Exploring the Charlotte Food Truck Scene

Exploring the Charlotte Food Truck Scene

Food trucks are the “it” thing in the world of foodies, and everybody seems to be doing it—myself included. So what’s the hype about? For a bustling bee like myself, who works 9-5 days uptown but not quite walking distance to anything, food trucks provide a great alternative to bringing lunch or eating out. Rather than spending an hour or longer and a chunk of change for a decent meal, food trucks deliver high quality cuisine for a fraction of the price and are [ideally] quick. On any given day I can find multiple food trucks within a few miles of my office and can hurry back to my desk, meal in hand. Plus, many food trucks I’ve come across embrace farm to table and use local ingredients that are in season.

I haven’t nearly conquered the full roster of thirty-plus trucks (and new ones popping up every week), but I sure have sampled my fair share of mobile cuisine around the Queen City.

Here’s the round-up of my recent experiences:

Bleu Barn BistroIMG_4895

They describe themselves as farm to table, serving only seasonal ingredients that are sourced locally. After fighting the temptation of pork belly tacos, chicken and waffles, and grass fed farmhouse burger, I ultimately decided on the fire roasted veggie wrap. The wrap was a delicious mélange of zucchini, squash, sweet potato, carrots, turnips, and arugula, all tossed in a creamy lemon pesto, and served in a spinach wrap. As far as rabbit food goes, a little heavy on the lemon pesto, but overall delicious!
Bleu Barn Bistro

I caught Bleu Bran outside Atherton Market for a Thursday lunch, but they can also be found at Unknown Brewery for happy hour some weekdays, at Food Truck Friday, and catering local events. Welcome to the roster, Bleu Barn!

The Herban Legend

The Herban Legend

I don’t throw around words like “the best” or “my favorite” loosely, so I when I do, you can be sure I mean it. The black bean burger from The Herband Legend may be my favorite vegetarian burger I have ever had. Too often black bean burgers become a slop of mashed beans on bread with no patty shape or texture. This burger had a texture so similar to beef and such great flavor, I thought I have received the wrong order. The toppings were a perfect combination of Pepper Jack cheese, salsa, arugula and chipotle aioli. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. The best part? Only set me back $6.50.

The Herban Legend

Aside from the veggie burger from heaven, The Herban Legend offers a lineup of international and American-inspired fare, which can be attributed to Chef Brian Seeley’s 7 month stint in Qatar. During this time, Brian was exposed to Sri Lankan, Filipino, Lebanese, and Egyptian cultures and cuisines, which inspired The Herban Legend’s eclectic menu. You’ll find options such as Jamaican Jerk Chicken, Shawarma, and Filipino Pork belly, just to name a few. Bravo, Chef Brian!

TK Kitchen

TK Kitchen

So TK Kitchen is the highest rated food truck on Yelp, and I had heard great reviews for months before trying. Unfortunately, my experience just didn’t live up to the hype. Not that it was bad, just not amazing. I am not a huge taco fan, so take my criticisms with a grain of salt, but TK Kitchen just wasn’t my cup of tea. To each his or her own, right?

TK Kitchen

Here’s the break down:

Chana Masala Taco (Stewed Chick Peas in a Coconut Curry Sauce over Date and Apricot Cous Cous, topped with Goat Cheese & Scallions) – A little sweeter and not as spicy as your typical Indian chana masala as its stewed in a coconut curry sauce.  Caught myself looking for a little more of the traditional dry, spicy taste, which I’m used to. The flavor and consistency of the date and apricot cous cous seemed to dominate the taco, but all-in-all, I was impressed with how well all the flavors sung the same tune.

Chicken Tinga Taco (Chipotle Braised Chicken with Tomatoes, & Charred Onions, topped with Salsa Verde, Queso Fresco Crumbles, & Scallions) – This was probably the most traditional of the three and my favorite. I was a little disappointed with the texture of the chicken, a little on the dry side but it did have great flavor. The salsa verde was a great compliment for the dry chicken! Charred onions were a great touch.

BBQ Beef Brisket Taco (Slow Braised Beef Brisket with House-made Chipotle Barbeque Sauce, Chipotle Slaw, & Shaved Scallions) – So where I thought the Chicken Taco was a little dry, this taco had way too much moisture. The brisket was dripping barbecue than smothered in chipotle slaw. The taco was soggy before I got around to finishing it. Chipotle overload for me and no other flavor except the scallions to even it out…Meh.

TK Kitchen Menu

Like I mentioned, this place has great ratings and just opened a brick and mortar in Uptown, so they must be doing something right. I will definitely be trying something other than the tacos next time around (perhaps the chipotle chicken quesedilla?) and I am genuinely looking forward to it!

 

Master Bacon

Master Bacon

Another newbie to the Charlotte food truck scene, and similar to Bleu Barn Bistro, they seemed to be still figuring things out. Service was a tad slow, but extremely friendly, and it seemed like they weren’t expecting such a large crowd.

The concept is simple, a food truck entirely dedicated to God’s gift to mankind—bacon. If you read my recap of drumstrong, than you may already be familiar with this place. Aside from the classics such as the bacon burger and pork rinds they also have a few more inventive items such as a bacon-wrapped hotdog and chicken bacon brochettes.

I ordered the Piggy Panini, which came with ham, bacon, smoked Gouda, lettuce and tomato. All the ingredients were plentiful and seemed to be very fresh. Too often I feel Panini’s aren’t toasted quite enough, but the cheese was perfectly melted, and a great compliment to the thick smoky ham and crispy bacon. I paired it with a Starr Hill Grateful IPA and some live music and was a happy camper, indeed.

Master BaconI read later that drumstrong had been the most successful day in Master Bacon’s history. I hope this has since been beaten and I can’t wait to get my Master Bacon fix in the near future!

 

Be sure to check back later for my next batch of food truck reviews and follow my adventures via Twitter and Instagram.

What food trucks from this list have you tried? Which would you recommend I try and include next time? Let us know in the comments below!

Lea
By Lea
Food-loving wanderlust connecting the dots between craft beer, live music, and the Charlotte (and neighboring cities’) restaurant scene. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram for more tasty bites.

5 Comments

  1. Wow, food truck grub is looking better and better.

  2. Thank you! Awesome reviews. Always nice to see a honest review that doesn’t rave about how everything is delicious. That being said….not a huge fan of food trucks at all. Maybe haven’t hit the right ones but as foodie you will find me at Lumiere, Terra, Gastrolounge, Good Food, JJ’s, etc. Maybe I’m too snobbish but I’ve never had quality, taste, cleanliness from a rolling food truck! Everything always seems to be fried or cooked in advance elsewhere.

    • Lea

      Roger, I agree, I am definitely skeptical when it comes to food trucks, but have been pleasantly surprised by many of them (I also tend to stray away from fried food in general). If only we all had the time and money for Lumiere, Terra, and Good Food multiple times a week :).

      The two I have yet to visit, and hear are the best, are Papi Queso and Roaming Fork. Give ’em a try!

  3. The Roaming Fork definitely. Even if they do sell out of the Korean bar b que every time before I get there. Everything they do us exceptional.

  4. I second Jeff’s comment. I’m a Roaming Fork regular and their Korean BBQ is my fav.

    I’m ready for them to get back from vacation! Feed me!

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