This summer we grazed at food trucks in New York City, where we live, and Portland, the last stop on our summer vacation traveling along the spectacular coast of Oregon. Here’s our take on tasty truck fare:
Luc: In Manhattan, we had lunch at the Hell’s Kitchen flea market, where food trucks gathered in conjunction with the Food Network’s Food Truck Challenge. We ate at the Rickshaw Dumplings truck — one of my neighborhood favorite places for good food fast — followed by very good dessert from The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck where they had pretty cool flavor and topping combinations (wasabi pea dust or cayenne pepper) and fun names to go with them – Cococone (vanilla and coconut), Bea Arthur (vanilla, dulce de leche and crushed Nilla Wafers) and the Gobbler (cranberries and pumpkin butter). We had the “Salty Pimp,” a combination of vanilla soft serve ice cream (I substituted chocolate), piped with stripes of caramel, dotted with salt, dipped and covered with chocolate. Delicious salty chocolate-y goodness. You can follow the Big Gay Ice Cream truck
In Portland, trucks are nearly everywhere. Not just in the city, also in the suburbs. Interesting fare of good food — really good food in some cases — on the go. Good food for anyone, a quick office break or just want some good food. I love Thai, so I tried some stir fry. I love stir fry. It was one of my favorite dishes to make for a while. This was one of the top stir fry I ever had. It was fun to watch them make it right there, the ingredients were very fresh and had a great blend of flavors.
We tried a sample of steamed dumplings. I usually prefer pan-fried, but they were surprisingly just as good. The sampler included pork and an interesting combination of potato curry and bacon and cheese. At night, after dinner at a local restaurant with friends just outside the city center in Sellwood, we already had dessert, but passing by the Oregon Ice Works we couldn’t resist trying the Italian ices — especially when we saw one of the flavors was Mojito (a virgin version). Ice Works quickly became my favorite truck in Portland. Next day we returned to the same group of trucks for lunch to try some of the savory fare. This time it was grilled chicken sandwich with pesto on ciabatta. It was up there with the best chicken sandwich I’ve ever had.
Christine: A sweltering day made Hell’s Kitchen live up to its name as I waited more than a half an hour in the 90+ degree hit and burning sun to get a taste of The Krave’s Koren barbecue. The sampler taco trio of the day was pork, chicken and short ribs. Well well worth the wait. I tried some Koren tacos from a Portland food cart. Nearly as good, but The Krave’s barbecue meats were more flavorful, making it even more delicious. Have to agree with Luc that Oregon Ice Works was a fav of mine, too. There’s a slush truck that we waited (and waited and waited) to open at the Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market, but gave up waiting and tried the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck. I think Luc’s description says it all. The owner plays trivia games and gives out prizes to make the wait less tedious. I wish Manhattan had a truck, cart, kiosk scene that was even just a fraction of Portland’s, whose providers number more than 200 (I’ve even read that there are 400 carts). I guess we have that many if you count all the dirty water dog seller (NY-speak for hot dog stands) and middle eastern push carts, but I much prefer Asian, Mexican and Indian. As such, I crave Krave.
Big Gay Ice Cream Truck — for schedule and locations, biggayicecream.com
For a guide to Portland’s street food — foodcartsportland.com
The Krave — for schedule and locations, thekrave.tumblr.com