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While new food truck legislation hasn't resulted in an overwhelming surge of food trucks or creation of fixed truck pods a la Portland, new trucks are opening almost every week. And if the quantity isn't crushing, the trucks' overall quality is reason for mobile food fans to celebrate.
But there are a few standouts. Roll With Jen, who covers the mobile food scene for Voracious, says the following 10 trucks are the ones you ought to wish were permanently parked outside your office. As always, Erin Thompson helped compile our contributors' comments, and the numbering of the finalists has absolutely no significance.
Fusion on the Run founder Cassandra Seaman, with her surfer-Hawaiian-Portlandia roots, has managed to create a beast cuisine that's best coined as "Hawaiiamesicorean." This beast makes the sweet flavors of Hawaiian fare play nice with the herbs of Vietnamese cuisine, and become best friends with the flavors found in Korean and Mexican foods. The results? A peaceful marriage of simple flavors that go together just right, in the form of banh mi sandwiches and tacos. The Kahlua pork sandwich, with slow-roasted pulled pork, grilled pineapple, cilantro, surfer sauce, a sesame slaw, and pickled red onion, is tangy and juicy.
9. Snout & Co.
Miami native Lee Scott has developed a reputation for delivering solid Cuban and Southern-influenced food. Every Saturday from 4-9 p.m., Scott parks the mobile Snout in Hilliard's Brewery's parking lot, and the brewery smartly lets customers bring their meals inside. (It's at various locations around the city from 11-2 on weekdays). Scott's pressed Seattle Cuban with red onion relish and chimichurri mango sauce is a standout--he says it's usually the first order he runs out of--and his collard greens come with enough ham hock to qualify as an entree. And the vegetarian option holds its own: Overflowing with beets, quinoa, and water chestnuts mixed in with arugula, havarti and onion relish, the vegetarian burger is as flavorful and as filling as its meaty counterparts.
Ever since opening in 2011, Tyler Rebman and Matthew Pontious have been representing the Seattle food truck scene with their flat bread sandwich creations and Sasquatch-habitat-camoflauged truck. Customers will find a smashing combination of Caribbean and East Indian influenced sauces and braised meats served on Indian-styled naan bread or basmati rice. The Sequoia offers pulled chicken with tomato chutney and cilantro-sriracha sauce; the Sasquatch is a spicy pulled pork with a mango chutney and slaw; and the vegetarian Redwood is paneer cheese with pineapple and red onion. There are also chicken wings that are positively gargantuan and served with a generous amount of coriander mayo, making for an unusual and delicious appetizer meant to share.
Seattle native Brooke Sumner's crepe truck is differentiating itself from the rest by creating anything but your run-of-the-mill French crepe. Using local ingredients to create concoctions that pay homage to cuisine across the globe, it is hard to choose between the ten crepes available on the menu. The Shorty's combination of charmoula chicken, sweet corn, spinach and manchego transports you somewhere between Spain and Morocco. With a couple squirts of sriracha sauce, you have got yourself a multi-national meal. The Wedge, which straddles the balance beam between sweet and savory: Brie cheese and Zoe's bacon meet a healthy dose of local peaches and onion chutney. All savory crepes come with a side of mixed greens dressed in light vinaigrette that makes it a balanced meal even your mom would approve.
Pinky's is a BBQ stand and joint venture between Andrew Bray, former proprietor of Bizarro, and Freddy Rivas, one of the owners of Rancho Bravo. The Sloppy Joe is classic American, but the pork slider is an up-market standout. Instead of the usual pork shreds, this pulled piggie is loaded with slabs of meat seasoned in their own onsite smoker. Buns are puffy and buttered and toasted on the grill, providing a nice crisp layer between meat and bread. Extras include homemade potato chips at $1.85 an order, and for $3, the chunky potato salad is pleasantly seasoned with dill and mustard.
At Cheese Wizards, avid sci-fi fans Bo Saxbe and his little brother Tom aren't just strictly relying on cheese to be their focal point. This truck offers a variety of grilled cheese sandwiches with a little bit of sci-fi and fantasy thrown into the mix. The Holy Hand Grenade sandwich is served on a pretzel roll and stuffed with havarti and juicy tomato. Durin's Bane, which is Wizard's version of the Cuban, has manchego, spicy cappicola, and jalapenos, and the mustard dipping sauce adds another level of pop in your mouth. The sandwiches are crispy on the outside with cheese perfectly melted on the inside.
4. Garden Sushi
There is something original, adventurous and all around wacky about eating sushi from a food truck, especially one parked by a gas station. Go-to options at Garden are the salmon and avocado roll, topped with an edible flower made from cucumber slices and ginger, and the eel, which is spot-on with a soy-based sauce that is the perfect combination of sweet and salty. The fish stays fresh, and the dining tent offers a calm oasis while you chow down on $2 rolls that are easy on your palate--and your wallet.
Before the food truck explosion, Hallava Falafel was there, striving to serve classic and authentic falafel in an accessible, affordable way. Founded in 2006, Hallava Falafel is now parked permanently on Airport Way South in Georgetown, across from the decrepit brick edifices that give Georgetown its signature industrial chic. Step up and order a falafel sandwich. Packed into a fat pita with a piquant tzatziki dressing, tender shredded beets, salted cucumbers, lettuce, and a pickle spear, the fried chickpea rounds are in very good company. Messy, well-balanced, and filling, this not-so-new portable meal is one of the tastiest you'll find.
Matt Lewis' sandwiches--served from his roving food truck, Where Ya At Matt--bring a taste of the South to the Seattle sandwich scene. Po'boys overflow with lightly breaded seafood (catfish, oysters, or shrimp) that's fried crisp and nestled inside lightly toasted buns dressed with mayo, pickles, chopped lettuce, and tomatoes. The Peacemaker combines those fried oysters with bacon, pickled hot peppers, and Cheddar. Add some Crystal hot sauce and be transported from the side of the street to the shores of the Bayou.
1. Off the Rez
1. Off the Rez
When the fooderati first caught on to food trucks, it was the extraordinarily high-caliber versions of idiosyncratic dishes that made their hearts race. But culinary entrepreneurs' dreams quickly outnumbered creative ideas, so the latest crop of Seattle food trucks is serving crepes, barbecue, and noodles with red sauce. Thank goodness for Off the Rez, which has taken advantage of the format to showcase a cuisine that isn't available in any local restaurant. The foundation of Off the Rez's Native American menu is frybread, the savory doughnuts that show up at powwows. The truck turns its inflated pads of bread into tacos and sugar-topped desserts, and a grateful Capitol Hill crowd has turned the snacks into a late-night sensation.