>> Friday, February 25, 2011
Devilicious Weekly Schedule:
Mon: 12700 High Bluff Dr
Tues: 10290 Campus Point Dr
Wed: 10070 Barnes Canyon Rd
Thurs: Changes, last seen at 5800 Block of Copley Dr
Fri: Corner of John Jay Hopkins and General Atomics Ct
Price: $8-15 (depending on how much you order)
The Quick Bit:
+ 3 words: Lobster Grilled Cheese
+ Great Specials
+ Truly restaurant quality food out of the truck
+ Not as greasy as you think
+ Great friendly service
+ Food cooked to order
Δ Menu could have more vegetarian options
Δ Weekly locations could stabilize more (for Tuesday and Thursday)
Devilicious had a first month of operation party that I was invited to and had the opportunity to sample an entire tasting menu of their menu items. As I've visited this truck several times and gotten to know the operators, I will definitely be biased, but I feel like the food ultimately speaks for itself.
I contacted Dyann and Kristina ahead of this blog post and sent them some interview questions. I will be interleaving their responses within the post and paraphrasing where necessary (and noting the paraphrase). Please let me know if this style of post works and I will attempt to contact other chefs/owners in the future as well.
As I mentioned in the previous post, San Diego has been slower than LA and OC to see the Gourmet Food Truck Boom. As of this posting, I'd say San Diego has fewer than 15 "Gourmet Food Trucks." Part of the problem is that the gourmet food trucks that are out there have all had their fair share of drawbacks. At MIHO you pay a fortune and aren't full (and sometimes you wait extremely long for your food); Tabe has some decent tacos but they use canned fruits inside the tacos; Chop Soo-ey is owned by the Cohn Group (yes this is a horrible thing, like buying your computer from Dell); KalbiQ is like Tabe but worse in every way; Copper Chimney's (recently defunct) much hyped dosa - cold. As recently as November 2010, San Diego has distinctly lacked a great foodie truck that didn't have the work Mariscos in its name (and those trucks aren't "gourmet").
Enter Devilicious - named after the owners Dyann Huffman and Kristina Repp for their "devilish personalities and delishious food," the truck specializes in "twisted comfort food." Dyann and Kristina have been friends for years and have a "combined 38 years of experience in the food industry." When I asked about their goal with the truck, they responded, "Opening a restaurant is definately in our future but the Food Truck offered us a way to start to fulfill that dream now. As we gain more recognition and build our customer base the reality of a storefront grows closer and we are very excited." Dyann's background as a chef includes graduating from CIA and working at Gramercy Tavern in New York with Tom Colicchio. Kristina's background is in the front of house as she has waited tables and managed restaurants.
I've visited Devilicious many times in its eight weeks of operation. In that time I've tried most of the menu items including the specials. Perhaps I will always be remembered as the kimchee taster because I gave some feedback that the kimchee in their kimchee dog wasn't spicy enough. One thing that really impressed me was that when I gave this feedback to them, they immediately set about to correct it. While I understand it's very difficult to please every single customer (especially one something like spice level), my feedback was handled in an extremely professional manner and the attitude was of teamwork and cooperation on how to make the final product better.
Another generalization that I'll make is that the technical execution of the food is very good. I would not say that any of the fried food was underfried, and (more importantly) none of the seafood ordered is overcooked. And when I say the seafood is not overcooked, I mean it as in the temperatures of the proteins are on the level of what you would expect from Gramercy.
