I love food truck dining for its al fresco eating, fun restaurateurs and business names, support of small businesses, and of course cheap but delicious eats.
My favorite truck in San Fran is at the Ferry Building on Saturday, which also perfectly positions you to stroll the farmers market stalls before/after you devour a porchetta (pronounced “pore-ketta”) sandwich from Roli Roti. This sandwich consistently makes the list of 100 things to eat in SF before you die (though I do not agree with their #1 choice of Zuni’s roasted chicken, which is good but nothing “die” worthy). Roli’s sandwich on the other hand, deserves all accolades.
A Roli Roti porchetta sandwich consists of, “Heritage family-farmed pork loin rolled into the pork belly & spiced with fresh organic herbs and the crispy skin left on, sliced onto fresh-backed Acme bread and topped with spicy local market greens and our housemade carmalized onion marmalade. Garnished with grey sea salt & bits of crispy skin.”
What could make this even better? Watching them make this monstrosity because you see the spits cooking, with
fat flavor dripping onto the cooking potatoes at the bottom. And as they cut the pork, the bread is used to sop up the juices that run on the cutting board to ensure you’re not denied any flavors (and their boards are kept “clean”?).
The sandwich is huge in size and flavor. The bread is perfect for this sandwich, and people in line asked if they could also buy just the bread (you can’t). I do wish there was a bit of acid or something to help cut the sandwich richness, but that didn’t stop me from gobbling up my meal. Best time to beat the line is go a bit before lunch hour.
In San Fran, the famous food truck gatherings are organized by Off the Grid, a definite to check out. But you can also find less crowded gatherings, like SOMA StrEAT Food Park that has covered and heated eating areas and different vendors every day. The food can be a bit hit or miss though.
Luckily, my order was a definite hit. I got the fried chicken from Let’s Eat Grill Stop. The sauce on it was insane!
And we stopped by Frozen Kusterd for some awesome frozen custard and toppings (burnt caramel!).
In NYC, there aren’t too many food truck gatherings given space and parking, but there are food tent gatherings. My favorite is Brooklyn’s Smorgasburg (April-Oct), but I also love Madison Square Eats, which runs for a month in the Sept/Oct time frame. Somehow they fit more than two dozen vendors in a pedestrian triangle near Madison Square Park. It is at the intersection of Broadway, 5th Avenue, and 25th Street, so it is very NYC – eating below a stunning view of the Flatiron Building with taxis whizzing by in the periphery.
NYC trucks are out and about, but usually not parked together. One to keep an eye out for is a west-coast import, CoolHaus, where you can make your own ice cream sandwich choosing from a giant menu of different cookies and ice cream. All fit for a foodie. Plus, your cookie is handed to you in an edible wrapper (a type of rice paper). Who thought an ice cream establishment could go green?