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Food Trucks' Food

Let it be understood that Food Trucks are awesome and cool and should be supported and encouraged in Toronto!

But fun festivals aside, day to day, I'm not willing to spend half my lunch hour lined up for mediocre food to be eaten in an parking lot. So can we talk about the actual food?

I can't find any CH reviews of El Gastronomo Vagabondo, although there may be some buried in the food truck festival threads. I'm curious since I stepped out of a very long line at Bay Adelaide Centre last week. Instead I tried the Blue Donkey. Now living near the Danforth, mediocre Greek food is not something I go out of my way for. My calamari in a pita was okay, but the fries were probably limp even before they were wrapped in a pita and foil and carried to somewhere comfortable to eat, and it was starch overload (breading/pita/fries).

I love the beef bacon donuts from the Caplansky's truck at Dalhousie/Queen. But I've also gotten burned onion strings on a sandwich and the fries look too dark. I know Caplansky's in general is inconsistent. There's also nowhere great to eat your food around here. Practically, the donuts make great street food but not the sloppy brisket sandwich. I wish they had the tongue here.

Cupcake Diner's product is unimpressive, I reviewed it elsewhere.

I haven't tried Food Cabbie. I will someday but it seems like diner food, somewhat messy (patty melt sounds delicious but where to eat it...), not my thing normally so why from a truck? Please, go ahead and tell me how delicious it is :)

Anyone tried Toasted Tangerine?

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  1. Tried Toasted Tangerine once last year. Had the pulled chicken slider and the fried ravioli. The pulled chicken slider was fine. No issues with it. The fried ravioli was really good! Including the marinara sauce.

    1 Reply
    1. re: lister

      Everyone seems to agree about the fried ravioli so I will have to try them.

    2. I like El Gastro's stuff okay - depends on what you get. Got the green papaya salad and the ceviche. Both very good. Really enjoyed the salad. Good tastes and crunch. Ceviche was different than I had in mind, but still good. That was small though. I dunno if it's worth the wait/price/taste combo, especially at lunch hour. Which may or may not be the target for EGV!

      Photo collage of the downtown financial district FTE: https://twitter.com/#!/foodpr0n/media...

      This go was better than my first experience at the first FTE event:

      "Since I was early, I felt that pouncing on the vendors that were still setting up seemed a little uncouth. But the trucks didn’t seem to have this issue – they were all ready to go! So I hit up El Gastronomo Vagabundo, mostly because I was standing right there and there was a line already forming, all before the official 11am start-time. After a 10-minute wait (and a slightly odd look from the kitchen staff when I presented my Tupperware for them to “plate” in), I scored my first food truck eat of the day.

      The Giuseppe Taco (oven-dried tomato, basil, pesto, arugula, parmesean on a 100% corn tortilla), was a decent morning starter. A little salty, with crunch from the taco shell, and lots of green. The Buddha Belly (five-spiced pork belly, steamed buns, chili jam, cucumber, and coriander) I felt was too much bread and I wanted a thicker cut of pork belly. The Kim Jong Illin’ (Korean BBQ chicken wings, sesame, coriander), which I love for its name alone, was decent. I didn’t like my first wing as much as my second wing, so I’m somewhat undecided about it. I also snagged their Home Brew of cucumber pineapple lemonade. Really refreshing and not too sweet."

      Photos: http://www.foodpr0n.com/2011/07/02/to...

      3 Replies
      1. re: jlunar

        Thanks. All those GV items sound amazing or at least worth a try but it's exactly the "wait/price/taste combo" that I wonder about. Hopefully the trucks come back to Bay Adelaide and I will take my lunch at 10:55 am - by 11:30 the line was just too long and not moving.

        1. re: jlunar

          Love your blog

          1. re: boochinder

            Thanks XD

        2. I saw that massive mess at the Bay Adelaide Center last week and went to Queen & Dalhousie instead where there were no lines for Caplanskys and the Food Cabbie. Toasted Tangerine hangs out at Queen & Jarvis once a week too so I've been to all 3.

          Keep in mind there's no place to sit and eat there so I brought my food back to the office. I'm guessing using the cars in the lot as a makeshift table is frowned upon in Toronto.

          Food Cabbie: Hit and miss. So far, all I've tried are the specials. The Chicago Italian Beef sandwich was good and filling. The Mexican torta was spicy and messy, but needed something to cool it off, either avocado or pico de gallo. The special burger was decent sized, but overwhelmed by the massive bun. The taste of most things is fine. It's not gourmet, but more like good diner food.

