It wasn’t very long ago that the only edibles coming from a careening truck were Good Humor bars and comet-shaped Popsicles. Food trucks make adults just as happy as those kids slurping their summer treats, except we’re wolfing down Banh Mi sandwiches and barbecue. Some trucks are “meh” and others really hit the spot every time. Get in line at one of these trucks and your endorphins will thank you. Check the individual truck’s Twitter feed to see today’s locations for your craving. Many will deliver to your office (you might have run downstairs to meet the truck) and/or offer catering, too.
Beavers Coffee + Donuts
The coffee’s a strong Cuban blend, the donuts are still nice and warm when served and the price is right. Get your discs of dough with old school shakes of cinnamon, powdered or chocolate powdered sugar or get all fancy with gourmet toppings like strawberry sauce and Nutella, S’mores style or a Reese’s dream of chocolate sauce and peanut butter sauce. A half-dozen go for $4-$5; a dozen from $6-8. Order The Busy Beaver, three mini donuts and coffee, for an easy $4. The truck is usually sucked dry of joe with a few crumbs left by lunch time, so get there early. There’s hot cocoa and cider in fall, iced coffee and milkshakes in summer and water, milk, juice and soda year round.
Tamales have a few things going against them – they’re labor intensive to make (why do you think an entire platoon of Mexican abuelitas get together over the holidays to crank them out) and they can be fairly unhealthy. Let ChiTownTamales park it so you can sample these tasty torpedos made fresh daily with 100 percent all-natural ingredients including masa made with olive oil and just a smattering of lard making them virtually grease-free. Order puerco de cacao or pollo capone. Heck, at $3 each, try them both. Beverages are only a buck and include Mexican Coke, Sangria grape soda (non alcoholic), Jarritos Mandarin and Goose Island Spicy Ginger Ale, among others.
Related: Soup’s On! Best Soup In Chicago
Bridgeport Pasty’s catchphrase is “Big food…small footprint,” which perfectly describes the teeny GEM electric vehicle putt-putting around town offering pasties filled with chicken, beef and spinach. These pasties (short “a”) are like a portable pot pie of steamy yumminess and very authentic. Try a Yooper (slang for a person from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where pasties reign). This classic crescent is packed with ground beef marinated in dark beer, onion, potato and rutabaga. Other choices include a hearty steak and stilton (large chunks of tender steak with bleu and Swiss cheeses), a light ginger chicken, traditional chic-pot-pie, a veggie number and an oinkle full of pork and apples.
Porkchop, a late-night BBQ and whiskey bar destination in the West Loop, has just debuted its new food truck offering some of the same items that have delighted diners at lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch. You can’t get the hooch from the truck, but you can get the down-home country flavors of a pulled chicken or pork sandwich, tender brisket and mac ‘n’ cheese. In the coming weeks, expect the menu to expand to all types of waffles (like The Fat Elvis – “a bacon-studded Belgian waffle served with sliced bananas and peanut butter maple syrup”) as well as pulled pork and chicken tacos. Items will put you back between $5-$8.
If the stats at the decades-long Taste of Chicago are any indicator, corn on the cob and pizza vendors win the numbers game practically every year even though they’re probably two of the most difficult items to dig into outdoors while walking without floss. Chicagoans worship at the altar of pizza so it’s smart of Giordano’s to put the cash and flash into a food truck that hits the streets beginning Memorial Day weekend. The state-of-the-art conventional ovens in the truck will turn out individual-sized cheese, pepperoni, sausage and spinach pizzas and salad and soft drinks will round out the mobile menu. The truck will have a longer day than most others, lasting from lunch time until 8 p.m.
Jacky Runice has been a columnist with the Daily Herald Chicago since grunge music and flannel was the new black. Her fingers and gray matter have been busy as travel editor of Reunions Magazine; penning a column that was syndicated around the nation via Tribune Media Services. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.