March 23, 2012

Food Trucks Roll Into Liberty Village

After spending the morning in a dark classroom without windows, I was more than ready to get outside for some lunch. By the time I got to the food trucks in Liberty Village, just past 12:30pm, the sun was out and so were the crowds. Lines were already formed at the three trucks that came out to play: El Gastronomo Vagabundo, Caplansky’s and Blue Donkey Streatery.

I spotted Suresh, (he of Food Truck Eats and Spotlight Toronto who is leading the fight for food trucks in Toronto) and he told me to get in line fast if I wanted to get some food. I hurried over to El Gastronomo Vagabundo just in time to see them cross the Biltong Pork Belly Tacos off the chalkboard menu. Damnit, that was my first choice!

So I went with Plan B and set my sights on the Senor Ghandi Ceviche- smoked albacore tuna and scallop ceviche with salsa verde, madras curry paste, cherry tomatoes and corn chips. And then I waited.

As I stood in line, I struck up a conversation with the guy behind me. You never know who you’re going to meet at a Food Truck event but at least you know they’ve got good taste in food. Turns out, Martin’s an illustrator and has done designs for Threadless, one of my favourite companies! He also just happens to have completed a food truck t-shirt design, check it out, it’s awesome! 

As I approached the El Gastronomo window to place my order, co-owner Tamara Jensen smiled apologetically as she told me they’d just sold out of Aussie Ocker and all they had left was Senor Ghandi Ceviche and Home Brewed Iced Tea. I said I’d take one of each.

I got my order and, as I do, promptly prepared to take a picture just as I was greeted by someone else carrying a similar camera. Michael Kolberg from Toronto Standard had been sent to check out the food trucks. He wasn’t quite sure what he was getting into, so Martin and I tried to set him straight. Martin even went so far as to share his ceviche with him. Michael wrote about his experience here, on Toronto Standard.  

Chef Adam Hynam-Smith

Shortly after I got my food, El Gastronomo was completely sold out of everything. I talked to Tamara after they finished service. I told her my ceviche was excellent, (it really was!) but that I’d been hoping to get one of the Biltong tacos.

Tamara says the pork belly tacos are always a hit, no matter what flavour profile Chef Adam, (co-owner and partner) decides to use. Today’s coriander heavy biltong seasoning is all part of Adam’s master plan to get everyone to like coriander. If today’s sales are any indication, he’s succeeding.

The next Toronto stop for El Gastronomo Vagabundo is the Food Truck Eats U of T Edition, happening on March 29th, beginning at 11am on St. George and Scarborough campuses. Tamara and Chef Adam will be there along with Gorilla Cheese, Smoke’s Poutinerie, Blue Donkey Streatery, Portobello Burger and Tiny Tom Donuts. This time around El Gastronomo is promising to bring lots of food and lots of extra people in the truck in the hopes of serving their gourmet fare to everyone who comes out to support them.

I will be there early. For anyone else attending, I’ll be easy to spot as the one happily stuffing her face with pork belly tacos and standing beside a rather large video camera. Come say hi!

***As some added incentive, rumour has it there will also be beef cheek tacos and an Israeli couscous salad on the menu… Come hungry.


Socky said...

Hi, that's me receiving a big brown paper bag of el gastro goodies from Tamara. That's the second time I lined up, so I might be the culprit why they quickly ran out of biltong and aussie ocher:-) I love that the food trucks are coming to my part of town and that Toronto at last is opening its taste buds to the wonderful food that these trucks and their passionate chefs bring. A city can't live on hotdogs and shawarma alone.

Ayngelina said...

I had no idea this was going on, I`m so close too!

I really hope street trucks succeed in Toronto, we really need them because otherwise all we have are those lame hot dogs.

Bregman said...

Nice article Brilynn, and thanks for the props!

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