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L.A Food Truck Phenomenon: Any Recs?

o
Oishi_ne Nov 28, 2009 02:00 PM

I find that the recent L.A gourmet food truck phenomenon to be exciting! Any recommendations or r

I find the recent boom of L.A gourmet food trucks to be exciting! Any recommendations of what you've tried out there? I've tried the big 2 : Kogi truck & Marked 5. I prefer and like Marked 5 better than Kogi. I'm curious about Lomo Arigato's saltado, Frysmith's Kimchi fries with pork belly, and the grilled cheese truck, and other ones out there. Please share your experience!

Thanks!!

  1. Dommy Nov 28, 2009 03:13 PM

    We love them too as we prefer casual and dine in home... So far our favorites have been...

    * Baby's Bad @SS burgers for their sliders and mini hot dogs...
    * Phily West for their cheese steaks
    * Lets Be Frank (although we've loved them since they have been a hot dog cart in Culver City...)
    * Don Chow Tacos, one of the most surprising for their Fajita Chow Fun.

    --Dommy!

    9 Replies
    1. re: Dommy
      a_and_w Nov 30, 2009 09:20 AM

      Do you mean South Philly Experience for cheese steaks?

      1. re: a_and_w
        Dommy Nov 30, 2009 09:30 AM

        Yes! I'm sorry! Thanksgiving fried my brain... LOL!

        --Dommy!

        1. re: a_and_w
          j
          Jack Flash Nov 30, 2009 11:06 PM

          I tried that South Philly one the other day. It was good & authentic (Wiz wit, on an Amoroso roll) but ridiculously expensive. I think it was over $8 for a sandwich, no sides, and nowhere to sit. I can get the same sandwich at several places in my neighborhood, and also have the option to order a side (and top the sandwich with chopped or sliced peppers), and sit down and eat it the moment it's ready. Cheesesteaks do not travel well.

          1. re: Jack Flash
            a_and_w Dec 1, 2009 06:33 AM

            Agreed re the price, though I'm happy to pay a little more for a quality product which South Philly is. Where can you get the same sandwich in your neighborhood?

            1. re: a_and_w
              j
              Jack Flash Dec 1, 2009 11:13 AM

              Philly's Best & Luigi Ortega's, in Pasadena. We used to also have Fredo's, but it closed. I can also get a good cheese steak (though no Amoroso roll or Wiz) at Lee's Hoagie House.

          2. re: a_and_w
            m
            mdpilam Dec 11, 2009 11:36 PM

            I tried the South Philly Experience tonight, with a Cheesesteak wit wiz, and loved it! Best Cheesesteak I've had in LA. Loved that they had the peppers there too. Thought it was a bit expensive ($9.30, and I was still a little hungry afterwards) though, but I guess that's what's happening with this food truck phenomenon.

            1. re: mdpilam
              j
              Jack Flash Dec 12, 2009 08:14 AM

              You mean, wiz wit. ;-)

          3. re: Dommy
            a_and_w Feb 20, 2010 07:49 AM

            My new obsession at South Philly Experience is the Italian sandwich -- their broccoli rabe is so garlickly and good. I only wish they had roasted pork or at least some fried chicken cutlet. Still, the steak and chicken breast are quite good.

            1. re: a_and_w
              t
              taiwanesesmalleats Mar 5, 2010 11:55 AM

              Just had an Italian from South Philly Experience. While it could use a little more provolone cheese since there's so much meat, it was a fantastic sandwich. The juice from the onions, broccoli rabe and chopped steak was literally rolling around the wrapped wax paper. I want another one...

          4. p
            Pumpkin_Head Nov 28, 2009 07:42 PM

            Besides Kogi, India Jones is pretty good food and price-wise. Border Grill's is good as well, but a bit on the high side - though, I think it's worth it every once in awhile.

