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Apr 17, 2012 07:39 AM

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:!/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."


        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. 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:

                  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.