So apparently there’s this lunch truck craze. Catering trucks providing a variety of specialty lunch menus are parking at various locations around the city and tweeting their whereabouts to faithful followers. Retweets, emails, and Facebook updates spread like wildfire, and suddenly half the city is on the hunt for their favorite lunch truck. This is so far outside my realm of reality, but it sounds like great fun! The only trucks that pull up to my elementary school are the milk truck and occasionally the Story Bus.
Lunch trucks are nothing new to me. Growing up in Southern California everyone knew that the best carne asada tacos could be found at any “roach coach” if you were daring enough to look past the flies.
I got a little taste of the lunch truck craze when I joined the Nashville Food Bloggers on a trip to Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese. On our way back we stopped at the Green Wagon where I enjoyed a gluten-free cupcake at the grand opening of Aunt April’s Bakery, and guess what was parked outside.
Yes, The Grilled Cheeserie. There was a line 20 people long to get a grilled cheese sandwich at 3:00 in the afternoon! I decided that I had to see what the big deal was and got in line, because if you’ll note the astericks at the bottom of the menu, you’ll see something that made my heart do a little flippity dance.
Woo hoo! A gourmet grilled cheese sandwich on gluten-free bread! How could I pass that up? Sadly, my wait in line came to an abrupt end as The Grilled Cheeserie had to pack up and head off to restock. Apparently East Nashville had cleaned them out.
I told you about our incredible time at Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese. Kenny’s cheeses alone would have made the trip worthwhile. But two individuals put this trip over the top for me. Carlos and B.J., the owners of Riffs Truck, a lunch truck that will soon be hitting the streets of Nashville, made our trip unforgettable. Before I tell you about their truck, let me whet your appetite a little bit.
Lunch started off with Panzanella Salad with Cornbread Croutons, Watercress, and Bacon Vinaigrette, featuring Kenny’s famous Blue Gouda cheese. B.J. and Carlos made me a salad without the gluten-containing croutons, and it was incredible. I was very impressed with their ability to easily modify their creations to make them gluten-free as well as their desire to learn about how to make Riffs Truck a safe place for Celiacs to eat.
Next, they wowed us with Pork Croustade with Pear Chutney featuring Kenny’s Farmhouse Awe Brie and Salted Cod Cakes with White Cheddar Grits and Habanero Aioli. Looks delicious, doesn’t it? But this plate obviously isn’t gluten-free. Not to worry, B.J. and Carlos made a special plate just for me, so I could enjoy the amazing flavors of their creative menu that featured Kenny’s cheeses.
(Shhhh, but I think mine was better than the original!)
Lastly, the food bloggers enjoyed a unique Savory “Bread” Pudding with Tomato Jam featuring Kenny’s Havarti Cranberry.
This is the only course that I wasn’t able to sample. One of Carlos’ goals is to create his own gluten-free bread mix so that he can make his recipes that feature bread available to all. Much of Riffs menu will be naturally gluten-free, because it’s just wholesome, good food. B.J. said, “My hope is to not only have gluten-free options of our menu items, but to have them be amazing. Carlos and I are not comfortable giving a lesser degree to something just to make it gluten-free. It needs to carry…” Amen!
Everything that I sampled carried, that’s for sure.
After this visual feast, you can see that Riffs isn’t going to be your typical Roach Coach or carnival food truck. They’ll be serving Nashville with fine street food using fresh, seasonal, and local ingredients. So what’s on the menu? Korean BBQ tacos on gluten-free corn tortillas? Jerk Chicken with Carlos’ personal jerk seasoning? With a chef from Barbados and a foodie from Detroit, you know that no matter what they’re serving, the unique flavors will be bold, creative, and amazing.
So when can you expect to see Riffs Truck parked in Nashville? Oh, you don’t have to wait long! Riffs Truck will be making its debut at Musician’s Corner in Centennial Park at 3:00pm on May 7th. That same day from 11:00am-5:00pm you can get a taste of their Caribbean menu at the Richland Avenue Home and Garden Tour. You can also look for Riffs Truck at the Woodbine Farmer’s Market every Saturday starting on May 14th.
And for my gluten-intolerant readers, I’ll give you more details about their specific plans for Riffs gluten-free options, because there are incredible plans in the works!
Celiacs, please let me know your thoughts on the following:
- Would you ever order lunch from a food truck?
- What are your fears?
- What precautions would make you feel more comfortable?
- What tips could you give food truck owners to avoid cross-contamination?