            On the opposite end of the spectrum, I would avoid the Green Truck - while organic is good, it's too expensive for what it is and they seem to have a bad habit of overcharging people.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Pumpkin_Head
              Dommy Nov 28, 2009 08:59 PM

              Oh yes! The India Jones truck! Love their curry specials... so great!!!

              --Dommy!

            2. c
              chuck Nov 28, 2009 08:25 PM

              I liked the Border Grill truck but the tacos are small and it takes 4 or 5 for a meal and at 3.00 a piece it is expensive for truck food. Marked 5 was ok and unique . I wasn't thrilled by the Kogi Truck and Green Truck was an OK hamburger. I go to the South Philly truck almost every time that is on Olympic and Butler. They have good Cheesesteak sandwiches and the price is ok. I stopped by the Gastobus and it looked interesting but i had already eaten lunch but next time that it is in the area I would like to try it.

              1. LATrapp Nov 28, 2009 11:26 PM

                One more for India Jones.

                Although I'll take any above average taco truck over any of the following:

                The rest that I have tried in order of preference:

                Fish Lips, Nom Nom, Lomo, Kogi, Border Grill, Barbies BBQ (?), ....and did not dig Babies BBQ Burgers. Had the aged beef with truffle oil and tossed one of the two. (Note that this is different than Barbies BBQ. I re-read my post and realized one could be mistaken for the other.)

                3 Replies
                1. re: LATrapp
                  o
                  Oishi_ne Nov 29, 2009 05:33 PM

                  I agree with Chuck and thought that Kogi was mehh...the only thing I liked from their truck was the kimchi quesadilla. The tacos and hotdog was not my thing.

                  I had the chance to try Frysmith & Buttermilk truck last night at the Brigg.

                  The buttermilk truck is good, but not spectacular. I thought that the buttermilk pancake bites was cute, a novelty and good for late night snacks. I tried the red velvet with chocolate chips pancake bites. Then I also tried the fried chicken and cinnamon waffles which was okay, i like the waffles by itself but not with the fried chicken.

                  I'm in love with Frysmith! Man oh man their Kimchi fries with pork belly, Rajas fries with steak is really really SPECTACULAR! The fries are frites style and it was salty, crunchy, delicious! I also tried their hot chocolate with home made marshmallows which is really comforting in the cold weather. Rich and dark hot chocolate! I can't wait to go back. I want to try their chili chocolate cookies next time and the soda pairings. www.eatfrysmith.com

                  1. re: Oishi_ne
                    Dommy Nov 29, 2009 05:42 PM

                    Although now it's relatively easy to avoid the lines at the Kogi truck with their multiple trucks, I still find it a much better idea to hit the Alibi Room for Kogi Tacos and Kogi Fries which are exclusive to them and SO good...

                    Thanks for the review on Frysmith!! We were in Abbot Kinney last night and grabbed a bite at Lemonade and just missed them as they were setting up...

                    --Dommy!

                    1. re: Oishi_ne
                      wutzizname Dec 4, 2009 10:01 PM

                      Tried Frysmith's Chili Cheese Fries today and wasn't very impressed. I like their set up and the people where very nice, so I might give one of their other items a try sometime. But the chili itself didn't do anything for me. And the fries had zero salt on them. It was noticeable even with the chili and cheese. But once the toppings were gone, the huge portion of fries that remained where basically tasteless and begging for salt. I imagine they have it available, but I'd already strayed too far from the truck to bother going back.

                  2. Discokill Nov 29, 2009 06:43 PM

                    Still haven' tried Marked 5 or Lomo but have hit a ton of the others so long as they make it near my Santa Monica office.

                    Kogi is still my favorite though I'd admit that if I factor in hassle vs. food quality I find myself at Calbi quite a bit. Slightly less good food but about 30 minutes less wait as well.

                    Border Grill as other mention is good but more expensive with smaller portions.

                    I think Philly Steak Experience ranks up there with the best Philly Steaks in LA

                    India Jones is quite good.

