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Truckin’ A! – Our Beloved Food Trucks – via GridTO

May 12, 2012

El Gastrónomo Vagabundo (@elgastronomo)

Serving since: July 2010.

Based in: St. Catharines.

Who: Adam Hynam-Smith, a Melbourne, Australia–trained chef, and Tamara Jensen, a former analyst on Parliament Hill.

Where to find the truck: Food Truck Eats events, and periodically parked outside U of T and Ryerson for weekday lunch.

What to get: There’s plenty on offer, but this truck is best known for the tacos that feature an atlas of flavours: Southwestern, Middle Eastern, South Asian, Australian. The most popular items include the stupendously spicy tempura-cod taco and a pork belly one with jalapeno aioli and pickled cabbage.

Price range: $5.50 to $10.

Pro tip: Follow their Twitter feed for riddles that lead to passwords that’ll land you an off-the-menu item like zucchini fritters with labna cheese. Golden tickets good for free food are also hidden randomly under serving plates at food-truck events.

Blue Donkey (@bluedonkeytruck)

Serving since: September 2011.

Based in: Mississauga.

Who: Long-time hot-dog vendor Tony Vastis and his brother-in-law, Greek-restaurant veteran Manny Tsouvallas.

Where to find the truck: At the Molson Amphitheatre during concerts; in Liberty Village and at Jarvis and Queen for weekday lunches.

What to get: Blue Donkey’s take on street food comes with a Greek spin, including a grilled-cheese pita with feta, poutine with gyros meat, and zucchini chips. The first items to fly out of the truck are the fried calamari and chips, feta fries, and, for dessert, fried pita bread with honey and cinnamon sugar. Pair your lunch with their most popular sauce: garlic-and-ouzo mayo.

Price range: $3 to $9.

Pro tip: If enough customers clamour for it, Vastis has been known to create off-the-menu items like lamb gyros, quail, lamb chops, and pastitsio, a Greek lagasna.

Gourmet Bitches (@gourmetb1tches)

Serving since: May 2012.

Based in: Toronto.

Who: Long-time friends Shontelle Pinch, who worked in the hospitality industry, and Bianka Matchette, a former medical esthetician.

Where to find the truck: Currently doing private events in Vaughan, with plans to spend evenings at 99 Markt at Queen and Sudbury soon.

What to get: The gluten-free smorgasboard includes the owners’ proudest creations: Balinese chicken on a corn tostada and the kale and arugula salad. There are also grilled Asian-Cuban wings, Korean yam fries topped with pulled pork, and a steak sandwich with a miso-tamarind-kiwi sauce.

Price range: $10 to $12.

Pro tip: Too hot for another taco? The truck will also start serving homemade juices in the summer.

Buster’s Sea Cove (@bustersseacove)

Serving since: April 2012.

Based in: Toronto.

Who: Co-owners Quenten Chan and Tom Antonarakis and chef David Hoang, whose bricks-and-mortar Buster’s Sea Cove is a St. Lawrence Market fixture.

Serving since: April 2012.

Where to find the truck: At a semi-permanent location at the corner of Queen and Jarvis during the weekday lunch rush (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.).
What to get: There are travel-friendly shrimp po’ boys, calamari sandwiches, and shrimp and fish tacos. After a successful (read: sold out by lunch) test run, the truck has added a mighty grilled lobster roll with a side of kettle chips.

Price range: $7 to $15.

Pro tip: It isn’t all deep-fried: You can grab a daily grilled-fish special, like tilapia, marlin, and swordfish.

Caplansky’s Thunderin’ Thelma (@Caplansky)

Serving since: August 2011.

Based in: Toronto.

Who: Zane Caplansky, deli master and owner of College Street’s Caplansky’s Delicatessen.

Where to find the truck: Weekdays at Queen and Dalhousie for lunch until the end of June, then it’s on to a new route. There’s a daily schedule for the Thunderin’ Thelma at—or listen for the truck’s bells that play “Hava Nagila.”

What to get: The signature, succulent smoked-meat sandwiches are the go-to items, but Caplansky’s 300- to- 500 maple-bacon donuts usually sell out first in just two hours. You can also find poutine, grilled cheese, and barbecued brisket sandwiches.

Price range: $3 to $7.

Pro tip: Caplansky gives out special passwords on his Twitter account for freebies like fries.

Click here for a complete panoramic view of our food-truck line-up


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