...but I couldn't figure out how to make it truly "public", so here we are. Everybody who knows me also knows I dine at food trucks every day, at least one and sometimes 3-4... Some are better than others, and I keep getting asked about them so I thought I might make notes for anyone who is interested in knowing which trucks are best and what to get where. While there are a number of trackers, there doesn't seem to be much in the way of a consolidated list of what to (maybe) expect, although you could poke around Yelp for very unconsolidated details. In order of my opinion of awesomeness -- the more "honks" the better, although otherwise alphabetical. Note, this is a constant work in progress, and trucks often move from one honkytown to another.
Closed / Inactive
For the most accurate truck map, follow @FoodTruckFiesta on Twitter to find the trucks, or check out the website at FoodTruckFiesta.com. See some pictures at the bottom of this post of various offerings.
- BBQ Bus (@bbqbusdc on Twitter) -- At long last, they have started coming out more than just Friday-Sunday. YAY! Tried the BBQ Sampler Platter, which had a scoop each of chicken, pork, and beef BBQ. Chicken & pork both had the #5 sauce, while there was a little #2 on the beef. All the meats & all the sauces were quite delish, including an additional BBQ sauce (Memphis-style) I got on the side so I could try it; it was nice they serve BBQ with only a little sauce, and then you can add one or more of several sauces from squeezebottles to your own desired heat & "wetness". I wanted to try the ribs, but they seem to have stopped serving the "side" which was only 3, as opposed to a full or half rack. The Sampler came with beans & slaw, although I swapped out the beans for corn on the cob. The slaw was nice; vinegar-based, so not to wet or heavy, with pickled onions & jalapenos. With my second visit I tried the 3 bean chili. Served with Frito's on top, it had a nice kick and will be awesome on a cool day. You almost forget there's no meat, it was so good! UPDATE (31Aug): You know that show "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" on Food Network? All the stars make a production of eating some of their favorite foods....? That was totally me as I dove in to the ribs I was finally able to get now I know to just ask for whatever I want and Che will hook it up. Although there was a bit more fat left on the ribs than I normally cook for myself, they were incredibly tender with the plentiful meat falling off the bone. Plus, not only are they gently dressed with award winning Number 5 sauce, whatever concoction of seasonings being used for the dry rub should be considered for an award or two as well. Now one of my favorite trucks!! Nom Nom Nom. More. And More. Thanks Tadd!
|3 bean chili from BBQ Bus|
|Ribs from BBQ Bus|
|BBQ Sampler from BBQ Bus|
- DC Kabob And Grill (@DC_Kabob_Grill on Twitter, formerly @RizwanJahengir) -- The newest kabob and halal truck of an ever-expanding list, and also now my favorite. He has a tasty+spicy green sauce which I haven't seen at any of the other halal trucks, and a lovely channa masala. I had been loving the chicken, but finally tried the gyro and both equally knock it out of the park on flavor and quality of the meat. They tweet only occasionally, but are getting better at it.
|Chicken over Rice with Channa Masala & Salad from DC Kabob & Grill (Red, White, & Green Sauces)|
- District of Pi (@PiTruckDC on Twitter) -- Being a NJ girl, I don't much care for deep dish pizza, but the cornmeal crust on this is insanely good. One pizza is quite large ($12, but fair for what you get, I think) and can last me 3 meals. Bring a friend, or have a toaster oven handy. The brick & mortar opens soon in Penn Quarter which will also have thin crust pizza on the menu.
|Pepperoni from Pi|
- District Taco (@districttaco on Twitter) -- Actually a cart and an early entrant to the mobile eateries which I was able to enjoy when my office was in Arlington. He has since opened a brick & mortar up Rt-29 in Arlington. Breakfast tacos along with a variety of savory tacos; the cart only has 1 or 2 savory tacos to choose from a day. Also sells generous portions of awesome fresh chips & salsa for $4 if you ask. More.
- Dorothy Moon's Gourmet Burgers (@DorothyMoon1 on Twitter) -- Nearly two months ago I mused, for a town that LOVES its burgers, we didn't have a truck serving up any. Alas, that is no more because we now have exactly that: an amazing burger truck! Cooked to order, reasonably priced, and good service, particularly for a group who's only been serving for 4 days. They'll put whatever they've got on the truck on your 1/4# (pre-cook weight) burger, and the selection is pretty decent, although they will only cook it medium-well; I asked for mid-rare. All was fine though ... the burger was perfectly juicy despite being only slightly pink. I may have said this before and even meant it, but I had to have broken a new record with exactly how quickly I inhaled my double burger it was so good. Provided the all-around quality stays high, Dorothy Moon will quickly have a large and loyal following, however at some point the menu will probably need to expand past simply a single and a double. More.
|Double Burger with cheddar, pickles, and other stuff from Dorothy Moon's Gourmet Burgers|
- Far East Taco Grill (@FarEastTG on Twitter) -- When I first saw the menu for Far East a few weeks ago, my immediate reaction was "wow, that's exactly what TaKorean serves," but I also was plainly aware of the (now) hoards of halal/kabob trucks roaming DC's streets which all seem to survive, so maybe not such a big deal. It took a very long time to get served, and when I got my order it was wrong. But after I finally dug in, I was quite content: marinated & grilled chicken and beef, with a choice of 4 slaw options, options for chopped onions, cilantro, sesame seeds, and a lime crema, plus a choice of 4 additional sauces. THAT is what gets 'em to 4 honks! Besides the proteins being juicy and bold, the sauces rock, even including the lime crema! I particularly enjoyed the pineapple sauce although I wish there was also a spicy pineapple sauce to choose from, or at least if I could have sriracha AND pineapple rather than one or the other. (I'll ask next time.) Even the kimchi slaw option is better here than TaKorean in my opinion. 3 tacos for $8 is a buck cheaper, but was the starting price when the blue guy started out too, so I wouldn't be surprised if that changed. Really nice job guys. Giving you the benefit of doubt that it was one of your first couple of days and service will improve, so 4 honks! UPDATE (18Nov): It's been a little while. There is now a pork option and the pineapple sauce is gone having been replaced by some sort of sesame sauce. Total bummer, because that pineapple sauce was da bomb. (I didn't try the new sauce.) If you have an opportunity to hit this truck when there's no line, fork over an extra $2 and ask for your tacos "dirty style" -- don't ask, just do. I promise you'll love it, but for real, they won't do it for you if there's a line. More.
