The Truck: A Lunch in Hand, found on Wednesdays in Georgetown at the Minuteman Press (11 a.m. - 2 p.m.) and Thursdays in Wallingford at Uptown Espresso (11 a.m. - 2 p.m.) with more information on Twitter and Facebook.
The Fare: Slow-cooked meats and/or fillings, baked in a neat puff pastry.
The Stop: Chris Collier is trying to do something that seems contradictory at first: turn slow-cooked food into fast food. When he started brainstorming ideas for his truck a year ago, he wanted to give busy customers slow-cooked food in hand-held, edible "containers" that could be devoured on the go.
Collier, who said he's worked in the food industry for over half his life, recalled eating empanadas in Argentina and pasties in England, and came up with his own West Seattle version: puff pastries, filled with slow-cooked ingredients.
"My general idea was that all of these people have a great idea here," Collier said. "They've been doing it for hundreds of years - I thought doing it in a puff pastry was a little different."
He rounded up family, friends and neighbors, all of whom gladly helped him decide that puff pastries, in their flaky, layered glory, would be the best thing to Collier's slow-cooked meat and fillings.
And Collier's taste testers were right. His triangular pocket pastries, all which are $4 and have punny names, have given the phrase "fast food" a new meaning. You might say that Collier has made somewhat traditional slow-cooked food much sexier, and much more unique, by sticking it in a sleek, ready-to-eat shell.
Bite into the "farmhand" and through the layers of buttery, crispy baked dough, and you'll find lamb that's been braised in a red wine sauce. A rich goat cheese mashed potato brings a heartiness that'll make you both nostalgic for home cooking and crave even more mashed potatoes - these mashers could be eaten on their own. Collier said he's been making this braised lamb for years, and it shows - it's impossible to stop eating.
When coming up with the truck's vegetarian option, the "green thumb," he wanted it to be filling. With its mixture of white beans, escarole, carrot, onion, garlic, and truffle oil, it is, yes, filling, but also savory. The white beans have a creamy texture, complemented by the pastry's flaky nature.
Collier said he has plans to expand his menu to include cold items that still can be consumed in one hand, like shots of tuna poke.
For now, though, Collier will continue handing off his puff pastries at record speeds for slow-cooked food.