Sometime between I can’t recall when and recently, the face of the Vancouver food street changed.  Whereas, a year ago, Japadog stood head and shoulders amid a see of hot dog vendors, today, a plethora of food truck vendors offer everything from Vietnamese sandwiches to Japanese octopus balls.  Suddenly, it’s a veritable United Nations street eats!

In an effort to broaden my street eating horizons, I’ve decided to set aside one afternoon every week to sampling a variety of these new culinary offerings.  And so, today, I kicked off the food tour with the help of three disappointingly light-weight eaters.  My back-up on this day, there to backstop me in the event I’m unable to finish my meal or require immediate hospitalization:



Armed with my new Vancouver Street Food app that helpfully maps out the locations of the city’s 50+ food trucks, we managed to check out five before running out of steam – and appetite.  At this rate, it’ll take us two and a half months to cover them all!

Akemi, dressed for the water. Well, from the waist up anyway. Lawren skulks.
Ashleigh and L'Eau. Look at 'em both - so cute!

First stop: Arturo’s Mexico 2 Go

Lawren and I both did the Tacotino: Rotisserie pork, lime, and chipotle sauce wrapped in a chica flour tortilla.  An original recipe from Puebla, Mexico!  Tiny but tasty with a nice pepper kick.

Ashleigh demonstrates true street eating prowess by choosing the cumbersome and unwieldy tortilla soup.  She’s had it before though and gives it the thumbs up.

Okay, let's get on with it. Next stop?

Second stop: Fresh Local Wild

This was the one Ashleigh was most excited about.  Turns out she’s a bit of a regular, swinging by once a week to enjoy their fresh produce – and harangue them about making poutine a regular part of their menu.

The boys at work.
The food truck is atypical in that it has an open-air dining area for six in the back.

I couldn’t resist the chicken-fried oyster sandwich and was richly (and crisply) rewarded with probably the best oyster sandwich I’ve had in recent memory. It was Akemi’s favorite menu item of the tour.

While Lawren had a terrific shaved beef sandwich…

Ashleigh had the Tuna Melt.  Another fresh and phenomenal sandwich accompanied by home fries with the chef’s sauce.  Not quite poutine but delicious nevertheless.

And this was the point when everyone else started to slow down, despite the fact that: 1) Akemi had yet to order anything for herself and only sampled from my dishes, 2) Ashleigh had given me half her Tuna Melt and, b) Lawren’s a guy and should have a guy’s size appetite.  Nevertheless, we forged ahead…

Third stop: Slingers

I found the menu somewhat limited in comparison to the last two food trucks, but elected to go with the intriguing veal parmesan sandwich.

The veal is herb battered, fried, then topped with homemade marina sauce and sauteed onions and mushrooms.  I found it good but it was hard not to compare it to similar sandwiches I had in Toronto.  And, here, Toronto has the edge.  The Toronto versions offer spicier marinades and eggplant to compliment the veal. At Slingers, the eggplant is a veggie option.  The Calabrese bun was great though.

I figured my back-up was done since Akemi was the only one who even tried the sandwich, but they seemed to get their second wind one block up…

Fourth stop: Tacofino

This food truck had the biggest line-up.  While we waited for our order, we were entertained by a tough chihuahua who tried to pick a fight with L’Eau – snarling, barking, snapping.  For her part, L’Eau seemed utterly bewildered and immediately lost interest when the food arrived.

While Ashleigh devoured her fish taco like it was the antidote to some deadly toxin set to kill her at any moment, I took my time, luxuriating in that day’s special – a pork cheek taco with spicy Asian slaw, caramelized pork cheek, sriracha mayo, and crispy onions.  A little drippy but spectacular nevertheless.

And – check it out!  This place served up dessert as well in the form of their Chocolate Diablo Cookie: a fudge-chocolate cookie with fresh ginger, chili, milk chocolate chunks, and salty sprinkles.  Sweet, salty, chewy, spicy.  Loved it!

At this point, everyone else was ready to go home but, in the interest of reaching our quota of 5 food trucks/week, I insisted we check out just one more.

Fifth stop: La Brasserie.

