atlanta, the brothers have rounded up some friends who are peddling paletas in cities all over America! (via King of Pops)
8. Wafels and Dinges: If you find yourself waffling around the streets of NYC, you gotta search for these bright yellow carts. In ’07, Thomas DeGeest quit his job at IBM and bought a bright yellow, ’68 Chevy box truck. Spreading his love of Belgium’s Liege and Brussels waffels paired with dinges (sauces/sides) like the famed spekuloos or maple syrup, Nutella or strawberries, Wafels and Dinges were a huge hit! What began as one waffle truck is now a slew of yellow trucks and carts that are slinging waffels and sauces throughout the city. And to expand their waffle empire, Wafels and Dinges took the dive into a brick and mortar shop in the East Village of Manhattan. (via Time Warner Center)
9. Monsieur Madame: This truck is not up and running as of yet, but it’s already making headlines. Jeremie Banet, a former fund manager, is giving up inflation protected bonds for croquet monsieurs. Now known as the man who quit Wall Street to run a food truck, Banet wasn’t on a quest to quit his job when this idea came to him. About a year ago, in the land of loncheras and food trucks (Los Angeles) Banet questioned why there were so many types of street food but not a French one. This French man decided to do something to change that. With his wife, Banet began working on the quintessential French grilled ham and cheese sandwich: The croquet monsieur. When it’s up and running, Banet hopes to park one of the three food trucks smack in front of his old gig. (via Facebook)
10. Stockyard: Detroit is becoming well known as a DIY city and what better way to DIY than with food? From pop up supper clubs to a mobile dining cart, Stockyard is getting creative in the food industry. Stockyard is known for hosting semi-secretive supper club dinners where guests won’t know where they’re dining until tickets are purchased, nor what they will be eating until they’re seated — it’s a surprise every time. This sort of guerrilla marketing has created a successful buzz about Stockyard, setting them up for a successful launch of their mobile cart, which has popped up on Detroit’s city streets. (via Facebook)
11. Roxy’s Grilled Cheese: Calling all lovers of cheese! If you’re ready to take your grilled cheese to the next level, you’ve got to eat at Roxy’s. Mixing up all sorts of grilled cheese creations, burgers and even poutine, these guys are satisfying cheese lovers’ wildest dreams! For all of you blossoming food truckers out there, Roxy’s co-founder, James DiSabatino, advises that creativity and innovation are important, but quality is key. In fact, Roxy’s quality has kicked their food truck in to overdrive as they’ve recently opened a brick and mortar Roxy’s Grilled Cheese in Allston, Mass. (via Zac Wolf Photography)
12. Taceaux Loceaux: Dishing out taco fusion under a French moniker, this truck is paving the way for food truck cuisine in the city of Nola. Playing around with Nola-Mex, Korean, Creole and Southern flavors, Alex and Maribeth del Castillo are sharing the love with crazy, delicious tacos. Maribeth, who was formerly under the employment of Emeril Lagasse, created the menu for the truck and it definitely is worth mentioning that the globetrotting foodie, Anthony Bourdain paid Taceaux Loceaux a visit on his show the Layover. So there’s that. Food truck culture may not be mainstream in New Orleans, but this taco truck sure is making a name for itself. Get to Cajun country to try the craziest taco you’ve ever wrapped your mouth around, guaranteed. (via Foodographer)
13. Kogi BBQ: Known as the iconoclastic rebel in LA’s food truck culture, Kogi BBQ kicked things off on a Thanksgiving Day almost six years ago. Slinging Korean BBQ style tacos from their culinary kitchen on four wheels, Kogi proved to the foodies of the city of angels that you can eat good food on a budget. Within a few short years, Kogi became this legendary, classic that helped put street food on a map. Their short rib taco is a must-try: Short ribs bundled up into two crisply homemade corn tortillas with double-caramelized Korean barbecue sauce, salsa roja, cilantro-onion-lime relish and a Napa Romaine slaw tossed in a chili-soy vinaigrette. They’re unique calamari taco is also a favorite. (via Facebook)
14. The Fat Shallot: Kicking comfort classics up a notch is this Windy City couples’ forte. Sam Barron and Sarah Weitz (high school sweethearts) have traversed the globe, falling in love with one another and food at the same time. Before getting behind the wheel of The Fat Shallot, these two have gathered some serious, culinary expertise — we’re talking Michelin Star to rural farms. Barron and Weitz are definitely well-educated on the food front! Can’t decide between the Chicken Banh Mi, Griddles Salami or Truffle Fries? Just ask ’em to choose for you. (via The Fat Shallot)
15. The Cinnamon Snail: It may be true that snails are slow, but this snail is a completely different species. The Cinnamon Snail dishes out an eclectic menu that changes with the seasons and on a whim — ’cause really, who likes cooking the same thing over and over and over again?! Don’t let this snail deceive you, though. Yes, fresh baked goods are baked each day at 3am buuuut this snail dishes out delicacies like Blue Corn Pancakes, Breakfast Burritos, Raw Chocolate Pudding, a Lemongrass 5-spice Seitan Sammy and some fiery Seitan Burgers to boot! On the sweeter side of things, each day an array of absurdly awesome pastries are baked fresh. Don’t be slow, pick up the pace to catch up with some seriously good eats. (via Facebook)
Get truckin’ and share your adventures in food truck culture with us in the comments below!
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