                    Thought Nom Nom wasn't terribly great, good as a option if nearby but I'm not looking forward to my next one. Same goes for Don Chow.

                    Still keep trying to make it to Silverlake one weekend for Ricky's

                    1. j
                      Jase Nov 29, 2009 09:55 PM

                      Lomo Arigato, the chaufa actually has some decent wok hey. Their version of the aji sauce is also pretty good.

                      Count me in as another fan of the Philly cheesesteak. I'm always tempted when they pull up for lunch at the Olympic location too.

                      Barbie's BBQ, I like their sliders. Any of the beef, pork or chicken. Was unimpressed with the rib.

                      Fishlips sushi was meh to me. I'd rather walk over to Nijiya if I want a cheap fix decent quality sushi.

                      Nomnom truck, average at best for the bahn mi. Didn't care for their silly taco pricing strategy.

                      Baby's badass burger. Had the original and the mamacita. It wasn't bad. I wouldn't go out of my way for it. But worth a try if it's nearby.

                      Let's Be Frank. Good, but it can be pricy if you're thinking regular dog.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Jase
                        Mattapoisett in LA Nov 30, 2009 03:05 PM

                        In regards to Let's Be Frank Being Pricey, Downtown Dogs Truck has product which is not quite up to Let's Be Frank's standards and most of them are $6

                        1. re: Mattapoisett in LA
                          j
                          Jase Nov 30, 2009 06:59 PM

                          Oh of course. Just throwing it out there that someone shouldn't expect to pay for $3-4 dog. Or expect a huge brat for their prices. It's definitely a higher quality dog.

                          1. re: Jase
                            a_and_w Dec 1, 2009 06:34 AM

                            Yes, Let's Be Frank is probably the first "grass fed" dog I've really enjoyed. Not such a fan of the brats, though -- they have a funky taste.

                            1. re: a_and_w
                              Will Owen Mar 5, 2010 12:15 PM

                              A big AYYY-men on the LBF brats. Wrong shape, wrong color, and very weird flavor. Glad to know it wasn't just me... so if you liked their other dogs, maybe I will too. The brat was all I'd tried, and I was too gunshy to try anything else.

                      2. f
                        flowergirl Nov 30, 2009 07:27 PM

                        where do you find out the schedules - Twitter?

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: flowergirl
                          LATrapp Nov 30, 2009 07:30 PM

                          This is the best food truck site that I know of with all of the twitters consolidated into one place:

                          http://www.findlafoodtrucks.com/index...

                          1. re: LATrapp
                            a_and_w Dec 1, 2009 06:36 AM

                            And if you click on their twitter pages, most trucks have websites where they post weekly schedules. Nom Nom, India Jones, and South Philly Express are all pretty good about updating website schedules. I actually prefer that to the twitter feeds.

                        2. f
                          flowergirl Nov 30, 2009 07:35 PM

                          How do you find out their schedules - Twitter?

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: flowergirl
                            a
                            annapurna7 Dec 5, 2009 12:12 PM

                            This site compiles the twitter updates for most of the trucks
                            http://www.findlafoodtrucks.com/

                            I also recommend checking out this blog, which is reviewinf most of the trucks w/ pics - http://thetruckchaser.blogspot.com/

                          2. burp_excuzme Nov 30, 2009 10:42 PM

                            Calbi BBQ: Not worth it. Puny tacos. Didn't see anything really "Korean" about it.
                            Nom-nom Truck: Pretty good! almost a foot sandwich for $4.
                            Gastrobus: Lovely! Their fries and pork sandwich is the best. And they change their menu daily according to the farmers' market. Loves their organic stuff. Very friendly people, too. Just a man and his wife, doing business together.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: burp_excuzme
                              a_and_w Dec 1, 2009 06:38 AM

                              Try the burritos -- much superior to the tacos. I order the pork with no egg or cheese. Tastes pretty Korean to me.

