This month, Schwabe's Dining Out team literally dined out - outside that is - and on the go. We hit the street in search of food trucks offering delicious grub for those in a hurry. We made a few general observations.
The food truck presence is growing in Seattle, but not to the point we see one at almost every corner (like one would in Portlandia). The variety of food is great. Although unintentional, we visited trucks that offered cuisines from numerous parts of the world. Second and Pike is turning into HQ for food trucks.
We recommend you visit seattlefoodtruck.com. There you'll learn where your favorite food truck will set up shop for the day. It is accurate for the most part, but we did note some trucks were not located per the website. But that was okay. There was a truck there anyway. On to the reviews:
The team started with a gourmet "taco truck" owned by Contigo (contigoseattle.com). Contigo offers four or five different types of tacos: carnitas, chicken mole, short rib and mushroom). Because of the fantastic $2 to $3 price point, we tried all of them.
The short rib, which was nice and tender, and the carnitas, which was marinated in mild spicy guajillo sauce, were the favorites. All of the tacos were small (hence the good price point) and easily edible on the go. The service was fast.
On a somewhat sunny day, we were craving some Cajun. So we walked a few blocks and ordered at Jemil's Big Easy (jemilsbigeasy.com), which offers Cajun comfort food. We ordered the smoked sausage gumbo, which is its popular dish, and the etouffee (spicy roux sauce served over rice with crawfish, shrimp, chicken or vegetables). Jemil's offered generous amounts of each in a compostable container that is easy to eat from while standing.
The prices for these dishes ranged from $7 to $9. When it comes to Cajun, Jemil's delivered. Each dish was spicy enough to compete with the New Orleans counterpart.
We next visited Chopstix (chopstixmobile.com), offering Asian fusion cuisine. We tried the Peking duck tacos and shrimp stir fry. The plum slaw and Chinese barbecue mayo made the duck pretty flavorful. The tacos, like most, were easy to eat on the go.
We recommend sitting on a nearby bench if you are ordering the stir fry. Chopstix offers generous servings of stir fry, including a heaping helping of shrimp. If you are daring, ask to have your dishes made really spicy. The price point for each dish was good and the food was served pretty fast.
We next checked out Wiseguy Italian Gourmet at the corner of Second and Pike (seattlefoodtruck.com/index.php/trucks/wiseguy-italian-street-food/). It was quick, probably due to the simplicity of the menu: essentially two choices (meatballs or sausage) either in bread (hollowed-out French bread) or over pasta.
The pasta is balanced by a small salad with strawberries and vinaigrette. The pasta takes just a few minutes, but the hero sandwiches are almost instantaneous. The Wiseguy hero had good tomato flavor with just a hint of heat from the peppers. Very easy, very quick, suitable for "to go," but watch out for dripping tomato sauce.
We circled back to American cuisine when we visited Skillet (skilletstreetfood.com). The signature dish is a gourmet burger that not only tastes delicious, but presents well in its container. The cambozola cheese and bacon jam make the burger unique. We also tried the fried chicken sandwich, which is the model of fried chicken texture: crispy outside and tender juicy on the inside. The pickled jalapeño aioli added some nice spice to the chicken.
The food really is made to be eaten sitting down. Beware the fries. They are delicious. Although you'll spend more - about $10 to $15 for these dishes - they are worth every penny in taste.
The morning was cold and windy when Schwabe's Dining Out team hit Buns Gourmet Natural Burgers (bunsonwheels.com), but a good meal warmed us up. We could hear the sizzling meat on the grill as we walked up to its perch in front of Nike Town at Sixth Avenue and Pike. The hamburgers are all-natural, grass-fed beef, the salmon burgers are made with wild Alaska salmon, and the chicken breasts are free range. And the food shows the care this truck takes in its ingredients.
The food is fresh and the flavors are crisper than some of our food truck adventures. Frankly, Buns made our hearts sing. Moreover, we liked the four types of fries on the menu and the ability to order online before leaving the office. The truck can frequently be spotted on Second and Pike and at Lincoln Plaza in Bellevue. Only one word of advice: get some aluminum foil. The plates get really full and are hard to carry without losing a fry.
If you are looking for another hamburger food truck option, we suggest trying Curb Jumper (curbjumperstreeteats.com). The focus is gourmet sliders. Nine bucks will get you three sliders. We tried the pulled pork, southwest turkey, and bacon and blue sliders.
The bacon and blue is the signature slider. Although small, this slider carries sizeable taste: think juicy, certified Angus beef and pepper bacon. The turkey slider also packs a punch due to its roasted Anaheim peppers and cumin-cilantro slaw. The pulled pork is slow roasted with sweet and spicy barbecue sauce. These sliders are very easy to eat on the go. (One of us was able to eat as we strolled back to the office to enjoy the sun). The service was fast because it does not take long to cook sliders.
Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt is a multiservice, Northwest regional law firm with offices in Seattle, Vancouver, Portland and Bend. For comments on this article or to share your favorite places to eat or drink with the Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt attorneys, contact Joaquin Hernandez at 206-407-1538 or at firstname.lastname@example.org; see also www.schwabe.com/dining_out.aspx. Follow us on Twitter @schwabedinesout.