3.22.2010

29. The Grill 'Em All Truck


I love Metallica. I have loved Metallica for some time, now - and I don’t even really listen to metal. But I do appreciate double bass drum. Growing up primarily on beats, hip-hop and jazz probably had a hand in that. But I will never forget the first time I heard Blackened. It changed something with music and me. I have put that song on countless mixes and still listen to it almost every week. I'm listening to it now. I always play it for my friends who still can’t make sense out of how unlikely it is that I would like it so much. “It’s like a symphony,” I tell them. More often than not I get either a blank stare or a "bless-her-heart" look.

And hell, I have been turning people on to Heavy Metal Parking Lot for well over a decade. I know every single line of dialogue in that epic documentary.

And I love food trucks.

So, as you may imagine, dear readers, I have been pretty geeked about the Grill ‘Em All Truck since day one. They hit the streets near the end of last year, right when I was cramming all those trucks in for my self imposed deadline, and yet I never saw them on any of my routes. Then, it took me awhile to even think about eating at any of the trucks again for a while, even though I do just love their Tweets, in particular. Then, while finishing up some work in Hollywood and on my way back home, there they were. It was an unlikely time of day and location for a food truck. Obviously, I figured they must have been there just for me. So even though I had a co-worker riding along with me, I excitedly pulled over and dragged her to the window to order, all the while explaining the story about these boys.

Manned by BFFs (so un-metal of me, I know), chef Ryan Harkins and burger aficionado/taste tester, Matthew Chernus, Grill ‘Em All is simple: heavy metal and burgers. It’s one of those, why-didn’t-I-think-of-that beauties in the world.


So, last week I ordered the Witte (California cream cheese, deep fried bacon(!!!), beer & sriracha soaked onions & garlic aioli - $8)). I wanted the Lars (seared Hudson Valley foie gras, fried egg, malt vinegar, aioli & chips - $15), but the girl I was with was not down with the foie. Hey, I had just met her. How could I have known? Neither of us were famished, and it was a hot day, so we split our burger. And Matt even told us they could cut it in half for us. Really sweet, but I couldn’t help but feel like a bit of a pantywaist.

 The Witte

We both really liked the burger. The bun was fantastic – shiny, brown and rounded at the top with enough of a crumb to keep the ginormity of the insides together. The meat was nicely cooked for me, about medium. I usually like things almost bloody, but I understand it’s not so easy to accommodate such particulars in truck-land. The deep fried bacon was decadent and awesome. The onions were a little over powered by the cream cheese, which was really the only issue I had with anything that hit my palate that day. I felt that rather than cream cheese, which coats your tongue, the burger would have been more succinct with something more acidic to cut through the powerhouse that was everything else and the grease inherently in the burger. Maybe something mustardy? Maybe a cave aged gruyere?

But still, I knew I wanted to go back. To try more. I just needed a little something else to seal the deal prior to writing this.

And what do you know? They were smack in my truckjectory today! Same location, same time. Kismet.

Same deal as last week… I showed up on the later side of lunchtime, no line, no wait.


The boys remembered me from last week. That always makes a girl feel special. I perused the menu, and really just wanted to try the most basic burger. I wanted to see what they did with bare bones. But they named that burger the Hannah Montana. Good Christ. After getting my burger cut in half last week I was going to be damned if I ordered a chunk of meat called Hannah Montana. I might as well go to the Coach & Horses and order a Shirley Temple. And those of you that know me know that would never happen.

So I ordered the Molly Hatchet (seared fennel smoked sausage gravy, apple wood smoked bacon, with a maple drizzle - $7.50). I felt very satisfied with the bravado of my order until - and I believe they both asked –  “just the burger?” To which I meekly replied, “Um, and a water?” I wanted fries, but I knew the burger wasn’t realistically going to get finished off and I hate wasting food! I’ll try the damned fries next time, guys.

Ryan then handed me 7485061 napkins and said, “You’re gonna need all of these.” This prompted me to ask my age-old truck question, “Why don’t any of you guys ever provide moist towelettes?”

Are you guys ready for this?

THEY HAD THEM!!!!!

After months and months and over 30 some odd trucks, my day had come! I could go on forever about this, but okay, the food!

This was the most delicious angioplasty I have had in recent memory. I felt like Dante, with my copy of the Divine Comedy, standing next to the entrance to hell. 

The Molly Hatchet.  Note the moist towellete on the right.

That fennel smoked sausage gravy was rich, complex, naughty but so divine. And I got it everywhere. The meat was a little closer to the done side than that of last week, but still quality. The bacon added the needed crispy, crunchy to the affair, and that drizzle of maple… that subtle, homey sweetness that perfectly complimented the bite of the sausage and the aristocracy of the fennel. This made me very happy.

This also made a huge mess. Good thing I had that moist towellete...

These fellas are doing something special and seem to be having a blast along the ride. At least, I hope that’s what those huge smiles on their faces are all about. Nothing can possibly beat that. - and it all comes out in their food.

And, apparently they cater parties - and party hard!

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