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Beyond tacos, which food trucks are worth it and why?

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Ever since all sorts of non Mexican food trucks started popping up, I've been pretty ambivalent. On the one hand, I love the concept of talented chefs being able to make good food without all of the hassles and headaches of a brick/mortar shop, but on the other hand so much of the stuff that I have tried/seen feels to be just overpriced and underwhelming.

The only truck that I've been to that was worth it to me is Guerilla Tacos. I love the constant changing of ingredients which appear to be solely based on what looked good/was fresh. The flavors blend well together in the tacos while still being distinct and vibrant. The masa is spongy and delicious.

What do you guys like and why?

I've heard good things about Ricky's... anything else?

(For the purposes of this, I am excluding taco trucks, because I already feel that I'm relatively familiar with a decent amount of them)

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  1. "was worth it"...The Wein...RIP

    "is worth it"...The Lobsta Truck...the perfect 3 biter, quality ingredients...

    "still the reigning champs"...IMO...are 2 Taco trucks: Tacos LEO for al pastor and El Matador for carne asada

    1. HeirloomLA
      one of the most consistent varieties of flavors, always seasonal, and very creative.
      Parked every Monday night in front of Silver Lake Wine shop, as well as on Tuesdays at the Everson Royce store in Pasadena on North Raymont.

      8 Replies
      1. re: carter

        do they sell the lasagna cupcakes at truck? if so, how much?

        1. re: ns1

          Most of the time, they do. Have no idea how much, however, as it not my kind of food.
          www.heirloomLA.com might provide some answers, however.

          1. re: carter

            They listed online pricing but no truck pricing. Thx anyway

            1. re: ns1

              This post has them at $7 a pop. I thought they were $6 at Intelligensia in Pasadena...

              http://heirloom-la.blogspot.com/2011_...

              1. re: happybaker

                thx for the followup. $9 a pop from amazon fresh, so I'll hold off.

                OMFG though that CROSTINI SAMPLER
                looks epic!

              2. re: kevin

                Sadly Kevin - you did not read it incorrectly.

                It's lasagna, baked in a cupcake tin for individual portions.

                Don't know it it will make it better or worse, but Heirloom LA did not invent it. I'm sure many other folks did as well, but the first I heard of it was on Dweezil Zappa and Lisa Loebs cooking show.

                http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/cu...

                1. re: happybaker

                  Thanks guys.

                2. re: kevin

                  kevin, noodle shell, lasagna filling. It's not some disgusting dessert thing. It's actually quite good.

          2. I like:
            The Buttermilk Truck (closed)
            Grill 'em All (now a restaurant)
            Cool Haus (now a store)
            Egg Slut (now a restaurant)
            Grilled Cheese Truck
            Lobsta Truck
            Nom Nom (closed)
            Kogi (also at Alibi Room)
            Ludo Chicken (also at Staples)
            Big Gay Ice Cream Truck (soon to be a store)
            The Lime Truck (now a restaurant)
            they all have pretty good food at a reasonable price.

            1 Reply
            1. re: wienermobile

              I've had Grilled Cheese, Kogi and Cool Haus and didn't really understand the appeal of any of them.

              Kogi, I can find better examples of korean food in many places in K-town and I didn't feel that when I looked past the novelty of it being served in tortillas, that the fusion part really added anything at all. I can accept that I missed the boat on this one, because I tried it after Roy had already moved on to other things.

              Grilled Cheese: My biggest complaint is that the bread has no chew and it appears to be cooked in a panini press or something, which goes against main point of a grilled cheese, that it is griddled in butter/mayonaise to get a crisp, yet moist crust. I'd rather just make this at home, the fact that it had mac and cheese and short rib, while interesting, did not enhance it if the bread/crust wasn't there.

              Cool Haus: Meh. The ice cream flavors taste pretty samey and the cookies don't do it for me at all. I had the fried chicken ice cream one time I went there, it tasted like sweet cream, nothing at all remarkable. I'd rather go to Neveux, Sweet Rose, Scoops, Bulgarini, even Bigg Chill.

