LA Food Trucks: Mouth Watering Creativity

By Brett Battles |

Creativity comes in all forms, and can be seen in almost any walk of life. Of course, the obvious examples are art and books and dance and movies and music and plays. But these are nowhere near the only places there is creativity.

We see it in the gardener who chooses the plants he grows carefully, arranging them in ways that can make a yard beautiful. We see it in the teacher who isn’t content to just mindlessly repeat what’s in the text book to their student, but instead finds interesting ways to make the subject come alive and be memorable. We see it in the store owner who finds a new way to package on old product, and make that product more that it was before. And we see it in an airline that allows its employees to have a little fun when interacting with passengers (a la Southwest).

Everywhere there’s creativity – the arts, science and medicine, education, construction, the law, religion, parenting, the home and anything else you can think of. One of the things that really excites me – turns me on, if you will – is seeing something creative, and seeing the passion the particular creator has brought to it. I don’t have to necessarily understand it, but to know that someone used their mind to make something, or make something better…wow. Too cool.

What I wanted to share with you today is a brand of creativity that’s really cropped up in the past couple of years, that I am totally loving.

I’m talking about the lunch truck.

Yes, the roach coach.

There was a time when you could never get me to eat at one of these – primarily white paneled – trucks. Which is actually kind of odd given the fact I have no problems eating from the street carts in developing countries. The truck, though, they just weren’t for me.

But there’s been a revolution, and it…is…AWESOME.

The lunch truck has gone specialized.

I first encounter this when visiting my friend Bill Cameron in Portland, Oregon, a couple of summers ago. There was a place in town where every night five or so lunch truck would take over a parking lot and serve up chow. But these weren’t the hamburgers and slop type of trucks. Each served it’s own brand of specialty food. I can’t remember the choices from that night, but I do remember wishing the phenomena would hit L.A.

Well, I’m here to tell you my wish came true. Big time. In L.A. we now have trucks that specialize in: Korean Food, Thai Food, Grilled Cheese Sandwiches, Nachos, Indian Food, Specialized Hot Dogs, BBQ, Juices, Ice Cream Sandwiches, Deli Sandwiches, Vietnamese Food, Cajun, Pizza, Dim Sum and so many others.

Even cooler than that? They usually gather together in certain spots, so eaters have a bevy of choices. And I’m lucky enough to have one of the main lunch time spots a seven minute walk from my front door. It’s located on Wilshire Boulevard right in front of the LA County Museum of Art and the La Brea Tar Pits. (Chandler fans, this would be right on the Miracle Mile.)

Wednesday, when I walked over, I counted thirteen different trucks. That’s actually below normal. I’ve counted as many as seventeen and know there is usually at least fifteen around.

The food is creative. The trucks themselves are creative (as you can see from the pictures), and this whole new way (which is really a supercharged old way) of eating is creative. I LOVE the fact that they gather in bunches. I LOVE the fact that most are on Twitter so I can sometimes plan what I’m going to get by seeing who’s going to show up that particular day. And, most of all, I just LOVE the food.

I know not all of you have this kind of thing in your city or town yet, but no matter where you are, if you do get the opportunity, I urge you to check these trucks out. It’s a sight to seen, and treat for your taste buds as well!

I sacrificed myself on Wednesday, and, in the theme of crime fiction, I had the “Felony” from the Grill Cheese Patrol truck. I meant to take a picture of my food. But I ate it instead. Oops.\

Anyway, hope you enjoy these photos. And I love it if you’d share with us in the comments some of the places you’ve seen unusual creativity.

The Grill Cheese Patrol

Korean BBQ



Juice Truck

Thai Food!


Hot Dogs