When it came to food trucks in Chicago, I might have been smiling on the outside for the photo. However, on the inside, I was really crying.
They are only allowed to sell food that is pre-prepared and packaged, and this translates into food that just isn’t as good as if it was hot off the grill and prepared RIGHT THERE on the truck. I was rather disappointed after such great experiences in Vancouver, Portland, and back home.
On our last day in Chicago, Ryan and I ran around the downtown area looking for food trucks. With Jessica’s help, we were able to locate a few. Sitting side by side were the Meatyballs Mobile and Haute Sausage.
We ordered the Original Meatyballs [Beef, pork, four-cheese sauce, truffle oil], Campfire Bison [Bison sausage with blackened corn, grilled onions, baked beans, and BBQ sauce], and Boerewores Chakalaka [Beef & lamb sausage with Chakalaka, a spicy, South African mix of onions, tomatoes & beans].
They sounded really good at the time, but when we sat down on our bench for the grand revealing, they just didn’t hit the spot. I think it definitely had a lot to do with the food pre-preparation. For any items with a bun, you didn’t want too much sauce or the bun would suffer “soggy bun syndrome,” but without the sauce, you were relying heavily on the meat for flavor, which they just didn’t have enough of.
Dissatisfied with our early findings, we hunted down two other trucks – The Southern Mac and Cheese Truck [more of a van] and gaztro-wagon. We ordered two kinds of mac ‘n cheese and a Stromboli naanwich [Pork cheeks, garlic puree, provolone, marinara].
The mac was a little heavy after the other food, but it worked because no soggy buns were involved. We took a few bites and saved the rest for the plane ride home. As for the naanwich, the texture of naan was more forgiving than that of bread, and for the most part, it soaked up the delicious flavors of the tender pork cheeks, garlic, and marinara. If we had waited another hour with it, however, it might have turned into a soggy mess.
You know what truck I think would work given that the food has to be prepared ahead of time? Another kind of bun [pronounced "boon"] truck – Vietnamese rice vermicelli! Please let me know when this happens, Chicago, or if the laws change around your food trucks because there’s so much potential!