By Stew Staffers | Chicago Tribune
In the coming months, Chicago food trucks will face an enormous challenge — and we’re not talking about the likely City Council debates on their regulation.
We’re talking Chicago winter.
While Los Angeles may offer 12 months of perfect weather for standing around waiting for kimchi tacos, Chicago, sadly, does not, making it hard on truck operators and even harder on food truck lovers.
That’s why we were thrilled to find some smart Chicago food trucks offering select delivery service for wimps who don’t relish standing in the sleet behind a dude who can’t decide between the wild boar naanwich or the pork belly banh mi.
The two we know about so far are the Meatyballs Mobile and a joint venture between La Adelita Lunch Truck and the Brown Bag Lunch Truck called the Ultimate Delivery Combo. Having eaten — and enjoyed — many meaty balls in the past, we opted to try Ultimate on a recent rainy, windy stretch of days.
The process was pretty painless, but there are a few things to keep in mind: Orders must be placed from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (or the night before for more availability), you need to get at least 5 entrees and you need to be located in they vicinity of their truck that day — usually downtown, Logan Square and Lincoln Square. See their schedule for details.
The harder part is choosing from the many delectable barbecuey and authentic Mexican items on the menu. When we finally did, we put in a call (312-857-4221 or email email@example.com) with credit card in hand and were given a time to meet.
The driver arrived at the appointed time. We met her, tipped her and went up to our desks to munch. Here are some comments from tasters(Brian Boyer, Dan Shumski, Monica Eng and Colin McMahon):
The pibil was delicious, served with the proper pink pickled onions. Yum. (I’ve made pibil a few times, and I’d say this was tastier than Xoco’s.)
Pastor was tasty and least like what we expected. It was served as an alambre, with red and green bell peppers and topped with a thick layer of cheese. The accompanying wheat tortillas appeared to be hand-made and were delicious.
We found lots of great smoke and char on the pulled pork, and the brisket was tasty and tender, maybe even too tender as it fell apart.
The creamy, rich peanut butter chicken thighs walked away with top prize in this crowd. Fantastic.
BBQ sauce was tangier than it was sweet, but still tomato-based, I believe — it was good enough, not great.
With the exception of the pastor alambre ($8), which came with rice, tortillas and good black beans, nothing was enough food for lunch. If you’re getting the BBQ, be sure to get a few sides.
And if you want good chewy bread — as opposed to traditional soft white barbecue bread — order a torta.
The pulled pork was tasty – salty and not too sweet, despite the “Mexican Coke” mentioned on the label. The pork shoulder was a little dry toward the top of the container but moist nearer the bottom, where the juices had settled.
The tiny container of green papaya slaw was crunchy and tangy, though if you’re looking for a substantial side keep looking. Two bites and it was gone — and only because I was being dainty.
The array of green, red and orange salsas and chutneys made great accompaniments to meat and the grilled elotes (off the cob) were fine but nothing to write home (or too much on the blog) about.