          Toasted Tangerine: They're more upscale gourmet. I've only had the chicken and pepper bacon club, but it was good w/ the only misfire being the honey mustard being too intrusive and not providing the right counterpoint to the pepperiness of the bacon. I had to wait 15-20 min so be prepared for the maddening crowd.

          Caplanskys: I've had the smoked meat sandwich, the smoked meat poutine and the beef bacon donut holes. I liked it all. Solid, no frills, tasty. It's smoked meat so don't expect a transcendent experience despite the hype.

          I eat from food trucks all the time in NYC so it's fun to try the Toronto trucks and see the crowd they bring out. I'm trying to decide between a bunch of trucks now serving Korean, arepas, pizza, halal, Greek, Mexican, etc. But, don't settle for mediocre. Push them to be worth your time and money or you'll end up w/ dreck on wheels. And push the city to create laws that accommodate rather than stifle. You don't want another a la cart disaster.

          6 Replies
          1. re: GoodGravy

            The best thing about Caplansky's are the specials. The turkey smoked meat Cuban is great and my personal favourite is the Bingo, thick slabs of salami are grilled and layered with cheese and honey mustard on an onion bun. That's the sort of thing I'm looking for - interesting variety. I'm not interested in a boring burger or taco. I need something different to keep me interested. A few weeks ago, the Caplansky truck served fried chicken and waffles!

            1. re: chefhound

              Yum! All of those sound great. Does Caplansky's announce their specials anywhere?

              1. re: julesrules

                I believe they tweet the menu specials in the morning and they also post the menu on this site: http://www.caplanskys.com/thunderin-t...

                1. re: chefhound

                  Thanks! I follow Toronto Food Trucks on fb but Caplansky's/Thunderin' Thelma doesn't do much with their fb page.

                2. re: julesrules

                  I threw together a list on twitter of some of the Toronto food trucks plus some not food trucks. Feel free to check it out. Caplanskys and the others announce their locations and specials on Twitter and their fb pages. The list is called "TO Food Trucks".

                3. re: chefhound

                  Anyone try the chicken and waffles?

              2. I hit El Gastro last week when they were at Bay/Adelaide and had the Pork Belly taco. I thought it was quite delcious, a little pricey for what you get, but I really enjoyed the sauce they used in there, I don't remember all the details as to what was in it though.

                I've tried Caplanskys for the donuts and the pulled beef sandwhich. The donuts were really good, the pulled beef kinda sucked...too stringy.

                Tried toasted tangerine for the pulled chicken, thought it was ok, not awesome, but not bad either. I want to try the fried ravioli next time as people say that is quite good.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Wil

                  Agreed that Caplanksy's pulled beef sandwich is not good, and pulled chicken doesn't appeal much to me either - if it's pulled it's gotta be pork.

                2. Tangent off the original post:

                  I love the idea of food trucks, especially in the T-dot given the City's stupid regulations about street food. That said, I'm a little prejudiced against the new wave of Eat Street food trucks, for not the least of reasons being that there's no way in hell I'm going to line up and wait a half-hour for takeaway. Doesn't help that I find the whole concept of gourmet food out of trucks pretty high on the hipster meter.

                  Prejudices aside and painting with a wide brush, is the food any good? I mean does it tend to be good or good-for-food-truck-slash-fast-food good? The thought of being elbowed by foodie hipsters just to get a mediocre meal served on wheels makes me ill.

                  No disrespect to the foodie hipsters, of course.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: biggreenmatt

                    Yup.
                    The food should be great or it should be cheap and convenient (I won't ask for all three). But overhyped, expensive, inconvenient and not tasty? Not my thing, and I don't think that business model will last long either.

                    1. re: julesrules

                      i think that the trifecta is a bit unfair at this time. if they were granted actual parking licenses and could serve whenever they wanted then i would definitely have those expectations. right now they can only go where someone let's them and where one very hard working person finds a space to put them. the ones that show up at events get swarmed by thousands of people... that doesn't happen in a normal situation. so i'll forgive the lack of convenience for now and even part of the cost (if you can't get yourself consistent business, your prices will go up to compensate).

                      i've only eaten at a couple trucks... some i have zero interest in. i can't see pizza, grilled cheese sandwiches, etc being better from a truck. the success rate has been about 50/50 on dishes, my favourite being the "nachos" from el gastronamo (pig ear bits and rinds instead of chips). it's like any other place, if you don't like the sound of the menu, i wouldn't bother. if you can get a version of it that you like a lot in a store front... chances are it won't beat that. but that's all street food, truck or stall, for me.

