Thursday, June 30, 2011

Unremarkaball: Great Balls on Tires

Great Balls on Tires lured me in because of its name.
The truck goes balls out with its theme. There's no holding back here.

IncrediBall -- two ground Kobe beef sliders with applewood smoked bacon, Gruyere, wild arugula, garlic aioli, toasted brioche ($7).
I really wanted to love these because this truck has such a fun concept and is run by extremely nice people. Unfortunately, the meatballs were dry and underseasoned.

I hope this was an off day. I didn't have a good experience, but I'd be willing to give this truck another chance because the guys on the truck were just so friendly and cool.

That, my friends, is the power of good customer service.

Decent Breakfast Burrito: Mangia

The CIA shut down the cafeteria to prepare for our new food service provider, so we had food trucks come to the CIA that week. I started my day with a chorizo breakfast burrito ($4) from Mangia (which, bizarrely, seems to have zero web presence).
This was surprisingly tastier than I expected, especially since it's a burrito from an Italian truck.

I didn't have a choice. It was the only truck there that morning.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Fancy-Schmancy Ice Cream Sandwiches: Coolhaus

I was glad to see Coolhaus at The Railroad Revival Tour.
I really like Coolhaus. I'd tried it in the past after another concert, but it was too dark that night to memorialize our foie-gras-ice-cream-ginger-molasses-cookie sandwich and brown-butter-candied-bacon-ice-cream-snickerdoodle sandwich with my little pink camera.

Pick your cookie. Pick your ice cream. Pay $5 for your personalized ice cream sandwich!

Red velvet cookie + red velvet ice cream.

Maple waffle white chocolate cookie + Nutella toasted almond ice cream.
Both the ice cream and the cookies at Coolhaus are inventive and delectable. Even I'm willing to wait in line for Coolhaus.

Food for the Stoned: The Munchie Machine

When we went to the Railroad Revival Tour with our dear friends The Cruisers, our only sustenance options were food trucks. We started with The Munchie Machine.
How sad was I when I was informed there were no Scooby Snacks that night?

There was only a very limited menu for this event.
Prices were also jacked up. Boo!

The Green Bird -- smoked turkey, pesto, tomatoes, cheese ($10).
It's not just my crappy picture. This so-called sandwich really was this anemic. And it cost $10. WTF?!

Caramel s'more ($5).
This was the best of the bunch, but that's not saying much. I paid $5 for this?! Bah!

Cinnamon s'more ($5).
The Munchie Machine serves food that only a pothead could love at prices only the high could ignore. What a waste.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fun Flavors: Lake Street Creamery

For dessert, we and The Cruisers indulged in two pints from Lake Street Creamery.

Lake Street Creamery describes its donut flavor as "the fresh natural taste of cake donut -- now in ice cream form."

Pancake Breakfast is "cakey, satisfying flapjacks, pure maple syrup, and bits of real bacon, sprinkled with fresh-ground peaberry coffee." Lake Street Creamery advises this is "not for vegetarians or the excitable."
We all enjoyed these two flavors. I liked Pancake Breakfast more for its touch of salt amidst the sweetness. It's not the creamiest ice cream you'll ever have (in fact, it's a tad icy), but the creative flavors are certainly worth sampling.

Nothing Revolutionary: Chef Che's Argentine Cuisine

Chef Che's Argentine Cuisine commanded the longest line at the Santa Monica Food Truck Lot. The rest of us had long finished fetching food from our respective trucks, but Mr. Cruiser took one for the team with this truck.
It's a shame that it wasn't really worth it.

Empanadas are $3.50 each.

El Che -- ground beef, vegetables, raisins, egg, Spanish olives
El Mariachi -- adobo chicken, vegetables, jalapeño, cilantro, beans
El Fidel -- slow-roasted pork marinated in mojo de ajo, vegetables, plantains, black beans
Fillings could've been juicier and punchier, but there was nothing inherently wrong with any of these empanadas. They just didn't have any "wow" factor. If I had to pick one for you to get, I guess I'd say the pork is the best.

If there's a line of any sort, I suggest skipping Chef Che's. There's no need for class struggle with the bourgeoisie for this truck.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Leashed Dragon: Komodo

Komodo purports to serve "dangerously good food."
I'll admit it's good. There's nothing dangerous about it, though. And that's what's holding it back from being great.

