Tag Archives: food trucks

When the brown bag just doesn’t cut it

13 Jul

I have a love/hate relationship with food trucks. I love them, really, because of all the delicious food that comes out of them. But I hate that they make my sad leftovers and wimpy sandwiches just that – sad and wimpy. I’d rather have a fresh deep dish pizza made by some dudes in a truck for $8 than a homemade egg salad sandwich.

I don’t actually eat lunch from food trucks all that often, maybe once a week. I start to feel guilty if I’ve eaten out for lunch more than that, because I know it’s healthier to eat something you’ve prepared yourself as often as possible. Plus, it can get expensive to pay for lunch often. But on those days when I have enough cash on hand and I really can’t ignore that hankering for something different, Lindsey (a.k.a. The Internationally-Minded American) and I will take a long lunch break to walk, get some fresh air, and break up the monotony of bagged lunches and leftovers.

We’re suckers for the macaroni and cheese from CapMac, but here are some highlights from recent lunchtime ventures:

Dangerously Delicious Pies: The pie shop originally from Baltimore with a DC location has it’s own truck, much to my sheer happiness because I loooove their Baltimore Bomb pie. It’s made with Berger cookies, which I’ve never actually eaten outside of this pie but are probably the thing that makes it awesome. Oh and their SMOG (Steak, Mushroom, Onion and Gruyere) is rich and hearty and tastes like a feast on a crust.

BasilThyme: This truck is one of the newer ones that has recently started running around here in DC. They churn out freshly-made pastas like the meat lasagna above. It tasted pretty darn authentic and home-made, which is a feat considering they don’t use dried pastas and uh, it comes out of a truck and not a standing kitchen.

PORC Mobile: The Purveyors of Rolling Cuisine specialize in BBQ dishes like pork sandwiches and sausages, but what I find pretty inventive about this truck is that they try to cater to the vegetarians out there. I tried their veggie bar-b-que dish one day, just to see if they could pull it off, and I was pleasantly surprised. It had that bar-b-que tanginess with some spiciness but there were other flavors that gave it a more exotic twist (unfortunately, I couldn’t actually discern what those flavors were). It had black and red beans with peppers and onions, on top of a bed of couscous and served with a side of coleslaw (which I’m happy to say wasn’t drenched in mayo).

There are always new trucks popping up here in DC, so I’m looking forward to trying even more new dishes for lunch. AND, the next Truckeroo, DC’s monthly food truck gathering, is this Friday. You know where I’ll be that evening…

Any food trucks rolling around in your ‘hood? If not, what would you want to be served from a truck?

 

 

 

Look out, weekend

7 Jun

I definitely ate my way through the weekend. With Mama Nosher in town till yesterday, I ended up not cooking in my kitchen at all for the past week, unless you count blending smoothies and heating up frozen waffles for breakfast. It was seriously nice to have her around. I mean, how awesome is it to come home after work and find that dinner is already made? And they were delicious dinners at that. I have a recipe or two to share that I finally managed to get Mom to explain, and I’ll share those to you guys later this week.

For now, I’ll be living off leftovers for another day or two. I probably ate out more than I should’ve in the past weekend, but I just love trying new foods so much that I pushed any bubbling guilt out of my mind and enjoyed myself. Isn’t that what weekends are for anyways?

On Friday, straight after work, my friend Dorothy and I hit up the first Truckeroo, big food truck gathering held at the Bullpen near Nationals Park. Not all of DC’s foodtrucks were in attendance but there was certainly a good handful. By the time I had arrived, however, the dinner rush was at full swing and trucks were jammed with crowds. D and I split off to separate trucks and then regrouped – I grabbed grilled cheese sandwiches from The Big Cheese, while she got ribs and a BBQ platter from BBQ Bus. I tried The Big Cheese’s Mt. Fuji for the first time and enjoyed it; it reminded me a bit of the sandwich I had at Bikes, Beans and Bordeaux, with its apple-and-cheese combo. I’m starting to get really hooked on melted cheese with fruit on toasted bread.