                      1. re: pinstripeprincess

                        I agree with all this. Working at Bay and Adelaide I have a number of walking-distance takeout options that are accessible but not super-convenient. I roam from SLM to Spadina. Just trying to figure out where the best food is :)

                        1. re: julesrules

                          i actually really want to try the buster's cove truck. i saw a photo of the lobster rolls (something oddly not done by any fish&chip shops here but restos and even then only 1 place does it well) and they look massive and great.

                          1. re: pinstripeprincess

                            i was actually down at the st lawrence market the other day and they were sampling some of the lobster rolls. I was lucky enough to be able to get some and damn..was it ever amazing. It was lightly dressed in mayo. and i think there was a bit of celery in it.. the top split bun was buttered up and toasted nicely. CANT WAIT TIL THEY OPEN THAT TRUCK!

                            1. re: boochinder

                              So they use the real split top roll, not a hot dog bun? That, plus the toasting and butter elevates it somehow.

                              1. re: GoodGravy

                                Yup. Its a legit top split bun. Buttered up on the outside and toasted. Its like a burger bun but so much better.

                  2. I just saw Buster's Sustainable Seafood truck at Jarvis and Queen East. Does anyone know how long this truck as been there?

                    12 Replies
                    1. re: JennaBean

                      brand spanking new.

                      1. re: pinstripeprincess

                        PP is buster's on facebook, twitter or any other medium that I can follow. Had no idea they were on Jarvis now and I go to food cabbie all the time!

                        1. re: themiguel

                          i think this is as much social media as they do: https://twitter.com/#!/busterseacove

                          this is the lobster roll tweet i saw https://twitter.com/#!/spotlightcity/... LOVE that they use tarragon.

                          1. re: pinstripeprincess

                            They also have a Facebook page
                            http://www.facebook.com/bustersseacove
                            I wonder how tarragon tastes on a lobster roll. Lobster rolls normally don't use that..usually it's dill and celery

                            1. re: boochinder

                              Pretty sure Rodney's by Bay lobster roll is tarrogon-laced (along with the soup that comes with it). I have to admit it's a strong flavour that I haven't quite learned to love yet.

                              1. re: boochinder

                                no they don't, but i love it when used right. my favourite lobster roll is the gabardine fish special one. they use some, not a tonne but enough you can taste that it's there. FANTASTIC. the buster's cove looks a little heavy but it still looks very promising.

                              2. re: pinstripeprincess

                                That looks amazing! I've been craving a good lobster roll in Toronto since my visit to Luke's Lobster in NYC last fall.

                                BTW, their Twitter handle is @bustersseacove (two s's)

                          2. re: JennaBean

                            So I just tried the lobster roll from Buster's truck on Queen & Jarvis. Their menu was limited to the Maine style lobster roll ($13), fish tacos ($4 ea), and tilapia sandwich ($10). Canned sodas are $2.

                            The lobster roll came w/ a pickle spear and bag of Miss Vicki's chips. If there was any butter on the roll, I couldn't taste it, see it or smell it. My hands were also butter free. As for tarragon, maybe they didn't bother w/ this batch. The lobster tasted fine and wasn't mayonnaised to death, but there wasn't a whole lot of lobster to begin with. It took about 4 bites to eat the whole thing. In fact, my first thought upon opening the box was, "That's it?!?" Even the pickle spear was only 1/8 of a whole pickle. It's definitely not good value for money.

                            tl;dr: Tiny. Expensive. Taste's ok.

                             
                            1. re: GoodGravy

                              Thanks - you probably saved me the trouble, since I can get Rodney's lobster roll right outside my office at a fair price ($19 I think - their website is down - includes bisque and a few greens).
                              Right now I can see Caplansky's truck from my window at a new condo site at Temperance and Sheppard, they are apparently giving away free lunch, the line up is very long however.

                              1. re: GoodGravy

                                they've changed it since the first time i had it and the first photo i've seen of it. they stopped the tarragon, lightened up on the mayo even more, less butter on the bun, celery sometimes no celery othertimes, upped the price by a dollar and give you a whole bag of chips vs a handful of chips (but i'm not there for the chips)... and the lobster quantity varies.

