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14Sep/100

Food Truck Festival for Heal the Bay Sep 25

On September 25th, you can help fundraise for Heal the Bay - just by eating your lunch! Latitude 33, a beachside condo community in Marina Del Rey, is throwing a benefit that begins at noon, right after Coastal Cleanup Day, and goes till 4 PM. Over 20 food trucks will be there, and 10% of their sales will go to Heal the Bay and the International Bird Rescue Research Center.

Confirmed food trucks include: The Grilled Cheese Truck, Papas Tapas, Big Swirl, Frysmith, Del’s Lemonade, Vesuvio, India Jones, Crepe'n Around, Ahn Joo, Worldfare, Buttermilk Truck, Lake Street Creamery, Morsels Truck, Border Grill, Dosa Truck, The Sweets Truck, Dim Sum Truck, Organic Oasis, Dogtown Dogs, Slice Truck, Get Shaved, The Shrimp Pimp and Canters.

Latitude 33 is located at 330 Washington Blvd in Marina Del Rey.

Beyond O2 Water on Main Street in Santa Monica is also a proud sponsor of the event and is supplying water.

30Aug/100

Food Trucks at Fairfax High Sep 18

UPDATE SEP 9: Munch LA has been cancelled. We'll let you know when it's been rescheduled.

This is a food truck event I'm super excited about, because I can walk to it! On September 18 from 11AM to 5PM, Munch LA is holding what it's describing as a "food and fashion extravaganza" at Fairfax High School, at the intersection of Fairfax and Melrose Avenues in Hollywood. There will be more than 30 trucks there, as well as fashion vendors like Hudson Jeans and Paige Premium Denim. Here's the list of trucks so far:

Ahn Joo, Baby's Badass Burgers, Big Swirl, Calbi, Crepe'n Around, Del’s, Dim Sum Truck, Don Chow Tacos, Dosa Truck, Dumpling Station, Phamish, Fishlips, Flying Pig, Frysmith, Greenz on Wheelz, The Greasy Wiener, India Jones, Kabob N Roll, Komodo, Lake Street Creamery, Let’s Be Frank, Louks, LudoTruck, Nana Queens, Slice Truck, South Philly Experience, The Sweets Truck, Tropical Shave Ice, Vesuvio, Vizzi, and Worldfare.

Tickets are $7 in advance, or $10 on the day. Get them at munchla.com, or at the door. And - even though I'm taking the heel-toe express - there's also free on-site parking.

I'm looking forward to sampling Dumpling Station's pan-fried pork and leek dumplings again - they were so amazingly juicy the last time, I've been thinking about them ever since. I also want to have another go at Ahn Joo's beef kimbap. Hopefully the Sweets Truck will have those cupcake-pudding shooters; whether they do or not, I'm still having myself some California Zephyr ice cream from Lake Street Creamery. Vanilla, Meyer lemon and fresh mint leaves - sounds delicious.

Find out more at Munch LA's Web site or follow them on Twitter.

3Jun/101

Silverlake Jubilee: Crepe'n Around

Silverlake Jubilee

The Silverlake Jubilee took place on the weekend of May 22 and 23. Myra Street was closed down from Sunset Boulevard to Hoover Street, and vendors and people filled the road from 10AM to 10PM on Saturday and Sunday. There was juice you could drink straight from the coconut; serving bowls made out of old vinyl records; more hipsters than you could shake a stick at (I shook one at as many of them as I could manage); and a whole crapload of food trucks. I counted: Derbs (whose truck is tiny!), the Fatburger Fatmobile, Mrs. Beasley's, Nana Queen's, Barbie's Q, Fishlips Sushi, Uncle Lau's BBQ, Del's, Flying Pig, Louks, Dosa Truck, India Jones, Lomo Arigato, Vesuvio, TastyMeat, Slice Truck, Komodo, Buttermilk Truck, Maui Wowi Hawaiian Coffee and Smoothies, Dim Sum Truck, Frysmith, and Crepe'n Around. Phamish was there, despite having endured a nasty-sounding situation the previous week in which their truck had been taken hostage: they were using a temporary truck with a banner but no wrap.

Phamish's new temp truck

I'd been excited about visiting LA's two crepe trucks, so I was psyched to see Crepe'n Around at the Jubilee. After I set up camp (husband + toddler + stroller + bag + friends who also had all of the above) on the sidewalk next to the truck, I went to place my order. I chose a teriyaki hanger steak crepe ($6). It came in a red-and-white checked paper scoop tray, with the crepe folded over in a cone shape, like a sushi hand roll. Inside: seared hanger steak, pepper jack cheese, mixed greens, pickled onions, wonton crisps, and teriyaki sauce.

