By Justin Rude | TheWashingtonPost.com
It’s getting hard to keep track of DC’s fleet of mobile food purveyors, which seems to get larger every month. Here are a few of our favorite curb-side kitchens:
You’ve probably seen the brightly colored and appropriately named Pinky 1 and Pinky 2 trucks roaming the streets of DC and Arlington, distributing frosted confections to sweets-starved office workers. The flavors rotate frequently, and include classics such as chocolate and red velvet, as well as more imaginative options such as egg nog and peanut butter cup. Individual cupcakes go for $3, but you can also order them by the half dozen ($15) or dozen ($27). Its an easy way to make yourself popular around the office.
The District has a long and well-documented love affair with pocket foods that stretches from the venerable Julia’s Empanadas to newcomers like Panas Gourmet and Patty Boom Boom. DCEmpanadas, the first mobile purveyor of the savory stuffed pastry, is less traditional than its brick and mortar counterparts, offering choices like the Jersey Shore (stuffed with meatballs, marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese) and the Ménage à Trois (brie, figs and Marcona almonds). Prices range from $3.50-$4.50.
In the face of the area’s gourmet pizza revolution, it would be silly to argue that DCSlices offers the area’s best pie. But then again, when is the last time Pizzeria Orso or Two Amy’s uprooted themselves to sit outside U-Street bars late on a Friday Night? What the pizza truck sacrifices for space, it more than makes up by being right where it’s needed when pizza cravings hit the hardest. A slice and a soda goes for $5.
We know you already like Dangerously Delicious Pies, the H Street (by way of Baltimore) bakery. Well, those same sweet and savory quiches and pies are available by the slice from the DCPieTruck. Look for lunch options like spinach with goat cheese and steak pies alongside sweet endings like pecan, chocolate cream and coconut chess.
Bada Bing Food Truck
Big juicy sandwiches are the specialty of this Arlington truck which features the “spiedie,” a specialty of Binghamton, hometown of Bada Bing owner and operator Nicholas Terzella. Hand-trimmed chicken breast and pork shoulder marinated in a blend of oil, vinegar and spices for three or four days are grilled and served up inside a soft roll. Sandwiches and spedies sell for $6-$7.
Anyone who has done any bar eating in the great white north will be familiar with Eat Wonky’s signature item: french fries drizzled with gravy and cheese curds. Known as poutine in its native province of Quebec, this hearty medley appears on the truck’s menu as wonky fries, and factors into both a grilled cheese and Wonky’s most ambitious creation, the Wonky Dog, an all-beef hot dog topped with french fries, gravy and cheese curds. Unsurprisingly, given its roots, you can frequently find the Wonky truck parked outside of the Verizon center during Caps games. Wonky fries and the grilled cheese are $5.50, the Wonky dog is $6.
One of the first food trucks to hit the streets of DC, the Fojol Brothers is also still one of the best. Long but quickly moving lines always mark their presence, but the plates of rice and curry are worth it. Curry and butter chicken, frequent options of the rotating menu, are offered with vegetarian options like palak paneer and cauliflower and potatoes. Grab a plate and eat it on the blankets that the Fojols always spread near their truck. Two plates with two items is $6, three for $9.
The Fry Captain
French fries and milkshakes. Isn’t that pure genius? While other truck operators were chasing street food trends and global concepts, the Fry Captain went simple and nostalgic. It works. Your fries come with a choice of dipping sauces and the option of being cooked in duck fat. Milkshake flavors run the gamut from chocolate and vanilla to avocado and honey lavender. Shakes are $3.50 and fries are $3.50-$6.50.
Red Hook Lobster Truck
This Brooklyn-born operation selling lobster rolls, shrimp rolls and Maine whoopie pies debuted in Spring of 2010 to lines that stretched around city blocks. Almost a year later, demand has barely flagged. The truck serves both mayo-based Maine-style and the butter-slathered Connecticut-style rolls heaping with fresh lobster meat. How do you know they’re good? $15 sandwiches don’t draw lines like that unless they really deliver.
The Sauce truck is not joking around when it describes its influences as global. The menu of wraps includes options like the pork banh mi, beef shawarma, Mexicali fish taco, and Mumbai butter chicken. But despite offering a huge selection of sauces to dress up your lunch, the wraps succeed by keeping the flavors simple and fresh. A winning combination no matter what the sandwich’s geographical inspiration. Wraps are $8.
Korean Tacos were already a big trend in Los Angeles when the food truck craze first hit the streets of D.C. It seemed inevitable that someone would seek to emulate that winning formula here. And that ends up being a good thing for us. TaKorean’s fresh ingredients and bright flavors make their bulgogi, sweet chili chicken and caramelized tofu tacos a welcome addition to our local street food scene. Tacos sell one for $3 or three for $8.