Thursday, December 13, 2012

Happy Holidays

As I get ready to jet away for a long trip, I wanted to take an opportunity to post a couple of updates and ask again, "DUUUUUDE, how many kabob trucks can one city handle?"  It's been about 9 months since I pointed out there seemed to be a really high ratio of kabob/halal/gyro/etc trucks compared to the total sum of trucks at the time.  I haven't done the math again but it's become nearly impossible to make a visit to Farragut Square and not see a new one.  In fact, between Tuesday & Wednesday's visits I saw 4 trucks I hadn't previously seen and THREE of them were of this variety.  Of the ones I've tried, some are obviously better than others, then others have the 'sketchy' factor going on.  So with all that, I offer said trucks all good luck as you are now well over saturated.

Even though I haven't posted in about 2 months, I've continued to try some of the new trucks plus gain a few new regular obsessions.

There is a new Peruvian truck, El Fuego, which compares reasonably well to the local brick-and-mortar Peruvian standby of El Chalan for their (same) specialty of Lomo Saltado.  Super tender beef stir-fried with vegetables and served over rice definitely pleases, particularly when paired with the yellow sauce available in two levels of heat on the counter. (The darker one is the spicier one, and it's awesome to slather over everything.)  The only fault I can find with this $10 (incl tax) steal is the fries have a tendency to easily get soggy -- I've had the dish twice and both times it happened & in very short order.  But it's totally insignificant because I love this meal!  A consistent 4 honks.

Another new truck to earn a few honks is Meatball Nation which serves meatball sliders on fresh bread from Lyons Bakery.  The menu seems to change with some regularity, so you may not find what I had which included a beef Italian meatball, a Thai chicken, and a BBQ pork.  Of the three, the pork one was by far my favorite with a tangy BBQ sauce and a lovely, crisp slaw.  It was followed by the Italian which was about what you'd expect, although I loved the high quality cheese they are serving with this ball.  However the last one I did not enjoy at all.  The chicken was blended with a great deal of a green vegetable (spinach?) which was unexpected based on the description and not to my liking.  I also didn't care for the flavor of the peanut sauce that brought everything together for an odd texture profile when eating.  Balls are also available in a bowl for the same price ($8) instead of on bread if you want fewer carbs.  3 honks.

Now for the obsessions -- specific meals I'm finding it difficult to stay away from if I see the truck nearby.

The Mojito Rito from Rico Loco ... I've tried all the meat-based pressed burritos from Daniel & Co, but the chicken is where it's at as far as I'm concerned.  They all feature a homemade pico de gallo that adds a great brightness to the rolled packages.  Lately I've been asking for my order un-pressed so I can take it home.  The trick to finishing off there is 20-25 minutes in an oven (I use a toaster oven) at 325* to get the insides warm, then press in a Griddler or similar for a couple of minutes.  If you don't have a Griddler, you can probably achieve the same effect in a dry, non-stick frying pan on medium/medium-high heat with a press down with a large spatula and a flip of the burrito.  Make sure to get some of the 2 sauces and mix them up to wrap it all up. (No pun intended.) :-)  Oh, and these guys are moving to 4 honks for the honor of my addiction.

Ribs and more from BBQ Bus ... OK, they're done serving them for the winter, but this is another treat I take home with me if they're available with a side of #5 BBQ sauce.  325* for 25 minutes again in an oven and you'll be a happy camper.  There is also a new special that has made it to the 'obsession' category, but so far, I think the boys have only served it 5 days.  BBQ bacon meatloaf!  The slice comes served on brown butter mashed potatoes, choice of another side (I always go for the fire roasted corn,) and cornbread.  Just after Thanksgiving, it was pumpkin cornbread that was ridiculous.  This meal doesn't make it home for the after-party, and barely makes it to noon on the truck before it's sold out.  Go fast if it's on the menu.

Rob at What the Pho? says I'm one of the only people who get his "vision" of lettuce wraps since I go about once a week when I'm in town to get an order of the lemongrass chicken. The truth is, I mostly get his vision.  I did start out by eating these babies as intended, but found them to be slightly messy to eat, albeit delicious.  It has become another selection I take home and enjoy in the days that follow with a minor modification: I chop everything up to make a salad of the lettuce, pickled veg, cilantro, and chicken, then top it with the spicy mayo plus some hoisin and sriricha.  It's a banh mi in a bowl and so good!  Don't let my concoction sway you from trying this menu item in any form you can.  I'm working to convince my own friends one at a time and they are getting the vision too.

More obsessions another time.  Until then, best wishes everyone a very merry holiday season.  Back again in the new year....