Jumping on the Urban Food Bandwagon

With the arrival of springtime, al fresco New York City dining opportunities are sprouting. On just about every corner, you’ll find enticing choices at city food trucks.

Published April 5, 2013 5:00 AM
2 min read

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With the arrival of springtime, al fresco New York City dining opportunities are sprouting. On just about every corner, you’ll find enticing choices at city food trucks.

 

By Janice Llanes Fabry

 

With the arrival of springtime, al fresco New York City dining opportunities are sprouting. On just about every corner, you’ll find enticing choices at city food trucks.

 

The old hot dog and salted pretzel carts of yesteryear have morphed into full-fledged, roving bistros. They have become as much a part of the city’s streetscape as bicycle messengers and yellow cabs. Having earned a reputation that now precedes them, these trucks offer a superior alternative to fast food. Aside from being easy on the pocket, they offer fresh ingredients and made-to-order menu items.

 

Foodies are flocking to Uncle Gussy’s for Greek gyros, Korilla’s for Korean barbecue, and Taïm Mobile for Israeli falafel. The stands celebrate ethnicity and authenticity. Moreover, they are far more high tech than most stationary eateries. Each has impressive websites or apps that include menus, hours, daily locations, interactive maps, and photos. Most have Facebook and twitter accounts, too. There are even sites dedicated to tracking them — foodtrucksmap.com or nyctruckfood.com, which offer up-to-the-minute locations and menu specials.  

 

Jumping on the bandwagon myself, I decided to try a couple of these roaming eateries.  For Belgium waffles, the Wafels and Dinges’ fleet of trucks (yes, they have more than one) is the way to go. Their Big Ol’ Momma truck is usually parked at 26th Street and 7thAvenue, and they have others in midtown and uptown.

 

As their motto goes: “If there’s a heaven, a waffle truck is surely parked outside the gates.” I discovered their array of waffles is indeed divine. The “Brussels” is light and crispy; the “Liege” is soft and chewy; and the “Throwdown” boasts whipped cream. And a variety of toppings — walnuts, fruit, Nutella, and powdered sugar — are available. I passed on their savory waffles, topped with pulled pork or bacon, but I look forward to trying their milkshakes, which are coming soon. Call the Hot Wafeline at 866-429-7329 for exact locations.

 

For lunch, I headed to the Calexico truck in Soho. There’s also one in the Flatiron District. As with most eateries, it’s location, location, location, and the Calexico’s entrepreneurs seem to have scouted out the perfect neighborhoods for their street food. Tourists and New Yorkers alike are willing to stand on long lines to satisfy their south-of-the-boarder cravings. Their popular “crack sauce,” a chipotle concoction, is addictive.

 

Today, there are also two Calexico restaurants, both in Brooklyn. But it is the carts’ tasty $3 tacos, $8 burritos, and $7 quesadillas that have been the core of the business. Once you place an order, you wait about ten minutes until the short-order cook calls your name. From the Soho location, you can walk up to Washington Square Park and sit on a park bench to enjoy the fare, along with mini containers of guacamole, salsa, and the crack sauce.

 

In the last few years, the panoply of trucks has elevated the competition and raised the bar. Apparently, so much so that there’s even a cookbook, “Eat Street,” featuring recipes from these four wheelers driving the urban food scene.

 

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