|Chicken, Steak, & Spicy Pork Tacos (top to bottom) "Dirty Style" from Far East Taco Grill|
|A chicken & two beef tacos, with three different sauces from Far East Taco Grill|
- Fojol Bros of Benethopia (@fojolbros on Twitter) -- Totally unexpected debut at 4 honks after finally trying Fojol's famous Beef Berbere, but if I measure how much I am craving another serving many hours after trying it, it must be a winner! Cubed beef with a nice heat in a rich sauce served with injera. After waiting so long to try it, I'll be back for an Ethiopian "BB" the very next time they come around because I will be thinking about it for that long. I have no doubt. Only complaint would be the injera was actually cold... chilled even. Room temp or slightly warm would have been better because with the first couple of bites, it made the beef even "feel" cool when I ate it.
|Beef Berbere (dingo bite) with Injera from Fojol of Benethiopia|
- Fojol Bros of Merlindia (@fojolbros on Twitter) -- Buttered chicken. Simply amazing. 'Nuf said at 4 honks. UPDATE (13Sept): They are getting a profile on Cooking Network's Eat Street with James Cunningham. Well deserved! Filming Thursday, September 15 near State Department at 20th & Virginia Avenue, NW.
|Double Butter (aka "BB") from Fojol Bros of Merilindia|
- Hula Girl Truck (@hulagirltruck on Twitter) -- Second in line for the premiere at Farragut Square and I was not disappointed. I did have a couple of issues, but the flavor of the sandwich truly made up for any detractions. I ordered the teriyaki skirt steak sandwich. The steak was VERY generous (2 small steaks on one serving) and perfectly flavorful, without being salty as teriyaki can be. Toppings were equally generous and well seasoned, especially the carrot+daikon slaw. So, what were my issues? The bread is advertised as "crunchy ciabatta". It was not crunchy by any stretch of the imagination and there actually was too much crumb. (AKA the bread-y part.) The second issue was about the steak itself; while it was PERFECTLY cooked to a medium rare, skirt steaks and other similar cuts with that type of marbling are important to eat against the grain so as not to be chewy. Unless the steaks are aligned properly, you are very likely to get excess chew, which I did initially experience. I'm not sure if a quick slice against the grain is an option for when the sandwiches are served, but I note to be aware to "align" your steak(s) prior to diggin' in. (A friend also noted on a chicken sandwich the chicken didn't sit on the bread appropriately either, so some bites had all chicken & nothing else, while some were all vegetables without chicken.) Can't wait to try something else! This truck is an easy favorite. 4 honks! UPDATE (9Sept): Mikala almost seemed to be boycotting Farragut Square for weeks but finally returned for a rainy Farragut Friday. I got the steak lunch plate. The meat was sliced (so no chewy-ness problem,) dressed with a bit of teriyaki, and served with two scoops of rice, mac salad, and a sample of the picked carrot & daikon slaw. Again, I was very satisfied with my meal, but this truck still has issues. (See blog post from 9Sept.) The slaw is awesome ... the whole reason I ordered the sandwich on my first visit. I would have loved to have had more to enjoy with my beef for a little texture & flavor. With this visit I also tried the "pepper water", or at least that's what I think it was called; it is the thin looking orange sauce in an unlabeled bottle on the counter. Whatever it is actually called, if you like hot stuff, GET IT and gently douse your food with it. More.
|Haupia from Hula Girl|
|Skirt Steak Sandwich from Hula Girl|
|Steak Plate Lunch from Hula Girl|
- Red Hook Lobster Pound (@LobstertruckDC on Twitter) -- Get the Connecticut. It is incredible. Forget everything else, except maybe the Maine Root sodas which are nice. More.
|Connecticut Roll from Red Hook Lobster Truck|
- Sinplicity Ice Cream (@Sinplicity1 on Twitter) -- Sinplicity has finally crossed the Potomac river and started serving in DC, and boy are we lucky to have them. Despite it being a hot day, I was challenged to make a decision between one of the many ice cream or sorbet flavors. In the end, I got mojito sorbet, sampled the salted caramel ice cream, and nibbled on my friend's dark belgian chocolate ice cream. Every one was heavenly. A pleasant almond "scented" biscotti was served with each cup which added a nice crunch to the satin-y smooth chilled treats. Can't wait to try more flavors! Don't forget to ask for a "Frequent Sinner" card (buy 10 get one free) from the charming lady taking the orders.
|Mojito sorbet from Sinplicity|
- That Cheesecake Truck! (@cheesecaketruc on Twitter) -- Choose from 6 flavors a day. For $4 you get a whole mini cheesecake, and 10% goes to charity. The people are super nice and the cheesecake is delightful.
|A selection of cheesecakes from That Cheesecake Truck|
- AZN Eats (@azneats on Twitter) -- If you've ever read this blog before, you know meat which is too fatty irks me. So what do I do? I go an order the Kalbi from AZN Eats containing short ribs, a pretty fatty cut. Based on tweets and such from other folks, it seemed like the most popular thing to get. It was quite palatable and not at all as fatty as I expected, although I did pull much (of what was there) off. The kalbi was served on a generous bed rice which had almost a creamy-ness to it, and I know that sounds wrong or that it could have been overcooked, but it was pleasant. I did not care at all for the vegetables and didn't quite understand the side of regular sliced pickles offered on the side. Lastly I was disappointed they didn't have gochujang...only sriracha. UPDATE (16Dec): A few weeks ago AZN Eats announced they were going to start serving cheesesteaks using the beef options on their menu and I thought, "Now there's an idea!" How can you go wrong with long marinated beef making out with some cheese wrapped in a sub roll? And AZN Eats didn't. Exactly what you'd expect, with Kalbi being served for $8 and bulgogi for $7, with provolone and cabbage, although I asked for no cabbage. I doused it with the "AZN Spicy Sauce" then thoroughly enjoyed the fusion offering. Other than the fact there was too much roll (see the pic,) the sandwich is enough to elevate AZN from 3 to 3.5 honks. More.
