Food Trucks: Your favorite bite?

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Lunchbox
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7 years ago

Food trucks are all the rage these days... Some are major hits and most are major fails (IMHO). But I do have a few favorites, what are yours?

My favorite dish from a truck, is the "Spicy Elvis" from Luncha Libre. (Bananas, Bacon, Peanut Butter, Sriracha, and house (truck?) made jalapeño strawberry jelly served on a tortilla quesadilla style.)
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Skillet Doux
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7 years ago

I haven't tried nearly as many of the food trucks as I'd like. I hit Food Truck Fridays at the downtown market a couple of times about a year ago, and never got around to writing anything about it. More recently, I finally had a chance to check out Hey Joe, and I love the lechon kawali:
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Lechon Kawali
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It's not heavily seasoned... I think just lightly so with some aromatics while they braise it. (Twelve hours? Fourteen hours? Something ridiculous.) Then they deep fry it and it gets this light, crisp exterior with a center that completely melts away in your mouth. Really well-executed.
Dominic Armato
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Skillet Doux
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7 years ago

Ever since news of The Lobster Lady hit, I've been dying to give her a try. I finally caught up with her this afternoon at the Raintree Whole Foods parking lot.
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Maine Lobster Roll
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She does both Maine and Connecticut style, the former cold with mayo and the latter hot with butter. I... um... might've tried both. I went on a bit of a lobster roll binge a couple of years back when we (very) briefly lived in Boston*, and I have to say, this compared pretty favorably. It looks to be exclusively claw and knuckle meat, and while I actually enjoy a bit of tail (I'm probably in the minority there), most will probably be delighted that they're sticking to the tender bits for the rolls. Nice, big chunks, too... carefully removed and not pulverized in the process. The lobster's barely dressed at all, with just the slightest bit of mayo to moisten it and a little whisper of lemon, though it's served with a wedge if you'd like to give it another squirt. They even managed to find split rolls, lightly buttered and toasted. I have to say, this is a pretty darn good lobster roll, and one that I think New Englanders would approve of. At first I was a little taken aback by the price -- I'm used to a $17 lobster roll exploding with lobster, and this one's on the petite side -- but after looking through my notes and photos from a couple of years back, the difference isn't as drastic as I initially thought. I'd probably expect to pay somewhere from $10-13 for a roll of this size on the East Coast, so an extra 50% to get the critters cross-country doesn't seem so ridiculous, I suppose... maybe a touch high.

Though not pictured, I also tried the Connecticut style. Remove mayo, insert butter, make it hot. She dresses both so minimally and lightly that the difference between the two actually isn't all that huge. It isn't like the gulf between Neptune Oyster's Connecticut and Kelly's Maine, that's for sure.
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Seafood Chowder
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I gave the seafood chowder a try too, and rather enjoyed it. It's the kind I learned to appreciate on the East Coast... light and thin and flavorful, not thick and goopy and saturated with reduced cream. It's stuffed with fresh and tender seafood -- lobster, fish, shrimp -- not the least bit overcooked, as well as diced potatoes and fresh corn kernels with a nice pop. $8 for a bowl sounded about right to me.

Anyway, it's the real deal. A nice addition to the scene, I think, even if the $17 tag on the lobster rolls is going to relegate it to occasion food.

(* - "Um... doc... since you're testing my cholesterol, I'm not sure if it's an urban legend, but you should probably know that I've had over a dozen lobster rolls in the past three weeks.")
Dominic Armato
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Skillet Doux
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7 years ago

Aaaaaaand, apparently the Lobster Lady is about to skip town, so that was timely:

https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php? ... ed_comment
Dominic Armato
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SalamanderX
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7 years ago

You wanted discussion...

Food trucks are awesome. Phoenix is way late. Phoenix also has several forces working against food trucks. No pedestrian hordes. City spread out. Too hot weather starting about now.

That said, it's fin to try. But what has always bothered me is these coalitions and advocates constantly ignoring the true pioneers of food trucks. The immigrant trucks. $1 tacos. Authentic ethnic food.

Do people really think it's cool for the foodie elites to ride off that hard work and authenticity, out-maneuver the immigrants on marketing by using twitter and squareup, jack prices up to levels where you say damn that was a good taco, but $4 each!

