Friday, October 17, 2008

Mission Street Food.

I have a set of storyboards that I had wanted to get out in an hour and a half, but I literally have no ideas for them, so I've decided to procrastinate by making all of you jealous of the incredible food I got to eat last night.

Have you heard of the new Mission Street Food truck? It's honestly a really brilliant concept. The chef from Bar Tartine, a restaurant I simply cannot afford to eat at, has rented an already-established food truck. On Thursday nights, he parks it at 21st & Mission and makes three sandwiches, as well as an Asian Pear Slaw and brownies. This was the third week. It's been a wildly popular concept, and it doesn't take a genius to figure out why. $5 sandwiches! GOOD sandwiches! $3 brownies!

I'm a food nerd, so the concept is honestly amazing to me. We're taking very good food and making it accessible to a lot of people. It's incredibly experimental - we all know the stigma some people see behind food that comes from a truck - but it's backed by a solid name. This is good food that you can get in a paper tub on the street.

Chef Anthony has a blog, so we can all keep up on what's going on in his world. I convinced The Roommate to walk down with me (two blocks from the apartment!) and grab dinner with me last night. 

Let's face it: the wait is astronomical. I waited an hour for a sandwich. The signs claim they're open from 8p-2a, but I have a really difficult time imagining that to be true. We got down there around 9:20, and the whole experience probably took us about an hour. We waited in line for about 45 minutes, then waited about 15 after placing the order to get our food. The thing is, we knew that was going to happen. For whatever reason, no one seems to really care. Sip a soda, watch the crowd, smell the pork cooking - we all know the experience that we're participating in. They aren't advertising, so we all only know about it because we're blog-reading nerds. We read that there were 45 minute waits, so what did we do? Flooded them with orders and made it last even longer. 

The food is incredible. "Sandwich" is a sort of tricky term. I consider it a sandwich as much as I consider a taco to be a sandwich - because, well, I ate it like a taco. It's one piece of flatbread topped with delicious, delicious toppings. Both The Roommate and I had the cleverly-named PB&J - pork belly and jicama. The pork just melts in your mouth, the jicama provides a starchy textural contrast, and I swear to you I would drink the damned aioli that they drizzle on top of it. I could have killed two of them, and next week, there's a strong chance I'll skip lunch so I can do just that. 

Be aware, though, that they run out of food. And OF COURSE they do - you don't want to bring food you won't sell, so you have to estimate a little low, but this place is being absolutely flooded with traffic. There is no way the truck is open until 2 a.m. By the time we actually got up to the truck around 10, they were a customer or two away from running out of the handmade flatbread - but were substituting tortillas for $1 off each sandwich. They ran out of the brie for the brownies far before we got up there, assuming that most people would probably not be open to the idea of cheese on their brownies. (They compensated by giving me $1 off my brownie as well.)

Oh, and the brownie? Delicious. It just disappears in your mouth. So moist, so rich. These brownies will kill you. It's a good thing The Roommate and I decided to split one, because I couldn't have eaten it on my own. 

The hype and the wait are worth it. They do this once a week, kids. Every week they're practicing and refining. As long as you go into it expecting a learning experience, you'll enjoy it. Also, there's one of my favorite bodegas across the street, so you can go get a beer and pound it while you're in line. (Still hung over from Make Out Room the night before, we opted for sodas, but the group behind us took the 22 oz.-in-bags route. More on Make Out Room and my tequila shot later.) Do NOT go there expecting a short trip, do not get impatient, and get there early. After just two hours they were desperately running out of things and making substitutions. I don't know what the line was like when they first opened, but I wish I had gotten there early enough to get brie with the brownie. Next week, you can bet I'm going to get out of my apartment closer to 8 rather than watching The Office before I go. 

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