Komodo 2.0 tacos -- seared skirt steak with jalapeño aioli and southwest corn salad ($3 each).

Blazin' shrimp tacos -- spicy Singaporean-style shrimp with sour cream salad and cilantro ($3 each)

Meatballs with Romesco sauce -- pork meatballs topped with Spanish red bell pepper sauce ($5).
When you say something is spicy, it should be spicy. Komodo failed in this respect. However, the food definitely has potential. If Komodo would just turn it up, it'd be quite something.

Light a fire, Komodo. Unleash the dragon.

Tasty Enough: TastyMeat

According to its signage, TastyMeat serves Turkish-style wraps, falafel, and more.
The signage also boasts that this is delicious meat. It was probably closer to decent. Not bad at all but certainly nothing special.

Grilled cheese with meat ($3, add $1 for meat) -- pita with Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses, grilled with butter.

The Chickwich ($6 for 8", $8 for 12") -- chicken shawarma, Romaine lettuce, Roma tomatoes, red onions, tzatziki, feta, and tahini.

The Bamwich ($6 for 8", $8 for 12") -- mixed beef and lamb shawarma, Romaine lettuce, Roma tomatoes, red onions, tzatziki, feta, and tahini.
The grilled cheese was my favorite, but most people could probably make it pretty easily at home. The other two sandwiches were tasty enough, but it's nothing that you can't get at any ordinary Middle Eastern eatery.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Limp and Lackluster: Dosa Truck

The Cruisers invited us to join them at the Santa Monica Food Truck Lot next to The Victorian, very close to where they live. This happens Tuesday nights from 5:30 to 10:00. These next few posts are from that one visit.

Dosa Truck seemed like a good idea.
Sadly, it wasn't actually a good idea.

All dosas are $7 except for specials, which cost $8.

Shiva-Shakti -- sweet potato and smashed curried potatoes
Goa Goodness -- spinach, mushroom, cheese
Slumdog -- Indian "pesto," paneer, spinach, smashed curried potatoes
Sorry I didn't get any photos of the insides, but let me describe them for you. All three contained a goopy mess that was either orange or green and somewhat reminiscent of baby food. All three of these fillings were bland. Worst of all, instead of being slightly crisp, each dosa was seriously impotent -- floppy, flaccid failures.

Tragic, really.

Samosas are $2 each.
Also fairly flavorless and not worth your time.

I should've turned around when I saw the people who took my order were aging white hippies and not Indian people. Just terrible. Don't make the same mistake.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Food Trucks Have No Clothes

After having tried nearly two dozen food trucks over the course of the past year or so, I feel comfortable making this statement now.

Food trucks kind of suck.

Yeah, you read that right. Out of the two dozen trucks I've sampled, only a handful actually served decent food (like Kogi when Roy Choi himself is at the helm). Even fewer merited the prices charged. I don't understand food truck fanaticism at all.

You're probably wondering, "Well, why did you try so many then? Don't you have to track them down? That's a lot of effort for food that sucks." I'm no fool. During most instances, I waited under five minutes for my food, and I've simply had the good fortune of happening to be at the right place at the right time.

Or the wrong place at the wrong time, given the quality of most of the trucks.

During the next two weeks, I'll be sharing my disappointments and small triumphs in this realm of mobile eats. I may even do two posts a day to mow through this crap.

Enjoy. Or perhaps I should say...beware and sorry.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Wildwood Ovens: Wood-Fired Ovens and BBQs

Between a trip to Brazil and buying a house, May was quite the busy month for the Monkeys! We're back now, and I hope to return to blogging more regularly.

Last month, we were invited by Tuna Toast to a delightful event hosted by Wildwood Ovens. During our Brazilian vacation, we enjoyed churrascaria, which you may experience and learn about right here at Wildwood Ovens.

It's amazing what you can do with ovens, barbecues, and rotisseries!

Wildwood Ovens sells all of these items and other accessories for both residential and commercial use. Wildwood Ovens also offers cooking classes for Neopolitan pizzas, tapas, and churrasco and a warm welcoming space for private events.

For bookings, contact Anne Alderete at or (323) 255-6578.

Thank you so much to Tuna Toast and Wildwood Ovens for a lovely evening!
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