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Dallas: Food Trucks

When the temperature in Dallas finally dipped into the mid-90s, signalling summer’s slow ease into fall, I figured it was time to stop whining about the heat and get out there and enjoy nature’s sudden and unexpected turn.  Which on a particular (and peculiar) low-humidity Thursday in late August, meant food truck night at Old City Park.

Just south of downtown, the near dozen trucks curled in a semi-circle like covered wagons. There were round tables scattered on the grassy lawn specifically for the event. There were kids. Lots of dogs. And the swarms of West Nile mosquitos that had been plaguing the city thankfully seemed to have buzzed off (though there was a table set up with a variety of mosquito repellents).

I’d heard about Nanni’s, with its enormous banh mi Vietnamese sandwiches, served on French-style baguettes, but once I saw the line at SSahm BBQ, the Korean taco place, I was done for.  (As much as I dislike lines, I’ll stand in line for food almost anytime.) I first tried the pork one, with heaps of sweet, crunchy, spicy kimchee; then went for the beef ribs, too. In a move of complete gluttony (and delight), I ordered the fries; home-style, with skins left on, drowning in pour-on orange cheese and more kimchee. Wild, trashy, and absolutely perfect. I wish I’d gotten the larger size.

I didn’t eat the banh mi. Or the sweet potato pie or hot dogs. I didn’t try the catfish, which was what one truck specialized in, and I thought perhaps food truck sushi wasn’t the best idea, either, especially in the heat – whoops, I meant cold snap. Some guys in my old neighborhood, Lakewood, were selling beer. And if I’d wanted to go gluten-free, there was a truck for that, too. One truck was trying to sell shaved ice, but not doing much business – probably because Los Angeles’-based Cool Haus, the ice cream sandwich truck with homemade cookies and ice cream, was next door, and by the time I got in line (I told you) for mine, the almond and Nutella ice cream was all gone. So I settled for a chocolate chocolate cookie with Tahitian vanilla bean ice cream in the middle, and it was far, far too big and far too much for me to eat.

So of course I just ate half. Ha. As if.

I was told that there are usually more food trucks than the ones that showed up the night I was there, but from what I could see, there needed to be more people than the ones who lived in this still rough-around-the-edges neighborhood to support that, anyway. I was happy to see that Dallas was finally embracing what’s now an old trend – even Paris has food trucks now – but wondering why it had waited so long, and why it wasn’t more Dallas-centric.

I totally would’ve stood in line for a corny dog.