(A legal aside: For those of you who haven’t been keeping up with the controversy over the last year, Raleigh’s new food truck law is pretty onerous. But it’s better than what existed before, which were even more restrictive event permits.)
On Thursday night I went to the Big Boss Brewing’s second annual food truck harvest, celebrating their autumn Harvest Time pumpkin ale and food truck eats, and benefiting the Lineberger Cancer Center.
Live music, great beer and food, excellent company (my wonderful uncle Harry J.) and an interesting, friendly and laid-back crowd made for a really fun night.
If I’m recalling correctly, five food trucks were in attendance: Chirba Chirba Dumpling, Olde North State BBQ, Only Burger, Slippin’ Sliders and Valentino’s. (I believe Klausie’s Pizza may have arrived after Harry and I left — we pulled an early shift.)
The dumpling truck is only a couple of months old and I’ve been hearing great things, so I chose it for my first course venue. Special props to Chirba Chirba for their generosity and uber-cute logo and name. Literally translated, Chirba means “eat.” But when spoken to another, the word implies much more (according to the truck’s website): “This is so delicious and it makes me extremely happy to see you enjoy it without hesitation, so please, eat!” Which I did.
I ordered Veggie-lings, which were nicely presented with a layer of banana leaf between the food and paper container. The dumplings were fresh and flavorful, with a nice pineapple salsa on top. The friendly proprietors also gave me samples of their Porkedame (pork and edamame dumplings) and Juicy Buns (like Shanghai-style soup dumplings). All were excellent, particularly with a little of their on-the-side spicy sauce drizzled over them.
I don’t crave hot dogs very often. But when I do, my options are few. I could always purchase an eight-pack from the grocery store — but what a waste for a single person. Or I can go have a sit-down hot dog meal at Remedy Diner. So when I saw that the BBQ truck offered singles I jumped on the opportunity. Veggie dog with slaw, mustard, relish and onions, with a side of fried okra. Yum! (I’ll take fried okra over regular fries any day of the week.)
Beer offerings were fantastic, of course. The Harvest Time was great — not too pumpkiny or spicy like some of its more cloying competitors. Harry and I shared a Sack Time amber rye ale (what a nice bite!) and a Surprise Attack English strong ale (what a fitting name!)
Dessert was take-out, which I managed to eat just before bedtime (giving dinner time to settle): a chocolate and caramel cupcake made with Big Boss Bad Penny ale with vanilla buttercream frosting, courtesy of the Cupcake Brewery.
The very next night, my friend Ragi and I enjoyed Klausie’s Pizza while listening to live music at the season’s last Music on the Porch at Mordecai Historic Park. I was especially happy to support Klausie’s, whose owner was one of the driving forces to legalize food trucks in Raleigh.
I’m not sure how I hadn’t yet managed to eat a piece of Klausie’s pie, but it was worth the wait.
I’ve enjoyed many different pizza styles over the years, and don’t think I could choose a favorite. But now I can add Detroit-style to the inventory. My Greek slice was square and puffy, the crust thick but not too chewy or hard. Pretty delectable, with feta, kalamata olives and garlic.
So many more food trucks to try, and now more chances with the possibility of some of them motoring over to Raleigh more often! A few on my soon-to-try list: Will & Pops, Parlez-Vous Crepe and The Parlour (ice cream). Here’s an aggregate Twitter-fed site to help keep track of which trucks are where.