The pros and cons of food trucks…
9:56 AM EDT on August 7, 2013
I'd consider myself a trendy kind of gal. After all, I own a pair of harem pants, I watch Girls, I sometimes catch Chive references, and I once spent a small rent's worth of cash on a pretty purse. So when food trucks began having their own reality TV shows and local food trucks' Facebook pages started racking up more virtual friendships than me, I figured I'd hop on the bandwagon and find out what the fuss was all about. I mean, self-serve frozen yogurt shops and cupcakeries turned out to be okay--surely food truck dining would be kinda fun too.
Several months and several lunches, fast dinners, and tipsy midnight snacks have gone by, and well--I'm still really unsure about how I truly feel about the whole food truck concept. To me, food trucks are kind of like any movie M. Night Shayamalan has been involved with post Signs--an intriguing concept, a nice cast, solid production, and you're initially excited, but you leave feeling lame and ticked you wasted $10.
I've written up a short list of grievances with the oh-so popular food truck business model. For good measure, I also wrote up a few things that I like about food trucks. We're all friends here at The Lost Ogle and I'm still somewhat ambivalent on the subject, so feel free to hotly debate any of my points in a civil matter via the comment section. Ch-check them out after the jump.
1. Food trucks and state fair concession stands are first cousins. Let's speak frankly here for a minute. There are very few things that separate fair concession stands from food trucks--and unfortunately, unusual fried foods are not one of them. I think the only think separating the two is that food trucks are shinier, and food trucks' employees are more heavily tattooed. We're all terrified to eat food at the fair and make deadpan jokes about it, but the grub from a food truck is okay because they have cutesy names and eye-catching logos I guess.
2. I'm not sold on the gastronaut-friendy menus. When it comes to food, I'm about as adventurous as the come. I'd go as far as to say I'm the hipster of foodies, snacking on kim-chi and loading up my fries with Sriracha sauce way before those things were cool. But quinoa cupcakes with Vegenaise frosting and nori sprinkles? Tempura-fried game hen and buckwheat waffles with a merlot reduction? Goat cheese, pork belly, and kale scones with a miso-saffron glaze? While I commend the creativity and kahunas of all food truck executive chefs, alas I have a culinary weirdness threshold. I might be wild, but I'm not kinky.
3. It seems like the heat would pose natural issues. Every time I've ever eaten at a food truck, it's been a typical Oklahoma burning hot day. This makes a lot of sense, because events like concerts, festivals, and anything that draws a large crowd of people outdoors occurs well, during the Oklahoma burning hot summer. It wasn't until I, dripping with sweat, bit into a damn ahi tuna taco dressed with wasabi-mayo, handed to me by a thickly bearded man, surrounded by griddles and deep fryers, enclosed in a 4 ft x 8 ft vehicle, realized that there could be a problem.
1. Some of them are awesome. I can't think of anything I'd rather snack on after a rowdy night at the Blue Dome District than a bratwurst from the Doghouse. The Pita Place's tzatziki sauce it as close to flawless as any yogurt-based sauce can be. And don't even get me started on LoneWolf. If you're starved and need some greasy comfort, food truck cuisine is sometimes just what you need.
2. You're supporting local businesses and stuff. And we all know that's right along with the Beatles, puppies, Julia Roberts, and Seinfeld, supporting Mom and Pops is and always will be universally cool.
3. The net caloric intake. I'm the kind of gal whose face lights up when someone mentions "hot wings." This sucks, because I'm also the kind of gal who will spend the next three hours hiccuping, guzzling Alka Seltzer, and rolling on the ground grasping her burning esophagus in pain if she indulges in said hot wings. My body has forsaken me, and punishes my taste buds every time they go to town with awful bouts of acid reflux. Feeling nauseous for the rest of the day pretty much sucks, right? Well, this is unhealthy, demented, and you definitely shouldn't let your children read this, but after eating approximately 2.5 lbs of deep-fried food, let's just say that losing one's appetite due to an upset stomach isn't the worst thing that could happen to me.
Time for an epic Oglebate--to food truck, or not to food truck? What do you think?
Follow Chelsea on Twitter at @xCawoodstock