Two years ago, while visiting my daughter Candice in Portland, she took me on a Food Truck Tour. I was amazed at the quality and creativity on the part of the owners of these mobile restaurants. Most of the best ones are owned and managed by well-trained young chefs. They are so popular that their customers follow them on Twitter. That way they know where the food truck will be on any given day.
In the past few years there’s been a resurgence in these mobile culinary establishments, and not just in Portland. They’re all over the country, but primarily in larger cities. The resurgence is due in part to the economy and in part because of the desire of talented young chefs to prove themselves. An average new restaurant takes time and upwards of $200,000 plus to get started. A food truck takes $20,000 to $30,000.
Ever since that first tour in Portland, I’ve been paying attention to the food trucks I see in various places. And then Candice tipped me off to a new book on the subject. It’s Food Trucks: Dispatches and Recipes From the Best Kitchens on Wheels (Ten Speed Press, 2011)
Author Heather Shouse spent a year traveling the United States researching the topic of mobile food purveyors. She was looking for innovation and high quality food that didn’t require a giant kitchen and a huge staff. The result of her research is this book. (Wouldn’t you have loved a job like that?)
The book is organized by region and by city. Ms. Shouse gave a good overview of each area. She then spent time talking about the best food trucks she found. For each food truck she told the history of the owners and how they came to establish their business. She also talked about the special food prepared and there is often a recipe from the owner. Also included is where you can usually find that food truck, plus their Twitter account and/or website. There are plenty of colorful pictures and drawings throughout.
I spent most of my time in the sections on the West Coast because that’s where I am. But, for those of you in other parts of the country, you should know there are good food trucks in the Midwest, the South, and in the East Coast. I certainly want to check them all out.
The food? You’re going to find dishes from all cuisines. It seems to be an international menu as these bright young chefs ply their skills to create new dishes. The hottest food truck in LA is one that combines Mexican and Korean foods. These new businesses know their food has to be special if they are going to get customers back on a regular basis. And that’s good for those of us who love to try new dishes.
Give Food Trucks by Heather Shouse a try if you’re looking for a new food adventure.
I found my copy at the library. Check also your local bookstore. Food Trucksis available at Amazon. (I am an Amazon Associate.)
This post is linked to Weekend Cooking, a weekly feature at Beth Fish Reads. Click the button below and it will take you there.