Over 20 food trucks surrounded the parking lot down by the Navy Yard this past Friday night for the season’s final D.C. Truckeroo, a monthly food truck event, of the season. While it was a festive gathering featuring live music and tons of gourmet options, the festival also struck a solemn note, as it raised money for the families of the Navy Yard shooting victims.
My friend and I arrived with the intent to make the most of our experience and indulge in both dinner and dessert. After circling the parking lot for half an hour and taking in the plethora of options, we opted to divide and conquer. My friend stopped by the BBQ Bus for a classic pulled pork sandwich while I headed to the Tapas Truck right next to it. Her sandwich came up first, a mound of pulled pork seeped in a generous helping of smoky sweet barbecue sauce ladled atop a scoop of crunchy coleslaw and sprinkled with red onions. While BBQ Bus outdid itself with the classic pulled pork, it decided to shake things up with the baked beans, and the result was not quite the same. With a little too much spice, the baked beans weren’t exactly the tried-and-true classic we were expecting, and ultimately my friend decided to pass on finishing them.
The Tapas Truck had a longer wait. The menu offered six tantalizing options, ranging from a cone of shrimp served on a bed of garlic fries and drizzled with a sweet, spicy sauce to pulled pork sliders coated in a thick honey mustard sauce to beer-battered corn nuggets tossed in a cilantro-lime sauce for those seeking a vegetarian option. While its tagline “Authentic Spanish Cuisine,” might have been a bit of a stretch — everything just seemed to be fried — the sauces were rich and flavorful. I went for the shrimp and garlic fries, and even though a combination of the sweetness and deep-frying largely obscured the taste of the shrimp, the sauce was amazing and had a nice kick to it. I didn’t even mind that the sauce caused the fries to meld together at the bottom of my cone.
We hit up the Sinplicity ice cream truck for dessert. I have to give them an A+ for presentation. They offered a menu with a variety of promising flavors, from snickerdoodle to Belgian chocolate, without being overwhelming. You could choose between a scoop of ice cream accented with a piece of biscotti or an ice cream sandwich with homemade ice cream stuffed in a French macaroon. Despite the mouthwatering sandwiches, I decided to go for a scoop of ice cream because I really wanted to sample the snickerdoodle ice cream, and because the ice cream sandwiches are pre-made, you can’t select your flavors. The ice cream was surprisingly lackluster. It surpassed what you could get at the grocery store, but it lacked that rich, creamy taste that comes with a scoop of truly exceptional homemade ice cream. As a result, I ordered again, this time a scoop of peanut butter truffle ice cream. I was looking forward to it and although it was decent, it still had a relatively weak flavor. The price was also pretty steep — $6 for a single scoop — especially since the ice cream was generally disappointing and the scoops were relatively small. Maybe I’m an ice cream snob, but I’d say you’re better off walking down to Wisconsin and spending your money at Thomas Sweet.
Because we didn’t want to leave Truckaroo on a sour note, we stopped at Curbside Cupcakes on our way out. They outdid themselves on the presentation and had a great range of flavors from chocolate salted caramel to pumpkin walnut. I ended up with a cookies and cream cupcake that, while not quite light and fluffy, tasted homemade with crushed Oreos tossed into the batter. It was topped with a dollop of sweet, sugary icing and a mini Oreo cookie. I do have a disclaimer, though: While I loved the sugary icing — my only complaint was that there wasn’t quite enough — my friend described it as a sugar overload.
Even though the trucks didn’t all live up to my expectations, I’m making a return visit in the spring. The festival is a great experience and offers many different options for any food preferences and desires.