Friday, May 11, 2012

Very deep thoughts on D.C. area food trucks

As there are more and more of them gathered around Metro Center around lunchtime, I've made an effort to try a bunch. Some notes:

D.C. Empanadas (sorry, no tilde on this keyboard) is unorthodox but reliably good. Their empanadas are fried and don't have the pie-crust like texture of the ones I ate in Argentina. The fillings also have cutesy names and are not especially traditional. But they're yummy. The sandwich cookies are good too.

Pepe, Jose Andres's entrant into the food truck world, is arguably trying to be D.C.'s fanciest food truck with its $22 iberico sandwich. Yes, the ham is really yummy. No, I wouldn't ever spend that much money again; the Spanish grilled cheese is $9 and is perhaps only 5% less delicious for half the price. The Buitarra burger is heavenly as well. Yes, the sandwiches are really small. But I'm barely over five feet tall, for heaven's sake. Large portions aren't appealing. They either subtly encourage me to eat more than I really should or lead me to wind up with a one-pound box of shrimp scampi lingering in the refrigerator for three days. Eating leftovers more than once is unappealing. I'm happier spending the same amount of money for a smaller portion with better quality ingredients. Relatedly, is there a button I can use on sites like Yelp to screen out all the people giving restaurants low stars because of small portion size?

I wanted to like Red Hook Lobster Pound more than I did. I love lobster rolls, but I think Luke's Lobster just does them better. I'll have to try their other style of lobster roll (I had CT rather than ME.) Maybe the problem is that I'm just doing it wrong.

Tyler Cowen says in his book that there are some people who are just doomed not to like Korean food, no matter how hard they try. I fear I might be one of them. I've attempted TaKorean and Far East Taco Grille. I get that their ingredients are fresh and delicious and that they're executing their concept right. But I'm just not falling head over heels somehow. Maybe this is the culinary equvialent of going out with the proverbial Nice Guy who shares so many of your interests on paper, but with whom things always lack a certain spark.

I like CapMac's MarcoBolo a lot. The Classic Mac and Cheese felt too decadent; I can't quite get behind the concept of cheez it curls tossed on top to give the crunch that panko does.

House of Falafel made me wait in line for twenty minutes for mediocre falafel. D.C. Ballers is better, with decadent fries to boot.

For sweets, Cupcake Joy is probably my favorite mobile purveyor. Try the sweet potato if you can. It's better and more unique than their red velvet.

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