Food from a truck

In college, a battle took place every Friday and Saturday night, at the edge of the campus. Two white trucks served hamburgers to students, competitors looking to be top dog in some kind of feud. There was the Wimpy Wagon, and then there was the other one. I guess Wimpy’s won out, since nobody I know remembers the name of the other one, but there was a war, all right. Because this was Syracuse, New York, getting a late night burger anytime after October 15 meant trudging through at best, several inches of snow. That’s a kind of commitment to something that university students rarely muster.

Food trucks weren’t exactly bastions of quality cuisine in this environment. They were just cheap and available, and if a wagon were sixteen steps closer than the dining hall, a good percentage of students would make that their preference, easy. I have no trouble attesting that as a Syracuse University alum, if presented with a no-brainer, I will option that every time. This is why the wine tasting class was booked solid every year, as was Theater for Non-Majors.

But food trucks have come around since I needed a cure for my over-imbibement. They’re not just greasy spoons on wheels. They cart out authentic Mexican tacos with hand-pressed corn tortillas, mix up veggie-intense kim chee fried rice, bursting with enthusiasm and taste. I’ve seen food carts selling wild extrapolations of funnel cake, using fresh huckleberries and a nutty maple syrup, tasted gourmet, flaky liege waffles, and checked out a Hawaii-inspired spicy pork slider sandwich. Any of these would have kicked Wimpy’s ass to the curb after two bites. No. No. After one bite. After the aroma hit one’s olfactory receptors.

In Seattle the food trucks use their mobility to their business advantage. The one I keep seeing in South Lake Union sets up next to a park, but only on Mondays. Some trucks are more random, and Twitter groups have popped up to tweet when they spy them anywhere, and then pray that you’re not trying to drive near that neighborhood—or worse, park—because the food truck aficionados are on their way, ready to snake a line down the street and around the corner, if need be, because in this mini-capitol of technology, everyone gets an hour for lunch. So what if only 10 minutes of it is spent eating, usually on one’s feet? It’s still heavenly.

This Friday, October 1, there’s a mobile food event at Qwest Field, and it will have all of the local favorites—Top Pot Doughnuts, Bistro Box, Trophy Cupcakes, Domo Dogs, Got Soup?, Marination Mobile, Molly Moon’s Ice Cream, Veraci Pizza—will be in force.

I’m not promoting the event, but I do want to attend it, if only to have a chance to sample Seattle’s offerings while I’m here, and because it may be my only time in the stadium (it’s a life bucket list kind of thing) in my near future. Plus, just like people enjoy going to a concert to ascertain the differences in musicality from what a band records in a studio, I enjoy seeing how chefs perform and what they produce when they’re not cooking from their standard kitchens, as several of these vendors will be doing. For a $5 cover, my curiosity is going to win me over.

It’s a no-brainer.

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