            2. Worth driving to, or worth eating? Cuz those are entirely different criteria.

              3 Replies
              1. re: ns1

                Driving to. My hope is to find some that are actually destination worthy.

                1. re: Butter Fight

                  Lobsta Truck, Wicked Kitchen, Street Kings Food Truck, Canvas Food Truck & Catering, Lets roll it truck, Rounds Premium Burgers! Will all be on Main St and Ocean Park Blvd in Santa Monica (behind museum) this Tuesday 5pm-9:30pm. Different trucks each Tuesday night.

                  1. re: wienermobile

                    Besides the Lobsta truck have you tried any of these? Because looking at the menus, most of these trucks look pretty awful.

                    I mean, I don't want to be a hater, but Wicked and Street Kings both just smack of me too-ism, with their multicultural foodie pandering nonsense. It just feels like a committee got together and said "what are the kids eating these days?" and just imitated various popular trends (Korean fusion, pork belly, weird doughnuts, chicken and waffles etc)

                    Wicked appears to be owned by ConAgra for fucks sake.

                    Of course, none of this matters if the cooking is actually great, but neither of those inspire any sort of hope.

                    The other two look mediocre but don't really inspire any passion.

                    Canvas actually looks possibly good.

                    It feels like with the popularity of food trucks it is nearly impossible to sift through the crap. Maybe I am looking at this wrong. Maybe there isn't really such a thing as a destination food truck, maybe food trucks are there to be a convenient food fix and I should stop expecting great or interesting cooking.

                    I keep expecting that the market will sort the good from the bad, but with the cost of entrance being so low I can see the market being flooded with cheap crap until this whole fad dies.

                    I was hoping the cream would rise to the top, but in a vat of shit it is hard to skim any cream.

              2. The Grilled Cheese Truck's BBQ pork & Mac & cheese sandwich is ridiculously delicious.....along with their tomato soup cups, it's a great combo.

                1. Ludo Truck is worth a trek of no more than 15 minutes. His fried chicken is quite good and the biscuits are superb. And as somebody mentioned, it is now at Staples but I've heard the Staples rendition is not as good.

                  1. Most of them suck IMO and charge way too much for the quality and quantity you're getting.

                    Most of the good ones seem to have gone by the wayside. I miss Lomo Arigato and The Discussion Truck.

                    The Mighty Boba Truck is pretty good. Their taro drink is good and the lunchbox combo are a good deal.

                    1. mexican trucks, worth.

                      non-mexicans trucks, never.

                      stick with that, and everyone's golden. and we're not talking about taco trucks. there are gordita stands, cemitas trucks, ceviche stands, churros, crepes stands, ad nausea.

                      that said, the exception to the above rule may be the Holy Grill "truck", which is being towed by a Ford SUV on chromed dubs. It's in downtown fashion district, serving Glatt kosher kebabs. The breakfast menu has shakshuka and boreks. Knowing the clientele, certainly it can't be overpriced.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: TonyC

                        Glatt kosher kebabs sounds dope.

                        1. re: TonyC

                          TonyC,

                          I took a peek at their facebook and yelp page. As it's kosher, starting food costs will be higher (kosher meat is not cheap!) and they have to pay to be supervised/accredited.

                          That said, not nearly as pricey as they could be! Prices seem to range from $4 for salads/sides, up to $14 for various combos. Lots of stuff in the $9 - $12 range.

                          So considering the limits they have to work with, they are dong a dandy job cost wise!

                          P.S. I am not kosher but my sister became more observant. It was a huge shock to her to discover how much more the meat was! Might explain why there are more "dairy" restaurant than meat : )

                          1. re: happybaker

                            Halakah makes everything more expensive.

                            That's why kosher restaurants, specifically meat varietals, have a tough go of it.