|Kalbi from AZN Eats|
|Kalbi Cheesesteak from AZN Eats|
- Basil Thyme (@BasilThymeDC on Twitter) -- A new truck and the guy is trying really hard. He takes it really personally when people post and say they waited too long; I think he should read what folks say about other trucks, because all of them get that same feedback sometimes. I've been there twice. It is a great value ($10 for a main dish, a drink, and a couple of mini cannoli's) and is very fresh. Meat lasagna was substantially better than the baked ziti. UPDATE (10Aug): The food is still good after three visits, but I am starting to get the feeling the owner is building a vendetta against the other trucks; he is still hung up on the balance of time, and not just because of the early reviews complaining about the time, but now he's turned it in to a "eat at my place because I serve in less than a minute and the others can't do that" mission in a MAJOR way. He's quite vocal about it, and is starting to put me off on visiting his truck. If it weren't so much for the "the others don't do that" attitude, I'd be less bothered, but he did actually say that to me. It also isn't entirely accurate; some trucks are faster than others. Brian, be nice to your other trucks...
|Lasagna from Basil Thyme|
- Cajunators (@cajunators on Twitter) -- Truckeroo early customer for Cajunators opening day, and things look promising. With a revamp of the original truck Dangerously Delicious Pies used to use, they are easy to spot with a uniquely attractive truck decked out with artistic graffiti. I had jambalaya and my friend had a po-boy. With a dash of hot sauce, my jambalaya was very good, and while the andouille was "the real stuff" (as pointedly noted by the chef,) there were only a couple of pieces in what (I thought) was a small portion if I'm paying $8. The meat on my friend's po-boy was appealing, but the bread it was served on needs some major work.
|Pork Po-boy from Cajunators|
|Jambalaya from Cajunators|
- Chupacabra Taqueria (@chupacabraDC on Twitter) -- A kick-ass logo to go with a (mostly) kick-ass new truck! Serving a variety of both classic and not-so-classic tacos, I ordered 3 with an order of posole soup on the side for a nice warm up on a rainy day. First up, the traditional "Al Pastor" with pork & grilled pineapple. The tortilla made this next to impossible to eat for it fell apart with the first bite, but the flavor was authentic ... just like I got from a street vendor last time I was in Mexico. Next, the pot roast taco, and while this one was also quite difficult to eat, it almost wasn't worth the effort. I LOVE pot roast, but I think it may just not work in a taco -- it was too soft, too wet, and needed more flavor. Then the heaven's parted as I dug in to my final selection, dubbed the chupagobbler. It was a whole, perfect Thanksgiving meal in a couple of bites, which surprisingly didn't fall apart like the others. Roasted turkey, cumin gravy, garden sage stuffing, and a cranberry pineapple compote. OMG! Had I gotten only these tacos, we'd be at 4 honks, however I feel I've got to average my total experience out. The soup had rice instead of hominy due to a delivery problem, explained upon ordering. Although it wasn't particularly (temperature) hot, the flavor was nice, and the avocado added a perfect creaminess. When the hominy is added, I imagine I'll be dining on the posole frequently as the winter goes on. Everything was served with cilantro and finely chopped onions along with shaved radish, which is a nice change from the more conventional shredded cabbage. They also offer a salsa bar with a variety of fresh selections to doctor up your order. More and more.
|Pot Roast, Al Pastor, Chupagobbler Tacos (right to left) from Chupacabra Taqueria|
|Posole Soup (with rice, not hominy) from Chupacabra Taqueria|
- DC Empanadas (@DCEmpanadas on Twitter) -- Some of the menu items don't excite me, but when I actually stop for a bite, I'm usually very happy. Occasionally the filling can be a bit dry, depending on the selection. $3.50 each or 3 for $9. If they are serving Divine Swine, get it for sure! It has Number 5 sauce from BBQ Bus for the pork.
|"Divine Swine" Empanada from DC Empanadas|
- DC Slices (@dcslices on Twitter) -- Pizza, and it's good. Slices are pretty well sized too. $4 for a slice, or $5 with a drink, independent of what toppings are on your slice. So, I think $4 is expensive if you're getting cheese, but well priced for just about anything else. Having said that, I'd rather spend $4 on a slice of cheese from here than Sbarro's any day! Fresh basil is offered for all slices, and I was asked if I wanted blue cheese or ranch for my buffalo chicken slice, which is a nice touch. I also understand you can get a whole pie for $20 -- a total steal! They've also started serving tater tots (regular & sweet potato tots) with various toppings. UPDATE (7Oct): Graduating to 3.5 honks after finally being able to get an order of sweet potato tots, which could be one of the greatest inventions ever!
|Sweet Potato Tater Tots from DC Slices|
|Buffalo Chicken Pizza from DC Slices|
- Goode's Mobile Kitchen (@mobilekitchen on Twitter) -- FINALLY caught up with these super nice guys serving up "Caribbean Soul Food". They were offering free samples of jerk chicken to anyone walking by which changed my mind on what to order. I normally don't care for jerk, but this was sweet and mildly spicy with a quite pleasant sauce to go on top. It could actually stand to have had more heat IMHO, but the owner did comment he didn't make it too spicy to satisfy the general public. (OK, I could probably add a little extra hot sauce to it if I want. No biggie.) The jerk chicken cheesesteak cooked to order and served with whatever accompaniments you'd like (peppers, onions, lettuce, tomato, etc) took a bit longer than expected, but for $8 I received a huge mess of a sub sandwich exactly how I wanted it with amazing flavor. And when I say "mess of a sub" it really was ... very difficult to eat because the soft bread just crumbled apart with the heavy chunks of chicken topped by the melted cheese and sauce just making everything wet. But it tasted so good. Can't wait to go back and try something else like chicken curry, turkey burger, or a crab cake, however he's visiting Farragut only every other Thursday. Boo! More, more, and more.
