Keep On Truckin'
Tracking the growing food truck trend in Stamford
Photographs: Andrew Sullivan
The food truck trend has arrived in Stamford, with some already hitting the streets. How do you find your favorite one when they’re always on the move? Follow them—not their taillights, their tweets. We did; tracked four of them down and grabbed a bite. The tastings definitely gave new definition to meals on wheels. Are you craving now? At lunchtime, you may find them on Bell Street, or at Veterans Park. You’ll definitely see a few at the Beer Garden @ Harbor Point after work and on weekends. Whatever you order, you won’t go wrong, but here are some of our faves.
Hot Off the Grille
Three words: Sausage & Peppers. Don’t get us wrong; any sandwich from Hot Off the Grill will only leave you craving for more, but if you must only pick one, ask owner Patrick English for the ever popular and perfectly decadent S&P Grinder, filled with all kinds of goodies, including Stamford-made De Yulio’s sausage. Free fixins’ too. And tell him we sent you, since we promised we’d spread the word.
Sure, Melt Mobile goes “Insanewich” with a burger between two grilled cheeses, but we’ll say cheese to the Original Melt, a three-cheese blend of oozing cheddar, Gruyère and Monterey Jack between buttery, toasty country white bread. Yum! (203) 609-1422; meltmobilect.com
Maddy’s Food Truck
Maddy’s Food Truck is the newest on the scene, serving up Haitian and American food. Most popular is griots and plantains. That’s chunks of crispy, tender pork (simmered in spices, then deep fried), with spicy pickled cabbage salad and fried tostones. The beef version is called tassot. Hard choice indeed. (203) 550-2464; maddysfoodtruck.com
Cult favorite and food-truck pioneer El Charrito parks on Richmond Hill Avenue every day and its signature dish is huaraches—ovals of crisp, fried masa (shaped like a sandal) topped with beans, cheese, salsa and meat of your choice. We’ll also take the pork al pastor, barbecued with pineapple. (203) 990-0200; elcharritollc.com
A True Eye-Opener
World travelers feel at home at Café Oo La La, located at the Ridgeway. Yet the two-year-old modern European-style café’s bestselling breakfast item is decidedly American. Their Crunchy French Toast starts with a slice of brioche-hallah bread (a richer, buttery version of the light, egg-based yeast bread). It’s dipped into a cinnamon-nutmeg egg-wash. And then—surprise!—they pat cornflakes on each side and brown it on the griddle. The dish, served with real maple syrup, includes fresh strawberries, blueberries and bananas, and a side of French ham, apple-wood smoked bacon, or chicken apple sausage. Ooh La La. 2325 Summer Street, (203) 353-3300; cafeoolala.com
Summer is the time for ice cream. But if you’re tired of the same old flavors, head to TropiGlace in Cove, where South American styles are the specialty. The recipes come from a fifty-year-old family ice cream business in Ecuador (named, appropriately enough, American Ice Cream). Located behind Cove Pizza, the two-year-old takeout shop flavors its homemade ice cream with fresh fruit. You’ll see passion fruit, mango and coconut, of course, but also fruits unknown outside South and Central America, like the coffee-like lucuma, the pineapple-and-lemony lulo, and the creamy-yet-citrusy guanabana (my editor’s favorite). Sure, TropiGlace also makes vanilla and chocolate (imported from Ecuador), but we’ll only try the vanilla if we can have a scoop of tamarind too. 864 Cove Road, (203) 570-5670
The Daily Grind
Don’t be surprised if one of the Fairway coffee department clerks tells you that the popular Colombia Suprema, roasted medium, has a dry fruit flavor, some floral aromas, a hint of chocolate and pleasant, but not overwhelming acidity. Coffee is the new wine, and the beans reflect terroir. Fairway roasts beans from South and Central America, Africa and Indonesia at different temperatures and times to bring out the complexity of the over 1,300 chemical components in each bean. And they do it on the premises. I’ll take a grande.
699 Canal Street, (203) 388-9815, fairwaymarket.com
This just in: We recently heard Abigail Kirsch will be the exclusive in-house caterer at the Loading Dock, starting in January. Mimi Sternlicht, owner and operator of the special events space in the South End, says the partnership will enhance the location’s “boutique feeling” and quality. “They know their procedures and can turn on a dime, create inventive and intriguing menus and offer our customers a personalized experience,” says Sternlicht. The Loading Dock, with its recently added Studio Space, offers clients the flexibility to host a grand ballroom gala that can seat up to 500 for dinner, or a small elegant birthday party, says Jim Kirsch. “We’re very excited,” he adds. “The Loading Dock provides a blank canvas on which people can create something uniquely their own. It’s modern and industrial and chic. People are more attuned to food these days so we’re challenged every day to do something creative, fresh and cool, and this is the place where we can do that.” 375 Fairfield Avenue, (203) 357-7400; loadingdockevents.com