Five Best Food Carts - 2010
Illustration by Fred Noland
A sort of harmonic convergence occurred when the rise of Twitter met the tanking economy. The result: Dozens of street food carts run by talented, underemployed chefs began moving their operations from place to place, dodging permit-happy city officials, keeping customers in the loop through Hemingway-esque updates. Here are a few of our favorite carts (with their Twitter handles to help you keep track of them).
Soul Cocina @soulcocina
Roger Feely's Soul Cocina defies categorization, cooking up Mexican food one day, Indian another. Whatever he's serving ? chicken adobo burritos, squash-blossom risotto, potato samosas with tamarind sauce ? it's generally outstanding.
Evil Jerk @eviljerkcart
Yes, Evil Jerk serves skewers of tender, smoky, peppery chicken, but don't miss out on the cart's other Jamaican specialties: crisply fried plantains; carrots, potatoes, and peppers stewed in a creamy coconut sauce; spicy black beans on a mound of rice. A deal at $8 a platter.
Kitchenette is the gourmet arm of the street food movement, offering little plates like pork belly with ruby potatoes and chicken gizzards, or hiramasa sashimi with blood orange, kumquat, and Dungeness crab. But Douglas Monsalud has also been known to cook up more prosaic fare, such as a Reuben with house-cured pastrami and house-pickled sauerkraut.
Wholesome Bakery @wholesomebakery
We tend to brace ourselves when we?re presented with foods that are yeast-free, soy-free, cholesterol-free, and 100 percent vegan, but Wholesome's treats need no bravery to ingest. The carrot-coconut cupcakes are light and moist, the tiny sweet-potato and apple pies are sweet and flaky, and the oatmeal cranberry cookies just might convert a cholesterol-loving omnivore.
Crème Brûlée Cart @cremebruleecart
Order a custard from Curtis, the Crème Brûlée Guy, and he'll pull a ramekin from his cart, sprinkle it with sugar, and broil the top with a butane torch. Under a crisp sugar chapeau, his lavender custard is bright and floral, his Bailey's is luscious and boozy, and his lemon with blueberry sauce is a summertime delight.