Fuelled by the use of social media and on-the-go mapping applications, the food truck movement has experienced a rapid rise over the last few years with an explosion of niche operators popping up on street corners all across America. Not that food trucks themselves are anything new of course - but the quality of food and the sheer variety of cuisines on offer right now is extraordinarily high, especially in Virgin Atlantic's own US destinations.
We've taken a look at some of the yummiest and most interesting trucks on the streets of three of our favourite cities: Miami, Los Angeles and New York...
If it's sizzling, barbecued 100% Argentinian churrasco steaks you're after, drizzled with authentic 'chimichurri' sauce, then keep an eye out for the Che Grill truck. And while your steak is grilling before your eyes, try some hand-made stuffed spinach empanadas with specially imported seasoning and herbs to keep the hunger at bay. Keep tabs on their Facebook and Twitter pages to find out where they'll be heading to next.
Gourmet popsicles anyone? Feverish Ice Cream is just the ticket in Miami right now, and this South Florida mini-truck's concept is all about being fun, socially aware and eco-friendly, with a line of healthy/vegan-friendly ices and thirst-quenching popsicles in mindbending flavours (Pineapple Basil, Chocolate Banana Sea Salt) alongside the creamier stuff. Twitter and Facebook have all the details.
Confidently claiming itself to be the 'sexiest food truck in Miami', Ms. Cheezious offers a selection of grilled cheese sandwiches with a choice of nine different types of cheese, along with a range of soups, chilis and fries. They even do one for sweet-toothed cheese fans, stuffed with ricotta and orange marmalade and a side of chocolate dipping sauce. A new weekly schedule is posted on the website every week, so you'll always know where to get your next fromage fix. Definitely not your average sandwich lady.
The Buttermilk Truck brings soft fluffy buttermilk pancakes, Hawaiian bread cinnamon French toast sticks and other delectable breakfast items to the streets of Los Angeles, all freshly baked from scratch on the mobile premises. Founder Gigi Pascal, who studied at the French Culinary Institute for Pastry Arts in New York is a firm believer that breakfast treats are for any time of day, so there's a late night menu too. Think even more pancakes, and fried chicken with that. If you find yourself in southern California this weekend, catch them at the Del Mar Gourmet Food Truck Festival in San Diego.
Craving a Bánh Mì? You and us both. These Vietnamese sandwiches really are the best thing since... well, fresh baguettes with a crispy, crackly crust. And inside them you'll find freshly chopped coriander, sliced cucumber and jalapeno peppers, marinated carrots and daikon radish and a choice of lemongrass chicken, grilled or bbq pork, or tofu. This is the Nom Nom Truck, and its owners are on a mission to spread the word about Vietnamese food. Seems to be working so far, as features in Travel + Leisure, New York Times Magazine and Marie Claire can attest to - and now there's a San Francisco truck too.
Shrimp and pork dumplings, steamed chicken buns, lotus-wrapped sticky rice and Peking duck tacos in a corn tortilla (well, we are in LA). Yes, it's the Dim Sum Truck, and they're not just open for lunch either. The brainchild of 23 yr old University of Southern California graduate Alex Chu, the truck asks the question "why can't we eat dim sum for dinner, too?" and answers it with late night stops all over LA, from Hollywood to Universal City, Highland Park to Venice. And how about this? The Dim Sum Truck even has its very own ever-so-slightly tongue in cheek (we hope) music video too.
Calorie counters, look away now. European-inspired create-your-own filled croissants are on offer at the Sweetery Truck in NYC, with luxurious pastry creams in mocha, vanilla, chocolate and praline to choose from, or how about going the whole hog and stuffing it with marshmallows, peanut butter and nutella? Make no mistake, the Sweetery Truck doesn't give two hoots about your waistline, but it does care about using all-natural ingredients, organic milk and raw sugar. Does that mean we're allowed to feel ever so slightly virtuous when chowing down on a Snickerdoodle cookie? And we love how under the "healthy" section of the menu there is literally one item - plain yoghurt and granola. Bet that's popular.
We're betting that the Kelvin Natural Slush Co. truck has done a pretty roaring trade during New York's heatwave this summer. The all-natural frozen slushie drinks are yours to customise, and come in three base flavours - ginger, citrus and tea - to which you can add a variety of gorgeous fresh fruit purées like white peach, pink guava, blood orange, apricot and lychee, and sprinklings of fresh mint and basil. And if you give them a wink and a nudge, and ask for a 'prohibition' version, they might be kind enough to leave some room at the top so you can make it into your very own personalised margerita. Check twitter for latest location details.
Gourmet Moroccan murguez on the streets of Manhattan? It could only be the Bistro Truck, serving up ample portions of North African and Mediterranean cuisine including seafood pastillas, chicken brochettes, kofta kebabs, grass-fed burgers and vegetable tagines with couscous, rice, salads and Moroccan mint tea. Bistro Truck has been quietly earning a great reputation for street food since 2009, mainly operating in the area around Union Square. Founder Yassir Raouli, who only arrived from Morocco five years ago, talks below about being nominated for a prestigious Vendy food award and how he learned everything he knows from his mum.
Thanks to Gary Soup on Flickr for the header shot of the Nom Nom Truck.
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About the author: MaxineMaxine Sheppard
Maxine is the editor of the Virgin Atlantic blog. Travel and music are her joint first loves, and despite having written for Virgin for more years than she cares to remember she still loves nothing more than jumping on a plane in search of new sights and new sounds.