These past few weeks have been something of a mission for me. I was walking home one day when, lo and behold, there was a big white truck sitting in a parking lot. There were quite a few people lining up in front of said truck and … getting food? What sorcery is this? Looks like I stumbled upon a fabled food truck. I’ve heard so much about them, but always in other cities. Places like San Diego and Los Angeles. I had never seen one in real life before, yet here it was. Naturally, I got in line and from that first bite and conversation, I was hooked. Cue adventure time.
Food Cabbie // @FoodCabbie // Facebook
Food Cabbie has been around for about 5 months now, with the chef (a very nice man!) coming from California and bringing with him American cuisine with a touch of Mexican flair. They have different sandwich specials each day, each sounding taster and tastier than the last. I can’t believe that I’ve been living a block away, yes, ONE block, and I had never seen this place until last week. Of course, to make amends, I visited them twice last week and will probably go tomorrow too. That philly cheese steak is looking extra tempting. Food Cabbie is parked on Queen St. E between Shuter and Dalhousie from Monday-Friday 11-5!
The Ortega Cheeseburger // $6.50
Pico de gallo (my weakness), sour cream, lettuce, and secret burger sauce. The description alone is what intrigued me, I mean, who has ever put sour cream on a burger? Worth a shot. The burger was nice and juicy, basically leaking into my mouth (this is a good thing, people!). It was nice, tart, and fresh with the bun lightly toasted but soft. Filled me up quite nicely, too!
The Carne Asada Burrito // $6
Smoky grilled steak with refried beans and tomatos. It’s like they channelled my soul when creating this menu. I’m a sucker for refried beans. And steak. And burrito. A proper burrito where they grill the outside as well! I can’t say how many places I’ve been to where the tortilla is just flimsy and doughy, completely ruins the whole integrity of my meal. But this, this was amazing. Enjoy my gross photo of a half eaten burrito and cry if you haven’t had a Food Cabbie burrito! Yum. :)
Caplansky’s Deli Truck // @CaplanskyTruck // Website
Right next-door to the Food Cabbie is where Thunderin’ Thelma is parked. Yes, the truck’s name is Thunderin’ Thelma, named after the owner’s Nana, which I think means grandmother. Caplansky’s Deli was featured in Toronto Life’s April 2012 issue along with Food Cabbie and 8 other GTA-serving mobile eateries. As the chalk-based menu suggests, their items change up every so often with items such as the Brisket and Smoked Meat being staple.
Look at this picture of their coleslaw. I love coleslaw.
When you see something called Maple Beef-Bacon Donuts, you don’t just walk away. You look the man in the window in the eyes, nut up, and order these strange little creatures. At about a dollar each, depending on how many you buy, you can’t really go wrong. Unless you have blood suger problems, in which case you do what you do. The outside was nice and crispy while the inside was a bit doughy. It does give you a satisfying bite though. These balls were dense and bacon-y and sweet, dripping in a thick maple syrup. It reminded me of something like baklava and that really sweet syrupy indian dessert. Different, strange, not bad. Definitely couldn’t eat more to 3 by myself.
BBQ Brisket Sandwich // $7
Let’s talk about this amazing sandwich for a second. Or five. Or forever. First of all, onion bun. AMAZING. Secondly, the brisket was nice and soft. Savoury and smokey. Not too sweet as some BBQ sandwiches tend to be. So much meat on one sandwich that it’s incredibly satisfying. What sets this sandwich apart from others for me? The super crunchy and crispy deep fried onions sitting there between the meat and the bun. Such a nice contrast between the softness of the bun and the meatiness of the brisket. So so so yummy. An incredibly dangerous sandwich. Guaranteed if you try this you’ll be coming back for more and more and more.
With my appetite whet by these two food trucks, when I heard about the FoodTruckEats pop-up in Liberty Village, I just had to be there. It rained mighty hard in the morning but after my meeting, I trekked out the with my umbrella, and my hole-y flats, and my hungry hungry belly. 3 food trucks were featured that day for three hours between 11AM and 2PM: Caplansky’s Deli, Blue Donkey Streatery, and
El Gastronomo Vagabundo // @ElGastronomo // Website
Unfortunately, my meeting ran late so I only had time to stand in line for one truck, and I’m so glad I chose this one. Although Blue Donkey is supposed to be mind-blowing, El Gastronomo’s feature was something I just couldn’t turn down. There were tons of people standing in line and waiting for food, and the air was electric. Or it might have just been me, but the rain had temporarily let up, food smells are wafting up in the air, the excitement was building up. I. Was. PUMPED. BRING IT ON.
Biltong Belly Tacos // 2 for $8
Twice-cooked “Biltong” pork belly, jalapeno aioli, pickled daikon on corn tortillas. Is your belly crying yet? Because it should be. These things were amazing. I don’t think the above photo does it much justice because in my eyes, it looked like this. I’m pretty sure I heard an angelic choir singing somewhere. I was just going to take it on the streetcar and eat it, but no, I was too excited. Who cares if I was late for work, this was clearly more important, and it was so worth it. I sprinkled lime juice along the tacos and dug in. The pork, oh gosh the pork. Crispy. Tender. Not fatty like other servings of pork belly. Seasoned with this mysterious biltong pixie dust. I’m pretty sure I looked insane as I sat down by myself snarfing these down with a weird smile on my face. But then it was gone. How did these two tacos go by so fast? I don’t know. It was simultaneously the best moment of my life as well as the worst. Gone so fast. I was so tempted to go grab another one, but we all know where that leads us. Sitting curbside, constantly refreshing twitter, clutching onto the food truck’s bumper begging for more, draining our bank accounts, “Will dance for El Gastronomo.” Right, guys? Heh… heh..
Definitely not my last food truck experience. These last few weeks have been amazing, and it’s just the beginning. I plan to try every last one of the GTA food trucks.
From what I glean, there is a bit of struggle in the city of Toronto whereby food trucks are not allowed to operate on pay-to-pay parking lots for more than 10 minutes to sell food even if they’ve bought all the necessary permits, and adhere to regulations that are even more strict than restaurants. So! Go and sign this petition so that Toronto can have more of this wonderful food, all the time! :)