                              Also, for those seeking more authentic banh mi, Nom Nom will put pate on if you request it.

                              1. re: burp_excuzme
                                w
                                wendysland Mar 3, 2010 01:48 PM

                                I just tried the lemograss chicken banh mi from the Phamish truck... unbelievably fantastic! It's worth hunting down for sure...

                              2. r
                                Rosiepigs Dec 1, 2009 12:10 PM

                                I've tried some, but not all of the above-mentioned trucks, and have come to the conclusion that aside from novelty, they're not really worth it. Part of the point of a taco truck is to eat well at a cheap price, and when you're paying 3 bucks for a mediocre taco at the Border Grill truck, you're defeating the point. Given the choice, I'd always opt for an authentic Mexican truck and get almost three delicious al pastor tacos for the price of one at Border.

                                As far as Kogi or Calbi go, the novelty only takes me so far. In the end, you're getting mediocre Korean BBQ that's covered in way too much lettuce for it to be worthwhile. Part of the fun of Korean BBQ is eating so much meat that gout seems like a reasonable possiblity. Those lettuce and cheese tacos miss that boat entirely.

                                I did have the NomNom banh mi once, and found it to be fantastic and authentic and delicious. And at $5 for a footlong sandwich it's a deal, if you ignore that it'd cost half that in Westminster (but you are paying for the convenience). I think that's where trucks can be useful--supplying cheap, authentic food at locations you couldn't otherwise get them. Kogi makes me laugh because I like to think it originated one night when a taco truck in Ktown drove in a Kalbi house and fusion just happened, for it's not worth it for the food.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Rosiepigs
                                  a_and_w Dec 1, 2009 12:17 PM

                                  Most Koreans actually eat meat wrapped in large leaves of lettuce with a little rice and gojujang. My problem with the amount of lettuce on the tacos at Calbi is more about manageability than authenticity or taste. That's why I stick with the burritos.

                                  I'm with you about the Border Truck, though. The tacos are expensive, and the only one I really enjoyed was the pork.

                                2. s
                                  Sandra W Dec 5, 2009 12:19 PM

                                  LA FuXion was good. Had their bulgogi steak taco with salsa and kimchi. Kimchi - I can take or leave. But this was a very good melding of flavors.

                                  Still addicted to El Matador, the old-school taco truck on Western, right off the freeway. Great al pastor.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Sandra W
                                    o
                                    Oishi_ne Dec 7, 2009 09:48 PM

                                    Kimchi Kurobuta pork belly fries from Frysmith, I have such a hankering for it!

                                     
                                  2. m
                                    mdpilam Dec 30, 2009 11:52 AM

                                    Tried the Grilled Cheese Truck last night at the Brig, and loved it! The Grilled Mac and Cheese with pork and caramelized onions was great! Thought the Tomato soup was not very good though; thought it tasted more like a bowl of marinara (though my SO really liked it). I like mine creamy. Prices were expected ($7 for my sandwich, about $4 for most simple grilled cheese, and $2 for a small cup of soup) - a bit overpriced.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: mdpilam
                                      Dommy Jan 2, 2010 09:59 PM

                                      ITA about the tomato soup... I however found that The Grilled Cheese Truck has the best selection of condiments out of any of the trucks... Add some Parm, a little Zataar and a dab of Siracha to the soup to help it become a lot more interesting than just Spaghetti-O Sauce (That is what P. called it... LOL!)

                                      --Dommy!

                                    2. r
                                      Rhi_3 Jan 11, 2010 05:04 PM

                                      Lomo Arigato's Saltado rocks! Easily my fave so far. And I want to steal a bottle of the homemade aji sauce... it's SO good.

                                      NomNom Truck's grilled pork banh mi was pretty incredible, too.