                                i still like it better than most other ones i've had. is it a deal, no, i don't expect lobster to be a deal. at least they don't shred their lobster and leave quite intact.

                                1. re: GoodGravy

                                  yeah i found the same thing - was there today as i really wanted the fish tacos --- the tacos were good but the puniest single piece of fish in each was all that i was given. 1/2 way through and i'm munching on tortilla and cabbage...

                                  1. re: GoodGravy

                                    I finally got to try the lobster roll today and I was really disappointed with the lack of butter. For me the size was fine, the chips were a nice add on, the pickle was tasty but the lack of butter makes it a lobster sandwich but by no means a lobster roll.

                                2. Just a couple of notes,
                                  1) I don't get downtown often enough at lunchtime, so the food-truck movement has largely passed me by, but I'd LOVE to see the boneheads at city hall lighten up and allow trucks and stalls and a street food scene to develop in Toronto like every other large city on the planet!!

                                  2) Everyone I've suggested Caplansky's to (based on the buzz, and not my personal experience, since I'm not a huge smoked-meat fan) have all complained mightily and not loved it.

                                  3) I personally don't think it is ever possible for fries to "look too dark". I ache for the good old days (before McDonald's convinced otherwise sane people that white & crispy were desirable characteristics of french-fries) back in the 60's & 70's you could get dark, caramelized, delicious "chips & gravy" everywhere in Toronto!

                                  Yes, I am thankful that the blight of McCain's shellacked 'crispy-fries' emperor has been shown to have no clothes, even BK has dumped them, but lord deliver me from bland white crispy fries that are flavourless and essentially nothing more than salt-delivery sticks.

                                  OK, rant over - as you were. :-)

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: TorontoTips

                                    Hmmm interesting I never thought of chips as "caramelized" but I think it is exactly the hint of sweet that I don't like about dark fries. We have opposite taste in chips :)

                                  2. Really enjoying reading all the food truck discussion and feedback in this thread. Compared to other major cities Toronto's food truck scene is still in it's infancy so naturally there will be some growing pains like lineups and limited locations. If anyone has any questions about any of the trucks (or anything at all), I'm happy to try and answer them. - Mark

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: torontofoodtrucks

                                      Has anyone tried Rome’n Chariot?

                                      1. re: kwass

                                        I've tried the slliders (meatball, veal, eggplant) which were good but nothing better than any good italian sandwich place.

                                      2. re: torontofoodtrucks

                                        Yes we are still in our infancy... most other cities are now past their love for Food trucks and are enacting bylaws to restrict them... Chicago, LA & New York have all made moves to control the proliferacation of Food Trucks in their cities.

                                        Reasons include the mess that is left when a truck moves from its location, the traffic obstructions they cause not only on the streets but also the sidewalk....

                                        1. re: ParkerQ

                                          proliferacation is a fantastic don kingism

                                          food trucks are whatever. it's no fun to get crappy food off a truck which is what a lot of them seem to offer, but to be fair i haven't eaten at any of the newer places. that lobster roll looks bunk though. if a place makes good food it makes good food, truck or brick and mortar. i just wanna eat well

                                      3. I'm reading on Twitter that there are food trucks *right now* between the Royal York hotel and the Royal Bank Plaza, near Front and Bay.

                                        https://twitter.com/spotlightcity/sta...

                                        Caplansky Deli Truck:

                                        https://twitter.com/CaplanskyTruck/st...

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: canmark

                                          Caplansky's and HogTown Smoke!

                                          1. re: jlunar

                                            Got there are 1:30 pm and there was virtually no line (I think both trucks will be back on Wednesday). Tried the pulled pork sandwich from Hogtown Smoke. Expected pulled pork swimming in barbecue sauce, but instead got moderate amount of pork covered in bright pink slaw. Don't like slaw on my pulled pork, so I scraped it off. I added a bit of sauce from squeeze bottles, but didn't add enough. Also got tiny bit of baked beans, but no cornbread (I think they ran out), which is supposed to come with the order (no reduction in price or extras offered). Sandwich=$12, plus can Coke=$2. At $14, it's not a cheap lunch.

                                            1. re: canmark

                                              Oh. That makes me a little less excited. Thanks for the report though! I'll have to find a convenient time for me to go - it's a bit of a trek from Bathurst if I really wanna go..!

