Friday November 4, 2011
Nashville's Grilled Cheeserie Food Truck
The mobile food movement has made its way to Music City. And what started as a handful of hopeful chuckwagons has become a fleet of mobile eateries of all varieties. Those wary of the food truck movement, or think it just another trend can continue holding their breath. The rest of us will open our mouths and welcome the smorgasbord offered by these fine vendors. In the current economy, food trucks make sense. Perhaps it's the natural response to the likes of past-their-prime concepts such as upscale pub food, contemporary Mexican (with $12 guacamole) or nightclub Asian fusion. Why pay astronomical prices for burgers, tacos or a bowl of noodles, all of which are simple street foods at heart. From the standpoint of a food truck, it's a great way to get your cuisine directly to the customer without having to bother with building permits, alcohol licenses, large parties of red-hat ladies and other various profit-killing, headache-inducing aspects of opening a restaurant. Whatever the reason for their rise, food trucks continue to pop up all over town. Without further ado, here are some of Nashville's best food trucks. Click on the restaurant name for its Twitter handle, or follow our list of Nashville food trucks.
Riffs Fine Street Food: With offerings from around the globe -- Caribbean and Korean influences show up most frequently -- Riffs won the first annual Battle of the Food Trucks. Riffs' renditions of jerk chicken and shrimp and grits (which has an impressive depth of flavor) could stand up to the versions at most restaurants. The beastly bulgogi burger is impressive as well. Extra points for the 1/2 portions: a great value and still plenty of food.
The Hoss Burgers truck
Hoss Burgers: Gourmet grass-fed burgers stuffed with cheese are the order of the day. The namesake burger, cooked a perfect medium, is stuffed with cheddar cheese (which oozes out the edges) and topped with barbecue sauce, bacon and crispy onions. Decadently delicious. Food truck fries can sometimes be a bummer, but these thin, crispy rosemary-parmesan fries retain their texture. Veggie burgers are available as well.
The Grilled Cheeserie: One of the first food trucks to hit the scene, the Grilled Cheeserie truck often has the longest line (it moves fast, though). Sure, you could drunkenly throw your own grilled cheese together at home, but more than likely it wouldn't be a masterpiece like The Caliente -- chorizo, queso fresco, avocado, jalapeno and caramelized onions on sourdough.
Terra Delicious: There's no rule stipulating that street food must be terrible for you. More of a trailer (dubbed The Lady Bug) than a truck, Terra Delicious focuses on healthy wraps, soups and sandwiches with locally sourced ingredients. A hearty grilled chicken wrap with summer squash, peppers and mushrooms is simple, fresh and filling.
The Terra Delicious Lady Bug
Pizza Buds: The only pizza-by-the-slice truck in town, Pizza Buds slice somewhat resembles roller rink pizza (not a bad thing), but what makes it unique is the brown sugar and parmesan glaze that is brushed onto the crust for a sweet finish. Bonus points for perhaps the coolest vehicle in the food truck fleet, a scraggly old RV with "Leisure Time" written on the cab. Shaggy and Scooby would approve.
Yayo's O.M.G: OMG! ROFLOL! You'll totally like find some of literally the city's best (but messy) fish tacos at this truck serving "Original Mexican Gourmet from Chef B. 'Yayo' Jimenez.
Rollin' & Smokin': An impressive setup with a sizeable smoker attached to the tailgate, Rollin' and Smokin' (not to be confused with the 2Pac song of the same name, and a slightly different meaning) serves up slow smoked brisket, hickory smoked pork butt and damn fine 3-bean smoked chicken chili. Follow the smoke.
The Competition Ribs from Smoke Et Al
Happy Eating: Happy Eating is relatively easy to spot, bedecked with bright colors and a giant Anime girl (or boy?) eating rice dumplings on a skewer. Gyoza, lemongrass chicken bowls, various sweet treats and deliciously airy pork buns are among the offerings.
Smoke Et Al: Smoke et Al specializes in barbecue but serves everything from pork tacos to chicken and biscuits and hot mulled cider. Dry rubbed ribs are worth the wait, and the pickled fried okra is fantastic.
Mas Tacos Por Favor: Among Nashville's first food trucks, Mas Tacos has for the most part settled into its new stationary digs on McFerrin Ave in East Nashville, but they still take the truck out once in a while. None of the tacos fail to impress -- try the fried avocado taco when in doubt. The brilliant elote and the potent chicken tortilla soup are showstoppers as well.
Mere Bulles: Brentwood's contemporary southern fare stalwart has gone mobile. The nap-inducing, saucy/cheesy Italian sausage sandwich is a behemoth.
The Sugar Wagon: Big flavors come from little food carts. The Sugar Wagon's gourmet ice cream sandwiches are the real deal. Peanut butter ice cream sandwiched between two chocolate chip cookies: bloody brilliant! (Some treats are vegan friendly as well).
Italian sausage sandwich from Mere Bulles
Izzie's Ice: A godsend on a scorching hot Nashville summer day, these Italian ice cups pack plenty of flavor -- go with the honeydew or the cherry-berry.
Cupcake Collection: Currently Nashville's only food bus, the Cupcake Bus doles out sweet treats from the Cupcake Collection shop in Germantown. Sink your teeth into the red velvet cake or the peanut butter mousse on chocolate.