                                      1. Ciao Bob Jan 11, 2010 07:23 PM

                                        Dosa Truck is my current fav!
                                        Barbie Q was 50-50 last week: the ribs were tough and dry but the collard greens with pork were amazing.

                                        1. j
                                          Jelly71 Feb 2, 2010 12:35 PM

                                          i was finally able to try the Flying Pig truck today. the beef short rib taco and spicy pork taco were ok. good, but nothing i would all over town to get my hands on. there was one bit of very gristly meat in my short rib meat and that really puts me off.

                                          but the pork belly slider! oh man, i could have eaten 10 of the. so much flavor and porky, greasy goodness.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Jelly71
                                            m
                                            mdpilam Feb 19, 2010 05:47 PM

                                            Agree. Tried the Flying Pig last night, and was underwhelmed. Went with the sliders, a short rib taco and the pork belly bun. The short rib taco had some gristle, and wasn't dressed with any condiments other than the sauce it was marinated in (can I atleast get some onions and cilantro?!). The sliders were dry and rather meh. Not bad, just nothing special. The pork belly bun was good, but I've had pork belly recently that was much better than this, so I wasn't even wowed by this even though this was easily the best part of the meal. Well, atleast I tried it.

                                            1. re: mdpilam
                                              wutzizname Feb 23, 2010 02:27 PM

                                              Just tried the Flying Pig and had a MUCH better experience. Of course I ordered two entirely different things, the duck taco and the smoked chicken taco, and both were truly excellent, particularly the duck. No hint of gristle or fat. Just really flavorful succulent meat. And both came with their own unique set of fixings. The duck with a pickled beet salad, toasted almonds, and mandarin orange slices. The smoked chicken with a green curry sauce and napa cole slaw. These are the first things I've eaten off a nuevo truck that really impressed me enough to return.

                                          2. e
                                            Ernie Mar 3, 2010 01:54 PM

                                            Tried the Nom Nom truck yesterday. I had their BBQ pork bánh mì. It was good but a little expensive for bánh mì at $6. I am used to paying less than $3 for the same thing in SGV

                                            7 Replies
                                            1. re: Ernie
                                              j
                                              Jack Flash Mar 3, 2010 02:01 PM

                                              I had nom nom yesterday, too. Same sandwich. Actually, the guy head of me in line ordered the same thing (was it you, Ernie?) I liked it quite a bit. Yeah, it's more expensive than a shop in Alhambra, but 3rd & Grand is also way more convenient for my weekday lunch! I've now tried both their deli sandwich (dac biet?) and the bbq pork, and have been quite satisfied. I'll be looking for them again next Tuesday.

                                              1. re: Jack Flash
                                                e
                                                Ernie Mar 3, 2010 02:10 PM

                                                Ha! It probably was me. I was there a little after 1pm. When I arrived at the Nom Nom truck no one else was there, but a few more customers started showing up and I did notice the person behind me ordered the same sandwich. What a coincidence!

                                                Nom Nom is definitely more convenient than going to SGV and it was tasty. I would go back too. The Vietnamese tacos also sounded interesting

                                                1. re: Ernie
                                                  j
                                                  Jack Flash Mar 3, 2010 02:37 PM

                                                  I guess so: I was there around 1:00. How funny!

                                                2. re: Jack Flash
                                                  a_and_w Mar 3, 2010 04:51 PM

                                                  Try the grilled pork -- I much prefer it to the bbq pork.

                                                  1. re: a_and_w
                                                    t
                                                    taiwanesesmalleats Mar 3, 2010 06:57 PM

                                                    What's the difference? Is the grilled pork thit nuong and the bbq pork more like chasu?

                                                    1. re: taiwanesesmalleats
                                                      b
                                                      bulavinaka Mar 3, 2010 09:45 PM

                                                      That's been my experience. I prefer the grilled pork at most places myself.

                                                      1. re: taiwanesesmalleats
                                                        a_and_w Mar 4, 2010 07:01 AM

                                                        Exactly.

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