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Exploring Cities Through Food Trucks

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EricW //

I've learned a lot and had a few eye opening realizations since we started! 

And, here's one of the realizations I would have never have anticipated: Want to learn a lot about a city, its neighborhoods and its people? Visit their food truck scene. Especially so if you've only planned a short visit!

As part of my plan to visit as many food trucks in as many cities as I can, I traveled to Austin and Dallas last week, two cities that cover a lot of geography with a very large number food trucks throughout the area. I ended up spending 3 days in Austin and 2 in Dallas. 

I knew going into Austin and Dallas that it would be impossible to visit the bulk of the food trucks in each city. There are just too many. So, as always, I first visit the food trucks that are using's "Check-In" feature which makes it easy for me to see where they are "Serving Now". I then try to visit other trucks that are clustered together on street corners, events, or lots. The goal in the end is to meet as many food truckers as possible, try as much great food as I can, and chat with visitors and local residents that are enjoying the food truck experience.

And here then is that realization that I had during this most recent trip and the unplanned benefit of my methodology of visiting food trucks: in a very short period of time time I get to see and experience not only the great food trucks and people of a city but also get to see many different neighborhoods, hit upon hidden jewels and learn facts about a city that I may not have otherwise experienced.   

For instance, In Austin I visited Art of Tacos and The Celia Jacobs Cheesecake Experience on Rainey St. and learned that in just two years that entire neighborhood has gone from a quiet undeveloped fringe neighborhood to a bustling area of bars, restaurants, and food trucks.  And, before I arrived in Austin I was warned “Don’t go East of Rt. 35” but quickly discovered that area is now being rejuvenated with food truck parks and restaurants throughout the entire district. Spartan Pizza and The Vegan Yacht were just 2 of many food trucks in that area. And while on yet another sojourn, I learned how many food trailers in the South Congress and downtown neighborhoods are often forced to find new locations as the lots they've been located on are being re-developed. And, traveling to local breweries led me to the Evil Wiener at Infamous Brewing in the Lake Travis area of Austin, and Be More Pacific at Austin Beerworks, both in areas that I would not ever have seen otherwise! 

In Dallas, I visited Rockn' Ricks and a number of other trucks underneath the new Margaret Hunt Bridge and was surprised and excited to learn that the Trinity River Corridor Project will actually transform the river front of Dallas! I also visited Crazy Fish at Klyde Warren Park which was completed in October of 2012 on top of Highway 366, and connects uptown and downtown! And, simply following food trucks led me to a walking tour of the amazing SMU campus where I got to watch some college Lacrosse and sample the excellent offerings at Yim Yam Truck and others. I also got to visit six trucks over two visits at theTruck Yard in the East Dallas/Lakewood area an area rich with restaurants, bars, and shopping.  I even made it out to see parts of Richardson to visit seven trucks participating in a post 5K party.  

Of course, in both Austin and Dallas the trucks were warm and welcoming and the food was delicious.  We have learned to expect that from food trucks everywhere we go! So, when you travel, and visit local food trucks you get to have great food, meet friendly, hospitable food truckers, and  see sights you might not otherwise encounter!

A meal from The Vegan Yacht being enjoyed inside The Grackle