Somebody call Jimmy Buffett cuz we just discovered the true meaning of “cheeseburger in paradise“! Not only have we put together this super handy guide to some of the best food carts on the planet (trust us, we’ve done the leg work), but thanks to a little help from our friends at Curb, we’re also making it easier than ever to catch a ride to your next meal. If you’re a resident of L.A., Austin, Chicago, or Portland (or visiting one of these fair cities), we recommend downloading the Curb app ASAP. No more bad hold music, no more waiting an hour for a cab, no more scrounging around for exact change. With the tap of a button, Curb connects you to safe, reliable rides, allows you to track your driver’s arrival, and lets you pay your fare seamlessly. PRO TIP: download the Curb app using the code WILD15 and they’ll give you $15 toward your first ride. Seriously—free cash. Do it!
JOGASAKI SUSHI BURRITO
First up: Jogasaki Sushi Burrito! We’d like to shake the hand of whichever evil genius thought of combining two of the world’s finest fares into one almighty super-food sent here to render humans helpless in the wake of it’s unparalleled powers of deliciousness! As you can imagine, pretty much everything on this fusion menu is 2L2Q; but, if we had to recommend a starting place, Jogasaki 1A is a safe bet. Imagine a burrito-sized hand roll stuffed with crab, spicy tuna, avocado, cucumber, and BBQ eel, wrapped up in a soy paper “tortilla”. If you’re not already salivating, we can only surmise that you are, in fact, a robot. Note: this truck is on the move so check their schedule before you hop in your cab!
TACOS LA FONDA
If your idea of a tortilla is something that comes out of a plastic bag from your local grocer, stop what you’re doing immediately and Curb it over to the corner of Vanowen and Vineland in North Hollywood. Tacos La Fonda knows the traditional tortilla requires only 3 ingredients (masa harina, agua, y sal) hand patted into chewy, tender discs (made on site!). And like any good, authentic cocina Mexicana, the menu boasts more than just the carne asada and al pastor tacos most are familiar with—at about $1.50/taco, it’s worth braving selections like tripa (intestines), buche (stomach), cabeza (head meat), and lengua (tongue) at least once.
Want to grub on-the-go without sacrificing healthiness? Cruise on in to Culver City for some locally grown goodness. Fresh vegetables and healthy grains take center stage on the Green Truck menu, featuring a range of options from lighter fare like the Kale Yeah Bowl to more substantial offerings like the Chipotle Cheese Burger. Plus, Green Truck’s mission of “healing our planet, one meal at a time,” means more than simply serving up quality sustenance: their truck runs on the veggie oil, the kitchen is solar powered, and they’re not messing around when it comes to recycling and composting (right down to their potato starch utensils).
HEY! YOU GONNA EAT OR WHAT?
Who doesn’t love their meal with a side of snark? Prepare yourself for a double order of attitude and deliciousness at this popular Austin haunt, specializing in classic sandwiches made with a southwestern flair. Curb it over to their prime location on Restaurant Row (adjacent to Zilker Park) to try their Shiner Bock beer battered monte cristo (it is a truth universally acknowledged, that everything tastes better once battered by beer) served with homemade cherry and fig jelly, or have your mind blown by the Lonestar BLT featuring thick cut bacon and fried green tomatoes. Don’t mess with Texas, my friends! (Especially when it comes to sandwiches).
MICKLETHWAIT CRAFT MEATS
Speaking of the southwest, no trip to Austin would be complete without some Texas style BBQ. While everyone else is settling into their camp chairs for a long-a$$ wait at Franklin’s, catch a cab right to the heart of Austin for faves like smoky brisket and pork ribs, or—for the more adventurous—a pick from their rotating menu of homemade sausages (Jalapeno chedder! Lamb chorizo! Curry goat! Oh my!). And did we mention the fresh baked bread and moonpies!? Good-night, Irene!