The ribs from BBQ Bus could’ve used a bit more sauce (I like my ribs saucy), but the platter was a good deal, considering it included chicken, pork, beans and slaw. We couldn’t even finish the whole thing. But after doing another walk-around, we decided to splurge on green tea popsicles from Pleasant Pops, which were creamy and refreshing.

Saturday morning, I got up bright and early to run the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 5k. I unfortunately have no photos – I didn’t bring a camera because I don’t like running with stuff in my hands and I don’t have a fancy belt to carry things in (yet). The race went surprisingly well for me – I think I’ve been running enough to the point where 3 miles is now an easy run. I paced myself for this race, but I actually paced myself too slowly! By the time I could see the finish line ahead, I remember thinking “Wait, what? It’s almost over?” and I still had so much energy left in me. If I run it again next year, my new goal will be to beat my time by 5 minutes. I think I can do it. 🙂

On Sunday I did something that I don’t do enough of: go to the Dupont Farmer’s Market. There is a lot of great produce, baked goods, flowers, meats and cheeses available there. We’ve gotten products ranging from chocolate croissants made by expert French breadmakers to giant bags of crab claws for cheap to empanadas to wild mushrooms. Oh, and gorgeous flowers – I’m kind of lame because I tend to kill plants easily so I stick to simple blossoms that I put in an old Italian soda bottle.

Sadly I don’t even remember what these flowers are called…

I know it’s already Tuesday, but did you guys have any great eats over the weekend? Hit up any good farmer’s markets?

A few Nosher noms…

19 Jan

You know how I am with baked goods. We go way back. Ted’s Bulletin is also getting nostalgic on us by serving pop tarts, which are like artisanal versions of the ones we used to eat in our childhood. Except these don’t come wrapped in crinkly silver bags and are much, much fresher. And probably better for you too.

I actually attempted to make these myself at home. There was quite a bit of blood, sweat and tears. Ok, maybe not blood but definitely a lot of elbow grease and unbridled frustration. That I will tell you all about on Friday.

I have this goal to try every single food truck in DC at least once. Which really isn’t a lofty goal because there aren’t a lot of them (maybe about 20 tops? I haven’t actually bothered to count). I’m just loving this whole food truck movement and keeping my fingers crossed that it’s here to stay. And judging from the scene in cities like New York and LA, I don’t have anything to worry about. DC is too competitive to let something good like this fall by the wayside.

And as much as I love baked goods, I love macaroni and cheese (maybe I just love carbs in general). So when I heard that a food truck named CapMac, which specializes in mac & cheese, was coming onto the scene, I was so stoked. I finally got to try it on a frigid Sunday while running errands in Eastern Market. It’s definitely cheesy, a little spicy because they use pimento cheese along with cheddar. AND it’s topped with crushed Cheez-its, which I don’t actually like to eat on their own but they work really well in this.

Also on the food truck scene is Takorean, DC’s own Korean taco truck. I tried a sampler of their 3 taco offerings (beef, chicken, and tofu). Surprisingly, I loved the tofu the most. It’s been marinated in a hoisin sauce, so it has this great sweet-tangy taste to it. The kimchi/cabbage/slaw that you can get on top are all delicious (although I wouldn’t have minded if my kimchi was spicier).

I had this huge stash of chocolate during the holidays, and I brought it home to Orlando to try and get the rest of my family to finish it off. Total success. I’m convinced chocoholism is hereditary. Which is good for Seasonal Pantry, because they can easily sell their absolutely delicious confections to suckers like me who will never stop eating chocolate in any form, mixed with any other ingredient. I wrote about the guys behind Seasonal Pantry back in December, actually; their story is ongoing and I’m still anticipating the opening of their local sandwich shop. But for now, their food is available though their food clubs, which you can sign up for on their site.

Foodcation: California, Part I

21 Sep

No wonder people from California rave about how wonderful and beautiful the state is. It really is. I mean, there are at least 8 songs on my iPod alone with “California,” in the title, more than any other state can boast. I don’t have much to say about LA (visited when I was a tween, had a good time but wasn’t inclined to return) or San Diego (never been) but San Francisco…San Francisco has turned out to be my kind of town.

