FOOD TRUCK MANIA!!

 

There are a few things I miss about living in Los Angeles.  The reliably warm sunny days, shopping at the Grove followed by lunch in the Farmer’s Market, walking the Silverlake reservoir, Marty and Elaine and copious amounts of martinis at the Dresden, those crazy-ass freeways, the proximity to Channing Tatum… It’s a great city, and it’s been kind to me.  In the way that the tiger was kind to Roy that time it tried to protect him by sinking its tiger fangs into his neck and almost murdering him out of “love”.  But I digress. One of the best things about Los Angeles has to be its culinary scene full of super chef rockstars all chomping at the bit to outdo each other all the while looking bored and tattied up and above it all.  LA’s food scene is just that– a scene.  And it’s a scene I find myself daydreaming about as I get further and further out of the foodie loop.  It makes me weepy just thinking about that hamachi croque madame at Hatfield’s, the little fried bits of sweetbreads at Barbrix, and that godforsaken lobster bolognese at Melisse.  Real tears. Hungry, pouty, dramatic, I’m-an-actress-what-the-eff-do-you-expect tears.

But my very favorite thing to do in Los Angeles, and the thing I did most, was hit up the food trucks.  Every Angeleno worth their weight in skinny jeans knows that the food trucks are not to be taken lightly.  Most are run by culinary rockstars in training who decided to take their brilliance out on the road, and with offerings like kalbi beef tacos, authentic pork bahn mi, grilled macaroni and cheese sandwiches, and peanut butter-jelly-bacon cheeseburgers, it’s no wonder these food trucks have line ups teeming with loyal fans, hungry incognito actors blowing their diets, and beaten assistants to studio execs.  The lunch rush is no joke, and you best get there early to avoid the raging disappointment when you reach the front of the line only to be told that they’ve run out of cheesy tater tots.  Trust me. Real tears.

And as much as I love Vancouver, it’s never been known as a food truck city.  Maybe because it’s too damn cold and wet most days to spend any length of time in a lineup outdoors waiting for lunch when a perfectly good Cactus Club is practically on every street corner.  (FYI: Cactus Club is fine and reliable and great.  It’s also a place to go on game night when you want to be around single men looking to buy your Bellini. Not a place for a culinary epiphany, that’s for sure. Sorry, Rob Feenie.)  But something has happened since I’ve been away in LA, and things have changed here in the ‘Couv. Because now everywhere I look, food trucks are popping up faster than a fight at the Roxy (local joke!).

It was time for a tour.

I waited for a sunny day– meaning a month– and dragged good ol’ Buzz out of bed from a hungover staff-party-induced stupor to start sampling some greasy delights. She warned me that the residual vodka in her veins was going to stifle her usual wit and fervour, but after watching her walk up to my house whilst doing a dance that looked like some sort of Irish jig-like ode to her vagina, I figured she was going to be just fine. We made ourselves a little map and a schedule using www.roaminghunger.com, which every food truck veteran knows is THE website to use if you’re gonna be in-the-know on where to go (hey, that rhymes in a super lame way!), and off we set into the downtown core.

Our first stop was Coma Food, a Korean/Mexican/American concept truck operated by just the cutest smiling boys a girl could ever hope to meet on a cold day. Plus, who doesn’t love a cute boy offering free spicy miso soup while you wait?  The menu’s got delectables like kimchi quesadillas and korean chicken “nuggets”, all under $8, which in Buzz’s opinion, was the perfect way to “put the vodka fire out”.  We ordered a round of crazy-delicious and super addictive korean bbq pork tacos, and a massive sweet and spicy ground beef burrito.  Then we tried to clean up the mess of sticky sauce dribbling down our chins and hands while those cute boys laughed at us.  What else is new. The best part about this truck was the lack of a lineup, which, judging by how great the food is and how friendly the staff is, isn’t going to last for long. Go!

