Sunday, August 8, 2010

Beep Beep! Gourmet Food Trucks Hit the Streets

Among the vintage trinkets and treasures found within the Hell’s Kitchen Flea Market, some of the best gourmet food trucks from in and around the New York City area gathered today for the New York Gourmet Food Truck Bazaar.

New-age food trucks are like restaurants on wheels. These aren’t the meal trucks you find on the side of the road or in the back lot of your job. These trucks are more steak and pommes frites than dirty water hot dogs and chips, more crème brulee than ding dongs and yodels. Behind the wheel are innovative, culinary-minded entrepreneurs, and restaurants looking for mobile expansion. Cooking their way through the streets, gourmet food trucks are serving up quality and specialty food items all across the country. To spot one is enough to make a fully grown adult want to run along the sidewalk waving dollars in their hands, as if they were a child who just heard the ice cream man.

Those looking to get their gourmet food truck fix in Manhattan have to keep their eyes peeled as they often park at different locations. But for one day (although the lines are a bit longer), hungry customers could get their fill from several of the trucks in one place. Here’s a rundown of all the vehicles featured at the Gourmet Food Truck Bazaar:

BLT Go Burger:

BLT Go Burger is an extension of Chef Laurent Tourondel’s BLT restaurants, with locations across the country. The menu consists of hot dogs, shakes, fries, and juicy burgers made from top-notch ingredients. The burgers range from classic with all the fixings, to the “Lamb Merquez” with Colorado lamb and Mint-Cilantro Yogurt Sauce and the Salmon burger with Atlantic salmon, avocado, baby arugula, and zesty-cayenne tartar sauce. You would never expect to get such a great burger off of a truck. Since May, BLT Go Burger has been primarily stationed at the South Street Seaport but still travels to other neighborhoods four times a month.

Big Gay Ice Cream Truck: 

I first read about the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck in a Delta Sky magazine article written by Andrew Zimmern. I never forgot his mention of the so popular, can’t even put on the menu because they can’t meet the demand, ingenious creation, dubbed “The Choinkwich”: chocolate soft-serve ice cream sandwiched in between two chocolate cookies with caramelized bacon--OMG.

Owner Douglas Quint, a classically trained bassoonist, got his Big Gay Ice Cream Truck on the road in June of 2009. Starting with a base of fluffy soft-serve ice cream, Douglas has earned many accolades for his smart, tasty, and sometimes unconventional toppings. Some of the menu’s stranger offerings include sriracha, olive oil and sea salt, ginger snap with curry power, cayenne, and ground cardamom toppings. “The Salty Pimp” is a popular choice, with vanilla ice cream, dulce de leche and sea salt, all dipped in chocolate. I got the “Bea Arthur”: Vanilla ice cream with dulce de leche, covered in crushed vanilla wafers. Check out all of the other good stuff they have.

The Rickshaw Dumpling Truck allows Rickshaw Dumpling Bar located in the Flatiron District to spread their dumpling love all over town. Like most of the gourmet trucks, the menu is limited. You have a choice of three types of dumplings along with a few soups, salads, and sides. The watermelon lemonade was perfect for fighting off the heat. The pork and chicken and Thai basil dumplings were also  satisfying.

Stated best on their website, The Krave Korean BBQ truck has “One simple mission: Korean BBQ for all.” The truck, which normally resides in Jersey City, had one of the longest lines at the Gourmet Food Truck Bazaar. They actually closed down early. It was so busy, that they easily could have run out of food. I did not get to taste any but I sure wanted to. Listen to this: Korean tacos with a choice of short rib, sesame chicken, or tangy pork, served with sour cream, shredded kimchi, and onion-cilantro relish. My mouth is watering--I don’t know about yours! They also have “kimchidillas,” like a quesadilla but with kimchi, and “kravers” sandwiches with meat, kimichi, and onion-cilantro relish on a brioche bun.

Kelvin Natural Slush Co.:

One of the newest gourmet trucks to hit the streets, Kelvin Natural Slush Co. truck just made its debut in June. It is owned and operated by former lawyer and flavorful frozen slushy lover, Alex Rein. As explained on their blog, the truck is named “Kelvin” after the Kelvin temperature scale; it is a nod to “absolute zero.”

The concept behind the truck takes all-natural slush flavors like spicy ginger and tangy citrus, and combines them with your choice of fruit puree. The truck was so busy that the slushy machines could barely slush in time for the crowd. I got the tangy citrus with strawberry puree, and it was delicious. On a hot day, it is just completely irresistible. It was a food experience that I won’t soon forget.

The gourmet food truck trend is really taking off. In fact, the trucks that were at Gourmet Food Truck Bazaar all range from fairly new to brand spanking new; none are much older than a year. And you know Food Network had to get in on it. The Great Food Truck Race, a competition between gourmet trucks from all over the country, will be running on Sunday nights starting August 15th. Although the show was advertised on a few of the trucks at the Bazaar, none will be competing.


Island Vittles said...

looks like a street-food eater`s nirvana! I wish I could have been there...Theresa

Tanantha @ I Just Love My Apron said...

Do you know how much I'm allergic to food trucks?! I will go try and eat it! I don't know why when it has a food truck name on it; I feel it would taste better :)


Oh I love this post! This is my favorite kind of food. I wish I could try it all!

Alice said...

The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck? Oh my gosh, that's so awesome! Gotta love the South Park references.

Shirley said...

I would kill for a Korean BBQ truck! Or maybe hijacking will do. Makes me want to move back to NY.

Foodessa said... 'a propos' to bring up this post. Hubby and I just finished seeing a documentary last weekend on food truck businesses. Everything looked so wonderful and lots of hard work from these Foodie passionistas.

Great, fun post. Thanks

Ciao for now,

Magic of Spice said...

Great post...I have a friend who is just fascinated with food trucks:)

Lazaro Cooks! said...

Looks like a fun day in the sun. I wish I could eat food from a food truck. But, I know I wouldn't.

Interesting read.