HAND HELDS QUALITY SLIDERS
This truck is on the go daily, but as the winner of 2014’s Truck by Truckwest competition, it’s totally worth tracking them down before you schedule your Curb. Hand Helds takes the simple slider and flips it on it’s bite-sized head by adding fried mac-n-cheese, patties dusted with coffee grounds, battered soft shell crab, and the HOTTEST PEPPERS KNOWN TO MANKIND. Seriously. They’ll serve you grilled chicken sliders smothered in Carolina Reaper Peppers—right after you sign a liability waiver, that is. (Is it just us or does this legally binding contract really bring out the flavors?)
SOUPS IN THE LOOP
As delicious as it is fun to say, Soups in the Loop is pretty much the best thing to happen to the cold Chicago winters since the invention of touch-screen gloves. Grab a cab to this iconic downtown neighborhood and catch the truck on the move as you tour the Loop’s collection of world class public art. Expect their signature Chicken Wild Rice and Lobster Bisque, along with a lengthy list of rotating favorites ranging from the delectably meaty to the delightfully vegan. And, perhaps, most importantly, you can order a dessert aptly named the “Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookie”. I repeat—OREO STUFFED CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE. We’re gonna go ahead and let that one sink in…
CHUBBY WIENERS WIENER WAGON
Who can’t overlook a little tasteless word-play when the hot dogs are this damn good!? Serving up the much-loved Chicago-style dogs, the menu at Chubby Weiner’s will make you feel like you died and went to junk-food heaven. You can hot dog your heart out, of course, or even get a little burger crazy with the option of upgrading to the Double, the Hungry Man (3 patties), or even the Big Willy (4 freakin’ patties!!!). Balance that meal out with an order of deluxe bacon cheese fries and some fried pickles and you’re good to go. To track them down, follow @ChubbyWieners.
It’s about time someone started serving the meatloaf cupcakes we never knew we always wanted. Meatloaf-A-Go-Go has mastered the art of comfort food on-the-go. Craving a plate of spaghetti and meatballs but only have 30 minutes for lunch? No problem—Curb it over and grab a quick Loaf-a-Roma, an italian sausage “cupcake” topped with marinara pasta “frosting”. Feeling nostalgic for mom’s homemade meatloaf and mashed potatoes? You’re in luck! The Mother Loaf, adorned with “yukon smashers”, will give you some serious family dinner flashbacks.
NONG’S KHAO MAN GAI
“Chicken and rice—that’s all we do,” declares this much-loved PDX cart started by Nong, a Bangkok native who dreamed of recreating the street food of her childhood, right down to wrapping up each order in nothing more than butcher paper. Khao Man Gai is simply poached chicken on a bed of rice, topped with pungeon sauce and served with a light soup to bring out the flavors and cucumber slices to cleanse the palate between bites. Nong’s also get’s MAJOR bonus points for being so conveniently located—only a short walk to Fort Wildfang so you’ll obvs wanna hang out with us after lunch!
WOLF AND BEAR’S
After you’re done shopping your heart out, have a cab pick you up at Wildfang and shuttle you to North Portland’s laid back Mississippi Ave—you may recognize some of the sites (I mean, #EvanRachelWould!). Hang in the Wolf and Bear’s garden-vibe picnic area while you enjoy a pita wrap stuffed with everything from hummus, falafel, and olives, to caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, and grilled eggplant. We may argue that this is some of the best Middle Eastern food in the Rose City. #BOOM! Gauntlet thrown.
THE WHOLE BOWL
The secret’s most definitely in the sauce! The Whole Bowl is now serving up portions of brown rice topped with beans, fresh avocado, black olives, sour cream, cilantro, Tillamook cheddar, and their special lemony-garlic Tali sauce, at a whopping SIX carts across the city (we recommend Curb-ing it to their Pearl District cart for a little after lunch browsing at the famous Powell’s bookstore). They’ve been named “Best Lunch Cart in Portland” on more than one occasion, and even referred to as “the hot fudge sundae of lunch”. (We have no idea what that means but we’re too busy shoveling spoonfuls of Whole Bowl happiness into our mouths to care.)