Friday, April 27, 2007

Road Tested

As a kid, I never got to enjoy the ice cream truck. Since there were all of six kids in a ten-mile radius, it didn't make good business sense to service our ice-cream novelty needs by automobile. I would relish going to a friend's house in Norwich, Connecticut because she lived in a more suburban area and the ice cream truck would play its jaunty tune, and I'd swear the Rocket Pops from the ice cream truck tasted better than the ones my Mom bought at Stop and Shop.

When I started my new job, no fewer than ten people told me about the Trucks. My first-day orientation had new hires discussing the Trucks and their awesomeness. Apparently, these food trucks, like the ones at construction sites, come into Kendall Square and serve amazing food at equally amazing prices. I imagined that these people's attitude was swayed by the price of this food, and they maybe ignored the hairs, bugs, and undercooked bits.

Yesterday I was craving a walk and didn't pack my lunch, so I decided to venture to the Trucks. There were about four trucks lined up, each offering different food. One was a Chinese/Thai truck. Another beat-up truck sold Mexican food. There was a Middle-Eastern truck selling falafel and kebabs. There was a sparsely-visited sandwich truck. I hopped into the long line at the Chinese/Thai truck and waited to decide on my meal once I got close enough to read the menu.

I chose veggie pad thai for the low low price of $3.50. American. The lady handed me a styrofoam box and a fork, and I made my way to a bench. When I opened the box, I was pleasantly surprised. A huge portion of noodles sat on one half, with a mixture of thin carrot strips, lettuce, and sprouts on the other side. I mixed them together and dug in.

It was really good! Truck food! I stuffed myself on the thin noodles, crunchy peanuts and well-prepared tofu. I have a love-hate relationship with tofu. When I cook it, it's the nasty, gelatinous mess that most meat-eaters imagine. When someone who's used to the mystery curd prepares it, it's just like chicken. In my veggie pad thai, it was wonderful. Crumbled up, it was a pleasantly soy-ish flavor that didn't scream "healthy."

I just ate the other half of my food, so I basically spent $1.50 for lunch yesterday and today. The noodles were equally delicious cold (I can't seem to find any bowls or plates for reheating purposes). I think I may continue to line up with the students and science-minded folks to get my lunch on the cheap. Even though they don't play the jaunty tunes that ice cream trucks do, the food trucks make me just as happy.


julialowell said...

I am not ashamed to say it- I love truck food.

My secret for tofu is to salt it, then leach as much moisture as you can out of it by letting it rest on paper towels. Then pan-fry in enough oil to make the outside crispy, and don't bother it in the pan too much. Delicious.

Martin & Jessica said...

Back in the early 90s, there was period of about a year where we had a 'Roach Coach' stop at our little building on a side street in Allston. It was great! When you're making almost-minimum wage, cheap food is a must, and the stuff on the truck was amazing! Lots of people look at these trucks with disgust, but I think they just haven't had a chance to sample the food yet...

David said...

yeah, the sub truck is sparsely visited for a reason. slim selection, takes forever, and isn't very good. mexican's decent.