Food trucks a go go

It's a chilly Tuesday evening by Miami standards, but that hasn't stopped some thousand food-loving folks from flocking to Biscayne Boulevard and 109th Street for an outdoor meal. Choices include hamburgers, tacos, fried-fish sandwiches, pork belly bao, more hamburgers, and a handful of other easily handled street foods, all culled from a collective of culinary trucks. The event is the Biscayne Triangle Truck Roundup (BTTR), so-named because the parked trucks form a triangle just off of, and quite visible from, Biscayne Boulevard. Part of the reason for the swelling crowd is that many people see the lights and action while driving by and assume a carnival is going on. They are correct.

BTTR is just one of an increasing number of food truck "courts" that have popped up. These gastro get-togethers are spurred by social networking, and have soared to fad status at the speed of a tweet. They are a spinoff of the initial food truck fad and have appeared of late, one after another, as if from sinister alien truck-pods. In fact, many of the giant vans are made by Food Cart USA, which helped organize the first, Miami Street Food Court, which took place on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at SW 65th Street and Bird Road in Coral Gables.

Other mobile food courts, which are regularly described on our food blog, Short Order, include Street Food Fridays during lunchtime on the first Friday of each month; The Tamiami Truckers Food Court every Friday in Kendall; The Miami Street Food Court Thursday evenings at NE 47th Street and Biscayne Boulevard; and Wynwood Truckers Meet Up on Saturdays.

Grilled cheese sandwich with bacon from Ms. Cheezious.
Photos by Bill Wisser/billwisserphoto.com
Grilled cheese sandwich with bacon from Ms. Cheezious.
Jefe's truck.
Jefe's truck.

It's official: Food trucks are trendy.

They attract throngs of people herding through dusty makeshift paths between parallel rows of parked vans. The bare, often glaring light bulbs of each truck offer illumination while an aroma of fried funnel cakes — and fried everything else, from potatoes to pickles to Oreos — wafts through the air. As I said, it's carnival-like, except instead of the open window of each truck offering, say, the opportunity to shoot a water pistol at moving duck targets, there's a chance for a crisp duck sandwich at Dim Ssäm a go go (Sakaya Kitchen on wheels). Homemade pickles, red onion, cilantro, and ssamjang-mayo adorn the duck ($7). Add a side of gingered Brussels sprouts ($4) — so good as to reinvent the vegetable altogether — or any of the other dozen or so Asian-inspired treats on the chalkboard menu, and you have a great little meal.

Nonsense. You're going to want to make that an appetizer and keep going for more. Just steps away, gastro-nerds can segue into an "old dirt dawg" or Bánh mì oxtail taco from chef Jeremiah's gastroPod, a converted vintage 1962 Airstream. The former features a short-rib hot dog in a potato bun with "stupid slaw"; the bánh mì bangs away with oxtail trotters, country pâté, carrots, pickled radishes, and nuóc chám. Dim Ssäm a go go and gastroPod are the top truck stars as far as serious culinarians are concerned. There's a wait, though, which is testament to the general public's ability to sniff out the best treats. The savvy taste of the masses is likewise evidenced by lengthy lines at The Fish Box, Jefe's Original Fish Taco & Burger, and Latin Burger and Taco. The Fish Box has been wheeled out by Miami favorite La Camaronera. Its "famous fried shrimp" is available, as is "the original" minuta sandwich of cleanly fried snapper (tail extending from the bun) in fresh soft bun, with onions and stripes of tartar sauce and ketchup ($5). The Ensenada fish taco ($2.50) at Jefe's is another of the standout handouts. Double-wrapped in soft corn tortillas, the fried, beer-battered filet of fish is topped with shredded cabbage, diced tomatoes, homemade crema, a wedge of lime on the side, and pico de gallo that is not for the faint of heart.

I don't come close to sampling the barrage of burgers proffered (hamburgers are to these food courts what handmade candles are to crafts fairs), but the double-patty macho at Latin Burger ($6.25), made with ground sirloin, chuck, and chorizo and topped with melted Oaxaca cheese, caramelized onions, and avocado sauce, is peerless. The super-loko burger from Dos Lokos Burgers ($7) might be tasty too, but gratification comes instead via a mountainous pile of garnishes: ham, cheese, hardboiled egg, avocado, lettuce, tomato, onion, potato sticks, squid, watermelon, toothpicks — who knows? It's quite lip-smacking, if difficult to eat.

