This past week, Local Pickins had the pleasure of visiting the West Coast and checking out Los Angeles food trucks. How do L.A. food trucks compare to our beloved Boston trucks? Do they love grilled cheese as much as we do? Do they deliver with the same level of innovation and excellence as our trusted trucks? The answer? Yup. They’re great! L.A. has much to offer, and so I was only able to make it to two of their most well-known food trucks — Cool Haus and Kogi (though technically I didn’t go to the Kogi food truck — I went to their test kitchen. Even better!).
Founded in 2009, Cool Haus takes the age-old ice cream truck concept and goes one step further. Natasha and Freya, the masterminds behind Cool Haus, draw inspiration from food they enjoy, and translate flavor combinations into ice cream sandwiches. Part of what makes their sandwiches so memorable is that they allow their customers to play a part in flavor combination: first you pick your cookie, and then you choose an ice-cream. If you’re feeling cautious, you can go for something like chocolate-chip cookies and Tahitian vanilla ice-cream. If you’re feeling brave, you can go crazy: oatmeal cookies and baked apple ice-cream, coconut-almond cookies paired with sweet potato and marshmallow ice-cream (though I’m not sure if that would taste good…), or vegan chocolate truffle cookies and rice milk and cardamom sorbet….
After much deliberation, I finally settled on vegan carrot cake cookies and Tahitian vanilla ice-cream. The sandwich was gigantic, and the rich, creamy helping of Tahitian vanilla ice-cream was perfectly balanced by the crispy cookies on either side. Towards the final bites, the ice-cream became unruly, spilling out the sides. It was a delicious but decidedly large endeavor. If I ever have the chance to try another Cool Haus sandwich, I’ll be a bit more daring, and go for the snickerdoodle cookie with blueberry ginger sorbet!
Started in 2008, Kogi’s Korean BBQ is nationally renowned. Kogi was one of the founding members of the high-end food truck movement in L.A., and thanks to Kogi’s innovative combination of sophisticated, outlandish flavors and affordable prices, many other top-notch chefs and foodies began to see food trucks in a new light, and as a potential breeding ground for great food. In order to try their exceptional fare, I went to Alibi, their test kitchen and bar. There, I found exactly what I was looking for: flavors I’d never heard of for prices I was willing to pay. My favorites? The short rib taco and the sesame leaf tacos with tofu and Asian pear. Both tacos took familiar flavors — beef and tofu, respectively — and went a step further. I couldn’t get enough of the short rib sauce wrapped in warm corn tortillas, and the combination of soft tofu with crispy, sweet Asian pear was unlike any texture combination I’ve had before.
So, dear readers, if you’re ever in L.A., be sure to check out these food trucks, and if you’re interested, you can find more food truck listings here.