I understand the local angle. The zeal for driving food quality and flare up a notch. But why are these standard awesome regular consistent immigrant trucks constantly ignored? Frankly, I've had good stuff from Hey Joe, Short Leash, Torched & more, but I'll take my favorite taco truck on a side street any day.
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Skillet Doux
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7 years ago

SalamanderX wrote:You wanted discussion...
Yes, yes and yes.
SalamanderX wrote:Frankly, I've had good stuff from Hey Joe, Short Leash, Torched & more, but I'll take my favorite taco truck on a side street any day.
Do you have some low-profile favorites? I'd be there in a heartbeat.
Dominic Armato
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olllllo
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7 years ago

Lunchbox wrote:Food trucks are all the rage these days... Some are major hits and most are major fails (IMHO). But I do have a few favorites, what are yours?

My favorite dish from a truck, is the "Spicy Elvis" from Luncha Libre. (Bananas, Bacon, Peanut Butter, Sriracha, and house (truck?) made jalapeño strawberry jelly served on a tortilla quesadilla style.)
My only experience with Luncha Libre was the Koreadilla - a quesodilla with bulgogi. I found it to be uninspired.
The bulgogi didn't have the sweetness, sesame, scallions or garlic that it needed. A leaf of napa cabbage and a dollop of doenjang would have gone a long ways, but it wasn't there.

I do hit the food trucks about 2 times a month.
¡Salud!

Rob
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Lunchbox
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7 years ago

I did attend the first two clusterfuck food truck events in town (Roosevelt and Salt River Fields) and I think they turned a lot of people off to food trucks that might have otherwise appreciated the food truck experience.

+1 for Dom's comment, if you have some to share please do!
Do you have some low-profile favorites? I'd be there in a heartbeat.
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BarbaraToombs
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7 years ago

Lunchbox wrote:I did attend the first two clusterfuck food truck events in town (Roosevelt and Salt River Fields) and I think they turned a lot of people off to food trucks that might have otherwise appreciated the food truck experience.
I attempted to attend the one at Salt River Fields, but could tell it was said clusterfuck as we were approaching and high-tailed it out of there! You're right...it did turn me off, but I am still dying to check out the food trucks. Just can't escape work at lunchtime on Fridays to run from Tempe to downtown, so not sure how I'll check them out, unless by chance. :(
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grrlscout
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7 years ago

It would not be fair of me to offer my opinion, as I'm pretty active within the PSFC. ;)

But I did want to offer Barbara a ray of hope... there is a new event in the works, that takes place Friday evenings. However, it is also downtown.
~ Korina
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citychild
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7 years ago

I love food trucks. I have my favorites. More later...

On the topic of the Food Truck Friday downtown. I work downtown and can usually make it--but don't... never enough seating. Crazy long lines.

I like the option on Wednesday during lunch at the park. But... the food trucks that are there are not consistent and it is hard to find out what trucks will be there since it is usually published day of and I am at work so jumping on the internet to investigate is rough. But again, not enough seating.

I usually go to the public market and without a doubt, there are food trucks there on Saturday. I've been mixing it up though and going to the one on Central & Northern because I have a fascination with Shine Coffee :-)

Luckily though... Short Leash is often in the area of Central/Camelback which is the area I live. Well, I think my bank account feels otherwise though.

I haven't dabbled too much in the realm of different food trucks. I tend to stick to what I know... this is because I am a vegetarian and I just like what I like. Maybe this is why I have the pet peeves I have. Short Leash makes some amazing veggie dogs and Pizza People makes a stellar pizza!
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grrlscout
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7 years ago

Quick update: Last night I worked a gig with the Lobster Lady and was sure to ask if their move to Maine was permanent or seasonal.

It is just seasonal. The hubs has to -- get this -- go trap more lobster! How awesome is that? 8-)

I also had a chance to try their lobster roll and chowder. I have nothing to compare it to, as I have never had a lobster roll before, but I must say, it was absolutely delicious! The chowder too. I drank that broth right down.
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chrislee
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7 years ago

grrlscout wrote:Quick update: Last night I worked a gig with the Lobster Lady and was sure to ask if their move to Maine was permanent or seasonal.

It is just seasonal. The hubs has to -- get this -- go trap more lobster! How awesome is that? 8-)
Very glad to hear that!

Lobster rolls are something I wish I was more well acquainted with. Just haven't spent the time back there yet. I will be continuing to keep an eye out for her!

