With the onset of winter, times can be tough for a business that relies on customers standing outdoors, braving the weather to consume their product. Food trucks have always had to face uncertain conditions while bringing their wares to the people, and rain, sleet, ice, and snow can be a real hinderance to business. Some trucks are even looking at shutting down completely for the winter…a completely understandable business decision. Our Food Trucksgiving, this coming Saturday, marks one of the last times you might catch some of these trucks until we dig ourselves out of the bone chilling bowels of winter. Thus, I’m giving you all a few reasons to get yourself down to Bryant this weekend…my 5 most craveable food truck dishes in Little Rock right now.
5. Southern Salt’s “Loaded Bratwust” – When it’s handed over to you, it’s usually not the prettiest thing to look at. A little unruly, a bit messy, ingredients and toppings strewn all over the insides of its shiny foil wrapping. But it’s tasty…and that alone makes it worth eating. Southern Salt takes a toasted white roll and stuffs it with a perfectly cooked brat with a soft, tender inside and snappy outer casing. It’s adorned with sautéed onions, mushrooms, red bell peppers, and a crunchy, tangy sauerkraut. Finally, it’s slathered in mustard and barbecue sauce. It’s a hot mess…but it’s packed with a whirlwind of flavors.
4. Loblolly’s hot chocolate and marshmallows – Perhaps my most anticipated offering of the winter season comes from the fine folks at Loblolly Creamery. They’re well known for their exemplary ice creams and sherbets, but in truth, just about everything they produce is of the highest quality. When it’s cold out, there’s no finer way to warm up than with a cup of their thick, creamy hot chocolate. It slowly glides down the throat as it’s being consumed—hot, sweet, and smooth. They’ll top if with their spectacular house-made marshmallows, which slowly melt into their warm chocolate bath. And if you’re lucky, they’ll toast them off with a blow torch…giving them a slightly crunchy, lightly charred element…it’s a beautiful thing, indeed.
3. Waffle Wagon’s “El Churro” – Sweet or savory is always a difficult decision you’ll be faced with while standing in from of Matt Clark’s Waffle Wagon. Both directions are rewarding in their own right, but there’s something about their sweet, sugar-loaded creations that has always tickled my fancy…and often it’s the simpler creations that allow one to really witness how well-made their basic waffle can be. Right now, they’re doing their version of a churro…a soft, chewy waffle bathed in melted butter and topped in cinnamon and sugar…and it’s definitely worth putting in your mouth.
2. Hot Rod Wiener’s “Italian Stallion” – Fancified hot dogs have always been a weakness of mine, and the team behind Hot Rod are doing some of the best in Little Rock right now. A key element to their success is their house-made hot dog buns, which really propel their product to a higher level, but their all-beef hot dogs are of good quality, too. They’ve got several excellent options, but I keep coming back to their Italian-inspired dog topped with a spicy marinara, crispy slices of pepperoni, provolone cheese, and a few shavings of parmesan. It’s salty, spicy, soft, and sloppy…just the way I like ‘em.
1. Southern Gourmasian’s spicy chicken and dumplings – I’ve shopped around a bit at these food truck gatherings, I’ve eaten my way through most the other trucks in business…but there’s always this undeniable pull to Southern Gourmasian anytime this bright yellow and red truck is within eyesight. Chef Justin Patterson is cooking some fantastic food, and his flavor profiles and ingredient combinations could compete with any other truck in this country. Nothing more clearly proves Patterson’s talent than his signature chicken and dumplings. I’m a sucker for those slightly chewy rice dumplings, slathered in a sweet and spicy sauce, and topped with tender chicken. There’s not a better food truck offering in town.