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I opted for the classic version ó cheddar on sourdough for $6.50 ó over fancier options such as a sandwich of brie and sliced apples, and I also got a side of tomato soup ($2 for a small serving). The sandwich itself was a decent rendition, with a crisp exterior and a good cheese-to-bread ratio. The nutty cheddar and tangy sourdough were clearly high-quality, but I still wasnít sold on the idea that it was worth the $6.50 I shelled out. The soup was wretched, tasting like watery store-bought pizza sauce that had been over-seasoned with bitter, dry herbs.
My empanada high was gone, and I was left wondering whether sheer novelty ó or the clever names and cute mascots that so many of the trucks use ó was behind the food-truck craze.
Day Three: Pork-Tastic
Yesterdayís down-on-food-trucks attitude got a readjustment when I tried out the PORC truckís barbecue offerings. (In this acronym-loving town, I should note that PORC stands for Purveyors of Rolling Cuisine.)
I tried a pulled-pork sandwich dressed with a zippy-but-not-scorching house sauce ($7) and a side of baked beans enlivened with hatch chilis ($2). The meat struck the right combination of tender threads and crisp ends, and the beans were smoky-sweet.
It was another win for food-truck nation.
Day Four: Food-Truck FAIL
My food truck debacle today, in which I took a late lunch and missed the District of Pi pizza truck parked near Union Station, should come with a disclaimer.
Dear Food Trucks, Itís not you, itís me. I should have gotten there sooner. OK, so maybe itís a little bit your fault.
Food trucks, after all, are a little bit like a rambliní man in a country song: He canít be counted on, and heís always moving on.
Trucks often have to move to avoid parking tickets or traffic violations; sometimes, they simply run out of food or encounter technical glitches. Which is why itís best to have a backup plan when dining chez trucks. I didnít, but, determined to stay true to my mission, I lunched at one of Washingtonís original food trucks, a hot-dog cart.
My lunch might not have been as trendy or as exotic as the food-truck offerings Iíd been chasing, but it was surprisingly satisfying. And it sure was cheap ó a half-smoke, some chips and a can of Coke set me back $3.
Day Five: A Greasy Adieu
For my final food-truck lunch, I chose my destination based solely on location. The foodtruckfiesta site told me that Sang on Wheels, which describes itself as ďfine Laos cuisine,Ē was near me, parked by the Botanic Garden on Maryland Avenue Southwest.
After sampling some of the gummiest, greasiest noodles Iíve ever eaten, along with dense lamb meatballs ($8 for the combo platter), I wished Iíd ventured farther afield. Or just gone hungry. Laos cuisine? This was more like lousy.
It was a disappointing way to end the week, but I chalked it up to lessons learned. Food-truck dining should be an adventure, one that can yield treasures (hereís looking at you, DC Empanadas) and duds (those noodles!).
At least itís not boring.