Tuesday, July 31, 2012

So many trucks...

...and so little time to sit down and write about them.  But it's been over two weeks and I'm heading out on vacation soon, so I thought I really need to find the time to really do a quick jot of all new things 'food truck'.  While there were a few re-visits, it was mostly first go's at some of the younger trucks.  In no particular order...

Grilled fish tacos topped with a black bean and corn salsa, lime crema, and guac.  Dry and somewhat overcooked fish well compensated by the creamy guac and bright salsa that made up for it.  I'd actually be exceptionally happy if I could order a 1/4 or 1/2 pound side of guacamole like at a deli to take home and eat with my District Taco chips & salsa. Still nicely placed at 3.5 honks.

Nice Dream
Follow a tweet suggesting "trust me" on a taste sensation of sweet corn ice cream topped with bacon brittle, I ran right out to the truck who happened to be nearby.  As my friends would tell you, bacon is one of my very favorite things, and will hardly ever say no to it.  The brittle was delicious, truly, but I'm not sure I loved it on the ice cream, which on its own was not too sweet, creamy, and yet had a slightly odd texture, I expect from the granules of corn that peppered the chilled cream.  Most of the flavors on the truck are a little away from the norm, but I'll go back and try something else, and whatever it is, I will definitely be getting the brittle to top it.  3 honks.

Ball or Nothing
A stumble across Ball or Nothing at Farragut brought immediate hopes for wild boar balls to be on the menu, but alas I totally understood boar can be difficult to get, so to the standard meatball with marinara it was.  3 obviously homemade meatballs served with 2 sides for $9.  Another ball or two would be nice and on their own they were a bit dry, but blended reasonably with the marinara and my side of luscious mascarpone polenta.  The idea of a wedge salad is welcome, in this case, the avocado based dressing worked nicely with the first couple of bites but got tired after that.  All-in-all the polenta saved the meal for me and I'm curious so I'll definitely be back to see the two charming guys running things.  3 honks.

I commented earlier I was frustrated PhoNation was cooking their beef for pho rather than keeping it thinly sliced and raw, allowing the heat of the broth to cook the meat.  Rachel and I tweeted back and forth a couple of times and she explained they serve "rare beef" (rather than raw.)  Even more than that, they actually serve rare beef, brisket, or chicken.  First go I went for the rare beef.  While not particularly thin slices, the meat was fine, but the broth -- OMG!!!  Even better than I remember from last year.  So good, in fact, the very next time Rachel brought her truck back, I decided to try the chicken pho.  It worked too!  Grilled and gently charred.  Plus all pho orders come with appropriate accoutrements of basil, bean sprouts, lime, jalapeno, and as much sauce as you'd like.  Surely for pho, the best from a truck in the city, although What the Pho? isn't far behind.  4 honks

The Serrano croquettes, despite taking a couple of minutes to receive, are delightful.  Crispy on the outside and pillow-soft on the inside.  5 come in the order, but it's hard not to just scoff them down.  Another winner from Pepe!

Hula Girl
A great sandwich as usual, but note there is/will be a sometimes secret condiment of a pineapple-ginger-habanero hot sauce.  If you like things with some bite, ask for it and gotta give it a try!

I'm not always in the mood for BBQ, yet somehow after my visits to both these trucks in the last week I'm thinking maybe I should push myself to be in the mood more often because both these trucks make me quite content.  Ribs with Number 5 and a side of fire roasted corn from the Bus, and a pulled pork "spectacular" sub from the Purveyors.  For those who don't know what ordering spectacular means, look at whatever the sauce for the resident mac & cheese menu item is and consider the sauce slathered on any of the sandwiches.  For a while it was a gorgonzola bacon sauce, but recently it appears to have changed to a rosemary cream variety.  Doesn't matter -- it adds a lush richness that compliments wonderfully.  Note to self: Visit both these trucks more often.