Thanks for the clarification!
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azhotdish
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7 years ago

If you're ever down at the Meat Shop on Buckeye, the food truck next door has a killer green chili pork burrito. I don't think it actually "travels", but who cares?
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Joel
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The Cosmic Jester
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7 years ago

My favorite of late is the 7th Inning Stretch from Short Leash Hot Dogs. Schreiner's spicy beer hot link, barbecue sauce, smoked Gouda (does un-smoked Gouda even exist?), crumbled bacon, peanut butter, and Cracker Jacks. It's just stupid good. Everything comes together in sweet-and-salty madness, with the beer hot providing a little extra zing.
SalamanderX wrote:
...Phoenix is way late...
Phoenix always has been late to the party, always will be late to the party. We are not the bleeding edge. We are laid back.

Citychild: Just jump in and go. You'll be glad you did. I swear the Internet has made people too cautious.
citychild
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7 years ago

The Cosmic Jester wrote:Citychild: Just jump in and go. You'll be glad you did. I swear the Internet has made people too cautious.
I have gone many times. Many. As the crowds get larger and lines longer, I tend to gravitate towards events where the lines are shorter and the crowd is more tolerable. Like Short Leash Sit n' Stay and the market on Central & Northern.

Speaking of Sit n Stay, I believe the cooking channel will be featuring Short Leash for the Eat St show (season 2) on Thurs, May 5 at 6pm. This is from their Facebook page.
https://www.facebook.com/shortleashhotdogs
misterk
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7 years ago

Don't forget a lot of food trucks also show up at the Phoenix Public Mkt every Wednesday from 4-8 pm. There were around 7 or 8 there last night. Pretty busy.

Also agree on the original food trucks...the taco trucks. However, I've never seen these old school taco trucks parked near offices here like I have in other cities. They're usually off in a parking lot like in mid-McDowell or south Phx or the like. I'm not going to go out of my way from the office at lunchtime to find a taco truck. The whole point is that they'll be parked somewhere in walking distance. Which, I guess, is more of an issue with Phoenix and how it's laid out than the trucks themselves.

As an aside, Nogales Hot Dogs on 20th and Indian School. Theyre more an evening food stand than anything, but still, they drive in every day and set up camp for their faithful.
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grrlscout
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7 years ago

For anyone looking for group events, this is the current regular schedule:

PHOENIX

Downtown Phoenix Public Market
Wednesdays, 4pm-8pm
Fridays, 11am-2pm
Saturdays, 8am-noon

Civic Space Park
Wednesdays, 11am-2pm

New Times Building
12th St & Jefferson
Fridays, 11am-2pm (last date is May 4th)

Phoenix Seed & Feed
411 S 2nd Street
Tuesdays, 11am-2pm

SCOTTSDALE

Whole Foods Raintree
Every Third Wednesday, 11am-2pm

And as far as traditional food trucks go, my Phoenix experience is pretty much limited to Taqueria Yaqui (that trailer outside of Charlie's.) It is now dangerously close to my house, so I can hit it up at my convenience.

I have not been thrilled with the Sonoran dogs I have found sold late at night, in various parking lots. Part of it being, the poor quality of the ingredients used. Also, at last last time I got one, they didn't wrap the bacon around the dogs. They told me that to do so, would be a healthy code violation.

I keep saying that one of these nicer restaurants need to produce an elevated Sonoran dog, using quality and housemade ingredients.
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Mike Todd
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7 years ago

grrlscout wrote: I have not been thrilled with the Sonoran dogs I have found sold late at night, in various parking lots. Part of it being, the poor quality of the ingredients used. Also, at last last time I got one, they didn't wrap the bacon around the dogs. They told me that to do so, would be a healthy code violation.

I keep saying that one of these nicer restaurants need to produce an elevated Sonoran dog, using quality and housemade ingredients.
Same here. One visit to the Nogales cart on Indian School was enough for me. There was no way the toppings could salvage a crappy wiener, wrapped in crappy bacon, served on an even crappier bun. I found the whole thing to be less than the sum of its parts.

I know that Eliot Wexler (of Noca) conducted some Sonoran dog "research" a few months back, but I don't know if/when we might see his version appear on the Nocawich menu.
misterk
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7 years ago

Lol...sorry. I was just commenting that the Nogales folks were there with their cart. Wasn't really recommending their food, for which I'd agree, not so great. I've had better luck with guys pushing carts in SF, which is stupid considering Phoenix is so much closer to Sonora.

I'm sure an excellent Sonoran dog is being sold from a cart or truck out here in the Valley somewhere. We just haven't found it. Yet.
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