Okay, now this menu was REALLY limited.  You could have a sandwich, a drink, or a sandwich drink combo.  And there was also dessert.  I decided to cover all the bases…

The fact that I was pretty full did nothing to diminish my enthusiasm for this house smoked chorizo sandwich with fire roasted peppers in warm tomato sauce and fresh rocket (aka arugula) on a buttermilk bun.  Never thought I’d say this, but the arugula was a really nice touch.  Ashleigh picked one up, claiming she was bringing it back for her guy back home – but who knows.


And, for dessert, a sweet and silky butter tart devoid of annoying raisins.  Yum.

Not even L'Eau could resist the butter tart.

And that was it.  5 down.  45 or so to go!  Hopefully, Akemi, Ashleigh, and Lawren will do a better job of keeping up next time.  If not, I may have to start interviewing for new back-up.

My new desktop wallpaper?

Today’s foodly entry is dedicated to birthday boy Robert C. Cooper!

41 thoughts on “October 14, 2011: The Great Vancouver Food Truck Tour!

  1. Happy Birthday, Rob! Hi, Ashleigh! What a cute pup! Food looks delish – next time, I’m tagging along with you guys. 🙂

  2. Happy Birthday Rob!!! WOOP-WOOP

    Joe, I don’t really have any idea how you’re not in a hospital. It’s one of life’s mysteries…I’ll have to download that app for my visit to Van…it all looks interesting…I think I like Fresh Local Wild best…yum!!!

    Cheers, Chev

  3. Just one word: ASHLEIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGH!! 😀 Great to see you! LOVE that last picture with the puppy!

    Gotta run! I’ve been very busy the past couple days, getting ready for my sister’s visit and then picking her up at the airport last night – her 11:40pm flight coming in at 1:00 am. 😛 Today a little work, a little play, and a lot of laughing as we got together our ridiculous costumes for the PA Ren Faire. I think this year I’m skipping the pirate, and the gypsy, and opting for the Moor or the Bedouin. No matter what, I am sure to look very un-authenitic!


  4. @Joe:

    I think I saw that “Arturo’s Mexico 2 Go” trailer in a recent episode of Warehouse 13… 😉

    I think I would have liked the Shaved Beef.

    Birthday wishes to Rob! Did you make him a card?

  5. Oh my god, I’m so hungry now! Everything looked fresh and good–unlike, say, a NYC hot dog.
    Can you give us an idea of what any of these cost?

  6. this whole food truck tour is a darn good idea! i’m already making my own list of places to check out- i think i’m going to check out fresh local wild, tacofino and la brasserie next time i get a chance. looking forward to reading about your future exploits!

  7. Happy Birthday Robert C. Cooper.

    Great to see Ashleigh & Lawren again, but I’m so confused? Did marriage undo her vegetarianism? She eats FISH?

    While you might think that cookie was delicious, the first thing I thought was that looks like something that came out of my dog that someone stepped on. But hey, I’m tired. My dear friend unexpectedly died (on Saturday apparently and she was not found until Monday). I went to the visitation tonight. I’ve had to write a eulogy to speak tomorrow at the funeral, but I’ve had a difficult time summing up 15 years in less than 5 minutes. Others are speaking, too, so I have to keep it short. No foul play, but cause of death not conclusive. She apparently saw her doctor recently and she was fine; he wouldn’t sign off on the death certificate until the results came back. Here is the really, REALLY sad part. Her daughter is due to have her first baby and her due date is Sunday. Her brother died when she was younger, and her father treats her like crap. Glad she has a supportive mother-in-law though. She is only 20; I’ve known her since she was 5. It reminds me that I have been a negligent parent and need to do our wills and set up a special needs trust for Patrick. You just never know when your time is up.

    @Deni: Glad the dog is doing better but geez, the teeth! What is it about teeth and the blog posters lately? Hope you aren’t in too much pain and Monday comes faster than you know it.

  8. Happy BIrthday Rob,
    Heya Ashleigh and Lawren. Cute puppy….awwwww.
    HAPPY BIRTHDAY Joe!!! – well, by the time you may read this it is your birthday.
    There are a couple interesting things from today food excursion…but I have to hold out for Refuel’s crispy duck. OH, SO, GOOD. Can’t wait til you announce when you are doing your foodie tour of Vancouver. Then to cross fingers it is a good time to go to Joe’s Foody Gathering.

