Review: Seattle's Mobile Street Food

The mobile street food craze has hit Seattle hard, and with it comes a roving upscale feast worth tr

Category: seattlepi.com teaser headlines

 

The mobile street food craze has hit Seattle hard, and with it comes a roving upscale feast worth tracking down

Most people fall into one of two camps when it comes to the idea of eating from street vendors or food trucks. There are those in the Roach Coach camp, who are horrified by the potential hazards (real or imagined) of such food vendors and can’t bring themselves to belly up to a taco truck or give in to a hot dog craving on the street.

In the other camp are the Fearless Foodies, aka the Anthony Bourdain wannabes—food-obsessed daredevils who actually seek out mobile and/or street food vendors here and abroad, believing that they’re getting a true, authentic taste of whichever city they’re in by eating from these carts. They thrill to the discovery of a cheap, delicious bite, especially when it comes from an unlikely vessel (a silver Airstream!) or undiscovered hole-in-the-wall.

I readily admit to being a card-carrying member of the second camp; if my local taco truck, El Asadero (in Columbia City), had a punch card, I’d be eating a plate of free tacos every couple of weeks. But things are changing: The mobile eateries that have hit Seattle’s streets in the last year (and that continue to pop up around town almost weekly) are far from the dented, paint-chipped, sometimes sketchy street food carts, buses and trucks that I’ve loved for years. They’re a shiny new breed: intriguing to the food geeks for what they’re serving, but also—dare I say—“nice enough” that even the Roach Coachers are willing to bend a rule to grab a bite.

Take Skillet, which started the roving polished food truck trend two years ago with its way-upscale street chow dished out of a hipster-approved Airstream trailer. Since then, I’ve gladly devoured Skillet’s duck confit over ginger rice, various sandwiches decked out with fresh fish or lemongrass chicken, piles of poutine (fries smothered in gravy and cheese curds) and their now-famous burger, made with Oregon beef, Cambozola cheese and bacon jam. That’s right: This is a food truck that tops things with “bacon jam.” The food’s not cheap—most dishes are $7 to $9—but portions are generous, and for the money, Skillet’s food is about as good as any sit-down eatery around.

continued on p. 2

Comments