Charming Nomad is a food truck that serves a mixture of Pakistani and Afghan food, though I’d say it skews more towards the Pakistani. This solid lunch option offers tasty and relatively healthy South and Central Asian meals with fresh ingredients and very friendly staff. It differentiates itself from the rather nondescript kabob trucks with eye-catching (and charming) decor and a commitment to using local, farm to table ingredients.
You can find Charming Nomad’s location on their Twitter.
Lunchtime meets Vegas at 50-50 Pizza, a food truck where you can spin a wheel on an iPad to determine how much you’ll pay for your meal. You have a 50-50 shot of only paying 99 cents for a pie with one topping. If you “lose” (they like to say everyone is a winner) you pay $9.99. It’s a really cool concept that adds an (often much-needed) dose of fun in the middle of the work day. As for the pizza itself, there’s room for improvement. The crust is pretty good and it’s a good size, but the cheese to sauce ratio tends way too heavily towards the cheese. I love cheese, but the amount of cheese is almost overwhelming, overpowering the sauce.
Find 50/50 Pizza’s location on their Twitter.
Did you know that José Andres has a food truck? It’s called Pepe and it serves Spanish-inspired sandwiches. The day that I went, the line was pretty short and I got my sandwich quickly, though the cold weather may have played a role in the short line. I ordered the Butifarra Burger, which was a long, narrow baguette with olive oil, bravas sauce and Spanish butifarra sausage. It was a bit too small for the $12 I paid for it and while I wasn’t wowed by the sausage itself, the interplay of the sausage, the olive oil, the bravas sauce and a high-quality baguette made for a really tasty sandwich. Still though, I don’t come to a food truck expecting small plates, so while I know that’s José A’s M.O., larger sandwiches would be welcome.
You can find Pepe’s location on its Twitter.
Honey’s Empanadas is certainly not a healthy food truck to eat your lunch at but it certainly is tasty. Unlike the empanadas at Julia’s Empanadas which are baked and make a claim to be nutritious, Honey’s Empanadas are very much fried. And if you want, you can get this fried empanada with fried pork inside it. There are a variety of interesting options, including a Korean kalbi beef empanada called the “Yi” and a chicken tikka masala empanada called the “Asha.” At least the day I went, there was only one veggie option. You can get two empanadas plus a side for $10, which is a bit steep for the quantity of food. The sides are also not exactly healthy and consist of tostones (fried plantains), fried yuca and red beans and rice. But for a day when you just want something greasy, comforting and delicious that’s made with love, Honey’s Empanadas is a good way to go.
You can find Honey’s Empanadas’ location on their Twitter.
It turns out that Philadelphia isn’t the only city in Pennsylvania with a distinctive style of sandwich. Pittsburgh boasts its own special sandwiches, known for containing french fries inside the sandwich. Luckily, you can sample them at Pittsburgh Rick’s, a food truck that hails from Leesburg, VA (apparently they used to have a brick and mortar location out there). I ordered the pastrami and cheese, which comes stuffed with excellent pastrami, provolone, lettuce, tomato and (of course) french fries. I’m sure it’s pretty artery-clogging but it’s absolutely delicious and I highly recommend it.
You can find Pittsburgh Rick’s location on their Twitter.
<rant> Taste of Persia is a food truck that is best avoided. I had hoped that it would have authentic Persian food and serve up tasty kabobs, but I was wrong. For the record, gyros and falafel are not Persian. I ordered a lamb kab0b and was given a gyro sandwich. Don’t call yourself a Persian food truck and serve Greek and Lebanese food. </rant>
Annie Mae’s Mississippi Fried Chicken and Fish is a soul food food truck serving up delicious fried chicken and fried fish with soul food sides like mac and cheese and collard greens. I had griped before about a lack of soul food food trucks, but this one definitely fits the bill. The people are very friendly, and the food is worth the long wait. At $9, the fish and chicken combo is a pretty good deal. You can choose from catfish, trout, or whiting and the obvious choice is catfish. Most places charge more for catfish than whiting, but not Annie Mae’s. Their catfish fillet is a generous portion, and it makes for a great sandwich with some hot sauce and tartar sauce. The chicken is tasty as well, as is the mac and cheese. This is neither the quickest nor the healthiest lunch on the planet, but it is satisfying and everything is served with a smile.
Tempo Di Pasta is an Italian food truck. You can find their location on their website. They offer high-quality, sophisticated pasta dishes. I ordered the Ravioli Di Funghi (Ravioli filled with Wild Mushrooms in a Fontina Sauce topped with Mushroom Ragu and Parmigiano Cheese) which was delicious and arrived quickly, though it was a bit small for $10.
Langston Grille on Wheels is a food truck operation from Langston Bar & Grille, which is located at 1831 Benning Rd NE. You can find the food truck’s location on their website. The food truck bills itself as soul food, but the options were more cajun/creole, given the variety of po’ boys on offer. They do have a couple of soul food sides, like collard greens and mac and cheese, but at $4 a piece they seemed pretty steep given that soul food sides are typically included with entrees as real soul food restaurants like Florida Avenue Grill and Saint’s Paradise Cafeteria. I ordered a shrimp po’ boy, which was small and disappointing. The price was steep at $12 for a small sandwich and the shrimp was simply boiled with absolutely no seasoning. The people are friendly at Langston Grille on Wheels, but the experience was otherwise a let-down. There is a real need for a good soul food food truck, but Langston Grille on Wheels just didn’t deliver.
I admit I paid no attention to the Corn Factory food truck for a long time, mainly because I assumed from the name that it was all about corn on the cob or popcorn. I’m one of the few people in this world who doesn’t like corn on the cob, and while I love popcorn, it’s not something I eat at lunch. But names can be deceiving. The Corn Factory is actually a Venezuelan and Mexican food truck specializing in corn-based fare like arepas, cachapas, corn tacos, empanadas and tamales. You can find their location on their Twitter. Cachapas are a delicious stuffed corn tortillas that look a bit like pupusas, except for the fact that they are corn-based and not beef-based. I ordered the chachapas mixta, which were filled with chicken and beef, plus delicious seasoning. I added cheese for $0.50, which made them all the more flavorful. It wasn’t a huge quantity of food, but wasn’t tiny either- at $9 it was reasonable by food truck standards, and totally delicious. The line was short as was the wait time and the lady running it was very friendly- I imagine if their offerings were clearer from the name, they would get a lot more traffic. Check it out!