Best in Food 2012: Food Trucks

Fabulous steak frites, José Andrés–approved gazpacho, a standout chicken quesadilla, and many more reasons these new food trucks are worth lining up for.

Chef Driven

You don’t expect expertly cooked hanger steak and crisp fries
from a food truck, but chef Jerry Trice, formerly of Annapolis’s Yin
Yankee, peddles a changing lineup of dishes around DC, and the quality is
more sit-down restaurant than street vendor. Look for tacos enfolding
fried local oysters, true Maryland crabcakes, and Indonesian-style pork
ribs over slaw.

Pepe

Chef José Andrés brings Spanish-style baguette sandwiches to
DC, Maryland, and Virginia with his first food truck. We’re smitten by
smooth gazpacho enriched with Spanish olive oil as well as the simpler
fillings layered between warm, skinny slices of bread: Serrano ham and
Manchego, a trio of melted cheeses with a slathering of sweet quince
paste, and fried chicken with spicy tomato sauce and piparra
peppers.

La Tingeria

One of the top trucks in Virginia is driven by former Rustico
sous chef David Peña. Start the morning with tacos filled with eggs and
chorizo. Noontime stars include elote—corn on the cob rolled in
lime-spiked mayo—and juicy braised brisket atop a tostada. Even the
chicken quesadilla wows. The fried, mozzarella-stuffed masa cake layered
with moist chicken bears little resemblance to the grease-laden
versions.

Pino’s Auto Grill

Naples-born Pino Campagna—who changed careers after three
decades as a marble layer—dishes up Italian specialities from this
colorful Montgomery County truck. We tend to opt for a lighter lunch with
thin piadine, sandwiches stuffed with prosciutto and mozzarella
or grilled vegetables. Good heartier offerings include meat lasagna or
perfectly al dente pasta with meatballs.

DC Ballers

Don’t let the jokey name fool you: These orange trucks dish up
some of the best falafel in DC. Order the darkly fried rounds—plenty of
fresh parsley accounts for their vivid green hue when you bite into
them—stuffed inside a warm, fluffy pita dusted with za’atar or on a
platter with brightly flavored cucumber-tomato salad, tabbouleh, and
hummus. Feta-topped Greek fries make for an indulgent side
order.

Read more from our Best in Food 2012 package.

This article appears in the December 2012 issue of The Washingtonian.

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