A Moveable Feast

The Biscuit Bus, Denver Food Truck

They may not have originated in Denver, but gourmet food trucks have recently taken the city by storm. An order of magnitude better than the usual hot dog carts and far removed from the “roach coaches” of old, these former delivery vans and RVs have been remade with snazzy paint jobs, state of the art kitchens, and top notch chefs.

At last count over eighty roving restaurants circled the city, with more joining their ranks everyday. Serving up everything from Mexican-Asian fusion at Mestizos, to artisan wood-fired pizza at 528˚ – that’s right, wood-fired pizza made in the back of a truck – the trendy street food craze is bringing a world of flavors curbside.

For the hungry tourist desiring high quality and relatively affordable meal options served fast, the up-scaling of street food is a fantastic development.

Mestizos

Alejandro Baca Certified Sous Chef, Mestizos

We were fortunate enough to encounter Civic Center Eats, a 2-year-old experiment that turns Denver’s Civic Center Park into a food truck court every Tuesday and Thursday from June to September. Within easy walking distance of the Denver State Capitol, the US Mint, and the city’s great Art Museum, Civic Center Eats was perfectly situated to accommodate an afternoon of sightseeing.

Our biggest challenge of the day was deciding which of the incredible-looking eateries to patronize. Should we sink our teeth into southern fried chicken and biscuit sandwiches or blackened mahi-mahi? More importantly, should we indulge in artisan cupcakes or hand made ice cream sandwiches for dessert? Fortunately, we had three hours to figure it out before these restaurants rolled away.

We eventually opted to dine at The Croc Spot truck, where I sampled curried lentils over jasmine fried rice topped with sriracha sour cream and Shannon had chimichurri shredded chicken. Both were delicious. Our favorite swapped back and forth between the lentils and the chimichurri depending on the bite. Who made the better choice was simply too close to call.

Summoning all of our willpower we resisted topping off with a treat, satisfied with a lunch far more indulgent than our usual fare. Instead, we vowed to return and track down a cupcake truck. But that’s a tale for another day.

Stay tuned.

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16 Comments on “A Moveable Feast”

  1. Pierotucci November 21, 2011 at 8:47 am #

    What a wonderful idea. In Florence we haven’t got to the 21st Century yet. A lot of Italians just want to eat pasta twice a day and they are happy.

    Like

    • Brian November 21, 2011 at 8:44 pm #

      I could be happy for a while eating pasta twice per day in Florence – lovely city!

      Like

  2. Renee November 21, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

    The City I live in is slowly getting a few gourmet food trucks, like grilled cheese, sausages, hotdogs, etc. Thanks for sharing!

    Like

    • Brian November 21, 2011 at 8:46 pm #

      Denver’s food truck craze is only like two years old. It’s something that is growing in popularity and migrating to a lot more places I think.

      Like

  3. Bill Chance November 21, 2011 at 2:22 pm #

    A really nice entry – great pictures. I’ve become a fan of the gourmet food trucks in my city, Dallas, and am trying to work my way through them, one by one.

    It’s a good blogging topic:
    http://billchance.org/category/food-2/dallas-food-trucks/

    Like

    • Brian November 21, 2011 at 8:47 pm #

      We’ll be in Dallas early 2012 – looking forward to the food trucks.

      Like

  4. Kristina November 21, 2011 at 2:30 pm #

    Loving the truck 🙂 And the food sounds delicious 🙂 I don’t think we have anything like this here in London 🙂

    Like

    • Brian November 21, 2011 at 8:46 pm #

      I don’t recall food trucks in London. I do recall really good curry, though. 🙂

      Like

  5. jennymilch November 22, 2011 at 10:20 pm #

    I’d love to see those carts! Wait till you get to Portland (are you going to Portland??)–cart heaven 🙂

    Like

    • Brian November 22, 2011 at 10:28 pm #

      Are you kidding? Of course we’re going to Portland 🙂 In fact, I think Portland is where I first heard about the gourmet truck craze – on 60 Minutes, or something, years ago. Denver is the first place we really saw it in action though. Loving it!

      Like

  6. Eklctc November 23, 2011 at 1:46 pm #

    I’m glad you enjoyed. I live in Denver so I know how popular those trucks are. I, however, have yet to purchase anything from any of them. We actually have a different truck serve from our delivery parking area from 11:30a to 1:30p almost every weekday and we have building wide announcements about which food truck will be there to serve us. It’s crazy.

    Why have I not yet indulged? Call me frugal but, though the prices are not bad, I just don’t believe in paying that much for food for myself. With $10, I can buy a frozen bag of chicken breast, a pack of jasmine rice, and a head of cabbage and eat well all week. However, all of my colleagues rave about the food and the cupcakes so I know I would be satisfied whenever I do decided to indulge.

    In the meantime, I’ll keep a bit of love in my food. 🙂

    Like

    • Brian November 23, 2011 at 4:09 pm #

      Doh! Called out on our gourmet lunch the very same day we air a post about saving money.

      Good for you, BTW!

      Like

  7. Frank Winters November 28, 2011 at 3:18 pm #

    I just reread Hemingway’s “A Moveable Feast” — wonderful book! The idea in the book is that Paris is such a wonderful ‘feast’ that it stays with you where ever you go. The kind of moveable feast with wheels could in theory follow you but actually you need to go where it is. So its a different moveability. I’m always pleased to see a brightly decorated food cart in the streets of a city — tho I do tread carefully having gotten pretty sick one or twice after eating cart food. I guess like a lot of things these food carts are way better than the ones from years ago. In fact food in general has improved in a number of cities. I used to work in NY and cherish trips to San Francisco where it seemed impossible to buy a bad meal. Lately I think the same can be said for NY.

    Like

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