                                        2. I finally had a chance to try Food Cabbie on the weekend after the end of the Flaming Lips concert at YD Square. I regret my order, the muffaletta sandwich. It wasn't that I didn't like it, it was tasty.... I just felt like the value wasn't there for $6.... I guess I was expecting it to be more like the one I had in New Orleans jammed with meat/etc. I wouldn't order it again but I would give them another chance and order something else. They only had 4 items on the menu including deep fried oreos. I guess they tried to keep it simpler to deal with crowds.

                                          1. Satisfied with the $6 grilled cheese from Gorilla Cheese truck at Front/Bay today. Tried to get the fish tacos from Buster's Sea Cove, but they said they ran out of tacos (tortillas)! It was only 1:30 pm and there was no lineup--how did they run out? They're coming back on Thursday, so may try then.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: canmark

                                              Got the fish tacos at Buster's Sea Cove today. Quite tasty (although I wish I asked them to ixnay the red cabbage, as I don't like cabbage--why does everyone stuff fish tacos with cabbage?) and 2 for $8. Not really enough food for lunch, though, more of an appetizer-sized meal. A double order would have been $16 (plus $2 for can of pop), though, which would be too much $$ for lunch. Still, I hope the food trucks come back, as this location (between Royal York hotel and Royal Bank Plaza) is very convenient to where I work. And there are nice outdoor tables and chairs on the mezzanine level beside RBC.

                                              1. re: canmark

                                                The food trucks will be in that location all summer long:

                                                https://twitter.com/rbpfoodtrucks

                                            2. What are people's views on current food truck offerings? There was so much hype before that just to get something to eat at "food events" was a challenge. But, I have recently tried a bunch of the trucks and although I am excited about the options, I have left disappointed with a few.

                                              Blue Donkey - had both the chicken pita and the calamari on two different occasions. Found the chicken was okay but not better than I would buy in a restaurant for cheaper. I didn't like the texture on the calamari, just wasn't that great for the $8 or so.

                                              Gorilla Cheese sandwich - decided to go to the Eat St taping yesterday in Hamilton. I don't know what I was thinking since I would never have waited more than 30 minutes to try it before but I ended up in line for like 2 hours! They were very friendly, well organized, etc and although I enjoyed the flavour of the sandwich (Lumberjack) I can't see myself waiting more than 10 minutes for one in the future. The thing is it isn't something that can be done all that fast because of the time to melt the cheese/etc so imagine there will usually be lines. $8 + is a bit on the high end too

                                              Fat Louie's - (trailer/truck) - in Rona parking lot at Keele/St. Clair - this has been my favourite experience so far. Good value at $5, good taste on both the pulled pork and fries. I definitely want to go back and try out the rest of their menu.

                                              Buster's Cove - tried at the Beaches Jazz fest on the weekend because I didn't see a line. People have been talking about their lobster roll so decided to give it a shot. Again, I enjoyed the taste but for a food truck, $13 seems pricey and for me the value isn't there. I wouldn't get it again.

                                              I am looking forward to trying more places and trying to alter my expectations, but, I still think there is a "value" issue there with respect to food truck offerings considering that often the food trucks are charging more than a restaurant for similar items (like, compared prices to Bahn Mi Boys, Come and Get It, grilled cheese places)

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: ylsf

                                                I've tried a lot of the food trucks and my favourite by far is El Gastro (aka El Gastronomo Vagabundo). They consistently put out delicious combinations of flavours and textures. They are known for their tacos (the fried cod and the fried buttermilk chicken are my favourite), but they often have other offerings -- many with an Asian slant. Their green papaya salad has the heat and brightness and complexity of flavours that I look for in Southeast Asian foods. I quite enjoyed their Korean chicken wings (though I ate them cold out of the fridge as leftovers, so I can't comment on what they are like fresh). Prices are usually $7 - $9 ($9 for two tacos, for example). I find that a reasonable price for the quality, especially as that is an all-in price -- no added tax or tip (unless you throw something into the tip jar).

                                                Their twitter stream or web site is the best way to track their location.

                                                http://www.elgastro.com/

                                                1. re: ylsf

                                                  Yes I think Come and Get It has the kind of food & price point I would hope for from a food truck, it's a good point of comparison. Haven't tried any new trucks lately. GV sounds great but rather unattainable due to limited service and lines.

