The Quest for the Ultimate Meal on Wheels: Food truck crawl

I live in East Greenwich, where the food truck is virtually non-existent. I say “virtually” because there is a hot dog guy who sits across from the cemetery most days. We also have the occasional Del’s lemonade truck that passes through, but other than that, nothing.
Being huge fans of the food truck trend, my husband and I decided to celebrate our wedding anniversary a little differently this year by embarking on a quest to find, and taste, the cuisine of Rhode Island’s food trucks.
The preparations for our big day were grueling to say the least. After all, how does one find a restaurant with a constantly changing address? I started at foodtrucksin.com, which gave me a fair list of some great trucks, but could not provide a schedule or menu. This further heightened the secrecy element of our impending journey. I found out that most trucks have a Facebook page and post their whereabouts regularly, so I liked each truck’s page, and signed up for their Twitter feeds. And I waited …
I woke up Saturday expecting my phone to be buzzing with tweets about food truck locations. Sadly, it remained quiet; likewise, my Facebook page. Where were all the freaking food trucks going to be that day? Finally, in the late morning, the folks at Plouf Plouf Gastronomie posted their location: The Beer and Ballet festival on Hope Street. Now that sounded promising.
We left home around 3 pm, and our first stop was the ATM to arm ourselves with a big wad of cash (who knew most of them take credit cards?). When we arrived at Hope Street, we were greeted by not one, not two, but a glut of food trucks with various and sundry cargo: sandwiches on pretzels, French gourmet, vegan ice cream, international sandwiches, tacos, and of course, hot dogs.
I felt grateful for this find, but a bit dismayed. Imagine if Frodo, after leaving the Shire on his quest to destroy the ring, arrived at his first stop only to discover a large box saying, “Safely place dangerous but alluring ring here for destruction.” I’m sure he would have felt relieved, but slightly deprived of the journey ahead, right? Yeah, that’s sort of how I felt. Of course it didn’t stop me from stuffing my face with inappropriate amounts of food and beer, but I did feel like I cheated, sort of.
Enough about me – let’s talk about the food. I desperately wanted to try the beef short rib sandwich and jalapeno poppers at Noble Knots, but the line – oh, the line! So we ambled over to the Acacia Café and ordered a banh mi: pork marinated in Vietnamese spices on a crunchy French roll topped with a tangy yogurt sauce, greens, cucumbers and red onion– so delicious, and apparently popular, as we scored the last order. Next we hit Plouf Plouf, where the menu was exhaustive and exciting, but the prices rivaled Pot au Feu. Nonetheless, I couldn’t resist trying the truffled macaroni and cheese. When it arrived, I felt a bit disappointed as it looked slightly like it came from a blue box. The taste, however, was exquisite: a blend of several different cheeses topped with rich, delightful truffle oil.
Time for a beer and music break where we enjoyed a Newport Storm Ale and some mighty fine tunes by the Rice Cakes. Before hitting the road, we stopped at Poco Loco for a street taco. I ordered the popular PBJ – a mouthwatering combination of pork, beans and jalapenos with a sweet chili barbeque sauce. I treasured every morsel, but truly fell in love with my husband’s selection, the Southwest: chorizo, potato, corn salsa, southwest sour cream, red onion and jack cheese. It tasted like the best hangover breakfast ever.
It was too early to head home, but we were too full to do much other than sit in a dark, cool movie theater. We left the confines of the city and headed to Showcase to see the new Star Trek movie. Since this article is about food trucks, I’ll steer away from a movie critique, except for this shout out to the film’s make-up team: please tone down Captain Kirk’s lip gloss. Those pink shiny lips distracted me from the plot (other than that, great film).
After the movie ended, I felt those familiar pangs of hunger, so we ventured to the corner of George and Thayer, where I heard the food trucks like to hang. The hunt was back on! As we cruised down Thayer, I heard the comforting hum of a generator – a sure sign of an impending discovery. Soon we saw a small crowd of people gathered around a brightly lit truck emblazoned with the letters FuGo (short for Fusion Gourmet). I felt a rush of excitement, like a butterfly hunter who’s potentially just stumbled upon the rare pussy cat swallow-tail (if you know what I’m talking about, you’re clearly over 40).
FuGo ended up being quite a find indeed. The menu lived up to the truck’s name: tacos and burritos with an international flair. We opted for the plus one combo: two tacos, a side and a drink for a mere $10. My taco overflowed with miso-glazed tofu, carrots, cojita cheese and cabbage, all topped with jalapeno cream salsa. My husband salivated over his Korean braised beef taco with kimchi and mango slaw. Our side dish consisted of steak and salsa eggrolls, which were crispy and tangy, filled with tender steak and a mild salsa. Even the iced tea was scrumptious: blueberry white tea, unsweetened, with fresh blueberries floating on top.
While chatting with the chef, we learned that this was FuGo’s premiere night. After a year of planning and menu-testing they finally hit the road. The service was a bit slow, but hey, it was their first night and they apologized profusely. Plus, they were super friendly, the food was delicious and the prices more than reasonable. We wished them well and I promised to help spread the word about their wonderful new venture.
After wiping the salsa from our chins, we hopped back in the car and headed to downtown Providence to see if the oldest, most infamous food truck was parked in its usual place. Sure enough – there it was in all its glory: Haven Bros. We debated stopping for a hot dog and a burger, but decided that we were neither hungry nor drunk enough for the experience, so we passed. It reminded us, though, that whether the food truck phenomenon is merely a trend that will soon pass, or a new way of eating that will endure the test of time, there are some food institutions that will never die. For that we are thankful. In the meantime, we’ll relish our trendy meals on wheels.
If you DO want that Star Treck critique, watch for yourself on Motif TV Scan the QR code or go to motifri.com

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