By Laura Shunk
And in the course of the time I spent with the family who owns La Villa Real, an outfit that consists of two food trucks, I sampled what was probably my favorite dish coming from any street vendor all year: the gorditas.
Those hefty circles of tortilla stuffed with gooey cheese, fiery peppers and juicy, grilled meat were an ethereal treat.
Here are four more great dishes from Denver’s fleet of mobile trucks, rounding out our five favorites in 2010.
Pork belly soba, The Porker
We had high hopes for a cart based on one of our favorite meats, and Chad Clevenger hasn’t disappointed. On our first foray to his wagon of swine, we sampled his pork belly, chunks of meat crisped up on the outside and brimming with decadent fat within. It lay across a nest of toothsome soba noodles, bathed in soy and ginger and mixed with sweet, juicy mango and snappy dices of bell pepper. It was the perfect cold entree for a sunny summer day.
Queso a la plancha, Pinche Tacos
We’re partial to several of the tacos coming from the Pinche Tacos wagon, but the one we really want to down dozens of is the queso a la plancha. The vegetarian option takes a corn tortilla and tops it with grilled cotija cheese, buttery slices of avocado, the tangy zip of tomatillo salsa and just a tart squeeze of line. Que bueno.
Reindeer dog, Biker Jim’s Gourmet Dogs
Biker Jim staked his claim on a corner of the 16th street mall a few years ago, but we’re probably never going to get enough of his piquant reindeer dog, slit down the center and lined with a ribbon of cream cheese. Cradled in a spongey bun and topped with a mound of Coke-caramelized onions fresh off the sizzling grill, we’re just glad that Jim’s growing fleet provides us ample opportunity to find the thing at more locations all over the city.
Margherita pizza, Brava! Pizza
Our first reaction to pizza coming off the Brava! Pizzeria cart? We can’t believe some of the best pizza in this state is coming from a mobile oven. Dave Bradvica tops his crusts with tangy, garlicky marinara, rounds of milky mozzarella and flat leaves of fresh basil then bakes it until the edges are crispy — and the center is bubbling seductively. A drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and the pizza finally makes its way into our greedy hands.