What the experts recommend: Gourmet food trucks

Trained chefs are launching gourmet food trucks across the nation.

From New York to Texas to California, a “gourmet food-truck trend” is sweeping America, said Tovin Lapan in The San Diego Union-Tribune. City dwellers on the go have long turned to mobile vendors for hot dogs, ice cream, and other snacks. But the new-wave trucks, typically launched by trained chefs, serve restaurant-quality fare. Part of the credit for the trucks’ popularity belongs to Twitter and Facebook, which can give “followers up-to-the-minute reports on their locations.” Los Angeles’ Kogi Korean BBQ-To-Go, with a strong online presence, draws lines hundreds deep for its “Korean tacos.”

Los Angeles, Austin, New York, and Portland, Ore., are leading the food-truck movement, said Chris Macias in The Sacramento Bee. Each city has different rules about health inspections, permits, and where the trucks may park. Even so, many trucks operate in a legal gray zone, and they’ve had more success gaining support from foodies than from city officials. Sacramento limits food trucks to stops of no more than 30 minutes—and not after 6 p.m. Other local governments are considering their own restrictions.

You know a trend has hit the big time when it spawns its own reality show, said Josh Eells in The New York Times. Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race is following seven food trucks and their respective chefs—who cook everything from crepes to Cajun fare—on a six-week cross-country race. The nation’s pedestrians are already winners: “America’s streets are filled as never before with high-quality meals on wheels.”

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Trucks Around the Country

Big Mistas

Los Angeles

The slow-cooked, spice-rub-massaged beef brisket is the top draw at this mobile barbecue pit, said Miles Clements in the Los Angeles Times. But regulars know to keep an eye out for “sybaritic specials,” such as pulled-pork nachos. Bigmista.com



This shiny silver cart features a classically trained chef, said Victoria Pesce Elliott in The Miami Herald. Its ever-changing menu has included a “Vietnamese-inspired banh mi taco with pulled pork and spicy Japanese mayo” and liquid nitrogen frozen shakes. Gastropodmiami.com

Jen ’n Outlaw’s Fish Fry Truck and Crawfish Boil

New York City

“Gulf-area seafood with a postmodern twist” is the theme behind this truck, said Melena Ryzik in The New York Times. Try the po’boys overflowing with slaw and tangy remoulade and the crayfish boiled with corn, potatoes, garlic, onion, and spices. Twitter.com/jenandoutlaws

The Frying Scotsman

Portland, Ore.

This top-rated truck serves up U.K.-style fried food, from traditional fish and chips to a newly added deep-fried Mars bar, said Ruth Brown in the Willamette, Ore., Week. Owner James King, who hails from Scotland, calls the latter his homeland’s “unofficial national dish.” Thefryingscotsmanpdx.com

Chef Shack

St. Paul, Minn.

The menu often changes, but local ingredients prevail, said Kathie Jenkins in the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Recent “delicious offerings” have included watermelon-tomato gazpacho, tacos stuffed with pulled pork or sweet potato, and bacon and beer brats. Twitter.com/chefshack1

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