In my last post about Goodies I commented about the great van and the sweetheart of an owner, and those things both still hold true.  Even my Oreo Concrete was awesome as expected.  However, Goodies is the third truck (that I know of) which is charging customers for using credit cards.  I've ranted about this before, and the $.50 is even more a pronounced rip-off at Goodies.  Square charges 2.75% flat fee, and on a single order of $5 at Goodies, that amounts to less than $.14.  Doing some quick math, you'd have to charge 4 orders to get to the $.50 up-charge.  In this case as the last one at Kraving Kabob, the charge was executed without advising the customer first; at least Goode's Mobile Kitchen makes it a point to be very up front about the charge, but I find the charge itself off-putting and was particularly angry about it this time.  Goodie's is the second most expensive ice cream from a truck in the city (not counting tourist spots on the mall where some Good Humor-ish and pedi-cab type folks go) and frankly the portions on Sinplicity are bigger.  Penalizing for credit to the degree this works out is not good.

DC Greek Food
Not the prettiest of trucks, and first thought is obviously, "just what we need... another kabob/gyro truck" but don't pass this one up just on the saturation principle.  $8 for a combo platter made up of a juicy chicken kabob and a pile of excellent gyro meat, served over rice with a salad.  An awesome deal and certainly better food than a number of the other similar trucks out there.  I wrote a post a bit ago about the relation of halal to kabobs to gyro and so on, and now with 2 Greek trucks in the growing mix, I think the relational train of thought needs to be expanded.  Easy 3.5 honks.

Reba's Funnel Cakes
After what seemed like an extended hiatus from approaching Farragut Square, Reba's finally returned with an updated menu and some lower prices.  It takes forever, but it is fresh and the wait isn't dull given the 'lively' personality of the chef.  Besides funnel cakes and the addition of savory items like hot dogs and chicken tenders, you can also get parfaits and various other fried items like fruit fritters and a variety of fried-other-desserts (oreos, brownies, etc.)  We sampled pineapple fritters and the brownies -- both were deemed big winners, although some folks preferred more than another.  Well priced at $3 each, but you gotta eat 'em while they're hot for maximum enjoyment.  Rating unchanged.

What the Pho?
I guess the folks over at What the Pho? read this blog because every single comment/suggestion about the lettuce wraps was addressed by my second visit.  As noted earlier, I marginally prefer the homemade broth at PhoNation, yet love the idea of the wrap and this one delivers with superb lemongrass chicken as a base.  Thanks for being open to ideas, and I'll be back soon and often!

Grids Waffles
The folks at Grids announced early in the week they planned on attending Farragut Friday and further stated they'd be bringing their pizza waffle with them.  With an inopportune parking spot, they did make it and I made my inaugural visit to try the touted menu item.  Available with or without pepperoni, a fairly gummy waffle was stuffed with canned pizza sauce, mozzarella, and fresh basil.  Obviously the fresh basil was the best part.  Maybe the sweet options are better...?  2 honks.

Chef Driven 
Yet another new item arrives on the menu in the form of Indonesian baby back ribs with a sweet soy glaze.  Jerry can do no wrong.  If you haven't been, you're really missing out.

I've actually been twice in two weeks, the first time to try roasted duck tacos, and the second to grab some pho as it was the last one I hadn't tried of the 4 pho trucks now (recently) on the streets.  About a week or so prior to my first trip, PhoWheels had posted a photo of the duck tacos on Twitter and I wanted to be go to where ever they were planning on being because it looked to die for.  Things didn't exactly turn out that way.  When I did make it, the actual tacos looked about as good as the photo, however enjoyment did not compare.  If I'm gonna eat duck, the skin better be crispy.  Unfortunately the mid-rare duck had flaccid, very not-crispy skin which made the whole thing terribly chewy to eat.  The rest of it was fine -- I mean, it's hard to go wrong topping anything with hoisin sauce, plus the veg and the pancakes were both good.  I ventured back on another visit for pho and it too disappointed.  (At some point soon I'll put together a post summarizing all the pho trucks.)  Broth had little flavor, and other than a few green onions there were no other fresh herbs such as cilantro or Thai basil.  In this case I ordered chicken in my soup -- it was like unseasoned, lightly boiled then shredded chicken breast.  2.5 honks.  Note: The wrap is incredible.  No joke.  Really awesome looking truck!

Now to vacation... Hasta la vista!

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