Gourmet Food Truck Update

>> Saturday, October 1, 2011

With the closing of Restaurant Week, I'm getting back to business and will be posting a series of updates over the next week. Some of the posts may be shorter than normal, but hey you're going to get a lot more updates.

It has been awhile since I last (seriously) wrote about Gourmet Food Trucks - it's almost like how long George Lucas waited to resurrect Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull (I promise this will be better than that movie though) - and a lot has happened in between. The Great Food Truck Race Season 2 started and finished featuring San Diego's Devilicious (who was unfortunately eliminated in the 2nd round), Blanca closed (more on this soon), El Bulli closed, the #2 (Rivals) ranked basketball recruit committed to my UCLA Bruins, and all of MasterChef and Hell's Kitchen aired.

In that time, I was not resting; I actually was eating at food trucks quite frequently. I never really figured out a good way to cover food trucks since posting about each visit was not necessarily enough information for each truck, and some of the trucks I never really felt like I wanted to re-visit to get more than the initial impression. Instead of just covering a single truck I decided to just lump together many of the trucks I've visited. I'll hand out awards at the end to any trucks that deserve them. (I did visit some other trucks but they will show up in the food truck burger shootout update).

Pierogi Truck:
For those that don't know, Pierogi is a polish dumpling whose filling usually consists of potato or spinach. A pork belly is the traditional topping.
Potato and Cheese Pierogi - grilled onion, bacon, chives, sour cream
(left) Spinach Pierogi - sour cream (right) Meat Pierogi - grilled onion, bacon, chives, sour cream
I had high hopes for this truck - perhaps too high. While I wasn't expecting a huge amount of wow factor, the pierogi were a little too rustic for my taste. The pierogi was also a little too dense and didn't exhibit any sort of light fluffiness that I was told to expect.

Curiocity Catering Truck:

Curiocity is one of the new ventures of Chef Antonio Friscia of Stingaree. It caught my eye as the signature dish appeared to be an Alaskan King Crab risotto called The Deadliest Catch.
Green Flash Double Stout Beer Brat - carmelized onions, sesame bun
The brat was a relatively standard brat. For $6 though, I thought they could have at least toasted the bun...
Alaskan King Crab Cake - truffle aioli
The crab cake was probably the best dish I sampled on this truck. I was not a fan of the truffle aioli as it was basically some mayo mixed with truffle oil; two canned/jarred products plopped on top of some Alaskan King Crab.... The crab cake was cooked well and the bits of corn added some nice sweetness. There was very little "extra filler" to the crab meat.
Thai Chicken with Jasmine Rice - red/green onion, lemongrass, mint, cilantro, fresh squeezed lime
While the mix of ingredient properly reflects a Thai flavor palette, the overcooked chicken, lack of thai chili, and conservative use of lemongrass caused this to seem like a bastard "westernized" version of what it could have been.
Deadliest Catch - Alaskan King crab, rice, parmesan (should also have sweet corn and spinach)
I asked for the risotto even though they didn't have all the ingredients on the truck. I didn't feel the rice was arborio, but it was cooked well. Unfortunately the lobster stock seemed to have reduced a bit in the fridge and caused the dish to be a little too salty. It did have enjoyable flavors otherwise...

SD Sushi Ninjas:
Sushi Combo - tuna, salmon, yellowtail, snapper, shrimp, spicy california roll
I don't really consider this truck to be a "Gourmet" truck as the level of the food seemed a bit low. I don't really have anything better to say than that, so I'll stop while I'm ahead...

