Last Sunday, we attended our first Taco Libre Truck Showdown. This event marks the 4th annual competition organized by the Mobile Food Truck Rodeo. This year’s lineup included over 40 food trucks offering a special taco, along with their regular menu items. Attendees can vote for their favorite tacos and the winning food truck gets bragging rights for the rest of the year. This year’s winner was Seoul Kitchen’s Korean Pork Tamale. Not a taco, but it’s what the attendees voted for. Go figure, our first taco competition is won by a tamale. None of those tacos stood a chance! We didn’t have the pleasure of trying the top-notch tamale, but we’ll be sure to visit the Seoul Kitchen’s truck in the coming weeks.
With so many food trucks on hand, we had to be strategic about our eating plan. Our approach is focused on variety rather than quantity. We get full very quickly, so food events can be challenging and quite heartbreaking (queue the world’s smallest violin). We started out with the Nosh food truck. We just discovered them this year, which is a good thing. They serve quite possibly the best fish and chips we’ve eaten. Their fillets are line caught, sustainably fished cod, served with crispy thick-cut fries and a tiny scoop of mint mushy peas. The batter was light, crispy and savory, protecting the flaky tender fish. The oil from the batter made the fries soggy, so we couldn’t appreciate the full potential of this chip. We were partly to blame for this because we waited to eat until we got to the beer garden. The mint mushy peas tasted something like a refreshing pea salad. I could honestly do without the chips and just take a large side of the peas. After walking “all the way” to the beer garden (about 100 feet), we were met with a shortage of table seating. With food and beers in hand, we weren’t able to film and eat at the same time. This just means we will need to track down Nosh again and shoot some footage of their delicious offerings.
Side-rant: it would have been nice to find more tables at the beer garden, even just tall cocktail tables. There were only about a dozen tables, with room for at least twenty more. With Chris’s paralysis, accessibility is important to us. And who likes standing around in a parking lot?
Our next stop was Bean Fish. Their little fish-shaped “mmmBacon” pancakes were too cute to pass up! The bacon, cheddar cheese and green onion filling made for a mouth-watering treat. The pancake was light and fluffy with just the right amount of sweetness. You really can’t go wrong with bacon and cheese, but what makes this pancake stand out is the freshness. Bean Fish also features the K-pop, a kalbi beef version with pepper jack cheese and kimchi -- we’ll be getting one next time! The cakes are made to order, so they have a home-made comfy goodness. Our favorite of the day, and we can’t stop thinking about them.
As this is a taco competition, we got a couple of Kathi tacos from Roll OK please. The Kathi tacos is a play on their Kathi rolls found on the regular menu. A Kathi roll is a flatbread made with a wheat called roti. It can be filled with eggs, meats, and sauces. One of the owners of this food truck is a former Microsoft employee. We were not sure what to expect, as we’ve never had a Kathi roll before. It was filled with a beaten egg, chicken tikka masala, and a yogurt sauce, and topped with cucumbers and a mint chutney. It was a flavor explosion: tangy, savory and spicy all at the same time. As you will see in the video, I was deceived by the first couple bites, before the delayed spiciness hit me. Beyond the heat, the Kathi taco delivered plenty of flavor and originality.
Last stop was Gai box, owned by Bon Appetite’s management company. Lured by the cute open-top food truck, we grabbed one of each taco offering. They featured a nam prik taco, made with ground pork in a tomato-based sauce and topped with chopped cucumbers and cilantro. The other taco features shredded chicken topped with the same veggie accoutrements. The nam prik, a play on a Thai hot sauce, tasted like a tangy marinara sauce and was a bit too sour. Not our favorite. The shredded chicken was better, tender and smoky. Both tacos were served on a crispy, tasty flat shell.
After visiting four food trucks, we were overdue for another visit to the beer garden. It was around 2PM by this time, so the beer corral was packed. We decided to head up the street to the trusty Red Door for a couple of beers at an actual table. I had the most delicious dark beer called Warsteiner Dunkel. Surprisingly a lager, but dark as a Guinness stout. Chris enjoyed a local Hefeweizen from a Seattle brewer, Seapine, located in the SoDo district.
We thought about heading back to the event for another spin, but just couldn’t stomach it. Get it, stomach it? The next Mobile food truck event will take place in South Lake Union on May 28th, as part of the monthly food truck rodeo. Get there early to beat the crowds!