Food trucks and trailers across the United States are becoming more and more involved in the farm to plate movement. It’s hard to believe that artisan, gourmet food is being produced in such a small kitchen. But part of the allure of using products from local farmers is that chefs (and diners) are guaranteed a menu change on a weekly basis, dependent on what is seasonally available — just another element of the food trailer world that encourages curious foodies to explore beyond the beaten path in search of the Next Great Chef.
In Austin, we are familiar with the story of the beloved Odd Duck Farm to Trailer helmed by award winning chef Bryce Gilmore, who went on to open the successful brick and mortar restaurant, Barley Swine. Here are a couple new food trucks that promise farm fresh cuisine with an artisanal quality produced by some of the coolest chefs I’ve ever met.
La Boite is an Austin food trailer that bases their euro-bistro menu on what is available at farmers market each week. A little different than the usual airstream food trailer, La Boite has two locations in industrial boxes that open into a street side café. In addition to incredible sandwiches, La Boite serves specialty coffee and amazing macarons. This week's specials, for example, include a pistachio and chocolate ganache, hazelnut, and fleur de sel caramel macarons.
Chef and owner Rick Gencarelli cooked for over 15 years in high-end restaurants before opening his own food cart Lardo, in Portland, Oregon. Lardo is best known for its locally sourced porchetta sandwich, which is garnished with a caper aioli and gremolata. For the novice foodie, a porchetta is an Italian culinary tradition that uses the whole hog by layering stuffing, meat, fat and skin and then roasting. It's a labor of love that takes an entire day to create. Aioli is a mayonnaise-like sauce that has multiple variations, and a gremolata refers to chopped herbs.
You can see from just this one menu item the amount of effort it takes for one man to purchase, cook, clean and serve this gourmet dish out of a food cart. Chef Rick is passionate about supporting area producers and bases his menu on what is readily and seasonally available.
The Seedling Truck was born out of Royal Fig Catering, locally owned and operated by husband wife team Kristen and Dan Stacy. After working with Top Chef winner Harold Dieterle in New York City, Dan began to develop his own rustic comfort food menu and brought it to Austin a few years ago.
“Our whole mission is sustainability with an emphasis on doing things as locally as possible,” Kristen explains. With relationships from over 20 farms, the couple uses Farm to Table to source their food — an Austin-based company that gathers items from local farms and delivers to restaurants. Seedling's bestseller (and most tweeted photo) is the polenta cake, which comes with a poached egg and kale pesto for only $5.
So the next time you think of food trailers, consider that they are not just a bunch of taco experts slinging hot sauce. There are some incredibly talented chefs, supporting local producers, creating highly memorable dishes that would love your business.
Stay tuned to all things trailer food at: www.trailerfooddiaries.com or on twitter: @trailerfood