Monday, July 16, 2012

Sampling 4 More Trucks

It still boggles my mind that I can head out for lunch and have the opportunity to try a truck I've never had before at least once per week.  Good or bad, that fact simply speaks to the volume of trucks roaming the District on a daily basis.  Last week I had the opportunity patronize 4 trucks I hadn't previously, including a rare VA-only truck appearance at Truckeroo of Hot People Food.

As you may have noticed, in the couple of months, the volume of pho trucks went from 0 to 4.  I've mentioned Pho Junkies a couple of times, and noted the new PhoNation truck is from the same proprietor as last year's short-lived Phonomenon.  (Special note--she tweeted me last week to say she's gone to rare steak, instead of the pre-cooked I was so unfond of last year.  To that end, I'll be visiting as soon as I can.)  Meanwhile, last week I was able to give What the Pho? a first go.  Not being able to decide between pho and an option for lettuce wraps, I went for both.  The pho ($8) is essentially what you'd think, homemade oxtail broth with noodles and raw/rare steak served with a "pouch" of accoutrements containing fresh basil, jalapeno slice(s), bean sprouts, and a wedge of lime.  I found the broth to both look and taste a bit fattier than some of the other broths, but still came off nicely smooth as pho should.  Once "prepared" with the whole bottles of hoisin and sriracha available on the counter (as opposed to Pho Junkies,) my self-personalized concoction satisfied.  In addition to banh mi sandwiches, What the Pho? also offers the filling of the banh mi options (chicken, beef, etc) over rice or served with large lettuce leaves to make wraps.  I figured I'd get maybe 2-3 leaves, but the container came with 5 huge leaves of washed red-leaf lettuce.  Both the bowl and box of lettuce came with slices of cucumbers and tomatoes, but minimal pickled veg and no cilantro as would be found in a banh mi.  It would also be nice if the selection of squeeze bottles on the counter included a spicy mayo (or similar) as I'd love to drizzle some, even from a little cup, in my wrap.  The lemongrass chicken, though, was juicy and well flavored.  Overall I enjoyed things for a 3.5 honk rating, although more than Pho Junkies who is still slotted at the same rating.  The other two trucks will be visited soon and then at some point I may try for a full comparison as, so far, they all seem to have their pros with some minor cons.

Thursday I found myself at the glorified Van-a-gon-looking truck dubbed K-bob that never tweets yet has been lurking around Farragut Square nearly every day for months.  They serve about what you'd expect from a truck with such a name: beef, chicken, and sometimes pork kabobs over lettuce, rice, in a combo, etc.  I can't count the number of times I'd walked right by K-bob since they started coming out, but recently I'd seen folks eating in the Square what looked like some pretty good food and when questioned I learned this is where they'd been coming from.  Salad topped with a chicken kabob is on the menu for $7.75 and I asked if I could have beef which was obliged for $1 more.  A single Greek-ish dressing is provided on the side and when asked if one was enough for me, I asked for a white sauce in lieu of a second dressing, and I'm glad I did because a single cup of "wet" was not enough.  It was fine and I would go back to get it again if I were in the mood for a simple salad, but I'm unlikely to be craving it as I do some other truck-food.  At some point I will try a kabob platter as well which is what looked so appetizing on walks by others in the park.  3 honks.

The third Truckeroo of the season brought several non-DC-permitted trucks to The Fairgrounds last week, among others include Hot People Food from Virginia who tout fresh and spicy ingredients "to bring out the hot person in you."  I took advantage of the opportunity and tried a couple menu items: Beef "Chinese" taco and cold spicy noodles.  (And beer.)  Hot People's definition of a Chinese taco ($9) means it is one larger than regular taco (which they also had) served enveloped in a scallion pancake.  Loved the pancake.  Beef was ok.  However, really excessive raw onions/scallions made it not only difficult to eat because of the size/shape and toughness of the uncooked fibrous veggies, but I'm sure I also offended a whole bunch of folks for probably 12 hours after eating.  It was beautiful and if I ever find myself the opportunity to have it again, I'll stick with the onionish-flavor of the pancake and live with just the other toppings.  Having said all that, I was really delighted by the noodles ($5) -- both light and hearty at the same time.  When I get Chinese take-out, I nearly always order cold sesame noodles and these have some of the same flavor but without the weight of the peanut butter.  3 honks.

For those interested in dessert, months ago you may have heard about (or seen photos of) the old-timey frozen custard truck Goodies and have been waiting with baited breath for regular appearances out on the streets.  (And I mean old-timey truck!)  Last week we may have gotten our wish as the new-old truck was out at least 3 times by my count, possibly more.  The adorable gentleman onboard serves up a variety of sundaes and floats for (as best I can figure) $5 each.  I had tweeted him a couple of weeks ago wondering where they disappeared to after scattered appearances; while at the time I received a response back of "soon," when Goodies actually took to the streets, I started getting tagged in every location tweet.  So on Friday when the location was Farragut, I couldn't pass that up despite my attendance at Truckeroo.  Detouring on my way back to the office, I enjoyed a turtle sundae for a cool down on a hot day.  Of course it is tough to go wrong with caramel & chocolate together and this blend with creamy vanilla bean frozen custard & the most perfectly salty-sweet pecans didn't disappoint.  The fresh whipped cream was even just gently sweetened for a lovely afternoon treat.  No truck on DCs streets conjures up a nostalgia factor quite like this one -- I'm not even old enough to remember trucks like this, but appreciate the truly authentic effort.  4 honks.
More later.... Pho Wheels & DC Empanadas' new flavor.