While it is hard believe after we all watched on in horror as flurries of white fell gracefully from the sky this past week, the calendar doesn’t lie: spring is here. Soon, Old Man Winter will give up on terrorizing us with blustery winds and cold fronts, and warm weather will swoop in to save our souls. Or at least, that’s the kind of hope I’ve been clinging to as I cocoon under every blanket I own night after night. Spring brings more than sunshine, blooms, open-toed shoes, and wheezing, though. It also brings one of the cities best food options out of hibernation. Yes, that’s right, with warmer weather, the cities’ wheels start turning, delicious smells start wafting through 70-degree air, and food trucks are back in season. If you think of food trucks as folks that are hopping from street corner to street corner trying to evade a health inspection, think again. Our city is packed with food trucks that can put sit-down restaurants to shame. The lines are worth it, the hype is deserved, and one serving is never enough. Here are some food trucks worth tracking around town:
Don’t worry, this truck doesn’t cater exclusively to your sweet tooth, as the name might suggest. In actuality, this truck specializes in comfort food, inspired by the food scene down south in NOLA. Their slogan is “divine comfort food,” and after just a glance at their menu, I feel all warm and fuzzy and like I should get my GPS tracker out and hunt them down STAT. A look at their menu:
PO’ BOY: Local fried seafood on a sub roll dressed with remoulade, a spicy Cajun mayonnaise, & our tangy sweet vinegar slaw. With your choice of oyster, catfish, or shrimp.
Etoufee: A southern favorite with plump crawfish or shrimp smothered in a cream Louisiana stew and served with rice.
Brown Butter Bourbon Bread Puddin’ (Their namesake dish!): Bread, butter, bourbon. Delicious!
If you’re going to get dinner by way of food truck, you’ve got to get a grilled cheese. These aren’t your typical made-at-home, you’ve-given-up-on-life, grease-bomb grilled cheeses (shout out to those, though) –– these are gourmet grilled cheeses that take the cheese and bread combination experience to the next level. A look at their menu:
Jalapeño Popper: Provolone, apricot preserve, cream cheese, grilled jalapeños, and bacon on ciabatta.
Say Spaghetti: Angel hair pasta with meat sauce, ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan cheese, on ciabatta. Try with Alfredo sauce!
Pepe’s food truck is proof to chefs and food trucks everywhere: even street food can be next level. José Andrés, a famed Spanish-American chef that has brought many food concepts, tapas, and satisfied stomachs to be in the DC metro area, rolled out the Pepe concept as his first food truck venture. Pepe continues Andrés’ Spanish theme, but with a casual twist that doesn’t disappoint. A look at the menu:
Jamón Serrano y Queso Manchego: Serrano ham, Manchego cheese, and olive oil
Pollo Frito: Fried chicken breast with lettuce, piparra peppers, aioli, and brava sauce
Gazpacho Estilo Algeciras: Classic chilled Spanish soup made with tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and bread
While most food trucks have enough street cred to have punny names and fun logos, PhoWheels takes it to the next level with their Hot Wheels reference. Before I even know pho’ sho that their food is good, I’m hooked. In reality, the food alone is enough to keep me coming back for more. PhoWheels is a family business that is inspired by the authentic taste of Vietnamese food, but also influenced by Chinese and French flavors. Their food is spiced just right, and their menu has a little something for everyone. A look at their menu:
Tacos: Cilantro, pickled carrots and daikon, Sriracha lime mayo, Roti Canai (Malaysian flatbread) and a meat choice of chicken thigh, pork-belly, or mushroom-onion tofu.
Pho: Vietnamese beef noodle soup with basil, cilantro, red onions, scallions, lime, jalapeños, rice noodles, beef-bone broth, and a meat choice of eye-round steak, beef-tendon meatballs, and chicken breast.
If you’ve never been privy to an arepa, consider this a sign: you should totally make yourself familiar with this delicious South American style food. Arepa Zone has won many awards in the DC area such as “Best Chef, Customer Service, and Breakthrough Dish (Tequenos) in 2015, “Best New Food Truck” and “Food Truck of the Year” in 2014, and more. ArepaZone also has brick-and-mortar locations at 14th Street and Union Market, if you’re not up to playing hide-and-seek with their meals on wheels. A look at their menu:
Original Tequenos: Five cheese tequenos served with Arepa Zone garlic-cilantro dipping sauce.
Beef Patacon: Plantain sandwich, coleslaw, queso fresco, green & pink sauce
Tres Leches: Three milk cake
Of course, the number of worthwhile food trucks on the DC scene could fill up a large parking lot ten times over. To explore more options (and keep tabs on the ones you want to try), check out Roaming Hunger.