I'm a freelance writer/photographer living in the East Village neighborhood of New York City.
Published March 11th 2010
When it comes to food, New Yorkers are trendsetters as much as they are trend seekers. After all, we elevated the cupcake to an art form, so it's no surprise that the latest pop trends for foodies are found on four wheels. I'm talking about New York's current craze for upscale food trucks.
Waffels. Dumplings. Ice cream. Cupcakes. Tacos. Few finger foods can escape the allure of mobile food vendors gone gourmand. If fact, what started just a few years ago with the Dessert Truck has exploded into one of the trendiest food fads going.
If you can take your show on the road, you're almost a guaranteed success. Just ask Lev Ekster, a law school graduate who has put off studying for the bar to run the CupcakeStop truck. If his calculations are accurate, he'll be selling more than 1,000 cupcakes a day, usually from more than one location. It's obvious why the mobile food fad has New York City in its grip: we all need a little comfort during the economic downturn, and well, what's more cheerful than a home-baked cupcake?
As it turns out, gourmet food carts are the perfect marriage of exclusivity and decadence. With affordable prices that range from $2 to $7, you can try various menu items without breaking the bank and get a little thrill after figuring out where to rendezvous with your favorite vendors.
Here's a short list of some of our favorites. A quick click on the link tells you when and where to find them and offers daily tips about specials, secret words, freebees, and when high-demand items are sold out.
Wafels and Dinges sells homemade Belgian waffels with various toppings and can usually be found near Cooper Square. Our recommendation? The WMD (Waffle of Massive Deliciousness). Check their Twitter feed for daily specials and locations.
Dumpling lovers will want to try Rickshaw's Dumplings for a savory, on-the-go snack. Made famous by their one and only Manhattan location in the Flatiron District, you can also seek out the steamed pork, chicken, and vegetable dumplings while traveling around town; just check their Twitter feed for locations.
Brooklyn's Endless Summer Tacos does Mexican just right with its take on the taco. Head daily to North Sixth Street and Bedford Avenue for a taste that's just south of the border. Open from noon to midnight (2AM on weekends).
The Treats Truck takes its 1950s-inspired theme to a whole new level. Check out its rotating menu of mom's homemade favorites: krispie bars, blondies, five varieties of brownies, oatmeal cookies, chocolate chip cookies, cake slides, and everything in between. With prices this low, you'll want to treat your friends, too. Check the schedule for times and locations.
Finally, for NYC's best ice cold confections, look no further than the Big Gay Ice Cream Truck. Although it's currently on hiatus, check its Twitter feed for upcoming locations and specials.