By Brienne Walsh
If we had to pick the top food trend of 2012, we’d chose food trucks, which are becoming increasingly ubiquitous on the streets of New York. And we can understand why. They’re fast, they’re cheap, and they’re easy, three things that make for a great first date. And we mean that in the best possible way.
Currently, there are 3,000 food trucks in operation in the five boroughs. Given that none of them have parking permits, you may need to track them down via Twitter. To make your search easier, we’ve chosen our top ten favorite places to eat on the sidewalk, so that the next time you get an Intro to a foodie on MeetMoi on a lovely summer day, you’ll know exactly the place to suggest.
1. Comme Ci Comme Ça: The owner of this truck, Chef Samir, was born in Casablanca, Morocco, lending him—and his food—an effortlessly romantic air. Don’t be put off by the green Rastafarian theme of the truck—the food Chef Samir makes, which includes dishes like lemon chicken couscous and vegetarian burgers, is not only delicious, it’s also healthy.
2. Endless Summer, Williamsburg: Although most food trucks migrate, Endless Summer can usually be found on the corner of N. 3rd and Bedford in Williamsburg. Serving up all different types of Mexican tacos—which lend themselves, in all of their tortilla wrapped glory, almost perfectly to the food truck medium—Endless Summer has some of the best burritos we’ve tasted in the city.
3. Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream: Who remembers the ice cream man from their childhood? We certainly do, which is why we especially love the Van Leeuwen truck, which serves grown-up flavors like Galangal, lemongrass and lemon sorbet, and rum raisin-barbancourt 8 year rum ice cream.
4. Rickshaw Dumpling Truck: The co-owner of this truck was recently featured on an NPR story about how to find the “mystical spot” to park a food truck in New York City. There must have been many reasons why the reporter chose to follow him around. We assume that one of them was the divine chicken and fresh thai basil dumplings, and if not those, then definitely the chili sesame noodle salad.
5. Schnitzel & Things: This truck was recently named one of the top 20 food trucks in the United States by Smithsonian Magazine, which is no small distinction. The food is so good—the truck adds a gourmet twist to the traditional German dish, which is, in essence, a finely breaded piece of meat—that the truck recently opened a permanent location on 3rd Avenue between 45th and 46th Street. How’s that for switching the order of things?
6. Red Hook Lobster Pound: If we had to choose the runner-up for biggest food trend of 2012, we’d choose lobster rolls, which, until recently, could only be found at Maine seafood joints and beachside diners. The Red Hook Pound, which has a permanent location in Brooklyn’s hippest underground neighborhood, creates succulent, dreamy sandwiches, lathered in butter, and stuffed with weightless lobster meat. It’s a treat that can’t be missed.
7. Kimchi Taco Truck: Another type of cuisine that lends itself particularly well to food trucks is Asian food, which is why it’s kind of genius that Phillip Lee, the owner of the establishment, combined his Korean fare with a staple from Mexico. Using basic Korean barbeque as a base, Lee wraps ingredients in tortilla, or serves them with melted cheese in a “Kim-Cheesesteak Sandwich.”
8. The Eddie’s Pizza Truck: Before food trucks, if you wanted to have a quick, delicious meal in any New York City neighborhood, you’d visit the pizza joint right around the corner. The Eddie’s Pizza Truck is a variation on that theme, bringing your local pizza, piping hot, right to your doorstep.
9. Milk Truck Grilled Cheese: Using some of the best ingredients in New York City—gruyere from Wisconsin, bread from Balthazar—this truck serves up a gourmet variation of the comfort food from childhood. Recently featured in a great review in The New York Times about artisanal grilled cheese sandwiches, you can grab a meal at the truck for just over $5.
10. Taïm Mobile: Gluten-free and entirely vegetarian, the menu on this truck is deceptively simple, given the complexity of the flavors in the food. Featuring things like falafel sandwiches with mango-fenugreek chutney, quinoa salads with dried cranberries, and Pear-Mint-Lemon smoothies, Taïm is perfect both for healthy eaters and foodies alike.