Food Truck Virgin No More!
I am happy to report that I am no longer a Food Truck virgin. I am now an experienced street-eater! I have been a long-time food-truck follower (stalker) but the opportunity has continually eluded me, and it’s been aggravating. It’s not that I haven’t been trying!
Ask any of my close, personal friends (it’s a small, but enviable list – I’ll wait here, you go ask them) and they’ll tell you any time I plan a trip out of town, whether it’s work-related or for fun, I’m looking for food trucks. There are no food trucks in my little tiny town (and don’t think I haven’t thought about it …) but there are plenty of teasers available: television shows like Eat Street, websites dedicated to mobile restaurants and the countless food magazines I subscribe to are a constant source of longing – and frustration!
When I found the Lone Wolf food truck in Tulsa, Oklahoma a few weeks ago, I’ll be honest and admit I wasn’t even looking for street food. It found me! I was in Tulsa for work (they hosted the 2013 BASSMASTER Classic if any of you out there are bass fishing fans) but I didn’t have tons of free time to go on food adventures.
I just simply got lucky. Famous last words from a food-truck virgin!
Working the Classic consisted of walking back and forth between the Expo Show located in the Tulsa Convention Center, and the daily weigh-ins at the BOK (Bank of Oklahoma) Center, which resembles a large roll of silvery duct-tape. If you’ve ever enjoyed the pure bliss of hanging out in a convention center, you’ll understand when I tell you the food available at those establishments are rarely hawking Vietnamese and French Fusion dishes.
Okay, the pulled pork sandwich wasn’t bad, and at $6.50 (cheap for convention hall food) it didn’t break the bank, either, but it paled in comparison to what I was handed from the Lone Wolf Food Truck. It was white-washed, I tell ya.
Slinging my camera bag from one shoulder to another, I turned the corner from the convention center headed toward BOK when my eyes were met with the most beautiful site a food-adventure-lover can behold: a long line of food trucks gleaming magnificently in the sun, brightly outshining the silvery duct-tape building behind them.
There were lots of barbecue trucks and hot-dog trucks (mid-westerners love their gourmet hot dogs!) but it was the “vietnamese and french fusion” that caught my eye. I’ll drop a baby for a good banh mi (this has never happened and I’d like to think it wouldn’t, but I’m not making any promises).
And I guess, that’s really what the draw has been all along for me when it comes to food trucks. A large majority of them are reinventing and “fusing” and mashing up different cuisines and I don’t have to make a serious commitment. If I like them, I’ll “follow” them. If I love them I’ll stalk them. If I hate them, I don’t have to feel guilty every time I drive by their brick-and-mortar establishment - because there IS no brick-and-mortar establishment. Who am I kidding? I love everything. Yeesh.
Here’s where things get nutty. I was so excited to be part of the folks “on line” waiting for a delicious banh mi that I nearly stroked out when I saw the menu for the day only contained various types of Kimchi Fries.
“No banh mi?” I implored beseechingly, batting my big, round, sad, watery eyes at the perky menu-taker.
“We’re so sorry, but at special events like these we can’t make enough bread to last more than a couple hours, so we have to go with stuff we can make a lot of quickly.”
No banh mi. The disappointment quickly faded when I was referred to their Lemongrass Tofu Kimchi Fries. Crispy fries loaded with a spicy queso cheese sauce, lemongrass tofu and spicy kimchi, then drizzled with a fresh cucumber relish and zingy chile aioli. And to keep from going completley meatless, they topped it with a fried egg for me.
Wait a minute, this was neither Vietnamese (unless you count the lemongrass) nor French (unless you count the aioli). Whaaaa?
‘Tis true, fellow food lovers, but it WAS fantastic. It was crunchy and salty and spicy and sweet from the caramelized kimchi. Don’t let the fresh cilantro and cucumber fool you – this thing was a heavy hitter. I figured all the walking around I was doing during the show would help me work it off.
I could have eaten one of these every day I was there, but I stayed strong. I’m no longer a food truck virgin, but I sure don’t want to come across as easy!