|Jerk chicken cheese steak from Goode's Mobile Kitchen|
|Chicken Curry & Jerk Chicken platter with rice & salad (w/ extra hot sauce)|
- Halal Gyro Plus (@Halalgyroplus on Twitter) / Halal Grill (@wherehalal on Twitter) -- This used to be my "go-to" halal truck family and is still really good, but the new truck DC Kabob & Grill (noted above) would get my business if they were both in front of me. One of these two is almost always nearby which makes them very convenient and an easy selection if I'm not feeling any of the other choices on a given day. UPDATE (1Aug): I haven't hit HGP for a while, but did today and they have a new extra spicy red sauce. Doesn't quite compare to DC K&G green sauce, but is a interesting addition. It is thicker than the regular red sauce and reminds me of an asian style chili-garlic sauce. For extra spicy, I'm now just asking for extra of the regular red sauce and by-passing the heavier one.
- Kimchi BBQ Taco (@KimchiBBQ on Twitter) -- First meal on their first day and pretty decent... It took forever, although they weren't really ready yet to take orders (at 11:53!) and ordering was challenged by the horrendously loud noises the various power generating devices created. (A regular portable generator sitting outside, the running truck, plus something else involved with their propane tank under the truck I think.) BUT, the food worked. For $8, I got a bulgogi box (Kogi) which came with a scoop of white rice, a salad, and a choice of two dumplings. The meat was flavorful and well trimmed. Meanwhile, the pre-packaged pork dumpling was substantially better than the kimchi one though both were in desperate need of some sort of sauce. Then, like AZNeats, they only had sriracha. No gochujang, which continues to be a bummer when Korean trucks don't have any on board. However, a notable highlight was the salad dressing. It's a traditional Asian-style miso dressing done quite well. There are plenty of other interesting options available on the menu, so I'll be back to check them out soon; hopefully whatever I order will come with a salad so I can get some more of that delicious dressing. UPDATE (1Dec): Only a few days out, but still in desperate need of organization and another set of hands. A K-Town hot dog took 20 minutes at 11:40am with only one other order placed ahead of mine. Call it a Korean chili dog or something... this was pretty good. Bulgogi and a choice of kimchi topped a Nathan's Famous hot dog in a toasted sub roll. I got some gochujang to spice it up, (BIG YAY for getting some out there!) but forgot to top it by the time I got back to the office and inhaled the dog. Next time I'll choose a different kimchi because the "sweet-n-spicy radish kimchi," which looked like a spiced up version of (one of my faves) pickled carrot & daikon, doesn't really come together like it should. Sticking at 3.5 honks, but will start heading down if service (time) doesn't improve. More.
|NY K-Town Hot Dog from Kimchi BBQ Taco|
|Bulgogi Kogi from Kimchi BBQ Taco|
- PORC (@porcmobile on Twitter) -- After a long wait, I finally visited PORC for a couple of sides to my Hula Girl steak sandwich during Thanksgiving week. When I head to a lunch spot on any given day, it is not unusual for me to grab food from several trucks so I can bring some chow home for snaking. If it is a new-to-me truck, I'll usually sample everything while it's hot/fresh, and then pack up the rest for later. So on this day, I ordered some mac & cheese along with some spicy 3-bean chili with hatch chile-chicken sausage from Simply Sausage. The first thing I noticed was neither selection was particularly (temperature) hot, both being lukewarm at best in the time it took to walk from Farragut Square to my office a block and a half away; note this has not been a problem in the course of my daily visit(s) to the trucks. The mac & cheese was enjoyable ... obviously freshly made without too much cheese to weigh it down, although in my opinion the cracked black pepper was substantially in excess. Next up, the chili, and they weren't joking when they bill it as "spicy". Served with sour cream and shredded cheese, it really needed to be warmer. But EUREKA! I got the ticket! I brought it home and had the container over two sittings over the Thanksgiving break. Scrape the huge dollop of sour cream and cheese off the top, scoop out some chili, heat it up, and re-top with sour+cheese. YUMMY! Nice (spicy) heat. Kick ass sausage. Satisfying beans. Perfect for a chilly day. (Pun intended.) ;-) Totally worth 3.5 honks. One last comment on this chili to the guy serving it up on the truck: provided the chili is actually temperature-hot, top with the cheese first, rather than the sour cream, so it's ooey-gooey melty. Thank you.
|Spicy three-bean chicken sausage chili from PORC|
|Mac & cheese from PORC|
- Scoops2u (@Scoops2u on Twitter) -- Not fully operational yet, but occasionally pops out of hiding for free samples. Homemade cookies with homemade ice cream, squeezed together in a sandwich for you on the spot. Choose from three flavors of each. Delicious!
- Sauca (@wheresauca on Twitter) -- One of the oldest (family of) trucks in DC and I've tried most of the flatbread sandwiches. Two are worth going any time for -- the Pork Banh Mi and the Mexicali Fish Taco. I really wish Farhad would take my idea/request seriously and offer the sandwiches over lettuce on the trucks; there is already an option to serve over rice, and I'd like the third because sometimes I'm just not wanting quite so many carbs.
- Sidewalk Sweets (@sidewalksweets on Twitter) -- My favorite cupcake truck so far. They also serve equally good mini pies. The dude on the truck is a sweetheart too. Sadly they seem to be spending most (if not all) of their time in Maryland these days though. Sweetbites is my DC alternate if Sidewalk is out of the District and you are in need of mobile cupcakes.
