The Grilled Cheese Truck

I love cheese.  One of the best ways to enjoy it is via a grilled cheese sandwich (GCS).  As a kid, I used to come home from school and eat a GCS or two as my “snack”.  It was also one of the first dishes I learned to make – margarine, 2 pieces of wheat bread and a Kraft Single.  As an adult, though, I’ve moved on to more “gourmet” versions and higher quality ingredients…like -REAL- cheese…hahaha.

I’ve been chasing the Grilled Cheese Truck around LA ever since I heard about it months ago.  My first two attempts to partake in the ooey gooey yumminess were thwarted by crazy long lines.  But when I read on Twitter that they would be at South Bay Mini in Torrance for some promotional event a couple of months ago, I told Husband that we were going and dammit, I was going to get me a GCS, even if I had to run people over (preferably in a shiny new Mini)!

Line at Grilled Cheese Truck

When we got there, there was already a line.  Fortunately, it wasn’t anywhere as bad as the last two we encountered.  Sure, we still had to wait about 40 minutes before getting to the order window but I was on a mission. Even the threat of getting towed didn’t deter me; I just sent Husband to move the car instead….  Such a good spouse!

Specialty Sandwiches

The Grilled Cheese Truck offers up several pre-made combinations and a list of ingredients for a build-your-own sandwich.  Bacon, cheddar, gruyere, basil, and tomatoes are just some of the choices you have.  There’s also a “sweet” section for a dessert-y grilled sandwich – banana, nutella and marshmallow!

Pictures speak louder than words

Now, another way I enjoy eating cheese is in mac n’ cheese form.  Imagine my delight when I saw the Cheesy Mac Melt.  OMG…mac n’ cheese in a GCS?  Sure, it sounds like carb overload but what a brilliant idea!  Two of my favoritest cheesy things in one…

I opted to add in the BBQ pork and caramelized onions.  Husband went with the original Cheesy Mac Melt.  I also got an order of the Harvest Melt.  Hey, I didn’t know when I would get to visit the Grilled Cheese Truck again!

Cheesy Mac Melt with bbq pork and caramelized onions

Wear your stretchy pants when you eat Grilled Cheese Truck’s food because they don’t make skimpy sandwiches.  My Cheesy Mac Melt was heavy, rich, delicious Southern comfort in between two slices of crispy, butter-toasted bread.  I devoured this beast but it conquered my hunger so the Harvest Melt waited a few hours before consumption.  After sitting around in a foil bag, the sandwich was still good but the bread had lost its toastiness.  This was a great vegetarian option, full of fall flavors.  I’m not sure which I enjoyed more, which is surprising because I do like my proteins…

Chipmunk??!?! Is that Grilled Cheese speak for chipotle?

The Grilled Cheese Truck also serves up tater tots as a side and for 50 cents extra, you can get a dipping sauce.  We got an order each and opted for the chipotle and nacho cheese sauces.  Turns out, a single order of tots would have sufficed for the two of us.  Not the best tots I’ve had, these were a bit on the greasy side and were a little soggy.  The chipotle dip packed a bit of a kick but paired with oil-heavy tots and a heavy cheese sandwich, it was too rich for my stomach.   The nacho cheese dip was actually better and lighter.

Last weekend, the Grilled Cheese Truck was back at South Bay Mini so Husband and I stopped on our way to the Del Amo Mall to indulge in some GCS goodness.  This time, I tried their double-cream brie and pear with turkey while Husband went for the Cheesy Mac Melt again, but opted to add in bacon.  Last time, we both felt that the original needed some sort of meaty product to offset all the starch.

I keep forgetting that I’m not a big turkey fan.  I want to love turkey but at some point, my tastebuds and stomach go “DONE!”.  The brie and pear were a great combo, with the brie not being overly strong but still having that bite to it.  But at some point, the turkey did me in and I stopped enjoying the sandwich.  I think next time, sans turkey.  Or maybe I’ll try the Cheesy Mac Melt with bacon because it looked awfully good…and Husband didn’t give me a bite even though I kept giving him the “look”.  He was too busy eating to notice, I guess…

Price wise, Grilled Cheese Truck isn’t the cheapest; our 2nd time eating their food cost us $18. A bit high for a “food truck”, but the sandwiches are fancier with better restaurant-quality ingredients so I don’t be-grudge the hit on my wallet as much.

4 NOMs for Grilled Cheese Truck!

The Grilled Cheese Truck
http://twitter.com/grlldcheesetruk
Grilled Cheese Truck (food truck) on Urbanspoon

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Dim Sum Truck

Introducing...Dim Sum Truck!

One of Alex's helpers

Sunday, the Husband and I were invited to attend a sneak peek of Los Angeles’s newest food truck, Dim Sum Truck!  I had tried a couple of their items at the Food Fest and liked them, so I was looking forward to tasting more of their menu.

