Saturday, October 29, 2011

So-Cal Tacos: Its ALL Good

My first encounter with So-Cal Tacos was when owner, Scott Wooley called me up and offered some free salsa, just because he  needed to get out of the house. (I think 4 kids under 5 will do that to you). From that first meeting I knew then that Scott wasn't going to be a low key truck owner and after tasting his salsa, I knew we were in for some awesome food.

Before I get to the food, I have to tell you about Woody, Scott's truck. Woody is a really cool truck that sets the whole California vibe. The red wrap catches your attention and makes you want to see what Woody is bringing today. The 1960 Hobie Surfboard spending a second life as a menu board makes you think one of the surfer greats is about to come down off the truck in their board shorts and hit the waves. Add in the cool music Scott has going and this truck is a fun experience all the way around! The fact that Scott is absolutely the nicest guy I have ever met makes this a truck that you will want to visit again and again.

Scott created the So-Cal concept after moving back to Texas and not being able to find the type of Mexican food that he and his wife missed after having lived in California for several years. The tacos and burritos are fresh with unique toppings that make you wonder if you really ever want a Tex-Mex taco again.

My favorite is the Newport, a steak taco with a relish on top that is cool and refreshing and blends well with the steak pieces. I actually enjoyed the relish as much as I did the killer salsa that has made So-Cal famous.  On my second visit to the truck, Scott was recommending what he called "old school street sauce" for the Newport. I was really skeptical about adding the sauce because really, why mess with a good thing? But I took Scott's word and the Old School Street Sauce was fantastic. Its a tad spicy with the right zing of vinegar to bring out the flavor of the steak. When the spice of the sauce mixes with the sweet of the relish, it really is an amazing taste.

I also really like the Game Changer, a honey chipotle grilled salmon taco, topped with lettuce and feta cheese. It is very flavorful and the honey glaze mixes well with the feta. The salmon is flaky and perfectly grilled, without being dry like some salmon can be.

On Woody's windows are signs that say "Bring It" and "Brought It", its obviously Scott and his crew are bringing it every single day. This truck is one of a kind and its ALL good!  You can follow So-Cal on Facebook and Twitter. They visit a lot of areas that the other trucks haven't reached yet, so they may be in your area, if so, go see Woody and spend a few minutes in So-Cal.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Food Truck SmackDown Recap

Friday night, seven of DFW's  best and most generous food trucks met at Sundown Lounge and accepted the challenge of competing to see who had the best food, best concept and best overall, in the name of charity. Ten for 10, a group that raises money to provide clean water in Rwanda, Africa hosted the SmackDown, which by all accounts was a complete success.

So-Cal Tacos, Gennarino's, Nammi, Enticed, Gandolfo's New York Deli, 3 Men and a Taco, and Jackalope Mobile Kitchen donated their time and food to feed close to 500 people. Stone Brewing and EFFEN Vodka sponsored the beverages for the evening and JACK FM was on site to entertain the outside crowds while The Duo was inside performing.

After several months of group events, the trucks, for the most part, have serving large groups of people down to a smooth process, with not too much waiting. It helped that at the SmackDown, each was serving sample menus and had done a lot of prep work in advance.

So-Cal, who was on day 5 of being on the streets,  worked in two courses; their killer salsa lined the tables for any and all who were waiting for their tacos. Each guest got a two Del Mar: a slow roasted chicken taco and one San Diego Classic:  a panko battered fish taco. Both were very tasty and a great introduction to So-Cal's truck.

Gennarino's  has been out in the streets of Irving for a couple of months now but only occasionally is able to attend events in Dallas. Because of this, many of the attendees were not familiar with the truck and family that has become one of my weekly stops. At the SmackDown, they were serving several of my favorites, the arancino, the pizza fritta and the dessert zeppole. Each was well received by the attendees, with lots of comments on the Italian brothers and how fun they are to be around.

Nammi, had mini servings of their popular bahn mi. The SmackDown version was a choice of pork, chicken or tofu in approximately half the size of their daily serving. I have to admit that I really liked this size, there's some days when I really don't want the full bahn mi but I want the bread instead of the taco version. The half size was great and I hope it inspires a half version on the daily menu.

Enticed had several options of their shaved ice. I ordered the Tiger's Blood, which is always my favorite. Enticed does it right so I see no reason to move through the menu, although I hear that other flavors were just as good.

Gandolfo's New York Deli was offering the equivalent of a full meal: a choice of either a turkey or roast beef quarter size sandwich with a side of their famous sour cream potato salad and a pickle spear. Normally at Gandolfo's I get the Hampton Bridge, one of their turkey sandwiches, so Friday night I decided to venture outside the box and tried the roast beef. Now I have a problem because it was as good as the turkey. I'm not good with choices, so once I find an item I like, I tend to stick with it. Having two fabulous choices is going to be a problem for me. I'm wondering if not wanting to decide between two fabulous choices is what led to Gandolfo's running out of food about 3/4 of the way through the night. You know its a sign of a good truck when they run out of food!

3 Men and a Taco was a late addition to the SmackDown lineup. They had a scaled down menu but had the most options of any of the trucks. Its possible that they had too many options, the lines were long as was the wait time for this truck but it was worth it when the food did finally arrive. I am glad 3 Men were able to attend the event, their food is always interesting and tasty.

The SmackDown was Jackalope Mobile Kitchen's debut to the Dallas truck scene. Their menu had several items that looked intriguing. I tried the "meetball slider" which was a different twist on one of my favorite sandwiches. I'm excited to try this truck's full menu and have more than a sampling of their items.

At the end of the night, after the votes were counted, Nammi was named both Best Food and Best Overall truck and Gennarino's took the title of Best Concept. I personally found it hard to vote, all the trucks were winners just for being there and donating their time and food to help those who need clean water.

Congrats to Ten for 10 for a very successful event and thanks to all the attendees who help raise money for those who need clean water!
TEMPLATE ERROR: Unknown runtime binding: else in widget