‘Tis the season for food trucks.
More and more you see them at events, as caterers and at food truck rallies. Some look good and some… not so much. But, when the lines are long and the day is hot, how do you choose? Is it a catchy name, a brightly painted vehicle, or possibly images of the food posted right on the truck? While I know that a picture says a thousand words, honestly, sometimes those images do more harm than good. Mainly, I feel that the best way to choose is to get close enough to read the menu, or you just pull up the website up on your phone.
On a beautiful Monday afternoon, my friends Sue and Karis joined me on my adventure to see the annual Herndon Monument Climb at the Naval Academy for the first time. After showing me the sites on the way through the grounds, a line of food trucks awaited us on the street right next to the monument. As the lines started to swell, it was fairly easy for me to choose which truck to try. 2 Bold Chefs and a Truck wasn’t the biggest truck, or the boldest, but it sure had the most interesting menu. Specializing in Mediterranean foods, the most attractive aspect of this menu was that you could get your favorite Mediterranean classics in any style cuisine you desired.
The menu is sort of fashioned in the popular fast-food casual style, where you choose a main item, and then customize it with what you want. For a food truck, where time is of the essence and the lines can become thirty and forty deep, this could be a nightmare menu for any cook. 2 Bold Chefs, however, have simplified everything by letting you choose from several mains: Chicken Shawarma, Beef Kabob, Lamb Gyro, Tuscan Veggies, Falafel. Each can either come on a pita wrap or as a rice bowl. They do have other options like salads your-way, and homemade spinach pies, but we all ended up focusing on the wraps.
Sue was immediately interested in the Chicken Shawarma ($10), but she chose to get it in a Thai style. Shawarma is a Turkish street food that involves roasted stacked meats cut off the spit to order. Today’s American shawarma shares many similarities to a Chipotle-style burrito, except with different seasonings, vegetables and wraps. This shawarma had tender pieces of spiced and roasted chicken, with lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, green peppers and shredded carrots. The Thai part was the Thai chili sauce, which added a nice garlic and chili kick, in a sweet and tangy sauce. I like shawarma, but I never had it quite like this.
Karis had the Falafel in a Moroccan style ($10). Falafels are Middle Eastern vegetable fritters made with chickpeas (or fava beans), parsley, garlic and spices. They are the classic vegetarian street food, and most of the time they are overly-fried hockey pucks served with jarred tahini sauce. This was not the case with the 2 Bold Chefs. These falafels were tender on the inside, with a bright green center. You could really taste the parsley and garlic, which leads me to believe these were homemade. The Moroccan style was a very interesting choice for the falafel. The vegetable mix was the same as for the Thai option, but with a very different flavor. Spices like ginger, cinnamon, turmeric and fennel really popped in this wrap. This falafel was the best that I’ve had outside of a restaurant.
Avoiding any interesting fusions, my choice was the classic Greek Gyro with lamb ($10). To me this sandwich (pronounced Yee-ros, by the way) is the Litmus test for Mediterranean food vendors. I’ve had them good, and I’ve had them bad. I’ve even had them really bad. This one was definitely one of the good ones. The lamb was tender and rich. The lettuce, tomatoes cucumbers and onions were all very fresh, as they were all of the vegetables we had that day. The tzatziki (tsah-see-key) sauce was made in-house with Greek yogurt and cucumbers. All too often, a Gyro is ruined by a mayonnaise-laden tzatziki with pickles in it. Also, the pita bread really made the wrap. I wasn’t sure if the pitas we had that day weren’t actually taboon flat bread, but they certainly weren’t the dry pocket-style pitas that you mainly get. These were tender, warm and flavorful. Very nice!
My one regret with my 2 Bold Chefs and a Truck experience was that we didn’t get any of the rice bowls or salads. Knowing now the quality in their foods, I would definitely have liked to have tried a shawarma salad or a beef kabob rice bowl. Hopefully, I will come across the 2 Bold Chefs again soon in my travels. It was difficult to figure out where they were going to be using their Facebook page or website, so for now I’m going to have to rely on chance. Either that or book them myself for my next big event.
David R. Ludwig is the Assistant Director of the Hotel, Culinary Arts and Tourism Institute of Anne Arundel Community College.
2 Bold Chefs and a Truck
WHERE: Events and for catering
PHONE: 240-603-7742 or 443-630-8851, WEBSITE: http://2boldchefs.com/
HEAD CHEF: Emile and Hooverlay
LUNCH: $10 to $11
CREDIT CARDS: All Major Cards, ACCESSIBILITY: Yes