  9. Heh, “devoid of annoying raisins”

    Couldn’t have said it better myself. I like raisins. Well, I think they’re fine. I’m even willing to admit that, next to bacon, they’re nature’s (2nd) perfect snack.

    But I don’t ever…I mean ever…want raisins IN anything else I eat. Not cookies. Not breads. Not candy. Not cakes. Certainly not anything in anything with meat.


  10. Happy bd to Rob!
    OMG ASHLEIGH IS BACK IN THE BLOG! WOHOOO. Okay so did you influence her to get a pug or did she already have one?
    LOL— that amt of food, from 5 carts. Oy. Looks incredible though.

  11. L’Eau is one sassy and cute puppy, aw! Look at that punim! The pork chipotle tortilla looks amazing, so does the taco, it all looks so good.

    Please use the ‘eating like it’s an antidote to a deadly disease’ in a future script, that is one of my new favorite blog comments to date!

    What your back up team lacked in eatin’ ability they made up for in pure snazziness, it’s great to see the gang back together. Tonight I ordered a so-so main and missed out on the terrific-looking special. It was a great time with friends but don’t you hate having orderer’s remorse when dining? I forgot to check out the menu online before going.

  12. hey Joe, have you ever eaten at C restaurant in False Creek? It’s been suggested for Xmas dinner for our staff, but I don’t know anything about it. Thought you’d be the guy to ask .

  13. I wish we had something similar here, that food truck tour would be exaxctly my thing! Count me in as a replacement backup, if I ever should be able to visit Vancouver, I am convident I would not have given up before the fifth stop. All those food looked amazing. Well done, now I am hungry to the point to be able to eat a whole boar in the middle of forenoon…

  14. So sorry to hear that, PBMom. My condolences.

    So great to see Ashleigh again! But not one evil deed the whole afternoon? I’m disappointed. And after those pictures, hungry.

  15. Happy Birthday Rob!

    Okay, how do you eat so much? I could never be your wingman…haven’t got the appetite for it, although the food does look great. I could really go for the tortilla soup.

    @PBMom – sorry to hear of your friend’s passing. We all need to be more cognizant of our short time, don’t we?

  16. So is Ashleigh getting married? Or has she already gotten married?
    I think I might make you something this year with Photoshop…but….if I ever sent you a present where would I send it?

    Cheers, Chev

  17. Coucou! comment allez vous? Moi très bien je reviens d”une semaine dans ma famille, ça faisait très longtemps que je ne l’ai avait pas vu, ça fait plaisir 🙂 ! En passant je suis tombé malade mais bon c’est pas grave.

    N’ayanr aucune conexion internet je suis désolé je n’ai pas pu fêter votre anniversaire, mais comme on dit en France mieux vaut tard que jamais 😉 alors JOYEUX ANNIVERSAIRE!!!! 🙂 Pleins de bonheur pour vous!

    Gros bisou,

  18. The best part of you being back in Vancouver? Ashleigh’s back in the blog. Agree with the raisons. And still wrapping my brain around the idea of an app to find roach coaches in a city. Ok, ok, FANCY roach coaches, but still….
    When I break down and pick up a smartphone, got to remember that app. Or at least find an equivelent for some cities a bit closer to home. Be fun seeing how the other 45 hold up to the taste test. Thanks for sharing, though it would be even better if you could manage to somehow post the scents and tastes of the dishes….ahh, the limitations of 21st century technology….

  19. Happy Birthday to Rob!! And nice to see Ashleigh and to see all the food pictures. Hope everyone has a nice weekend!!

  20. A few stargate questions:

    by now in Stargate, the Tau’ri must have built new ships (either 304 or a new class). What would you call those ships?

    Last we knew, the Sun Tzu was driffting in space and activly venting atmosphere. The Apollo was limmited to sublight engines and was a month away from the nearest gate. What happend to the Sun Tzu after that, did they utilize a Self-destruct, use the weapons on Apollo to destroy it, or is the Sun Tzu possibly rescued and repaired by the Tau’ri?

