Like most Americans, I'd be ashamed to admit how many meals per week I eat in my car. It's just too tempting when I'm rushing out the door hungry, late to a meeting, or simply in need of some peace and quiet.
Luckily for me, there's been a recent resurgence in food trucks locally. It's a great way for small businesses to promote their cuisine: a mobile retail space is cheaper and easier to maintain and can travel with the flow of customers -- to a business park during lunchtime, or near residential areas in the evening. So you don't have to eat in your car -- you could take your meal to a park bench, desk or even your own living room.
Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of this trend is the wide variety of cuisine to which this unusual marketing method appeals. Keep reading for some surprises!
- Sells: A rotating menu of smoked and grilled meat
- Route: Parked outside the Savage MARC station from 9 AM until lunchtime
- Cost: $6 for most sandwiches; $9 for ribs
- Specialty: Jambalaya, served about once a month; contact him for details.
- Sells: Grilled cheese. Get it?!
- Route: In and around Baltimore, 10:30 - 1:30 daily (Details here)
- Cost: $5 for a plain-Jane version; $8-13 for gourmet sandwiches and soups
- Specialty: Yelpers couldn't decide, but agreed that the sandwiches are best enjoyed straight from the truck -- even a short walk will injure their crispiness.
- Sells: Korean barbeque; American burgers
- Route: Parked on 175, just west of 295
- Cost: $9 for a lunch platter of meat, rice, salad and vegetables
- Specialty: Bulgogi: thin slices of roasted meat served with various sauces and fragrant spiced rice. If you think you don't like Korean food, this is the place to start changing your mind.
- Sells: Tacos and burritos; Catonsville's El Nayar got its start along this route, which is popular with many fans of Mexican food
- Route: 7731 Washington Boulevard (Route 1) or thereabouts, 9-4 daily
- Cost: $2 per taco; $5 per burrito
- Specialty: Double-shell tacos have enough flavorful fillings to make two from one: tender meat, crispy radishes and a squeeze of lime create authentic Mexican flavor at an insanely low price.
- Sells: Cupcakes, miniature pies
- Route: From their kitchen in Baltimore all the way to DC, through Howard and Montgomery Counties; check Twitter for updates.
- Cost: $3 for one; $30 for a dozen; whole cakes and pies from $13
- Specialty: "Cuptails," modeled after favorite drinks and with names that beg to be explained ("Linda’s Pina Colada Jackpot?") The self-styled Big Yellow Cool Bus is rentable for parties, too. How fun would that be?
- Sells: Whaddaya think?
- Route: Downtown Baltimore; check website for updates.
- Cost: Around $6 for soups and sandwiches; $4 for side salads
- Specialty: Unusual, daring combinations that get rave reviews: current offerings include West African Peanut, Irish Potato Leek, and Jamaican Carrot. Broaden your culinary horizons a little. You won't be sorry!