Where Y'At Staff/Provided Photo

New Orleans' Notable Food Trucks

16:30 December 03, 2014
By: 2Fik

If you're one of those people who sighs, "Finally," every time something that's all the rage in New York or L.A. opens in New Orleans, you were probably tickled pink when old Leidenheimer trucks started growing doppelgängers in 2009.
These trucks, with their elaborate signs, themes, designs and lofty smells wafting from vending windows, weren't carrying bread, but they were damn sure making it. And while some were poised to both catch and cash in on this new wave, not everyone was so welcoming below sea level.

Cities like Philadelphia and even Houston have a typical "grab and go" city-life mentality paired with a steadily rising urban population, which leaves the market wide open for food trucks. But in New Orleans, where the population is just 80% what it was almost 10 years ago, the question remained: was there enough to go around?

Antiquated laws protecting the ubiquitous "brick and mortar" backbone of our city didn't think so. Even with continued legislation passing this January, food trucks still aren't allowed some places in the CBD or French Quarter, undoubtedly to protect the delicate flow of tourist dollars and traffic as the city ebbs and flows.

Laws that food trucks and other new phenomena battle are designed to keep New Orleans quaint, but not small. While only 100 permits were previously available to all mobile vendors (flowers, vegetables, and others), 100 permits are now designated solely for food trucks. And restaurateurs are taking notice.

While this style of food vending is fairly new here, street food in New Orleans is a centuries-old tradition. And while you're fortunate enough to be in New Orleans, I implore you to do some exploring. Here's a short list to get you started.

[Where Y'At Staff/Provided Photo]

Two steps back from the ultimate fondue and one step forward from your Mom's best "get well soon" slider is Frencheeze, and, boy, is it good. All of the items on Frencheeze's menu have a story and something to do with melted cheese. Jason King, the owner, isn't afraid to serve up either. The Percival, with hoisin-glazed brisket, raspberry preserves, pickled onions and just a smattering of goat cheese, is easily the top seller. It's named after a playmate of Jason's dog, King, the cute mug on the side of the truck. @FrencheezeTruck

La Cocinita
Here's an equation for you: social worker plus Venezuelan culinary graduate, multiplied by one of the most elegant and established restaurants in New Orleans. What do you get? A food truck! Not just any food truck, but easily one of the most ubiquitous trucks on the New Orleans scene. Rachel Billow and Benoit Angulo were both working the dining rooms of Commander's Palace when Benoit pitched the idea. And the rest, my friends, was delicious arepa-centric Latin fare history. @LaCocinita

Fat Falafel
Fat Falafel's claim to fame is a mix of chickpeas and fava beans jazzed up with onions, garlic, cumin and coriander, then scooped into balls and dropped into a deep fryer. My favorite way to have them is "fat," which means paired with hand-cut French fries. Wrap mine into a pita with a slaw of crisp vegetables, tahini and the key to it all: spicy cilantro sauce. Hand me that and you can call me fat any day. @FatFalafel

Food Drunk
If you're not sure whether you've heard of Food Drunk, then maybe three words can spark your memory: King… Cake… Burger… That's right. If you've never experienced the true decadence that is both Carnival and carnivorous, what exactly are you waiting for? Lent ended months ago! P.J. Haines runs the truck and gets credit for creating the king cake burger. Pair it with the succulent duck fat french fries and you have something truly special, intoxicating even. But what would you expect from a truck with such a name? @fooddrunknola

Taceaux Loceaux
Taceaux Loceaux
[Where Y'At Staff/Provided Photo]

Taceaux Loceaux used to be something like an urban legend. A gourmet taco truck serving huge tacos with names like Carnital Knowledge and Notorious V.E.G.? You sure you weren't just experiencing an alcoholic apparition? You probably were and it could be hard to prove otherwise, because out of all the trucks on this list Taceaux Loceaux was often the unicorn Twit-picked like a local celebrity. But Alex and Maribeth del Castillo have gone with the flow, setting up a very regular schedule and a pretty low-key Twitter presence, so it's much easier to munch these days. @TLNola

Mr. Okra
Okay, so he's not exactly sporting a trendy theme or a gourmet menu. Technically, Mr. Okra's Ford wouldn't be considered a food truck. But for more than 30 years Arthur Robinson has been delivering fresh fruits and vegetables to the neighborhoods of New Orleans. Before Walmart, Winn-Dixie and especially Whole Foods, Mr. Okra was a mobile oasis in an ever-growing food desert sprouting around inner-city New Orleans. These days Mr. Okra isn't as mobile as he used to be, and he isn't keen on social media. But if you're lucky you may happen upon him like we all do: hearing his song before he turns the corner.

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