Cute little peppers in their cute little hats! Oh, and the menu.
Me and some tacos
The classy aftermath
Buzz + Burrito

 

Next stop was just a cruise up the street to Tacofino, but after being ignored by the less than cute and snippy girl at the window (“we’re out of stuff to make tacos, sorry bye”), we decided to skip it and keep walking up to the Bada Bing truck.  Bada Bing is all about the Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, but they also offer a traditional poutine, “animal-style” fries (just like at In-n-Out!) with fried onions and cheese, and some sort of rice lunch plate for some reason that just wasn’t gonna happen.  We opted for the chicken Philly cheesesteak, since our stomachs were full of meat from the last place, and a poutine, because Buzz is French Canadian and can’t turn down a damn poutine anywhere.  For those of you crazy folk that don’t know, poutine is french fries with gravy poured on top and a heavy dose of cheese curds. In other words, you can die from it. And Bada Bing’s poutine was a pretty amazing way to go, super crispy fries, amazing gravy, and no skimping on the curds.  Quebecois-approved.  The sandwich, however, was pretty lacklustre, prompting Buzz to announce that she needed “some mothaf**kin’ iodine, son!”. It was way bland. Like, the elevator music of cheesesteak sandwiches bland.  Maybe the beef would have been the better choice?

The menu
This is the face French Canadians make when they're about to eat poutine. It scares me.
I dislocated my jaw for this bland sandwich. For you people.

 

On we trekked to Burrard and Robson, the home of the creme de la creme of food trucks, The Roaming Dragon.  This lil truck is right down the street from my yoga place, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to blow a perfectly good workout on any one of those things on their menu.  This is pan-asian food you’d find in any good restaurant, done by chefs who clearly know what’s up.  Vietnamese pork subs, lychee lemonade, sockeye salmon “fish and chips”, even an asian-inspired poutine!  Once I calmly talked Buzz out of yet another poutine, we ordered some pork belly steamed buns and their fried rice balls. Which actually went a little something like this:

Buzz: “Hey there, buddy..”

Adorable chef: “Hi, ladies.”

Buzz: “Think we’ll take some of your balls.”

Adorable chef: “….. Um… Yep, sure thing.”

Buzz, looking at the gong hanging off the order window: “I sure like your gong. First thing I’ve seen I’ve wanted to bang all day.” BONG!

Buzz was oblivious, as usual.  I was cowering in the corner laughing so hard I was crying.

The steamed buns were totally amazing fluffy little pillows of sweet and sour richness, pork belly crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, topped with special sauce and a few slices of pickled cucumber.  The rice balls were like a Chinese version of arancini, perfectly deep fried and topped with spicy mustard.  If I wasn’t so close to throwing up at that point, I could’ve eaten a whole second order. This. Place. Was. The. Shiz.

Glory!
Buzz and buns, lookin' all innocent
Rice balls. And me, trying to hold it together

 

We had one more stop in us before we washed it all down with a bottle of Pepto, so we figured we better hit up the grilled cheese truck on Howe and Georgia. The Grilled Cheese Truck in LA was always one of my very favorite trucks, and not just because they did a wine and grilled cheese night over at my favorite wine bar once a week.  I miss it terribly. So I was praying to Beyonce that Mom’s Grilled Cheese Truck would be just as good, if not better.  And guess what?  IT’S BETTER!  They’ve got a meatloaf grilled cheese with marinara sauce, mozzarella and parmesan, a brie gruyere boursin triple decker grilled cheese called the Jackson 3, and even a dessert grilled cheese done on brioche with cinnamon mascarpone, caramelized apples, and pecans.  Or if you’re feeling traditional, you can make up your own using their “pick your bread, pick your cheese, pick your add-ons” (which prompted Buzz to launch into a bizarre “pick your bread/bum/bubble gum” song that garnered us a few stares).  Bonus? They even have tomato soup to dip your sandwich in!  We ordered the Jackson 3 of course, which was just as gooey and gluttonous as it sounds, and washed it down with cherry soda, ‘cuz our stomachs were done for anyway.

I love you, Mom!
... Is she flipping me the bird?
I a happy camper.

 

And then we curled up in a ball and moaned for awhile.  Or I moaned.  Buzz did an impression of a mentally unfit British lady from what I can only guess is the early 1900’s.

Vancouverites!  Go try these crazy trucks before word gets out and the lineups get too long!  Some of them are good enough to brave even on a <gasp!> rainy day.  But if I get there and you’ve cleaned them out of rice balls, you and I are going to have problems.

xo

 

 

40 Comments Add yours

  1. jamenta says:

    You are an angel Jewel. Bless you and food trucks everywhere.

  2. verybookish says:

    Oh god, I love your foodgasms. You are mean!

  3. Abby says:

    Lovely!
    Also, darn you because I just started a diet where NONE of this comes close to being on the menu. Now I’m going to curl up in a ball and moan for awhile.