Slow Cal BBQ:
The Slow Cal BBQ Truck I featured previously just opened this week. I stopped by to check out what they had going. Unfortunately, they didn't really have all the kinks worked out yet so they're only serving the polish boy topped with pulled pork, a pulled pork sandwich, and a brisket sandwich. I settled to try the pulled pork as it was both recommended and I had pleasant memories of it.
Pulled Pork Sandwich - hoagie, coleslaw, sweet bbq sauce
On the whole, the pulled pork sandwich was very enjoyable. The slaw without mayo was a nice touch as was the sweet and tangy bbq sauce. This particular pulled pork was cooked well but lacked some of the smokiness that was in the meat last time. Hopefully this will be resolved.
Collard Greens and Okra
What really stole the show for me was the collard greens and okra. Much is said about Southern Collard greens, but I've never eaten any that I thought was better than just some stir fried bok choy until I tried this. Chef Melvin seemed to apply some creole spices from his roots to this, which really kicked it up a notch. The collard greens were well cooked and not too bitter. The okra added some contrast in both flavor and texture.
I asked the truck when we could expect ribs and chicken and it seems like they should hopefully have it within two weeks.

I've covered Devlicious extensively in the past, but the Fall 2011 menu revamp is in full swing.
Shrimp Po'boy
The quality of the shrimp used is superb. I'd call this more of a prawn po'boy, and it is awesome. Most importantly, the shrimp are not overcooked.
Blackened Prime Rib Sandwich
If  you dare, ask them not to trim off the fat and you will really enjoy the flavors of this dish much more. The prime rib was cooked perfectly and very well seasoned to be intensely flavorful.
Spicy Tuna Nachos with a quail egg
Big fan of the quail egg and the flavors of the spicy tuna. Hated the texture of the raw fish. I just think it doesn't keep as well on a truck...
Pork Cutlet Sandwich (with extra fried egg)
The pork cutlet was fried perfectly, and the egg added the extra earthiness to tie everything together.
Chicken Enchilda (with the $2 upgrade to caprese salad)
In case you were wondering what the caprese upgrade looked like, I decided to get it the one time to get a photo. Personally this is the only time I'll do it, but I've never been a fan of Caprese and I've been spoiled by the burrata at Whole Foods Encinitas.
The chicken was moist and well cooked with some nice Mexican spices. However, I found this dish very strange in that it was in a sandwich instead of a tortilla, and it wasn't really the comfort food expected from Devilicious... It was still enjoyable, but it did just seem a little out of place to me.
Dark Stout Brat with sauerkraut and mustard.
I didn't really like the way the brat fit in the bun; perhaps they could butterfly the brat so that each bite of the sandwich contains some brat. I did enjoy the flavors of this one over the Curiocity version and the sauerkraut definitely outshone grilled onions.
Not your Mama's Dessert-wich - apple pie, sharp cheddar, cinnamon
I didn't understand the flavor combinations of this dish.
Dessert-wich - Nutella, marshmallow, cinnamon
This was a real hit for me and I struggled to only eat half. The nutella and marshmallow work really well together and remind me of a s'more. The cinnamon and bread was the perfect medium to enjoy the chocolate hazelnut marshmallow.

As Devilicious already has the kilobit, it didn't move anywhere in classification. Slow Cal BBQ has some potential, but I will want to see an expanded menu before it gets awarded anything. The other trucks failed to impress me.


Kirbie October 3, 2011 at 3:37 PM  

Nice comprehensive post on various food truck offerings. Thanks for commenting on my blog. Sorry you didn't like Sushi Ninjas. As I mentioned in my response to your comment, I don't think the sushi combo has great quality but for the price of $6, I think it's decent. If you ever do try them again, I would recommend their rolls which is what I enjoyed best.

Simnuandee March 9, 2012 at 12:56 AM  

I'm gonna have to disagree with you regarding the Curiocity truck. I have not tried the Crab Risotto but I have tried the Brandt Burger and Parm Truffle fries and they are among the best I have ever had. Also, I've had a few of their salads and are always very fresh and tasty. You may want to try them again.

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gastro bits is a blog that juxtaposes the geeky with the foodie; it is an attempt to be educational about food, yet entertaining at the same time.
None of the reviews are meant to dissuade you from trying anything by yourself, but simply to provide information for you to make a more informed choice.
If any special treatment is provided to the blogger, full disclosure is presented at the beginning of the post.

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