                            It's an insidiously tough business plan.

                            Though kosher fish restaurants have it a little bit easier. :)

                            What's your sis' fave kosher joints btw ?????????

                            1. re: kevin

                              Kevin,

                              "It's an insidiously tough business plan." Yes indeed!

                              My sister is back in Ohio, but when she was out here for a fast visit (years ago) she loved Nagilla pizza. Loved.

                              One of her kids (the practical one) loves vegan restaurants as they are cheaper, she can eat whatever they want and, she doesn't have to wait hours to eat milk or meat!

                              1. re: happybaker

                                Oh, I thought she was an LA resident.

                                :)

                                Nagilla is ok for fast food falafel, and crummy if slightly delicious, very slightly, possibly tasty delicious pizza, but yeah, it's just not that great.

                                I've always had a soft spot for The Milky Way and I have an additional soft spot for the now defunct, melawach-intensive, The Magic Carpet.

                                1. re: kevin

                                  No worries!

                                  When I lived in that area, the plain pizza at Nagilla ROCKED. It may have changed since then, darn it.

                                  And yes, I heard fab things about The Magic Carpet, but never got to try it : (

                                  1. re: happybaker

                                    Good thing you didn't try or else you would sorely miss it.

                                    :( plus a happy :)

                        2. You've heard good things about Ricky's because they're hands-down the best Ensenada style fish tacos in L.A. Totally destination-worthy.

                          Lobsta Truck used to be, when it was only place in town to get a proper lobster roll. Now, not as much, although I always get one if I stumble on it. Always.

                          But I agree with the OP that all the others that I've tried are silly and/or overpriced.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: jesstifer

                            I'll nom chicken & rice truck, because it's the only place in town to get chicken & rice.

                          2. Ragin Cajun, love the GUMBOLAYA
                            Urban oven, great wood fired pizza
                            Waffles delige Belgian waffles
                            Cousins maine lobster for,clam chowder and lobster rolls
                            Rosa Bella cucina, eggplant parm meatballs etc

                            I know there must be others

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: LisaN

                              How do Cousins lobster rolls compare to Lobsta Truck?

                              1. re: jesstifer

                                Jennifer, lobsta truck are way way way better. Just my opinion.

                                1. re: jesstifer

                                  Last time we had Lobsta trucks they tasted fishy and off, haven't been bag, we liked cousins better, fresher tasting but to each their own

                              2. Guerilla has live uni today!

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: JAB

                                  Oh. Shit !!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                  Tooo bad I can't make it there today.

                                  Gotta unclog some drains.

                                  1. re: JAB

                                    Daaaammmnnnn. And it's early dismissal at school today..... Good thing I got my fill of Uni tacos at Nobu this week ;0)

                                     
                                    1. re: JAB

                                      That makes being at work even harder today. Enjoy.

                                    2. The Viking food truck has an array of tasty and massive corn dogs/half smokes. Tots. Drunk food that can tame Vikings. Had it at brew ho ho.

                                      1. In-N-Out

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                          No fries!

                                          1. re: JAB

                                            That's a bad thing? I hardly ever get fries at In-N-Out unless I'm feeling really bad and get animal fries well done.

                                            1. re: OCSteve

                                              I knew this was coming, lol. I get mine light well after having ordered them well for many years and them coming out more like potato sticks than fries.

                                              1. re: JAB

                                                Never knew "light well" was an available option (that is, one that could be put on the ticket sent to the kitchen).

                                                If so, I'll definitely have to try that, because at my local In-n-Out, the regular fries are mushy and the well-done ones are toothpicks.

                                                1. re: Bradbury

                                                  Exactly!

                                        2. The German truck, the Viking truck, Dos Chinos... I actually don't eat at nearly as many trucks as I used to.

                                          When you say "taco trucks", do you mean trucks that serve tacos, or do you mean traditional loncheras? Because Cemitas Tepeaca, which parks on Whittier and Everett (across from its competition), has some of the best cemitas in LA, and there's a truck on Whittier just east of the 710 (it sometimes parks a little south on that first cross street) has fried chicken necks that are dead ringers for Tijuana's Kentucky Fried Buches.

