D.C.’s food trucks are my favorite aspect of the city’s dining scene. Finding an unexpected new truck in the lineup has become far more exciting to me than the opening of another farm-to-table restaurant, quasi-celebrity chef joint, or chicken-and-doughnuts shop (kidding–I am still REALLY thrilled by that trend). I spent years digging out from one lunch rut (Breadline) only to fall into another (Pret-a-Manger) and another (Potbelly). I’d find something I liked and make it a habit until I hated it. Slowly, cautiously, I started dabbling in food trucks, making them an occasional treat. I wasn’t immediately on the bandwagon. For every interesting panini, there seemed to be a handful of ho-hum kabobs. Trucks can be pricey, there are often frustrating lines, and there is a disappointing amount of inconsistency among the vendors. As the number, variety, and creativity of the trucks increased, I found myself hitting them up more and more. Now I check Food Truck Fiesta by 10 am most days and I grab lunch from a truck multiple times a week (note: Food Truck Fiesta is the very best way to get updates on where the trucks are parked). This city has an unexpected number of skilled, clever cooks running thoughtful, inventive, and delicious mobile businesses. To keep my waistline and bank account in check, I still fold in the old standby brick and mortar stores for balance, but my heart belongs to the trucks. I’ve been to more than 50 trucks (with so many more to try), and I figured it was time to share my favorites.
My wonderful sister, whose eye for a good recipe I trust completely, has two food related boards on pinterest: Food and Keeper Recipes. She also has a wonderful board titled Happy that has a picture of the world’s largest rubber ducky and one of my all time favorite Ron Swanson quotes. That has nothing to do with this recipe, but much to do with her general awesomeness. Anyway. I keep an eye out for her pins generally, but I seriously stalk her Keepers. It’s how I decided to try oven-fajitas, and has me thinking about jambalaya and Parmesan pork chops. Most recently, my sister’s clever pinning inspired me to make baked chicken and spinach flautas. And just as has been true so many times before in our shared life (other examples include buying the same skirt at Anthro and falling in love with new to me bands), following her example was a fabulous call.
I recently read Cormac McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses for the first time, and I love love loved it. The writing, the story, the way it made me want to run away to Mexico and work with horses all day…and especially the tortillas. According to Google Books (a source I at least mostly trust), there are 15 mentions of tortillas in All the Pretty Horses. According to me, I wanted tortillas pretty much constantly after I started reading. They just sounded so simple and good, whether the characters were eating them in the morning with eggs and beans before going out to break horses, or with “an anonymous stew” in prison (yes, Cormac McCarthy can make even prison food sound appealing). Descriptions of food in books have been making me hungry for years–the breakfasts Jeeves makes for Bertie when he’s hungover in PG Wodehouse’s stories, the elaborate teas Anne learns to make at Green Gables*, pretty much every food ever mentioned in A Year in Provence–but this was the first time I was actually inspired to recreate something at home. Tortilla descriptions plus Cinco de Mayo was too perfect a combination to resist.
If you’re anything like me, you might not even read this post. Salads are boring. I would rather read about homemade funnel cakes or head-to-head comparisons of D.C.’s doughnuts. Salads, on the other hand, are mainly leaves. I find most salads are barely interesting enough to eat, let alone read about, and certainly not to write about. There are exceptions, of course, like when I was really excited to tell you about Smitten Kitchen’s kale salad. In that case, I needed to tell the world that I had real, hard proof that kale is edible (a fact I’d previously disputed). I didn’t think I would ever be so inspired by another homemade salad, but here I am, staying up late just to tell you about a salad so delicious, so interesting, and so satisfying that it made Ed drop the f-bomb.