                                                  1. re: ylsf

                                                    We were also at the Jazz Festival, but didn't get a chance to try Busters Cove. The only time I had time to checkout the truck was at the beginning and they weren't open yet. :(

                                                  2. I really want to give food trucks as much of a chance as I can, as there is some tasty food out there but the last few ones I have tried have been a "fail" in terms of both flavour and value.

                                                    I had the Food Dudes poutine (their "pulled pork" TIFF poutine) in front of the STORYS building for TIFF on the weekend past 1am ish. Original price was $10 but they lowered it to $8. I figured for that price it would be a decent size/big portion for sharing. The portion seemed smaller than the small at Smokes or other poutine places. I was not a fan of the pulled pork, tasted like "slow cooker" pulled pork, and, not even good pulled pork at that. I was really disappointed because I had heard good things about Food Dudes food before. Maybe my expectations were too high but I thought it would be at least as good as Smokes (which, isn't even "great" poutine by any stretch of the imagination, I am not a huge fan of their gravy). I feel like I should have just walked around the corner, paid less, had a spot/table to sit down at, etc.

                                                    I am a big supporter of the idea of food trucks but not sure how much more I am going to spend money chasing after good food at a food truck. It feels like people go to twitter/facebook/etc to spread positive reviews on things so there is an overall "hype" surrounding a lot of places. I am trying to get down to actual good places with good flavours and value (considering you are sitting on a bench/curb to eat vs what you would pay at a fast casual restaurant like Banh Mi Boys or Come and Get it for example).

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: ylsf

                                                      Yup. I'm also not too excited about poutine and pulled pork as menu items. Talk about two items that are well-represented on Toronto menus - at places where I can actually sit down and get a beer, too. Judging from Food Dude's website they are capable of much more...

                                                      1. re: julesrules

                                                        i've had a few dishes at a few of the trucks now and all of them have been pretty good but one thing that puzzled me was busters' decision to use basa as their fish....

                                                        1. re: nevrenuf

                                                          basa = high profit margin

                                                    2. Newest Truck in town, Priscilla, Fidel Gastor's new truck. Love his food to bits. Always interesting, and satisfying. Fast and friendly and complete!

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: Chef Wendy B

                                                        He is definitely one of my favourites too.

                                                        www.abbeyskitchen.com

                                                        1. re: hungryabbey

                                                          What are you guys having from his truck?

                                                          I am adding my meal from them to the list of disappointments from the food trucks.

                                                          I had the "Sgt Slather", suppose to have some "creamy guac" on it but didn't notice or taste it at all. It tasted very much one note, no contrasting flavours at all. The pulled pork was okay but really just seemed like stringy slow cooked pulled pork. The "thai" fries were a joke...Sure seemed like McCain coated fries that just had a bit of thai hot sauce added to them, definitely not worth $3 as a side. I saw some other people had cilantro on theirs and I am not sure what else but mine didn't have anything except for the fries with hot sauce on them.

                                                          I really am trying to go in with low expectations now when trying these food trucks but considering the line up for FG at various food events in the past I expected an "amazing" sandwich and I didn't get it. I will say that it was more filling than most of the offerings I have had in that price range ($7 sandwich).

                                                          I still want to try Gourmet Gringos because again I have heard a lot of good things but maybe I should stop following some of the food trucks twitter feeds because it might be effecting my expectations when they just re-tweet praise after praise.

                                                        2. re: Chef Wendy B

                                                          I had the chance to try Fidel Gastro this weekend, at The Only beerfest. It was definitely fun to have a truck out in winter, in an alley, near my house in unhipville. The food was ok to good. They had 3 items and I ordered one of each. Carbonara fries with egg, parmesan and lardon-style bacon were definitely my favourite, and would have made great drunk food had I been out drinking in the cold with the beer festival goers. The other two items both featured unsmoked pulled pork, which I admittedly have a hate on for because it's boring and everywhere in TO, including my own crockpot. Their version was fine, not overly sweet as many are. I did think putting it in a cuban sandwich was a decent idea and something I will do with my own leftovers. But $9 for a small sandwich is a little steep IMHO. The third item was "pulled pork chili" which also had corn, mushrooms I swear were canned, but chickpeas that didn't seem canned. Again this was good winter drinking food but, way too much like something a soccer mom might make in her crockpot with a recipe from allrecipes.com. My kids play soccer and I have a crockpot so I can say that.

