Thursday, June 16, 2011

Atlanta Food Trucks Converge on the Howell Mill Food Park

It's been a busy week of real life for both Lindsey and me, thus the lack of posts, but I managed to squeeze in a visit to the Howell Mill Food Park on Tuesday night.  A recent addition to Atlanta's nascent but fast-growing food truck scene, this weekly event unfolds on a vacant lot behind the Willy's on Howell Mill and Collier roads.  Though a competing food truck event meant that fewer trucks than usual were present, the crowds still showed up, resulting in some rather long lines. 

I started at Slider U, which spends most of the year feeding hungry students at Penn State but is spending the summer down here in Atlanta.  They offered a fairly broad assortment of sliders and while some were a bit pedestrian, the sweet pulled pork was tasty and a nice change of pace.  Parked next to Slider U was The Pup Truck, featuring several hotdogs bearing canine names.  Though hot dogs loaded with toppings are pretty messy to eat, Pup Truck's were delicious.  The spicy Chihuahua stood out (pictured below, top), while the Dalmatian, topped with black beans and onions, sounded promising but was drowned in a bland white sauce.

Next up was pulled pork and delicious baked beans from Boner's BBQ.  Though it sports a name that will make any adolescent boy laugh, Boner's delivered on it's promise to "put a little South in your mouth."  Their pulled pork was moist and still had plenty of large chunks of pork, just how I like it.  The 420 baked beans, a mix of Boston, pinto and black beans in a Sweetwater 420 sauce were the perfect sweet counterpoint to the tart vinegar of the BBQ sauce on the pork.  I look forward to trying some of their other suggestively named menu items in the near future.

With not all that much room left, I wanted to try one of Lindsey's favorites, the Pastor de Puerco taco at Tex's.  It did not disappoint.  Moist chunks of pork topped with grilled onions, cheese, pineapple and cilantro made for one of the best tacos I've had in a while.

Finally, I managed to save room for Westside Creamery.  Founded by two lawyers living the dream of not being full-time lawyers, I've been eager to try their ice cream since I first heard about them.  If you ask nicely, they will give you two flavors in one scoop, and for $3, it's a massive scoop.  Salted caramel and bourbon butter pecan may not go together like chocolate and vanilla, but they were both quite tasty.  Though I will admit that the salted caramel at Morelli's is not only better but probably my all-time favorite ice cream flavor, Westside Creamery's take is a strong contender.  I really enjoyed the bourbon butter pecan, which had just the right amount of bourbon flavor, not too strong but also more than just a hint.

It's been great to see Atlanta's mobile food scene explode over the last year, and the Howell Mill Food Park and other gatherings of the same ilk make it easy for patrons to sample the best of what's rolling down Atlanta's crowded streets.  Though I was disappointed that another food truck event was taking place that same night (surely there's no need to double book these events), it's clear that Atlanta has come a long way from the days when "food truck" meant scarfing down Nachos Bell Grande in your F- 150.

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