                                          13 Replies
                                          1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                            Das have you had the cemitas at El Monchis on Cesar Chavez as a point of comparison?

                                            1. re: JAB

                                              Tepeaca obliterates El Monchis, especially because they offer a fierce pierna enchilada. And they have some semblance of seating now.

                                              1. re: TonyC

                                                I'll give Tepeaca the edge but, obliterates is a gross exaggeration.

                                                1. re: TonyC

                                                  He brings out tables after the enforcement goons have gone home to their dinners. It's a huge improvement.

                                                  1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                    whoa, there's a name I haven't seen in a while.

                                                    1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                      Yeah. Das. How you doing ?????

                                                      We haven't heard from you in ages.

                                                      And your post is possibly the best in the past few years.

                                                      1. re: kevin

                                                        I got tired of answering the "going to [Disneyland|Angel Stadium|Anaheim Convention Center, need awesome food in walking distance, and don't know how to use a search feature", so I backed away for a while.

                                                        Also—shockingly—I have interests that don't involve food. :)

                                                        1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                          "Also—shockingly—I have interests that don't involve food. :)"

                                                          lies, you're dieting on us aren't you?

                                                          1. re: ns1

                                                            damn, he's dieting.

                                                            how could you ????????

                                                2. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                  Wow. Are you serious ?????

                                                  A truck w Kentucky Fried Buches ?????

                                                  Please tell me more regarding name and location.

                                                  Thanks man.

                                                  1. re: kevin

                                                    I have no idea what the name is. The location, as I said, is on Whittier Boulevard, either just east of the 710 between Burger St. and Ford Bl., or half a block south of Whittier on Burger St., since there are parking restrictions on Whittier Blvd. during the day. It has a large electronic sign that says "PESCUEZOS DE POLLO" (chicken necks).

                                                    I misspoke about Cemitas Tepeaca... it's actually at Whittier and Spence, which is west of Indiana St. and thus is technically in Boyle Heights, not East Los.

                                                    I have not had the cemita at El Monchis.

                                                    1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                      Das Ubergeek, is it the Santa Rita, Jalisco truck (usually in East LA, but may travel to Whittier on occasion)?

                                                      http://www.yelp.com/biz/santa-rita-ja...

                                                      1. re: phamschottler

                                                        I don't know the name of it, I apologize. It is always parked on Whittier Boulevard (not in Whittier).

                                                3. I've been re-visiting trucks now after a 4 year hatefest. There's definitely a lot of crappy trucks, but a few trucks are actually looking pretty tempting to me.

                                                  As of late, I've been spending too many calories here:
                                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/970401

                                                  I've been semi-impressed with the following trucks, although I need more visits before I can truly evaluate:
                                                  Hamborghini, Patty Wagon, Rueben Truck, MOE Truck, Aloha Friday's (consistency issues tho), Urban Oven.

                                                  Border Grill truck is surprisingly good, but outrageously expensive.

                                                  Any 'hounds want to comment on any of the above?

                                                  4 Replies
                                                  1. re: ns1

                                                    Does Border Grill post their shit ????

                                                    And how expensive are we talking about ?????

                                                    Thanks man.

                                                    1. re: kevin

                                                      10 bucks for 3 delicious tacos.

                                                      ...then you gotta go to a real taco truck and buy 3-4 more tacos to fill you up. The fish taco was seriously 2-3 bites. The asada maybe 4-5 bites.

                                                      1. re: ns1

                                                        How do they even compete selling tacos for that much???

                                                      2. re: kevin

                                                        Border Grill

                                                         
                                                         
                                                    2. While I would never even try something like this, the hollowheads on Abbott Kinney seem to really like the Vegan Icecream Truck. Go figure.