  4. Ryan says:

    Great read as usual Jewel. You’re a fantastic blogger/writer. You make the reader feel like they’re there with you. If you haven’t thought about writing books, you should.

    I think you and Buzz could eat me under the table and I’m 6 foot three lol. I’m sure it would be a fun adventure though.

    Thanks for the continue glimpses in, and great reads.

    Ciao

  5. Al Tolkmit says:

    This blog makes me hungry and sad I don’t live in Vancouver.

  6. Cory Lievers says:

    “peanut butter-jelly-bacon cheeseburgers” ? weird, but interesting. 🙂
    Nice post. It all sounds so good.

  7. Simone says:

    I’m coming to Vancouver. No really I am…in err August! But I’m conflicted about this whole food truck experience post of yours – you have these gorgeous YUMMILICIOUS descriptions complete with pictures purposefully designed to initiate instant salivation and THEN there’s the Sponsors ads at the side all telling me how to lose weight. This is like some blogopsychological social experiment isn’t it? You’re just toying with our young impressionable minds aren’t you? (and by young I mean everyone under 40). Oh well – conflicted or not the Jackson 3 is a non negotiable – that baby is going down.

  8. Old_Warhorse says:

    Yep, you’ve definitely been in Los Angeles too long when you get put off by a little Pacific Northwet liquid sunshine. 😉

    Thanks for the write-up on the food trucks, I definitely plan to give them a shot the next time I’m up in Vancouver! I just we we had something even remotely similar down here on the Washington coast. :-/

  9. Martin says:

    Ryan’s right… write a book. You’re funny as hell.

  10. F. says:

    OMG Actresses that actually eat poutine – God bless you for tossin’ that stereotype out the window! But Poutine isn’t just a French Canadian Thing you know ( You’re Canadian afterall) it’s just that it’s generally better in Quebec.

    So is crème molle, but that’s another story.

    Love the food truck adventures!
    Ms F.

  11. Chrissy says:

    I’ve never heard of these food trucks, but now I’m checking out that website for a Chicago one… Oh hey, I’ve SEEN the cupcake truck. Never knew what it was. Thanks Jewel!

    C

  12. Josh says:

    I will buy all the rice balls, then I can brag, “Jewel Staite? Yeah I know her. One time she punched me in the face… it was awesome.”

  13. Maryann says:

    Well, now I definitely have to go to Vancouver in April – this would be AWESOME to do!

  14. Ben says:

    Buzz is a bad influence on you… or is it the other way around? LOL

  15. Kriss says:

    I had just woken up when I read the email and totally misread the title of this blog….yep my mind is one track! a dirt one! LOL

    A lovely blog and great pics too!

    Kriss 🙂

  16. Brad says:

    Ahhh I miss living in Vancouver. The winter there is like a nice spring day in Winnipeg. The menu at Mom’s sounds like something from heaven as does the poutine.

  17. Rose says:

    One of my favorites is Grilled Cheese with tomato soup. Thanks Jewel for making me hungry. Great blog.

  18. Claire Bear says:

    Aww man, you made me get all hungry.

  19. Laura says:

    I wish we had more food trucks where I live. The Grilled Cheese truck sounds the best. I love a good grilled cheese!! This makes me want to move to Vancouver so much more now and I didn’t think that was possible!

  20. kitten says:

    wait, the Taco truck was out of stuff for tacos? that is all kinds of wrong.
    also, I gained five pounds reading about Mom’s. Must go try it…

  21. Warren says:

    Yes! Write! You do it well. Thanks for the well-deserved shout-out for Vancouver.

  22. Andy says:

    Damn! I read this on an empty stomach – 15 minutes till lunch….
    innards making grumblin noises.

  23. Jason says:

    Reading your blog always brings a smile to my face and make me extremely hunger at the same time. Thanks for the laughs!

  24. Cat says:

    I’ve had a taco from Tacofino before and it was delicious, but by the time I received it, nearly half an hour after ordering, pretty much anything would have been delicious.

    I also love Mom’s Grilled Cheese too. They’re never there when I walk by, but the time they were, SO GOOD.

    Once you have recovered you have to try the pulled pork sandwich at Re-Up BBQ on the other side of the Art Gallery (Georgia & Hornby). La Brasserie (on Georgia at Granville) was also delicous.