Founded by Alex Chu, a young entrepreneur and graduate of USC, the Dim Sum Truck seeks to bring this classic Chinese cuisine to the streets of Los Angeles.  Those familiar with the food scene in this city know in order to get the “good stuff” when it comes to dim sum, one has to trek all the way to the San Gabriel Valley.  Not an easy thing for those who live on the west side, like me.

When we got to the truck, there was already a small crowd.  Not a problem as Alex and his crew already had food ready to go.

Har gow, shu mai, shrimp n' chive dumpling

First up were dumplings – har gow, shu mai and shrimp n’ chive.  Right off the bat, I noticed that these pieces were a little bigger than what I was used to getting at the restaurants.  The taste of each was on par with what you get at the restaurants, too, though.  Not a surprise given that Mr. Chu started his food career at a dim sum restaurant….

Baked BBQ pork bun

Chicken and ginger steamed bun

The sauce served with the trio of dumplings was salty and garlicky but lacking in the heat for me.  I didn’t mind because it complimented the flavors very well.

Next up was a duo of buns – a steamed bao filled with ginger and chicken and a baked bbq pork bun.  I tried the bbq pork first.  Stuffed with familiar sweet porkiness, this bun was quite good, though personally, I prefer the steamed version better because I like the texture and flavor of the steamed bread more.  I thought the bao was going to also be filled with bbq pork since char siu bao is a classic dim sum dish, so I was surprised when I tasted chicken and ginger.  The flavors were really good; I loved the ginger. But it was a little skinny in terms of the filling as you can see.

Zongzi - sticky rice with pork, sausage and mushroom

Dim Sum Truck was also serving up zongzi, a dish consisting of sticky rice with various fillings steamed in lotus leaves.  This version had pork, chinese sausage and mushrooms.  There was a nice earthy flavor infused into each bite from the leaves.  The pork was a little dry, though.  I did love the one piece of chinese sausage, juicy and intense.

Egg custard tart

Sesame ball

For dessert, there were egg custard tarts and lotus paste-filled sesame balls.  To caramelize the top of the tart, Alex broke out the kitchen torch.  The filling was smooth and perfect but the crust was not as flaky as I would like; it was a little soggy.

I’m used to the sesame balls being filled with a red bean paste.  The lotus version was a little less sweet but it was still good.  The shell was not oil-saturated and had just the right amount of chew to it.

Based on their website, Dim Sum Truck will also be offering up dim sum-Mexican fusion dishes like a roast duck taco,  which I tried at the Food Fest (yum yum yum), and a spicy tofu mulita.

Dim Sum Truck info

All in all, this was some good eats and I give them 4 NOMs!

Congratulations to Alex Chu for starting up a great truck!  I’m looking forward to encountering Dim Sum Truck often on the streets…

Dim Sum Truck on Urbanspoon

Buttermilk Truck

Buttermilk Truck

Third try’s the charm, or so the saying goes.  I have been thisclose to Buttermilk Truck twice before but never got to try them due to long lines.  Checking out their schedule for the week, I noticed that they were going to be in Culver City tonight from 7-10pm, which was only 10 minutes north on the freeway.  I called up the Husband and let him know that we were going out to eat tonight.

Order up at the Buttermilk Truck

We got to the truck around 8pm; I was expecting there to be a crowd given how popular Buttermilk was at the Food Fest and the Relief for Haiti event at T Lofts.  Surprisingly, there was no line.  There were a few people waiting around for their orders but other than that…  I was cheering inside.  FINALLY!!

Husband and I decided to order the chicken and waffles ($7), the breakfast sandwich with bacon and hashbrowns ($4) and two orders of the pancake bites ($5/each).  Prices include tax so no need to carry odd change.  The nice thing Buttermilk Truck does is if you order multiple items, they serve each item as it is ready so you don’t have to wait for everything to finish cooking to receive it.

Chicken and waffle

First up was the chicken and waffles – 2 wings and a waffle.  The waffle had cinnamon mixed into the batter which I could smell and a pat of butter was melted into the crevices.  The flavor was nice but texture-wise, I prefer crispier waffles.  Still, this was pretty tasty.

The chicken wings were fantastic.  The skin was crispy and the batter had a little bit of spicy mixed it to it, giving the chicken some heat.  The meat was juicy.  Flavor-wise, these were on par with what I would expect from a sit-down restaurant.

Breakfast sandwich, garlic rosemary hashbrown

Eggy accident

Next up, the breakfast sandwich – an over-easy fried egg, cheese and applewood smoked bacon encased in a homemade buttermilk biscuit.  Chicken apple sausage or torino can be substituted for the bacon.