- SOL Mexican Grill (@solmexicangrill on Twitter) -- To be fair, the first time I ordered something that wasn't exactly on the menu, a taco salad. They do serve burrito bowls, so I asked for a "bowl" with the lettuce on the bottom (instead of rice or beans) and lots of it. It was fine, but nothing special. Several months later I made a trip back and ordered tacos, one of each meat variety: carnitas, beef, and chicken. I was surprised when I was asked if I wanted corn or flour tortillas, and I opted for flour. As they were putting together the tacos, the carnitas looked pale and generally unappealing, but boy was I wrong -- that was my favorite by leaps and bounds. Rice, corn, crema, cheese, and salsa also topped my tacos and they were quite enjoyable. Plenty of food for a good price. Eat them while they're hot. Moved from 3 to 3.5 honks with second visit.
|Trio of mixed tacos from Sol|
- Stix (@eatstix on Twitter) -- I've been a few times now now. The first time was their second day out and there were MANY issues, although the food was tasty. The second time was much improved, although the prices seemed to have gone up. It is nice to "mix n' match" for a good amount and variety of food. Make sure to get something that is served with the aioli; it's terrific and not too heavy. Moved from 3 honks to 3.5 with second visit, and after my third visit, they are moving closer to 4 honks. I like the fact the menu really does change all the time, so there is always something new to try.
|Grilled Shrimp & Potatoes with Aioli from Stix|
- Sweetbites mobile café (@sweetbitestruck on Twitter) -- A nice selection of cupcakes (12 flavors or so any given day) and other treats, plus coffee, hot cocoa, and more. Cakes are moist and frostings are sweetened well. Moved from 3 to 3.5 honks and are getting more of my business with Sidewalk Sweets living it up in Maryland.
|Selection of cupcakes from Sweetbites|
- TaKorean (@takorean on Twitter) -- The first time was great, the second time not so much and I hadn't been back. After many months, I finally had a chance to try again, and TaKorean moved from 3 to 3.5 honks so I am just going with the idea the second time was just an off day. The tacos were over flowing with an exceptionally generous portion per taco of the protein selection(s). In addition, the item that propelled the rating higher was the much improved seasoning/marinating of the protein -- very flavorful. From my recollection of my last visit, the slaw has also substantially improved.
|Two steak & one chicken Korean tacos with spicy kimchi slaw from TaKorean|
- Beach Fries (@gotbeachfries on Twitter) -- A truck based in Fredericksburg, Virginia serving boardwalk food, including crabcake sandwiches, fries, bologna burgers, deep-fried corn on the cob, funnel cakes, corn dogs, and more. I was finally able to try them at an event at Celebrate Virginia Live, but it seems they often try to hit other events, more than just lunch on a given street corner. Things were well priced (a far cry from DC prices) and well seasoned. The very generous (with little filler) housemade crabcake sandwich was $9.75 on a soft cornmeal dusted bun, and the fries were $3. The bun could stand to be toasted for some crunch, but I do wonder if they weren't toasting that night simply due to the time it takes balanced against the crowds waiting to be fed....? (Although the lobster truck seems to manage.) To doctor your food, there was a wide variety of seasonings and dip: cajun seasoning, old bay, seasoned salt, onion salt, mayo, ranch, BBQ sauce, homemade remoulade, ketchup, etc. I will make it a point to visit again, but if you find yourself south of the beltway, look for them in Fredericksburg & Stafford County.
|Crabcake sandwich & boardwalk fries from Beach Fries|
- Blue Nine (Not yet on Twitter) -- Another discovery by stumbling upon a foreign truck during a Farragut lunch run, serving lamb kabobs, biryani, and a gyro-looking "handheld" of some sort. I ordered the lamb which had nice flavor, but was quite dry and didn't look anything like the picture on the side of the truck showing large pieces of grilled lamb; my order of more gyro-sized bits of lamb was spooned from a tray with a lid and definitely didn't seem grilled. The rice I quite enjoyed though...well seasoned and not dry at all. $7. It's his second day; I'll go back when he's had a chance to work out some kinks.
|Lamb Kabob from Blue Nine|
- CapitolGreenz (@capitolgreenz on Twitter) -- I'm trying to decide between 2.5 & 3 honks, but will give it 3 because the food was good and I think we need a truck serving panini's. But, can I have some meat please? I ordered a roast beef & cheddar panini with grilled onions & horseradish. The flavor was great, especially the grilled onions which were not too overpowering. However the sandwich only had a slice and a half of roast beef total. I also put a knife through it so it would be easier to eat, and was a little surprised that the sandwich came whole. Salads & sandwiches are $7 each, plus they had a couple of soups, including today a black bean (hot) and gazpacho (cold).
|Roast Beef & Cheddar from Capitol Greenz|
- House of Falafel (@HouseofFalafel on Twitter) -- This new truck had been skulking around Farragut about a week ago "trying out menu items" according to the owner. Burgers are off the menu, but steak & cheese stayed, with the addition of many middle eastern favorites including falafel (which he didn't have), chicken or beef shawarmas, and lamb gyros. I had the steak & cheese, and it was really enjoyable! Real steak (not "steak 'um" style) made to order and seasoned well, served with American cheese. If I had gotten lettuce & tomato, the 7" sub roll may have been more filled, but I was able to cut the sandwich in half and it was perfect to eat all the "stuffing" on only 1/2 the bread. Given the high quality of the meat, I was not disappointed with the size of the sandwich. Next time (hopefully soon) I'll be trying a shawarma. UPDATE (4Aug): Several of my co-workers arrived at Farragut just as I was leaving today and I suggested trying House of Falafel because one was a vegetarian and I had enjoyed my sandwich earlier in the week. The one who actually tried the truck said he ordered the combo platter, but when he got it, not only was it missing the falafel (apparently 1/2 the reason he ordered it, to avoid the carbs of a full sandwich) but the meat was all very fatty. The rest did not wait because it took too long for him to get ready and the service on the line apparently was quite slow. Since I make it a point to say the critiques here are my opinion, I'm only dropping down 1/2 a honk; he did arrive late and even as I was leaving 15 minutes after his arrival, he was not open and not so for at least 10 minutes later... People's ability to wait at lunch can often be a challenge, especially when the standard lunch "start time" for trucks is 11:30. This weak experience seems to have been confirmed by FoodTruckFiesta's visit a week or so later. More.
