Sandra Tsing Loh isn't a huge fan of gourmet food trucks in LA.
There is a new menace in Los Angeles. It’s not quite highway robbery – let’s call it drive-by robbery. I am talking of course about the world of food trucks, especially those gourmet food trucks. I have been ABUSED by food trucks—chewed up and spit out like some under-cooked dish -- And it is about TIME to say no more.
It was after Pasadena’s DOODAH Parade, an irreverent and FUN annual event which concludes around NOON on a Saturday, leaving you OUT in the sunny STREETS pleasantly WANDERING and peckish for LUNCH and believing in the basic GOOD of humanity. Which is to say, you are a prime target about to be robbed by a gourmet food truck.
You swing LEFT into a festive-looking foodtruck COVE, which is to say a PARKING lot festooned with gaily decorated mobile eateries. They feature a panoply of not just come-hither colors—rose pink, lime green, flame red—but a variety of FONTS—Book Antiqua, Sylfaen, Garamond--that put a certain kind of middle-class person into a state of gastronomical excitement.
Unfortunately, the welcoming visual mandala of food trucks will represent the height of your lunch experience. Because when you actually read DESCRIPTIONS of what is offered, now comes that familiar smoggy cloud of CONFUSION. It’s like attending an alumni REUNION of things you’ve never met. We have what the LA Weekly voted, in 2011, to be “LA’s most beloved Bacon chocolate” truck, hand-pulled venison sliders, kimchi on a stick, crazy uncle po’boy lobsterooni and those four simple letters, BOBA. I don’t know what boba is-- I don’t want it-- I want people to stop insisting on my getting to know it-- I can barely run the SAFARI app on my Iphone-- I want boba to go away.
God bless my native city of Los Angeles, and its pulsing norteno reggaeton beat, but I think sometimes there can be TOO much hipness, TOO much multiculturalism, TOO much blending. Do we really NEED a Korean Mexican short rib minicrepe with mandarin oranges and coconut shavings with a side of jicama slaw marinated in Red Bull, handed through a tiny window by a tattooed Cal State Northridge student who’s reading a book on French symbolism and charging three dollars for smart water? I mean how smart is our smart water supposed to be? If it was that smart, I wouldn’t ALSO be trying the kimchi on a stick.
It pains me to say this, but I ended up dropping 25 dollars at the Border Grill food truck. That bought me some mini-tacos the size of a silver dollar, and two warm quesadillas with a rubbery consistency that made me feel like I was gnawing on a sheep’s ear.
The only salve was a dessert of bacon chocolate. Now THAT, I would have again.