Sunday, June 6, 2010

THE CHALLENGE. (with a side of cream cheese)

Hi Everybody, and thanks for visiting my blog! I am an occasionally good speller, a very stubborn Taurus, and an absolutely obsessed foodie. My day revolves around food: where I can get it, who wrote about it, who's making it, why it's supposedly awesome, and why it's actually awesome. I've decided to channel my obsession into a venture at least semi-quantifiable this summer, and I'd like to keep you posted.

For those who do not know this, the recent food trend that has taken Los Angeles by storm is the explosion of food trucks that now roam the city with reckless abandon. These are not your run-of-the-mill construction site roach coaches, selling foil wrapped who-knows-what (which, by the way is always delicious. I am a big fan of foil wrapped who-knows-what, in fact.) They are gourmet, they are nomadic, they can be difficult to find, and they are only in one place for a couple of hours. Then they shut their door/window/counter/register/entire side of the truck, and leave without a trace.

If you're not organized, you will miss them. If you're not fast, they will leave you behind. If you're indecisive, the person behind you will get the almond pancake bites or gruyere grilled cheese that was meant for you. Well I intend to be organized. I intend to be fast. I intend to be decisive. And if all goes according to plan, I will hit every LA food truck by the end of the summer. At which point I will have every pair of pants I own let out.

But who am I? Well, I'm this girl:

I can remember nearly every meal I've ever eaten. The grilled cheese with tomato in an all-night locals only cafe in New Orleans. The epic frijoles at a Mexican restaurant in a shack in Houston. (Seriously, you don't even have to order them, they just come to every table. THEY JUST COME TO EVERY TABLE. And they are so good, I would pack them in my doomsday bomb shelter. They wouldn't last until the apocalypse of course-I don't have that kind of willpower guys. But thanks for going with me on that for a second.)

I once walked into a deli near the lake in Chicago. The city was windswept and frostbite-worthy, but I needed a black-and-white cookie for something, so I did what had to be done. They were about 5 minutes from closing, and this was a great deli-the kind you have to go down a flight of stairs off the street to get to. It was late, and the very lunch-popular place was empty. It was kind of like a scene in a zombie movie, after everyone's disappeared, but the swing on the swing set is still swinging, and the screen door opens and closes ominously. I could hear a soft whirring in the back room, and I was standing right at the register before I noticed the gentleman standing with his back to me on the other side of the counter. I couldn't really tell what he was doing, because I couldn't make sense of what I was seeing. With his left hand he was chopping mountains of green threads, while his right attended to a massive industrial mixer filled with...clouds. That's exactly what it looked like: huge, snowpeakish, smoothly whipped...clouds. It was almost cartoonish.

The smell was beyond heavenly: creamy, tart, grassy, and first-lawn-mowing of the summer fresh, on one of the coldest days I can remember. He eventually noticed me, and I was instantly the strange one in the situation. A girl suited up for the winter, standing there mouth agape, probably a five dollar bill in hand. "One black-and-white cookie please. And if you don't mind me asking, what are you doing." And then he said something that if I hadn't been stopped in my tracks already, would've done the job. "Making cream cheese." Making cream cheese. MAKING cream cheese. Making CREAM CHEESE! Of course! Making chive cream cheese destined for the next day's bagels! It doesn't all come in a foil-wrapped brick, or travel size tub. FOOLS!

Who doesn't like cream cheese?! But who thinks about it being made from scratch? It was as though I had stepped back from the Magic Eye desk calendar kiosk at the mall, and actually SEEN the sailboat. It all came into delicious focus. He was unaffected, I was agog. An odd couple, linked by a batch of chive cream cheese. I walked out of that deli that night with a black-and-white cookie in a paper bag, but not just that. I also had the most mystical dairy product related encounter of my life in my back pocket. I can't explain it, but the streets of Chicago were different after that. But I'm weird like that.


  1. What a delicious journey this will be! Can you please post photos of the various "Moveable Feastmobiles?"

  2. Do you remember your first food from a truck?

  3. I am totally intrigued! And I, too, live to eat!

  4. Ahh - I remember it well Lupe Tortilla's with the bottomless bowl of frijoles! I want to hear more about your foodie venture highway and the 30 lbs your plan to pack along the way. Love the journey.