|Steak & Cheese from House of Falafel|
- Kraving Kabob (@kravingkabob on Twitter) -- I get that I probably didn't order the right thing for a truck whose specialty is middle eastern food like kabobs, falafel, gyro, souvlaki, etc. by getting a steak & cheese, and next time I'll try something different, but it's what I was in the mood for today. (They also serve fish & chips. The owner said they get fresh fish from the Maine Avenue market and marinate it 24 hours. Nice! However, it was tilapia again, and you know how I feel about that. Personally, I'd happily pay more for better fish.) First of all, I like they are early, like WAY early, because I'm starving by 10 o'clock usually. Food is cooked to order, and the steak used in my sub looked fresh, not like frozen "Steak'Um" when it was tossed on the griddle. All good. There was nobody around when I placed my order of "steak & cheese with easy onions only, plus fries" they started cooking right away. I went on to make a point of "no lettuce, tomato, or anything else, please" and then proceeded across the square to get some food from a couple other trucks while I waited the 5 minutes I was told the food would take. Upon return there was still nobody there and I was simply handed a bag of food as I headed back to my office to eat. Perfectly convenient; no problem. Then I open my order and it's got loads of lettuce, tomatoes, a mayo-based sauce, and a dash of green sauce. Grrr! There wasn't anyone there, so one would think they could focus on getting the only order at the time correct. OK. I'm fully aware I'm dwelling on this story excessively, so I apologize, but I was pretty annoyed. From what I could taste of the green herb-based sauce, I would totally order it on purpose again, and maybe even get extra to dip my fries in... fries which need a hole poked in the top of the container after they're cooked so they don't steam and get soggy. Anyway, three honks for the food overall.
|Steak & Cheese with Fries from Kraving Kabob|
- Lasagna Plus (No Twitter yet) -- Just read the blog post here, because I'm not sure what to say otherwise right now.
|Meatball Lasagna from Lasagna Plus|
- Pleasant Pops (@pleasantpops on Twitter) -- Sometimes the flavors they come up with are just weird. I've had three of the more "normal" selections, and they were good. (Pina Colada, Strawberries & Cream, and Chocolate Strawberry) I really like they use only ingredients which are local and fresh, and want to try one with "sweet corn" but I may have missed my window for this year.
- The Rolling Ficelle (@TheFicelle on Twitter) -- Long, thin sandwiches served/prepared "French-style". Fairly priced at $7 each. I had the roast beef which was nice. It was weird though: I asked first if they put together the sandwiches on the spot or if they were pre-"stacked". They said fresh, so I then asked for no red onions, and they looked at me like I was green while stating "there aren't any." For a sandwich posted as "thinly shaved, medium-rare roast beef with aged provolone cheese, red onion, and crushed cherry red pepper relish, draped with a light horseradish aioli", it didn't have red onion or the relish, but DID have lettuce. So just note you might not get what you're expecting, but will probably be close (if my experience is any indication.) UPDATE (16Sept): Stopped by to pick-up an afternoon/evening snack in a Pollock. They are billing this pulled pork & swiss cheese sandwich as a monthly special at the moment, although I expect it to stick around longer than that. In addition to the pork, it sports an onion-jalapeno relish plus a lemon-garlic aioli, and is topped with cilantro. I requested provolone instead of the swiss and found the package was quite enjoyable but thought it could use more of a crunch. Then it came to me ... Take this exact sandwich and add some pickled veggies of some sort and make it a play on a banh mi! With Phonomenon and Rebel Heroes both out of business, the only close to banh mi's from a truck around here are the turkey banh mi from El Floridano and the sandwich option from Hula Girl. Keep or lose the cheese for I'm not sure it matters as a "play on". Call it the "đồ chua ficelle", Vietnamese for 'pickle'. I'd be first in line to try that!
|The Pollock from The Rolling Ficelle|
- Rolls on Rolls (@RollsOnRolls on Twitter) -- Serving "Kathi Rolls", purportedly the street food from from Delhi and Calcutta, they are flatbread sandwiches rolled up. (Think Sauca or a gyro in the thickness of the bread, and a giant, not-fried taquito in "configuration".) Kathi rolls are offered with chicken, vegetables, paneer, or channa and come with cabbage, carrots, and chutneys. You have options for mild, medium, or spicy, the heat by which is created by the selection of chutney's offered. For example, I ordered my chicken masala roll spicy, which meant it came with all three chutneys: tamarind, cilantro-mint, and spicy; so if I were guessing, I'd think ordering a roll mild would arrive with only the cilantro-mint. In any event, the flavors were all quite lovely, although overall I found the package to be pretty dry. Like a lot of Indian food, chicken masala is usually cooked in a sauce, so I'd love it if there were more of that sauce to compensate. If not, more chutney would go a long way.
|Chicken Masala Kathi Roll from Rolls on Rolls|
- Sang On Wheels (@SangOnWheels on Twitter) -- It is so hard to find Sang, and even though at one point she said she was going to have a regular schedule, that idea had gone out the window by the following week. ...And she only rarely tweets. The first time I was able to catch her, I enjoyed my lamb meatballs over rice noodles, although the meatballs were slightly on the dry side, the noodles more than made up for the flavor. The second time I had chicken meatballs and the reverse issue, but still tasty.
|Lamb Meatballs from Sang on Wheels|
- Suburban Bros (@SubBros1 on Twitter) -- Yet another transplant from Montgomery County to the District, and like all the other MOCO truck operators I've met after opting to move locales, the guys running the truck were a super-nice bunch. The problem is, they are serving Potbelly on wheels, and frankly I think that works better in Montgomery County where most places don't have a Potbelly (or 3 as in my case) within a 2 block walk. Don't get me wrong, my sandwich was fine, but even adjusting for sales tax which I'd be charged at Potbelly, I got one of the least expensive menu items, and it was still $1 more and a 4 blocks further away. (It's a good thing it was a nice day....) Except for maybe the novelty of a truck, they'll do better in areas where Potbelly isn't quite so prevalent, which isn't the immediate downtown office areas because there are as many Potbelly storefronts as Starbucks.
