Now that food trucks have finally been legalized in Raleigh, I’ve gotten used to seeing them roaming around inside the beltline, making appearances at various downtown events, parked outside brewpubs to help beer aficionados soak up and stretch out their drinking, and dishing up lunch at NCSU’s Centennial Campus.
But Midtown? Right across the street from my stuffy workplace, no less?
After my first few exciting and frustrating experiences with food truck rodeos — delicious food, yes, but also crowds, long lines and sell-outs — I now prefer small events that feature just a few trucks. But I couldn’t not attend today’s lunchtime rodeo, especially considering that it was right next door and 10 percent of the proceeds were being donated to the Payton Wright Foundation in support of families dealing with pediatric brain cancer.
Eight trucks crammed into the parking lot today: Klausie’s Pizza, Chirba Chirba Dumpling, Captain Poncho’s Tacos, Olde North State BBQ, Big City Sandwiches, Philly’s Cheesesteaks, Lumpy’s Ice Cream and Kona Ice.
The longest lines formed quickly at Chirba Chirba (thank goodness I’ve already sampled their fare several times) and Captain Poncho’s Tacos (heavy on the meaty offerings). I’d had my mouth set on Big City Sandwiches since first hearing the truck lineup. It’s only been on the road a few months and serves creative sandwiches named after cities near and far.
The single veg offering on today’s menu was something I’d make at home (hummus and veggies in a wrap), so I found myself eating cold cuts for the first time in years. At least they were high-quality, hormone- and nitrate-free organic deli meats.
My Santa Fe sammie was satisfyingly large, tasty and had a nice kick. It was: smoked turkey, pepperjack, chipotle mayo, mango salsa, red onion, lettuce, tomato and avocado on a nice soft bun.
For dessert, a black cherry shaved ice with creamy deliciousness drizzled on top, courtesy of Kona Ice. (I’m not sure what the drizzle on American snowcones consists of. And while it doesn’t quite measure up to the sweetened condensed milk topping on Panama’s raspados, whatever it is tastes pretty damn good.)
Yes, the lines and waits were long. And it was sunny and HOT. But the atmosphere was convivial and smiles abounded, conditions that always seem to go hand-in-hand with food trucks.