I have a new favorite sign of spring: it’s food truck weather!
Here in Wichita, and in many cities, mobile kitchens are hot, in every sense of the word. They’re convenient and typically offer a better meal than your local drive-through.
My friend Vicki didn’t have to twist my arm very hard to join her this week for a meal at the Flying Stove, arguably Wichita’s flagship food truck. Their menu is eclectic and tantalizing, featuring dishes with dashes of Caribbean, Asian, Mexican and Mediterranean flavors, just for starters.
The menu this week featured a lamb/beef burger, a Hawaiian Kalua pork sandwich, a jerk chicken taco with mango chutney, a Cinco de Mayo Mexican salad with jicama and black bean puree, Mexican flag fries (red chili sauce, queso blanco and pesto) and truffle fries.
It wasn’t easy, but I eventually decided on the salad and a side of fries while Vicki picked the taco.
The Flying Stove sets up tables, but the April breeze was still a little nippy, so we took our little black boxes of goodness to her minivan.
Everything was heavenly. The salad was shredded, making it easy to eat on the go, with just the right amount of honey-lime vinaigrette. Vicki raved about her taco, which was served with plantains. We both loved the fries but thought we probably should have split a small order.
Other trucks are cruising into our market, which seems happy to have them. And they’re so diverse: German brats, wood-fired pizza, gourmet sandwiches, schwarma, even coffee (genius) and a mobile bakery, just to name a few.
One thing I appreciate about the local fleet is that they don’t just target the downtown commercial areas. You’ll find them near suburban shopping centers and major employers all over town. That’s good thinking. On our visit, the Flying Stove was, appropriately, in an office park near the airport.
I like how our community has embraced these chefs on wheels, lining up in droves wherever they set the parking brake. They’re a great way to sample something new. I’m a timid eater – I tend to stick with favorites. Going to a restaurant seems like such a commitment, and I’ve skipped many altogether because I didn’t think I would like a certain cuisine. I’m a wuss.
The truck owners themselves seem like such a friendly lot, teaming up for special events and even promoting one another when they offer complimentary fare. They’re also whizzes at social media, because it’s key to their survival: that’s how you know where to find them and what they’re serving. So if you’re already a fan, or curious about this whole trend, start following a few of your local trucks on Facebook and Twitter, or visit their websites.
Here are a few guides to get you started with good eats on the streets!
Co-Editor, Kansas Women Bloggers