|The "Fug-gut About It" (Italian) from Suburban Bros|
- Surfside (@surfsidetruckdc on Twitter) -- Two entree menu options were chicken tacos or tilapia fish tacos, plus there was chicken tortilla soup. Both taco plates, served with guac, lime crema, and pico de gallo, were $9 with a side of rice and beans. I opted for the chicken where I received two tacos with a disproportionately large filling of delicious chicken, making them very difficult to eat; one more taco with the same amount of total filling(s) spread among three instead of two would have made more sense. Not being one to particularly mind getting my hands dirty, the mess was fine and Surfside was headed to 3.5 honks, that was until I tried the rice and beans. TOTALLY inedible. There is something to be said for a little al dente or having a little bite, but both the rice and the beans were horribly undercooked. Personally, I could have used some hot sauce for flavor as well, although honestly I can't remember if there was any available on the serving counter. If not, it would be welcomed. More.
|Chicken Tacos from Surfside|
- Sweetflow Mobile (@sweetflowmobile on Twitter) -- This is a brick & mortar who also started a truck. I've only had the yogurt, but I really enjoy it. A little tart, and plenty of options to top it. I wish the truck came out more.
- Tasty Kabob (@tastykabob on Twitter) -- I prefer the chicken from some of the other halal/gyro/kabob trucks, but the lamb is best from this one. The meatballs are fine, moist although not much flavor without being well sauced, and the chick peas need help. It's nice they use romaine in the salad rather than the iceberg most of the other halal/kabob trucks seem to use. Asking for "extra spicy" doesn't seem to result in a meal with a whole lot of heat. The white sauce is more "dill-y" than others. (Not a complaint, just an observation.) Prices seem to have gone up by $1 as popularity for this (family of 3 trucks in DC and a few carts in VA) has increased.
|Meatball Special (Only on Wednesdays) from Tasty Kabob|
- CapMac (@capmacdc on Twitter) -- I've only eaten here once and I had the chicken meatball parmigiana. It was heavy and without a whole lot of flavor. I know lots of people who have had their regular mac & cheese and they haven't loved it either.
- Carnivore BBQ (@carnbbq on Twitter) -- You'll definitely get a lot of food for your dollar at Carnivore BBQ, but will you enjoy it? For me, not so much. I found the pork both dry and excessively fatty, as hard as that is to do. When I was asked about what sauce(s) I wanted, there were plenty to choose from, so I just asked for it to be spicy which ended up meaning 3 sauces topped the meat. Maybe a mistake was made since the bottles weren't marked but one of them was cloyingly sweet with some strange tang. The slaw was ok, although it didn't have a particularly "bright" color you'd like to hope for in a fresh slaw. I'm sorry, but I won't be rushing back.
|Pork BBQ Sandwich from Carnivore BBQ|
- Curbside Cupcakes (@curbsidecupcake on Twitter) -- Friends swear by this truck, and I'm not sure if it is because they are the oldest and biggest (3 trucks) for mobile cupcake trucks, but I think their frostings are just way too sweet.
- Dangerously Delicious Pies (@dcpietruck & @ThePieTruckDC on Twitter) -- Previously this would have been in the 3-3.5 honk range because I was loving the BBQ Pork pie, but the last time I got it, they had changed the recipe and it really wasn't good. Recently I tried the chocolate peanut butter pie and found it to be dry even though it looked like a moist brownie. (Not sure how that's possible, but it is.) They also have a brick & mortar shop in NE.
|Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie from Dangerously Delicious Pie Truck|
- El Floridano (@flmeetsdc on Twitter) -- The food is usually pretty good here, but one time I had ALL fat on my Fidel; there was no actual roasted pork meat on it. It was nasty. I have since gone back for the Pan Con Lechon and the shrimp ceviche which were both good and decent values, particularly the shrimp. ($5 for a HUGE portion when I was expecting more of a "tasting size"; when do you get a meal amount of seafood-anything for $5 except maybe McDonalds? While you do get a large portion, it was a little gritty and the shrimp could stand to be cleaned of the "vein".) However, the dude irritates me here; he's almost always running late by large measures, and also it grosses me out that you can often see him within 10' or so from the truck having a smoke, even sometimes when there is a line. I understand smoking is a foregone conclusion in the food service industry, but I don't want to see it 3 minutes before my sandwich gets made.
|Shrimp Ceviche from El Floridano|
- Kabob Bites (@KabobBites on Twitter) -- A newer truck trying to find its way. I ordered the chicken kabob and got a couple pieces of chicken on the bone, which wasn't what I expected. The flavor was ok, although his channa masala was amazing. There is a special nearly every day which I will look forward to trying soon. I think this truck will move up a honk when he's gotten the hang of it a bit, but he hardly ever comes west of 14th Street it seems. UPDATE (16Nov): Revisited Kabob Bites just before leaving on vacation two weeks ago and had an order of their version of buttered chicken. The seasoning was aggressive and the channa wasn't as good as I remembered. Unfortunately it is very difficult to compete with the buttered chicken from Fojol. Sticking with 2.5 honks.
|Buttered Chicken from Kabob Bites|
- Orange Cow (@orangecowdc on Twitter) -- While the folks on board were super nice, the homemade ice cream just doesn't compare by any stretch to, what I think of as more "artisan," Sinplicity. I do really like the fact they have hand-packed half pints ready to go for $5 -- that's TOTALLY the way to go.
|Mint Chocolate Chip 1/2 Pint from Orange Cow|
- Tops American Food Company (@topstrucks on Twitter) -- I want to like this truck so much. The proprietors are sweet as sugar and don't want to discourage them with a 2.5 honk rating. However as I noted in my blog post, I think they will find competition here quite different so I'm hoping constructive feedback will help. Therefore to note before anything else, my chili-cheese dog was good. It was a Nathan's Famous dog topped with a moderately spicy, award-winning homemade chili, and shredded yellow cheese on a standard sub roll for $4. Ok, I get that a large sub roll like that can "hold" more chili, but the dog was swimming in way too much bread, which didn't excite in the first place. My suggestion would be to find some nice local baker for a less generic bread option, and that dog could rock the house. My other issue is the relatively uninteresting menu, not totally dissimilar than what one can get from one of those nasty carts which have been around for a hundred years and a day. The "So Good" sounds exactly that, so good, but it's something you've got to be in the mood for. Make the terrific chili the star of the menu. How about adding some nachos? (Get your tortilla chips from District Taco!) Or chili mac? Maybe even try a chili dog pizza -- you definitely can't get that off a truck around here! I will definitely look forward to this truck maturing because I think that chili gives it some distinct possibilities to grow-up quickly.
