It has been a while, gang.
Although I was pretty trucked out, as it were, by the end of last year, I have still been visiting a few here and there. And yes, of course I attended the LA Street Food Fair a couple of weeks ago. I just haven’t been wearing my truck hat as much as my chef hat lately. So no reviews recently.
But today, dear readers, I had a wild hair. I squeezed in two (2) food trucks for lunch!
I have been pretty excited since I heard about a jerk chicken truck hitting the streets a few weeks ago. I love jerk chicken and plantains and beans and rice. Yum! While, undoubtedly, there are quite a few brick and mortar establishments that serve this fare around town, I have not been clued into them. I guess it’s not been on my radar.
There was this amazing restaurant in my neighborhood in Atlanta where I ate at least once week. They had excellent jerk chicken and fried plantains. I think it was called Bridgetown Grill. Also, Eats, a wonky little spot, had a jerk chicken that just blew my mind. Actually, that place was tremendously cool. And cheap. Check it out if you visit the ATL.
Well, I hadn’t thought about any of that in ages - until I heard about this truck. So today, I took a small detour in my route to check them out. They were on Wilshire, in Koreatown. Why is the stretch of Wilshire from Fairfax to Koreatown so exceptionally windy all the time? Anyone?
Ok. Zero line. I never know if that’s good or bad. It was nearing the end of the lunch phase, so I’m sure it was just timing. The menu was super bare bones, which I appreciate. Concentrate on what you do well, right? Basically, I had my choice of a big plate of jerk chicken over rice or fries, a small plate of jerk chicken over rice or fries, a jerk chicken burrito, a beef patty (?), and a smattering of sides, including plantains.
They also had a few little tripod-y chairs in front of the truck. God is in the details.
I ordered the small jerk chicken plate over rice & beans ($4) and a bottle of water ($1). You have to admit: the price is right. The food came out immediately. I mean, immediately. This made me happy as I was parked in a loading zone. So I scurried to a little wall near my car (to keep an eye on it) and dove into lunch.
Okay. I have read some other reviews of this truck, and they are all glowing. I also read that chef Anthony Robinson, a Jamaican native and recent L.A. transplant (via England), earned his chops making jerk chicken that he sold to clubgoers on the streets of London. So I am confused.
My chicken was unlike any jerk chicken I have experienced before. The actual meat was chewy and fatty. It reminded me of the caliber of meat you get in those Chinese spots in food courts at the mall. The meat itself had little flavor and had “jerk sauce” glopped on top of it. Said sauce was thick and reminiscent of bbq sauce. There was zero heat, actually it was fairly sweet (the dish was warm in temperature, however). I liked the rice, but would have preferred a coupla more beans in there. I also had a hard time eating off of the shallow tray the food sits upon. I lost a lot of rice to the sidewalk. This dish requires a bowl, or something deeper.
Sigh. I want to chalk it up to being an off day. Or, perhaps jerk chicken is a different beast on the west coast. But admittedly, I was really bummed out about this. In no way did it satisfy any of the flavors, spices and textures I was anticipating hitting my tongue.
So, still hungry, I headed west on Wilshire to see what other treasures would pop up… And there, in the food truck zone that is 5700-5900 Wilshire, I saw the Dogtown Dog truck, another truck that has been on my radar for quite some time.