  25. Natalie says:

    This is awesome! I already wanted to check out Vancouver, but you just keep adding to my list of reasons. Also, I know what you mean about food trucks popping up in unexpected places! Minneapolis, MN, my city, (and its sister city, St. Paul) just passed laws that allow food trucks, so we’ve started to get a healthy crop of them over the past couple years, and it is so great! It gets damn cold, here, too, but they come out when they can.

    Thanks for the great posts, as per usual!

  26. James says:

    After years in the Navy, spending several fun times at various ship yards around the globe, I can say with all seriousness, and a straight face- I LOVE food trucks!
    Some of the absolute best Mexican cuisine I have ever had, came from a food truck. (Is anyone getting the idea that I may have a very generic palate?)
    And Oh yes, Jewel I hope that someday you get stuck in a role opposite of Channing Tatum, If for no other reason, then to see how red your face gets the first few days of shooting. :o)
    Take care, funny Lady!

  27. Quinn says:

    Oh my word, this is so very relevant to my interests! I’m about 6 months into a move from Washington, DC (…an increasing number of food trucks, but still sad), where I got up to New York regularly (FOOD HEAVEN. And oh my word, the food trucks-!!), to a small Southern college town which has, seriously, no food worth eating. I MISS FOOD TRUCKS.

    You’ve inspired me to go pig out pretty hard next time I’m in a city. As if I needed the encouragement, oi.

  28. Jaime says:

    I’ve never eaten food off of a truck (unless you count Dell’s Lemonade, which is really the only way to get it). You’re so bold when it comes to food. I’m too wary of everything I eat to try new things. :/

  29. Bernie says:

    Your write-up on food trucks makes me so hungry!

  30. DWG says:

    Ah yes!, the infamous food truck. Do they still call them “Roach Coaches”? Nice change of venue for a writing subject, keeps your blog interesting. Good job as always.

  31. Kari says:

    Love your style. Writing. Fashion. You’re wonderful. With all this food, though, how on Earth do you stay so petite? My trying-to-keep-eating-what-i-want-and-still-stay-under-125-pounds brain wants to know what forms of exercise you do! Or maybe you’re just a young lady with an amazing metabolism and genes! 😉

  32. CobyLyn says:

    You lucky chick! Down here in Oceanside California, we JUST got the ok from the city to let food trucks serve food! O.M.G.!! I can hardly wait for them!! Just hope they do a map like the one you were using! Love you Jewel, Keep on keeping on Girl!! Big hugs!

  33. Hockeyturtle says:

    Love the post and perfect timing since we’ll be in Vancouver soon and I love good poutine. So happy you are in Vancouver because you post about yummy restaurants in a city I actually get to visit often since its only a couple hours drive.

  34. SheStumbledIn says:

    No Japadog? I saw it featured on Food Network. The way people were raving about it I was about to book a trip to Vancouver, and I’m vegetarian!

  35. Julia says:

    Ooh, your blog is always a delight to read, and those tasty treats are inspiring me to finally stalk the Taco Truck that prowls the streets of Melbourne. But, as ridiculous as this is, what most mesmerises me about this post is your nail colour… oh, might you someday share your beauty tips with us? <3

  36. clint says:

    Sadly, the Coma Food Truck is no more 🙁 But I see the Bada Bing truck parked down the road from me alllll the time. I’ll have to check it out.
    @SheStumbledIn Japadog is technically a cart, not a truck. And they’re gross, IMHO

  37. Anonymous says:

    Jewel, thank you. Your blog has lit up my otherwise miserable day and mood. Look forward to future posts.
    Also, GO BROWNCOATS!

  38. Dick Palin says:

    Jewel, thank you. Your blog has lit up my otherwise miserable day and mood. Look forward to future posts. /sycophanticbrowncoatcomment

  39. Coma says:

    Thanks for the great post I’ve just read this now… forgot about it… love the reviews I’m currently in NYC which offers the BEST food scene in NA regions… much more diversity and great foods here you should come down here next time… believe it or not I’ve lived and traveld LA before but think of it as 100x better than West coast has to offer no offense but its the truth!
    BTW if you are in NY by any chance just try the MOMOFUKU empire especially noodle bar it’s a heaven that you will never forget the taste just completed Momofuku Ssam bar, Milk bar, Noodle bar but by far I loved everything… can’t believe it’s opening in Toronto this summer!

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