By Cindy Hval | The Spokesman
One of the best things about summer in Spokane is food truck dining. Finding freshly prepared food served by friendly cooks who are usually the owners of their mobile kitchens offers a fast, fun culinary experience.
Three of the newest tasty-treat vendors in town are dishing up a variety of dishes, from succulent American Kobe beef sliders to tender carne asada to refreshing shave ice. Virtually all their offerings ring in at less than $10, making these finds a delicious bargain.
The Bistro Box
Barb Pagarigan, a 1980 Shadle graduate, found out you can go home again. After living and cooking for many years in the Seattle area, she returned to Spokane in June to be near family. She brought her food truck, The Bistro Box, with her.
She delighted in discovering how Spokane’s farmers markets have flourished. She rotates her truck among the South Perry Farmers Market, the Spokane Farmers Market and the Emerson-Garfield Market.
She also uses the fresh ingredients she’s found at the markets, including SAVORx spices, Chattaroy Cheese Co. goat cheese, and bread from Bouzies Bakery and Petit Chat.
The Bistro Box is known for American Kobe beef sliders, and the OMG is its signature slider. Featuring beef, peanut butter, pepper jelly, bacon and cheddar on a brioche bun, it’s a mouthful.
If beef isn’t your thing, Pagarigan also serves up coconut chicken breast sliders with apple onion coleslaw and sweet chili apricot sauce.
“I recommend the two-slider combo with hand-cut fries,” Pagarigan said. “I serve Belgian-style fries. They’re par-cooked, chilled and then fried to order.”
Diners get a choice of three from-scratch sauces to dip those fries in – roasted garlic aioli, chipotle barbecue or classic fry sauce.
For those who prefer their meals meatless, Pagarigan always offers a vegetarian option as well as her house salad tossed with freshly made balsamic vinaigrette.
“It’s been a great opportunity to come back,” Pagarigan said. “We’ve been well-received.”
The Bistro Box recently won the Ford Food Truck Challenge, a contest sponsored by local Ford dealers; Pagarigan was presented with a $2,500 check.
Location: Updated on Facebook.
Days/Hours: Wednesday, 8 a.m.- 1 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, 3 p.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
More information: www.facebook.com/bistrobox
Phone: (509) 808-6195
The King of Tacos
Tyler Bennett adheres to a keep-it-simple philosophy. As such, his focus at the King of Tacos is carne asada. “It’s basically all I serve,” the Las Vegas transplant said.
He and his wife, Kimberly Bennett, debuted the King of Tacos food truck at First Night Spokane. Even on that chilly evening, business was hopping.
Bennett believes his recipe makes his carne asada stand out.
“Mine is different,” he said. “I strip all the fat from the meat and marinate it for three days in spices, garlic, peppers and limes.”
He serves the marinated beef in tacos, burritos or on a plate with a side of beans and rice.
Bennett also offers a chicken version. “I grill it fresh, in front of the customers.”
Customer interaction is important to him, he said.
“Most trucks have a really small serving window,” he said. “I built my truck with a large window, because I want my customers to have a better visual and get to see their food being prepared.”
In addition to carne and pollo asada, the King of Tacos menu features veggie burritos, taco salad, nachos and quesadillas.
He’s been pleased by the warm welcome the King of Tacos received. Bennett credits his following to his fresh but simple menu and that large serving window.
“I like to talk to my customers,” he said. “It personalizes the experience. Now I see familiar faces at different venues. I want my customers to come back, and they do.”
Location: Updated on Facebook.
Days/Hours: Updated on Facebook.
More information: Search for the King of Tacos page on Facebook.
Phone: (509) 953-1473
Kona Ice of Spokane
You can hear the Kona Ice truck before you see it. Lilting Calypso steel drum music draws customers to the brightly colored vehicle.
Owner Brooke Rasmussen said she and her husband, Nate, bought the truck in April. “We were looking for something fun and family oriented – we have three young girls,” she said.
Kona Ice serves shave ice topped with syrups of all flavors. “Blue raspberry is the most popular, followed by Tiger’s Blood – tropical coconut with strawberry,” Rasmussen said.
Ten fruit flavors are available on the outside of the truck from dispensers that look like those found on soda machines. “Customers like to mix and match,” Rasmussen said.
New flavors include a performance blend similar to that in sports drinks. “It’s got less sugar, provides energy and replaces electrolytes and vitamins lost during exercise,” she said.
The refillable Kowabunga Cup has proven popular. Customers buy it for $5 and can refill it anytime for $3.
Kona Ice also offers hand-scooped vanilla ice cream. “We put in the bottom of your Kona Ice,” Rasmussen said. “Root Beer syrup goes great with it.”
The truck can be found at fairs, festivals, schools and sporting events. Rasmussen drives a neighborhood route in the evenings, usually in Spokane Valley.
Local Pop Warner football leagues, soccer teams and elementary schools have invited Kona Ice to serve shave ice at various events, and in turn they receive 20 percent of the proceeds.
The purchase of a “mini” truck, suitable for indoor use, means the Rasmussens will be able to serve frozen treats all year.
Business has been brisk. Rasmussen said, “We’re expanding to Coeur d’Alene in the spring.”
Location: Updated on Facebook
Hours: Updated on Facebook
More information: www.facebook.com/konaiceofspokane
Phone: (509) 939-3396