Thursday, July 9, 2009

Marination Mobile

Seattle street food is making a resurgence. Hungry nightlifers no longer have to choose between a cream cheese hot dog from a corner cart or the Taco Bell drive thru; serious options have arrived.

First, there's Skillet, an old airstream trailer that has been transformed into a gourmet kitchen on wheels. They offer high-end comfort food at incredibly reasonable prices. Their menus change but have included the likes of lemongrass-braised pork sammies, sardine salad, poutine and a grass-fed beef burger on brioche with cambozola cheese, bacon jam, arugula and hand-cut fries ($9). I haven't yet had the pleasure of tasting Skillet's food (they served a maple-braised Oregon pork belly with a fried egg and a cornmeal waffle for breakfast!!) but the reviews have been ridiculously good.

Then there's Maximus Minimus, a catering truck
in the shape of a gigantic pig parked at the corner of 2nd & Pike. There focus, unsurprisingly, is on pulled pork sandwiches with either a Maximus (spicy) or Minimus (sweet) saucy bent. Great reviews and is on my list of things to try.

Then this past Thursday, at the tail end of the Capitol Hill Art Walk, we had a second opportunity to try some curb food from the Marination Mobile, which successfully fuses Hawaiian and Korean
food with a taco truck concept. Most of the items contain deliciously marinated meat, although there are a few "sexy tofu" options. The frequent addition of kimchi and crunchy slaw make this fast food taste uncommonly fresh and, dare i say, healthy? Case in point: the Kaluha Kimchi Quesadilla contains kaluha pork, a bit of cheese and kimchi sandwiched between flour tortillas and topped with a fresh gremolata. Not too heavy and very digestible.

We also tried each of their meat-containing soft tacos - kalbi beef, spicy pork and miso ginger chicken - topped with fresh lime and slaw. They were all tasty, but the kalbi beef taco was exceptional (the sweet bulgogi-ish flavor was instantly addicting). Marination Mobile's kimchi fried rice bowl is also worth trying, especially after a few too many beers. It has a nice amount of oil, a dose of kimchi for digestion, choice of protein and, in my opinion, the cherry on top, a fried egg with an oozy yolk.

Seattle's food mobiles are quickly gaining popularity and loyal patronage, and it's easy to see why.

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