|Devilicious Winter 2011 Menu|
|(tasting portion) House smoked turkey, smoked gouda, apple slaw|
|Smoked Bacon Dog, house made habanero kimchee, agave mayo|
|Deconstructed Corn Beef with rye crouton, carmelized onion and garlic, oven roasted roma , fresh fries, gruyere, fried egg|
|Butter Poached Lobster Grilled Cheese (tasting portion)|
|Butter Poached Lobster Grilled Cheese|
|Fried Yummies (chili)|
|Fried Yummies (hot dogs in mac n cheese)|
|Fried Yummies (cream of broccoli cheddar)|
|Fried Yummies (panchetta and aspargus risotto)|
|Truffle Tots (inside)|
|Satan Fries - Fries with blue cheese, carmelized onion, smoked bacon, and devilicious sauce (not shown)|
In addition to the regular menu, Devilicious also runs weekly specials. When I asked about some of my favorite specials coming back, I was told, "Part of the reason we run specials is the creation of our next menu. We enjoy feedback from all of our guests and track sales of the specials. (The smoked Pork will def be on our next menu) I think there may be a riot if the Grill Cheese ever goes away, I'd say that is our signature dish." While I usually go to Devilicious with the intention of getting a regular menu item, I invariably end up having my attend diverted by one of the weekly specials.
|Fried Spaghetti Sandwich with Fried Yummies|
|Fried Spaghetti Sandwich Closeup|
|Fried Egg Devilwich with cheddar, bacon and kimchee|
|Fried Egg Sandwich inside|
Back to the technical execution, it's a very simple thing to either undercook a grilled cheese or burn the bread trying to make the cheese melt. I've seen countless grilled cheese sandwiches (from myself and my other dining companions) and they are all perfectly golden brown with cheese oozing out.
|Cilantro Wild Shrimp over a bed of baby spinach with red pepper, red onion, English cucumber, roasted corn, feta, and citrus lime vinaigrette|
|Cilantro Lime Shrimp lettuce wraps on butter lettuce with satsuma tangerines, japanese cucumber, yellow pepper, red onion, wasabi fumi furikake, and yuzu dressing|
|Lettuce Wraps Closeup|
|Stuffed Flatbread "hot pockets"|
|Stuffed Flatbread with spinach tomato, onion, and feta|
While I normally demand some meat, I would have been happy as a vegetarian eating these for my meal. The flatbread is freshly made to order and retains that savory element of freshly made bread. It also works very well as the whole "hot pocket" analogy, but it's much healthier and tastier.
|Scallop Panzanella with red peppers, cucumbers (don't remember the rest) and balsamic vinaigrette|
I feel like a broken record player saying all the specials are awesome and amazing, but again this special was very well done. I had the same worry of the scallops being overcooked and ruining this dish, but they were cooked very well. The panzanella itself was very good and very satisfying. The most surprising thing is that by definition a panzanella is a salad. Usually when I eat a "salad" I will still feel hungry. However, after eating this panzanella I was very satisfied with my lunch.
|Smoked spicy Pork with mango cucumber chutney, tzatziki wrapped in house made green onion naan|
I think Dyann is very proud of this creation, and I agree whole heartedly. This is my favorite dish of all the items I've tried at Devilicious. The pork had a good spice to it which was cooled by the tzatziki, and the sweetness of the mango chutney accentuated all the flavors. The pork was also very moist, juicy and flavorful. The green onion "naan" reminded me of a Chinese green onion pancake and held together the "wrap" very well.
In the end, I don't think I can say enough good things about how impressed and satisfied I am with Devilicious. If there's any downside it's that sometimes I want to order a special that was a special so I can't order it again. The most impressive things to me about Devilicious is that you get very technically well-executed food that pays attention to flavor contrast and texture contrast. You also get this at what I'd consider a bargain price (although it is probably somewhat expensive for lunch to many people). Devilicious is easily the lunch highlight to my week when it stops by.
Since I am biased and I know I'm going to be biased, I'm only going to award Devilicious the kilobit award. I would love nothing more than to give them the megabit, but I don't think I can do it right now in good conscience.
I'll close this with some comments from Dyann and Kristina:
The last 8 weeks have been some of the most fulfilling weeks in our professional lives. It is an absolute joy to wake up every morning to go and work with my partner and best friend. We have never worked harder or more diligently to make ourselves a success, our dedicatation to each other and our business is what drives us everyday to do more and do it better then the day before. We consider ourselves lucky that our people love our food and keep coming back for more.
Enjoy, life is to short to eat bad food.
The Girls of Devilicious