|Chili-Cheese Dog from Tops American Food Company|
- Yellow Vendor (@yellowvendor & @1styellowvendor on Twitter) -- A while ago this would have been in the 3-3.5 honk range also, but the last two times I've been here I've been disappointed. Food has become dry and the meat way too fatty. One time I also got sick from turned gochujang, the Korean hot pepper paste they serve on the side. UPDATE (17Aug): A friend visited today and it looks much improved. I was already enjoying my TaKorean, but I will be revisiting Yellow Vendor soon! UPDATE (20Sept): Finally made it back to try a spicy combo. The meat was not quite as fatty as my last couple of visits, but everything else is basically the same (without getting sick). For the slight improvement, moved from 2 to 2.5 honks.
|Spicy Combo from Yellow Vendor|
- DC Shawarma (@dcshawarma) -- Normally I'm willing to give any truck a second try, but unless something substantially changes, I won't even take that chance on one of the newer trucks roaming the streets of DC. DC Shawarma serves exactly what you'd think, chicken or beef+lamb shawarma's and falafels, all either over rice as a platter or in a pita. I ordered the chicken sandwich; I can't even say "I had the chicken sandwich" because after 2 bites, it was in the trash. It was terribly dry to the point it was chalky tasting. The not-totally-burned pieces were equally dehydrated, and the rest of the accompaniments ("salad", tahini, garlic sauce) didn't help either. 1/2 honk awarded for the garlic sauce and 1/2 for putting themselves out there at all, for that alone takes some guts. More.
|Chicken Shawarma from DC Shawarma|
Closed / Inactive
- Austin Grill (was @AGTruckDC on Twitter) -- It is fine, but not much different or original about this truck. You know how when you go to the airport and they have miniature versions of larger chain food vendors serving so you can take something on the plane with you? (Chili's To Go, Friday's To Go, etc...?) That's what this feels like and what the menu looks like.
- BBQ Bandidos (@BBQBandidos on Twitter) -- Virginia-based truck which was able to come to Curbside Cookoff in DC last fall. My sandwich was only ok -- flavor was decent, but it was a small amount of filling on a huge roll, needing more BBQ sauce, and pretty pricey. UPDATE (6Sept): CLOSED
- Fry Captain (@FryCaptain on Twitter) -- I suspect the fries might be pretty good, but another situation I can't bring myself to pony up the cash for on principle. ($5 for a small cup of fries.) They are duck-fat fries, so I know that's more expensive and probably pretty tasty, but it really is a small container. I have had the milkshakes from here though and they're good. Service is curt, at best. UPDATE (13Sept): Moved to Inactive. They only served a few days earlier this past summer, so I'm guessing they're done. Will return to 2.5 honks if they come back.
- Phonomenon (@DCPhonomenon on Twitter) -- Another new truck serving pho & Banh Mi sandwiches. It was their first day and I had the pho. The broth was awesome, however the meat was pre-cooked and very, very tough. (Uneatable.) All the fixings for pho were available and you just had to tell them what you want. The sandwiches looked pretty scrumptious though. I'll have to go back to try one. UPDATE (10Aug): CLOSED
- Sabor'a Street (@Saborastreet on Twitter) -- I think this truck is a dash on the expensive side, but I am never disappointed with the food, which is original and always high quality. Plus, Jorge is such a sweetheart. The menu changes all the time, so you can usually find something different to try. UPDATE : A brick & mortar is coming! A brick & mortar is coming. Stay tuned for more...
|Fritas (Burger) from Sabor'a Street|
|Soft Shell Crab Tacos from Sabor'a Street|
Selected trucks I haven't eaten at yet... New ones appear all the time so it is hard to keep this list up-to-date.
- Best Mexican Burritos and Tortas (@bestburritos1 on Twitter) -- Reincarnation of the La Gloria Mexicana truck which was owned by the Sauca guy, but sold so he could open his brick & mortar shop in Virginia. Menu looks good, but I think they are way over priced. (I miss La Gloria Mexicana!)
- Big Cheese (@bigcheesetruck on Twitter) -- Can't bring myself to spend $6.50 on a grilled cheese from a truck. I hear the ingredients are quite gourmet, but still....
- MojoTruck (@Mojotruck on Twitter) -- Not sure I can jump on-board with the fried egg on a full lunchtime sandwich. Some people I know like it, but service is slow, and I've understand the orders often are served inaccurately in some way. Nice looking truck though!
- Royal Chicken & Gyro (@asgharboa on Twitter) -- I haven't been able to find this truck, and without tweeting, that is a problem. I'll probably just have to stumble upon it.
- Sixth & Rye (@SixthandRye on Twitter) -- From Top Chef fame, Spike Mendelsohn's first entree to the truck scene, with "Jewish Deli" offerings. Currently operates (almost) only on Fridays.
VA -- note I work in DC, so Virginia is less convenient
- Bada Bing (@badabingdc on Twitter) -- Arlington-based truck serving cheesesteaks & spiedies which I am anxious to try, but VA isn't a convenient location. Good news is they are re-tooling and will be cruisin' DC soon!
- Curbside Crabcakes (@CurbSideCrab on Twitter) -- They don't tweet, and I told the owner he really should. I've heard through the grapevine his crabcakes aren't very good though; too much mayo. UPDATE (13Sept): Moved to Inactive. The only recent tweets are looking to sell a truck, so I'm guessing he's closed up shop. UPDATE (19Sept): A tweet over the weekend makes it sound like he's moving service to Virginia.
MD -- even less convenient since I live in Virginia, at least
- Go Fish! (@gofishtruckdc on Twitter) -- A new truck that hasn't been nearby yet, although I'm not sure if this will be a DC truck or not. Maybe just Maryland?