                                                        3. I couple of more updates on my food truck adventures...

                                                          Dirty South at SEW Hungry - Tasty.. Portion isn't huge but enjoyed the Dirty Southern Love. Fried chicken, sandwich patties made from buttermilk waffles (which were more like pancakes though).

                                                          Also had Meatball Shoppe's sliders there. Filling for $3 and tasty (had the original).

                                                          Overall a good experience at SEW Hungry except Hulu's truck... WAY too much ice in the cold lemonade, especially for $4

                                                          At Nuit Blanche I had Per Se's Jerk Chicken and wasn't a big fan. Skin/fat still on in a sandwich form wasn't too appetizing. Weird sauce on both the sandwich and on the homemade "chips"

                                                          1. Some more food truck reports...

                                                            The other day at the Car2go Mobile Feast event I had the Stuft "thai chicken" sausage. It was decent in terms of flavour but no way I would pay $9 of my own money for that in the future.
                                                            I also tried Blue Donkey's "honey pita sticks" and the ones that were fluffier were pretty good but some seemed over deep fried (maybe the thinner parts of the pita). They didn't have the normal price listed but I probably wouldn't order it again (interesting to try, but can't see myself paying more than $3 for it and sharing it, I imagine they sell for more normally).

                                                            Today I checked out the Mississauga food eats thing at Celebration Square (by Square One). They had a few trucks and Fidel Gastro was leaving by the time I got there (around 3pm, they were suppose to all be there until 5pm so not sure why they were leaving so early.. I am guessing because the weather sucked and they were probably not getting much business).

                                                            Anyway, I decided to try Hank Daddy's because I tried to go to a previous event and the line was so large for any truck I didn't have time to order anything. Normal price on the pulled pork sandwich with a side of coleslaw is $10. Luckily they offered a $2 "rain" discount because even at $8 it was over priced. The coleslaw was the worst I have ever tasted. I am glad it was on the side and not on the sandwich. I usually like vinegar based coleslaw but it tasted "off". I ended up throwing it out after 2 bites. The pulled pork wasn't particularly smoky, almost as if it was made in a slow cooker. It was passable but definitely a far cry from the better pulled pork I have had. The bun was horrible too (Cheap grocery store hamburger buns).

                                                            Since there was no line for any place, I decided to give Urban Smoke a shot (especially since I was still hungry after the Hank's pulled pork). I got their "dirty bob" which was a brisket sandwich with mushrooms/onions/swiss cheese. It was okay but I wasn't a fan of the sauce they used in it (lingered on for a while after). Also, I would definitely not pay $8 again for it (now knowing the portion size).

                                                            Anyway ,you may wonder why I keep trying these food trucks after so many failures. I guess because I have had a few good or great experiences (like gourmet gringos... I am not sure if I posted about them before but I really liked their fish tacos... you could actually taste the beer in the batter) and hoping to find more "good" food.

                                                            1. I've been stopping by the Food Trucks at Sony Centre fairly frequently over the past couple of months.

                                                              Biggest Hit: Porchetta sandwich with home-made chips from Per Se

                                                              Biggest Miss: Brisket Sandwich soaked in what I think was canned soup from Caplansky's

                                                              Notable Mention: Cheddar, apple, bacon and maple syrup grilled cheese sandwich from Gorilla Cheese.

                                                              Un-Notable Mention: Tacos, tacos, tacos, tacos and tacos. Enough already!

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Squiggles

                                                                all of these places that are making tacos are doing a crap job of it. i don't know why no one outside of grand electric (i haven't gone to la carnita, it doesn't interest me, also i think grand electric's tacos are too small) has been able to nail a good, flavourful taco (unless we're counting the banh mi boys ones cuz those are deadly), i know it's a common complaint but you can get great truck tacos all over the goddamn place. i had tacos in germany recently that blew 99% of what i've eaten in toronto out of the water.

                                                                in regard to the general discussion, i think that the food truck thing is still so novel to many of the public that places don't have to be putting out interesting or delicious food to attract a crowd, especially when you just smash 10 trucks in a field and call it an 'event'. i think it'll change, hopefully, and we'll get some things that fall more in line with something i would actually pay for at a restaurant. put banh mi boys on a truck and i'm sold, but why do i want to line up for 2 hours or whatever to have a $13 crappy looking lobster roll? or slow cooker pulled pork on a grocery store bun?