Husband went in for the first bite and while I warned him about the runny yolk, he still managed to get it all over himself.  There went my yolk…  The biscuit was great – fluffy inside and not at all crumbly.  Crispy bacon, nicely cooked egg, a classic yummy breakfast sandwich.

The garlic rosemary hashbrown, a $0.50 addition to the breakfast sandwich, was delicious.  Garlic and rosemary can be very strong flavors but in this hashbrown, they weren’t overpowering.  Texture-wise, it was like eating a giant tater tot.  Well worth the 50 cents, in my opinion.

While I was finishing up my sandwich, Buttermilk announced that they had a extra mini-Brick and asked if anyone wanted it.  No one went for it so I took it.  Hey, free food and a chance to try another yummy item off their menu?  Why not?

Mini-brick

The mini-Brick consisted of a hashbrown topped with a fried egg topped with half a biscuit and covered in homemade chorizo gravy.  This was pretty tasty but required a fork.  I really enjoyed the chorizo gravy; salty (but not overly so) and meaty, this would be awesome to use in a loco moco or serve over french fries.

Our pancake bites were served up last.  Husband wanted chocolate chip and I went with the red velvet which also had chocolate chips in it.  Served with a side of butter, these were a sweet ending to our meal.  Syrup was available near the forks and napkins.

Chocolate chip pancake bites

Red velvet pancake bites

Husband devoured most of his order before I could get a picture but I managed to stop him mid-nom on the last pancake.  He really enjoyed these, apparently.  He didn’t even offer me a taste…

The red velvet pancake bites were really good, though, with syrup, a little on the sweet side.  Easily consumed in 2 bites, these were fluffy, moist and not too thick or thin.

Now I understand why Buttermilk had such long lines the last two times I saw them.  Great food and great prices for the most part.  I thought the chicken and waffles were a little bit pricy but everything else was cheap for the quality and quantity.  I would eat every single one of these items again.

And according to their Twitter, they sold out of everything tonight…

Buttermilk Truck gets 4 NOMs from the Catty Critic

OC 2, LA 0 – The hunt for Messican goes on

Since I started working in Huntington Beach, I’ve discovered that there’re several hole-in-the wall Mexican places nearby.  Some of the peeps at work do a taco run on Thursdays to Taqueria Mexico.  It looked really yummy so I had to give it a try.

Well, so far this place is the closest I’ve gotten to matching what I can get in San Diego at Roberto’s/Sombrero’s/Cotixan.  While the menu isn’t as extensive as what I’m used to, the fact that I can get something resembling a decent carne asada burrito makes up for that.  They offer up tacos and burritos and you get to choose the type of filling.  Tacos offer up the usual chicken, carne asada and some more adventurous choices like beef tongue and head meat.  As for burritos, you can get meat & cheese, rice, beans & cheese, beans & cheese…well, you get the idea.  And just so you know, the beans here are pinto beans, NOT refried.  The husband was a bit miffed by this.  The thing to get here, though, is the tacos.  Carne asada, onion n’ cilantro, cheese and hot sauce form inside a little tortilla to become awesomeness in your mouth.

Taqueria Mexico is open 24hrs which is great for that late night drunken munchies.  Cuz y’know, nothing goes better with drunk than some awesome Mexican food…well, that or Denny’s.

Based on a friend’s recommendation, I also tried George’s Mexican Food.  Now this was more of what I was thinking.  The menu was extensive, offering combination platters, tortas, taquitos, etc.  Once again, I discovered that the carne asada burrito included beans (what is it with the beans?!?!?!).  I had them take it out and put in guacamole.  I also ordered a bean and cheese burrito for the husband and an order of rolled tacos with just meat and cheese.

The burritos were smaller than what we usually get down in SD joints.  The carne asada burrito was decent, about on par as the one I had at Taqueria Mexico though bonus pts for George’s for having the option of guacamole.  The only issue was the tortilla which was starting to rip in places.  The husband thought his bean n’ cheese burrito was just okay.  They got the rolled taco order wrong and gave me a taco instead.  Let me just say, this taco was a heck of a lot better than the crap we got at Tito’s Tacos.

Over all, I think if I was craving street tacos, I’d go to Taqueria Mexico.  For anything else, I’d hit up George’s…which also had breakfast burritos (OMG bacon n’ egg?).  However, they only serve them in the mornings unlike Roberto’s which offers them up 24/7.  Not quite up to San Diego standards but decent enough to satiate the cravings.

Oh yeah, George’s has a drive-thru which is convenient!

Taqueria Mexico gets 3 NOMs.

George’s Mexican Food gets 3 1/2 NOMs.

Taqueria Mexico
14022 Springdale St
Westminster, CA 92683
(714) 894-5850
Taqueria Mexico on Urbanspoon

George’s Mexican Food
6581 Edinger Ave
Huntington Beach, CA 92647
(714) 892-5775

George's Mexican Food on Urbanspoon