I fell in love with the city during this trip with my friend D and The Bf.  The weather was beautiful, the people were friendly, the atmosphere was so laid back and the food, well, I’ll tell you about that . Much like New York, San Francisco is diverse and chock-full of options in myriad cuisines and various prices. Even though I allowed myself the luxury of not worrying about money for this trip, after every meal I ate there, I never cringed after looking at the bills. I love it when you can eat good food and still have change for the taxi ride home.

I’m sans photos of this because of a memory card formatting mishap, unfortunately – my first meal upon landing was Hawaiian barbeque at L&L, a fast food Hawaiian barbeque joint. I had never heard of L&L before this trip. I didn’t even think of Hawaiian food as culinary option on the mainland.  But it’s tasty, it’s novel, and I certainly wish there was an L&L somewhere here on the East Coast. I love that you can get something rare like Hawaiian food on the West Coast. And it’s definitely a nice alternative to the mainland’s versions of barbeque.

For dinner that first night, I was introduced to the concept of shabu shabu at the aptly named Shabu House. I had heard of it before on Iron Chef but I didn’t know it was something that restaurants are specifically dedicated to serving. Shabu shabu is basically Japanese fondue or hot pot.  We were served large bowls of spiced broth that are heated on boilers tableside; it comes with thin slices of meat (American Kobe beef, pork, and lamb), various vegetables (mushrooms, cabbage, carrots, sprouts, tofu) and udon noodles. We’re also given ponzu sauce and a garlicky, peanut satay-like sauce for dipping. And bowls of rice, of course. Once the broth is bubbling, you put as much meat and vegetables as you want/can, let it cook for a a few minutes, and then pull it out and dip and eat with the rice. I enjoyed the fresh vegetables and meat soaked in spicy broth – it was the kind of spice that’s addictive enough to make you continue eating even after you’re full. The ponzu sauce, which I customized for myself with some green onions, garlic and a drizzle of sesame oil, added some sweetness to the spice of the boiled meat and vegetable. Eating it all is slightly labor-intensive, with all the boiling and picking food out of the broth and dipping and balancing with rice on your chopstick. But with a few hours and some good company, shabu shabu turned out to be very fun culinary experience for my first night on vacation.

D and I planned to spend Sunday morning brunching at farmerbrown for some chicken and waffles, but we willingly changed plans upon spotting a food truck along the way. (Farmerbrown is officially on my list for my next visit). I normally wouldn’t be taken by a food truck as a viable alternative to chicken and waffles brunch, being that the food truck craze has hit DC and we have our fair share of great options. But this food truck was special – it served Filipino food!  Modern, organic Filipino cuisine, to be exact.  I had heard of the Adobo Hobo truck but not of Hapa SF.  Running into this truck must have been some sort of divine intervention since I was set on trying Filipino food in San Francisco, and we had passed up our main opportunity the night before so I could try shabu shabu for the first time.

Food truck cuisine has definitely evolved in the past few years, and Hapa SF contributes to the growing repertoire of quality dishes that one can get from a refurbished ambulance (or postal truck, whatever). D and I ordered chicken adobo and sisig (sizzling pork, which they also offered in taco form, love it!). Both came with heaps of jasmine rice. The chicken had that classic, briney, adobo-seasoned taste with large pieces of chicken cooked to a dark brown hue. It tasted how adobo should taste, the way my tita makes it so well. The sisig, though not sizzling as it’s normally served with a slice of kalamansi or lemon to squeeze over, still had a hint of lime infused in the chunks of salty, soy-soaked pork. Both dishes were sprinkled with green onions, which bought a peppery crunch to balance the saltiness of the meats. To a Westerner, this would be the perfect post-drunken-late-night-blitz food. But to me, this tasted like home. And it was cheap. For $15, we got two dishes that we both loved but couldn’t even finish, and I hesitated to throw out our leftovers. You could say I have a bias because, well, I am hapa – it’s a term to describe someone of mixed heritage, particularly having at least one parent who’s Asian and/or Pacific Islander. But I have had mediocre Filipino food. Hapa SF is not that at all, and it gives us a taste of what could be Filipino cuisine’s successful foray into the forefront of Western gastronomic trends.

In my next SF posts – lots of wine and lots of dessert. I’m not lying when I say I didn’t hold myself back for this trip. 🙂