  21. @PBMom: “Glad the dog is doing better but geez, the teeth! What is it about teeth and the blog posters lately? Hope you aren’t in too much pain and Monday comes faster than you know.” I think we need a tooth fairy. 🙂 Or an exorcist, perhaps? Happily, no pain (already had a root canal in that one, too), but it’s going to mean another implant, I’m afraid. Hey, at least the dogs are all well and happy today! Thanks for your kind words, much appreciated!

  22. So glad you’re back in Vancouver and keeping us abreast of the Van culinary scene.

  23. WOW that is quite the impressive selection. If I make it out West next Spring I will have to check that out.

    With your mild weather do they operate year round? Here in Nova Scotia the food truck season runs from late April/early May to late October. Even tho they do serve pretty good food the menu is limited to hotdogs, sausage, Fish, Poutine & French Fries.

  24. HI Mr M!

    And all here.

    Happy Birthday to Mr C!! And an early Happy B’day to you Mr M!

    Great to see Nadine on the blog!! She rocks!!

    Also, the return of Ashleigh, Lawren and The Maestro : Mark Savela!!

    Lovin’ the pics.

    Best from Ireland.


  25. Joe as I sit here eating my can of chili (with beans) I suddenly hate you. But God bless Akemi and anyone else who can keep up with your culinary exploits. I know I couldn’t. That dog is the cutest little thing. Happy Birthday Mr. Cooper!

  26. Food trucks! Very cool. We don’t have those where I live beyond the hot dog vendor that haunts the streets from 12am-3am on weekends.

    Ashleigh’s puppy is so cute!!

  27. L’Eau is adorable, oh, and good to see Ashleigh again — yay! This time ALL the food looks yummy and I would try it. As I’m a picky eater, that is high praise. I agree that I do not know how you can eat everything mentioned here in a single afternoon without hurting yourself Joe. Take care.

    BTW, happy birthday Mr. Cooper! Wishing you many, many more.

    I have just read Old Man’s War and was surprised at the profanity and graphic nature of some fighting scenes, but liked it very much thank you. I am currently reading The Ghost Brigades, the OMW sequel. Mr. Scalzi is a very enjoyable writer to read. Descriptive, humorous, inventive and more.

    Back to the book!


  28. Oh gosh, I had not seen that last picture of Ashleigh with L’Eau! That’s got to be one of the cutest EVER. 🙂

  29. Hopefully, Akemi, Ashleigh, and Lawren will do a better job of keeping up next time. If not, I may have to start interviewing for new back-up.
    i bet your readers here are wondering where to send in their applications.

    i’m a female with a (usually) large appetite, but the 5 food trucks a day might be too much for me. maybe consider starting out earlier and allow some time to walk around and digest in between?

  30. oooh, darling little dear doggie!

    My tummy hurts just from the idea of that much food! That cookie… mmmm. Sigh. I had green tea and two pecan sandies for supper.

    Teeth? Yeah, I have a root canal scheduled for the 26th. I got a temporary crown back in June, had to put off getting the new crown until after I got out of the hospital from the infected cat bite. It never sat right, after Burning Man I had it adjusted a couple times, went through yet another course of antibiotics for the inflamed gum … turns out the tooth, which had a root canal in the 80s, needs another one! Something about the post deep in the roots. The gum has hurt, but I’ve only had a toothache recently. Weird, dull jaw ache, because the tooth has no nerves in it. But the socket, and I, are irritated beyond belief. Yeah, teeth, Oh yay.

  31. Happy Birthday to Rob!! Thanks Joe for sharing these great pictures, and I enjoyed your food patrol. What fun!. Such a cute puppy Ashleigh has.

  32. Wow…I am so jealous of your variety of food wonders…and of course the friends and squishable dogs. It all certainly makes me smile. I’ve missed your wonderful stories and pictures.

    I love your little family. You are a wonderful man to show what true love of animals is all about. They are family…I love seeing them and your friends pups too.

    Best to you Joe….

  33. Just got back from Thailand the other day. Some great chinese food in the aptly locally named district of Bangkok. Will the mobile kitches still be there if I make a food tour in YVC this November?

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