I'm slightly obsessed with food trucks, so it's no surprise that I'm a huge fan of Civic Center Eats. From June 4th through September 26th, two rows of food trucks serve up wonderful and flavorful dishes on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11 a.m. -2 p.m.
Some of the trucks have brick & mortar stores in addition to their truck(s), but some of the businesses are truck-only. And I have to tell you that I really admire the people who run these mobile restaurants. They are hard working and they operate under some pretty hot conditions...yet they always serve up great food with a smile.
I have a soft spot for the trucks, in part because I used to cook under some pretty sweltering conditions too and I would chop and sauté in a teeny-tiny galley kitchen. If you've ever lived in NYC, you know what I'm talking about- cooking quarters are often less than ample when it comes to space. I feel like there's a kindred spirit between me and these mobile chefs...and maybe, secretly, if I didn't already have a career and two boys who require lots of care and attention I would open my own food truck. Except that I'm not a chef. And I get claustrophobic at times. So I guess it's a good thing that there are lots of great chefs doing great work...
These photos were taken over the course of this summer, and while I never know what I'm going to eat for lunch, one thing is a constant. At 2 p.m., when the trucks start packing up, Theodore always insists that we stay until the very last truck has left and he's waved goodbye to everyone. And then he holds his brother's hand and leads him to the fountain at the other end of the park...
What I ate this summer...so far (there are many more trucks to try):
Arepas: Quiero Arepas makes a Venezuelan-inspired dish by stuffing corn flatbreads. I got the hongo last week (sautéed mushroom, onion, garlic and tomato with cheese) but the domino (seasoned black bean and cheese) and the vegan option (seasoned black beans, avocado and plantains) are delicious too.
Southwestern: Crock Spot made a delicious southwestern black bean medley over couscous with chimichurri sauce.
Pops: Aiko Pop's Strawberry Balsamic. Oh it's good and next time I'll order two since Theodore ate most of mine. It's a great way to beat the heat.
Tacos: Pinche Taco's vegetarian options are super tasty and include hongo (mushroom) and queso al la plancha (grilled cotija, avocado, tomatillo salsa and lime).
Ice Cream: Sweet Cow's Cookies and Cream. Heavenly.
Vietnamese: Manna From Heaven's vegetarian banh mi sandwich is wonderful.
Panna Cotta: The Panna Cotta Peddler (on bike). The Palisade Peaches and Cream was sold out (next time!) but the dark chocolate with sea salt was mighty fine.
Vegan: Vegan Van's Planet Rock-toffufalo wings (spicy) with ranch celery-slaw on a roll. Hit the spot! The ludacris is great too.
Drinks: Green Giraffe has great teas and smoothies.
Cupcakes: Denver Cupcake Truck is one of my favorites. I got the pistachio and Mile Mocha High.
Pizza: Fat Sully's- one of the best cheese slices in Denver.
* * *
Sriracha-Spiked Street Corn
(or Grilled Corn with Sriracha + Cilantro + Lime)
Barely adapted from Camille Styles
This corn reminds me of an elote (Mexican corn on the cob/street food), except that here the heat comes from Thai Sriracha (which is also served as a condiment for Vietnamese pho) and not adobe/chili powder. There isn't any crumbled cotija cheese, but it might be something to consider in the future!
4 ears of corn, shucked and split in half to form 8 pieces
extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup mayonnaise (I prefer classic Hellmann’s)
1 overflowing tablespoon sriracha sauce
a bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped
a couple tablespoons chili powder (I made the corn twice, once with and once without chili powder. When I made it without powder, I used a bit more sriracha.)
3 limes, each cut into 6 slices
course flake salt, like Maldon
In a small plate, pour a bit of olive oil and roll the corn in it to evenly coat. Sprinkle all over with garlic salt.
Heat a grill to high heat, and grill the corn until slightly charred, about 5 minutes. Turn every few minutes to cook on all sides.
Then combine and whisk the mayonnaise, sriracha and a squeeze of lime juice in a small bowl.
When the corn comes off the grill, slather it with the mayonnaise mixture, then sprinkle with cilantro, chili powder (if using) and some coarse salt. Serve with a few slices of lime on the side.