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Monday, August 20, 2012

DC Food Trucks - A Ménage à Trois

August 17th was a special day. My husband Alvaro and I celebrated our 14th anniversary foodie-style. We'd planned on hitting up the DC wharf to buy a dozen or so fresh Virginia oysters and a fish or two for a special at-home dinner.

And we did - but as we were driving out of the wharf we stumbled across the most beautiful vision I'd ever seen. On 7th and Maryland, stacked one on top of the other - were DC's famous food trucks.

We'd hit the luncheon-load.

"Oh honey, pleeeeaaase!" I didn't have to ask. Reason 325 why we've been married so long.

We managed to find a parking spot on Maryland and ponied up our entire quarter collection to the meter. We had one hour and a lot of eating to accomplish.

The lines were telling - some trucks were as vacant as a ghost-town motel, while others had people standing in Black Friday-esque lines waiting to chow down. If I'd had my way, we would have sampled food from every single truck, yes, all twelve of them. But alas, marriage has taught me the fine art of compromise and so my husband and I agreed on a threesome. Three trucks, any style.

I was salivating.

Our first truck had a healthy crowd forming at its window. Takorean - a Mexican-Korean fusion truck peaked our interest right away. My husband, a native Mexicano, loves a good corn-tortilla and I'm all about food-love-children born of two cultures.

We picked chicken, but we could have picked bulgogi. The counter-guy asked me what slaw I wanted, and I asked him which he preferred.

"Kim-chi, totally," he said.

One taco was $3.50, but we could have done three for $9. In about two minutes, we had a steamy-hot fully loaded taco in our hands.

The corn tortillas were grilled and doubled-up, just like a real Mexican taco should be. The chicken was smoky, spicy and sweet - a perfect balance between Asian and south of the border flavors. But it was the kim-chi slaw that took the taco from a good eat to something to sing about.

Our eyes locked after sharing that taco. It reminded me of our first kiss sixteen years ago, a brush of young lips and nervous hands. Me and him and food. We were in our element.

We fingered the cardboard tray for the last bits of flavor before heading down a few feet to a familiar food truck - Fojol Bros. of Volathai. My husband had meant to take me to their counter last March for my birthday, only to find they were closed that Sunday.

You can hear the groovy beats pouring from this free-love food truck from pretty far. There was a hippy-drum-loving-weave-your-own-clothing-peace-man kind of vibe radiating from the eclectic food-mobile, which I loved.

The menu was simple, four main items, all Thai-inspired. We ordered "Dinglebowls" which were a steal for only $2 a serving. My husband got chicken pad Thai and I ordered the green green curry.

A man in line ahead of us ordered a creamy tea-drink and I asked him what it was. He smiled and told me to order the Ginger Lossipop, and I did, thinking it was what he was having. Instead - it was a milky-gingery popsicle that didn't quite make the cut flavor-wise. But the food - now that was another story.

The green green curry featured roasted, halved brussell sprouts, Chinese snow peas, corn, mung bean sprouts and a delicious green curry sauce over a scoop of perfectly steamed jasmine rice. The vegetables were tender but still crisp, and although they seemed lightly dressed, they packed a wallop of flavor in every single dingle.

The pad Thai was another shocker. It was much paler than I'm used to seeing this favorite street-side Thai dish, and I thought that meant the flavors would be fairer as well, but thankfully, I was wrong. The noodles were luscious and warm, oozing with the bold umami-goodness only someone with sincere talent can produce.

Once again we found ourselves stroking the empty container to spread every last burst of taste onto our tongues.

And then we were starting to get full. So far we'd only spent $7.50 and had experienced food from three countries. I gave my husband a come-hither smile, whispered hot-sauced words in his ear, and promised him bedroom paybacks for one more hit. I was aiming for multiple foodgasms that day, and thank heavens, my husband had every intention of satisfying me.

Our final seduction came by way of brisket. My husband had bachelor-stories of days gone by where brisket fell apart on his plate and tantalized his tongue. I'd tried once to cook brisket in our oven, sometime after the seven year mark, and had failed. It was a traumatizing experience for both of us, and I'd spent many nights wondering if I was the woman who could please my tough-cut slow cooked loving man.

"Honey, I know you've talked about this for years. I think I'm ready to give it a try. But only this once, and only for you," I said. I was nervous; afraid the build-up of promised brisket would be more than the actual performance could deliver.

We held hands as we stood in line at the BBQ Bus. We eyed the brisket sandwich that came with a side, but settled on another threesome, a chicken/pulled pork/brisket combo platter that promised a good time for all.

A patron in line ahead of us told the man in the window he couldn't believe BBQ so tasty came from a food truck. The owner was buttoning his red chef's coat and smiled, telling the man "We try to do our best here."

We only waited five minutes for our order - and marveled at the spread load in front of us.

The three-meat trio lounged together like a harem of beauties, wearing nothing but wood perfume and BBQ lace - waiting to be taken. The sides, smoky baked beans, a crisp, light slaw and a moist, tender cornbread muffin were merely voyeurs to our love feast.

That plastic container was licked clean in less than five minutes.

We were a little embarrassed; our enthusiasm had caused us to peak too soon, we'd climaxed on good food without regard to the art of slowing down and taking it all in.

A little ashamed, we cleaned ourselves and walked away as if it had never happened. We wondered if others had seen our dirty-doings; had known we'd indulged beyond what is appropriate.

But as we walked towards our car, with fifteen minutes left on the meter, I felt the familiar grasp of my husband's course, calloused hands and knew it had been just as good for him as it had been for me.

Our threesome was over. We came to the streets of DC food-truck virgins, and left with a deeper knowledge of ourselves and what we loved most; finding and making food love together. For ever and ever.

Happy Anniversary sweetie. I hope you're ready for dessert.


Stacey said...

Best post ever! This was seriously do romantic and sexy that I found myself giggling like a pre-pubescent school girl!! You have such talent!!!

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