Ms. Cheezious and CheeseMe have grilled cheese sandwiches covered (who would have expected two grilled cheese sandwich trucks and none specializing in pizza or hot dogs?). The former offers composed sandwiches such as goat cheese, prosciutto, tomato, and arugula on marble rye bread ($8) or Havarti cheese and spicy apples grilled between multigrain bread ($7). Most truckees go with the build-your-own approach, a choice of five or more breads with pick of eight cheeses ($4 or $5, depending on cheese). Add-ins such as tomato, shaved ham, or bacon cost $1 or $2 extra. American cheese and bacon between Texas toast is executed in textbook style: the bread lightly buttered, gingerly pressed, and griddled to a golden brown, and the cheese oozing out in extreme slow motion.

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9 comments
zqxz
zqxz

Finally (48 hours) time limit to buy.

LV Muffler $ 5.99LV Bags $ 19.9 LV Wallet $ 6.55Armani Glasses $ 5.99LV Belt $ 6.9

Buy addresses---- tntn.usTips (48 hours after the special product is invalid)

Cane
Cane

Where is the publicity for all of the food trucks that have been in existence for decades in Liberty City and in neighborhoods up along NW 27th Ave on any given weekend for the past couple of decades? Its laughable how trendy food trucks are now all of a sudden since they show up at art related events. This is nothing new and I hope that people who patronize these trendy "art mobiles" calling themselves gourmet food trucks understand this. Some things in history never change.

Foodie954
Foodie954

I had a run in with a "chef" at the most recent Wynwood food truck gathering. He took the time to actually track me down then verbally accost me. Nice guy.....heres my post on the Wynwood FB wall

It is an unfortunate thing to go through life talentless, but it's exponentially worse to also force yourself to slither foolishly and angrily, lacking any level of class to be able to appropriately deal with criticism in that same life.

This was the second time i sampled your attempt at cuisine. The first was at one of the early food truck meet ups at the Arsht Center last summer. I ordered 3 items from that days menu. The first was a corn cake with an advertised poached egg. The egg was an undercooked runny mess that was steamed, not poached. The corn cake was beyond bland. The second offering was a banh mi something or other that was totally forgettable except for the fact that it was so bad. I don't even remember the third item. nuff said.

This past Saturday night i saw your trailer as one of the vendors at a popular food truck gathering. Against my better judgment i decided to give your place another try, hoping it was just an off day the first time around.

As I told you, every single component of your "taco" was ill prepared and lacking the polish it needed to make an actual enjoyable dish. The dry, mealy, distant muddled flavors were an unwelcome intrusion on the senses.

The vessel or shell was dry, bland and not a good base in any way shape or form. The filling was overabundant and under-seasoned with a pasty mouth-feel. The slaw was under served and missing any hope of improving or righting the keeling ship. There was an advertised yet, non-existent sauce. The topper, a sparse and surprisingly bland cilantro stem and unpicked leaves, exuded the give up style of a lazy chef just trying to ride some past accolades and make a quick buck in a still new to town trend.

This pricey gastronomic brainchild should have been aborted in it's early terms, as the favorable points ran down someone's proverbial leg......

I thought it was tradition for a captain to go down with his ship, but i guess boozin with your buddies out front and harassing paying customers is more your style. I will gladly "never come near your fvcking place again" as you so eloquently put it. There are too many other excellent choices out there to waste another iota of appetite on yours.

One of the first lessons learned in the service industry is to try and make things right with a disappointed customer, not worse. Verbally accosting them will never achieve this. Guess you were absent that day............

Bobthegriller
Bobthegriller

if you ordered a sandwich from CheeseMe, you would have realized the value and praised the food. Phenomenal!

Athenawasi
Athenawasi

How do I know where to find the trucks?

Jamesinmiami
Jamesinmiami

No review for Dolci Peccati Gelato? The artisan gelatos this food truck offers are awesome. I tried them this past weekend at Fairchild Tropical Garden's chocolate fest. They had a limited edition Lulo flavor. It was truly delish!

Mr. Klein if you have not tried them I highly recomend you do!

Great review!

Jed Thompson
Jed Thompson

"You've got to shrug it off and keep on truckin.' " That's my line....... careful brah!

Carlos
Carlos

Great article, you nailed everything on the head. BTTR had a good, I mean great thing going. Unfortunately it came to a halt this tuesday after complaints from residents caused the organizer of the event, Jack from Jefe's, to cancel this week's gathering. He's working on getting a different location in the area. Stay tuned!!

Foodie954
Foodie954

it WAS the shiniest trailer there

 
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