                                                                gourmet gringos and per se are both new ones for me though, and if they're worth trying, i'm down

                                                              2. Had a Gorilla Cheese last night... I think I am done with them for good. The food is okay and they do have some interesting combinations but for $8 I expect better (didn't seem like a lot of actual "cheese" in mine, the Sarducci).

                                                                1. Just saw this article on BlogTO why Food Trucks are being kept out of Liberty Village :

                                                                  http://www.blogto.com/eat_drink/2013/...

                                                                  Sounds like Gourmet Gringo's is being very reasonable and trying to appease the BIA (more than they should have to) but sounds like BIA doesn't care. Seems like a foolish stance to me. Reality is, I don't have much reason to go to Liberty Village and most people probably don't unless they are in the area for something at the CNE. Give people a reason to go to your area because believe it or not the food truck thing is far from dead and events or even a few of them attract people and bring attention.

                                                                  1. I went down to Sony Centre at lunch today for Gourmet Gringos and Sweet Snow Shaved Ice (a brand new truck, they're on facebook and here: http://www.sweetsnowshaveice.com/
                                                                    My fish tacos were fine, balance of flavours not quite there for me though - I think too heavy on aioli and guac, not enough acid brightness. Tortillas and fish were fine.
                                                                    The shaved ice had great texture and was obviously very refreshing on a day like today. I was drawn in by the tropical flavours (passion fruit and guava being favourites of mine) but I didn't find the flavours terribly distinct/evocative. Maybe that's typical of shaved ice I have no idea. You can get condensed milk, adzuki beans, and vanilla ice cream as options. I'd get it again but probably wouldn't go out of my way for it.
                                                                    There was hardly any crowd today after 1:30 and there is some lovely seating at nearby Berczy (?) Park.

                                                                    1. There are a bunch of food trucks at the Oakville Waterfront Festival this weekend. Free admission:
                                                                      http://www.oakvillewaterfrontfestival...

                                                                      I was down there last night. A few trucks I hadn't seen before and also some trucks I have only seen in the Hamilton area before.

                                                                      Anyone tried some of the newer trucks?

                                                                      I gave Frankie Fettuccine a shot and had their gnocchi poutine. Unfortunately there was WAY too much salt in it. I couldn't finish it. I will probably avoid trying anything else from them if they felt fit to serve that for $10.

                                                                      Curious about some of the other trucks though if anyone has tried anything from them.

                                                                      As an aside, the festival itself has a nice setup with some local craft brews and tonight Elliot Brood and 54*40 are performing.

                                                                      1. I went to the Gathering Niagara "Earth and Sky" event yesterday at Chateau de Charmes winery (thanks to TorontoJo for rec).

                                                                        I had food from two trucks I hadn't tried before.

                                                                        Yellow Pear - corn on the cob - was very tasty
                                                                        http://www.farmtotruck.ca/about-us.html

                                                                        Jonny Blonde - had 3 skewers. 1 was chorizo with green olivies, and the other two were chicken. Also had a side of flatbread. Really good, wasn't overcooked (moist chicken), tasted chorizo, etc but at $4 each it is definitely keeping with the expensive food truck food trend.

                                                                        https://www.facebook.com/JonnyBlondeF...

                                                                        My friend had a crepe from another vendor there. I had a bite and it was good.

                                                                        Found out about a weekly food truck even in Ancaster on Tuesday nights -
                                                                        https://www.facebook.com/HolyFoodTruck

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: ylsf

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                                                                          1. re: ylsf

                                                                            I really enjoyed my skewers from Jonny Blonde as well. I tried the piri piri sauce and the Thai peanut sauce. I appreciate that he sources local, naturally raised chickens and butchers them himself. He's making his own flatbreads, too. I also tried the apple slaw which was a nice foil to the meat.

                                                                            I adore The Yellow Pear. Their tagline is "farm-to-truck cuisine" and they source just about 100% of their ingredients from local purveyors. That corn was darn tasty.

                                                                          2. BlogTO has a slide show of 50 different dishes from Toronto Food trucks

                                                                            http://www.blogto.com/food_trucks/201...

                                                                            Most of the stuff looks pretty good, just be warned, the Caplansky's poutine looks more like a plate of puke than something you would want to put in your mouth.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: bytepusher

                                                                              I saw the picture earlier. They look fantastic...with the exception, like you said, of Caplansky's...lol.