Gourmet Food Truck Fad Takes Over Southern California Restaurant Scene

In Southern California, the old-fashioned sandwich trucks are being upgraded to mobile restaurants with menus as varied as the culture. In the face of chain restaurants and high operating costs, many small locally owned food businesses have disappeared and the catering truck industry is stepping into the gap.

The speed of the growth of this new development in the restaurant industry has, at times, created conflicts within some communities. The Southern California Mobile Food Vendors Association was formed to attempt to create a set of “best practices” for operating within the changing industry. While the rules and regulations are still developing, the popularity of the movement with the general public is unquestioned.

One of the many ways the industry is changing is in the use of Web sites and Twitter to let customers know the schedules and locations of their favorite gourmet traveling restaurant. The various truck owners post schedules and menus so their “followers” can easily make plans to meet for their favorite meal. The possibilities are seemingly endless. From a simple grilled cheese to Japanese noodles, there’s something for almost every taste.

The Grilled Cheese Truck – Whether you are looking for that simple grilled cheese or something more exotic, this menu has an answer to the search. The cheese offerings start with the routine American and extend to a creamy Brie (on Cranberry Walnut bread) or Gruyere with lots of savory additions and interesting sides.

Barbie’s Q – If your preference is St. Louis style ribs or pulled pork sandwiches, Barbie’s can supply it along with the traditional sides. They even have a Veggie Burger for those who love barbecue but don’t eat meat. Like many other gourmet food trucks, they also cater.

Skewers on Wheels – A non-traditional meal choice for many Americans, food on skewers lends itself to a wide variety of textures and flavors. From Shiitake mushrooms or tofu to Hawaiian spam pineapple the skewers can be paired with a salad and create a full meal for any taste preference.

TastyMeat – Meat lovers can choose from beef, lamb, or chicken in a savory sauce; add lettuce, tomato, and onions, then wrap it in a fresh flatbread for a delicious quick meal.

Kogi – Combine Korean barbecue with Mexican style and you get Spicy Pork Tacos or Short Rib Burritos and they haven’t forgotten the vegetarians either, Tofu comes in either a taco or a burrito.

Asian Soul Kitchen – For a more traditional Asian meal, try Japanese soul food. Sample Yakisoba, a combination of noodles, veggies, and a flavorful sauce or for a more filling meal order Nijukaga a hearty stew of beef, potatoes, and noodles in a Bonita broth.

Even the old-fashioned ice cream trucks are leaping onto the gourmet, twittering bandwagon.

Coolhaus – Make an ice cream sandwich to order with your favorite cookie and ice cream. Choose from six cookie flavors and fill them with your choice of more than twenty ice creams. From the traditional vanilla bean to white chocolate macadamia, they make an ice cream sandwich new.

Get Shaved – Shaved ice may sound like another version of a “snow-cone”, but the resemblance ends with the basic ingredient. These low-calorie (60-70 calories per 8 ounce serving) come in a myriad of flavors from Banana to Watermelon.

There are trucks that serve at most any hour of the day, from breakfast to dinner time. Whether you are looking for a Southwest Omelet or a slice of Pizza, there’s a truck out there looking for your business. Twitter is the easiest way to keep track, but many are also on Facebook or have their own Web sites.

Jacqueline M. Faulkner

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