Crepe'n Around menu

The meat was juicy, but a little fatty and tough in places. It was coated very evenly with just the right amount of sauce - I was expecting the occasional teriyaki-heavy bite of meat, but none came. The greens and the wontons added a nice crunch. I have to say I didn't even notice the cheese's presence. Perhaps its flavor complemented the other ingredients so perfectly that it simply vanished into the crepe, or maybe the chef forgot to put it on. The crepe itself was the tiniest bit overdone, but I liked it; the very slight crispiness of the browned parts added a bit of nutty flavor. My beef (get it? get it?) with the overall package: a crepe seemed like too delicate a vehicle for such a hearty sandwich. The pieces of steak weren't what I'd call thinly cut, which made the whole package kind of chunky and unwieldy. Also, the teriyaki sauce soon soaked through the crepe. I got three quarters of the way through my meal, and then, as Chinua Achebe might say, things fell apart. Maybe if I'd been eating this dish on a plate with a knife and fork, my experience would have been different, but as hand-held street food, this didn't hold up very well. I think next time I'll try a more traditional savory crepe, like ham and brie.

Crepe 'N Around Truck

I couldn't resist getting a dessert crepe. While Nutella looked tempting, I asked the Crepe'n Around crew if they had any lemon juice on board: I just wanted plain old sugar and lemon ($4). They graciously obliged me. This crepe was perfectly done. It could have used a couple fewer squeezes of lemon juice, but it still absolutely hit the spot.

I appreciated the Jubilee's zero-waste effort. There was no water being sold in bottles - instead, there were a couple of water filling stations where you could bring your own bottle to replenish your H2O supply. At several points along the block-party route, there were bins in banks of three: one for trash, one for recycling, and one for composting. As ever, though, the occasional dumbass threw the wrong stuff into the wrong bin. I didn't see any event staff sorting the trash into its correct receptacles; I hope they did at some point.

Trash setup at the Silverlake Jubilee

I enjoyed the Jubilee. It was like a mini-Sunset Junction. Its acoustics astounded me: unless I stood right by the stage where the bands were playing (which, sadly, I'll have to wait to do until my kid is older and has hardier ears), I could barely hear the music at all. That meant I didn't need to shout myself hoarse or lip-read my friends to have a conversation. Excellent. The only time I was silent was when I was shoving crepes in my face, or inhaling nutella louks from - where else - Louks.

Photos by Oliver Seldman

8Mar/100

Quickfire Review: Frysmith

Recently I've been hitting the food trucks hard, so hard in fact that I have a backlog of reviews to do. Rather than do up a full review of each truck, I thought I'd experiment with a quickfire review format. This is the fourth in a series of five mini-reviews.

Truck: Frysmith

What I ordered: Chili cheese fries ($5)

Photo by Oliver Seldman

Photo by Oliver Seldman

Was it good?: Made with beer and chocolate, the chili was some of the best I've had in a long while, on top of fries that got soggier and more starchily delicious as they soaked up their topping. Capping it off were lashings of grated cheddar cheese. I ate it with a fork, and got it all over my face, and I loved every minute of it. Plus, it didn't give me a stomachache, despite my having eaten it as my first meal of the day, and despite it being filled with fatty, greasy cholesterol-y insanity. I'd already decided it was OK by me to suffer a little for some chili cheese fries, and now I'd had all the fun without the punishment. Magical. They didn't have their famous kimchi fries ($6) the day I went, but next time I'm going to get them.

Overall experience: Brook Howell and Erik Cho, the owners and operators of Frysmith, were very friendly and welcoming. We talked about the look of the truck: they achieved that brushed-metal finish themselves, with gallons of paint stripper and a sander. Running a fry-centric truck means customizing its kitchen. Whereas most food trucks have a standard kitchen with one small deep-fryer, Frysmith has four large fryers in a row, with a big window so customers can see the action taking place. The guy who built their truck installed Plexiglas: an error, it turned out, because as soon as the fryers fired up, the window got so hot it started to warp. Real glass is going in soon, Brook says.

Photo by Oliver Seldman

Photo by Oliver Seldman

Vegetarian-friendly: They have vegan chili fries ($4.50), with organic tomato, mixed beans, soy chorizo and smoked paprika. You can get them with cheese...

Vegan-friendly: ...or without cheese. I know it doesn't seem like much of an option, but it's important to remember that often with these trucks, there are only a few items on their menus, so what looks like slim pickings for vegetarians/vegans actually makes up a sizable chunk of the menu.

Photo by Oliver Seldman

Photo by Oliver Seldman