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The Definitive LA Food Truck Guide

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We’ve put together a long-overdue update of our classic guide to LA food trucks and the many different cuisines they occupy, from tacos to pizza to artisan coffee. While some old favorites still stand (Kogi, The Urban Oven, Coolhaus), there’s a healthy group of new additions to the list, including Guerrilla Tacos and the new NoMad truck, which is teasing the debut of the beloved New York hotel in Los Angeles (they’re scheduled to open in late 2017).

Comfort Food

  • The Grilled Cheese Truck

    The Grilled Cheese Truck

    One of the most popular trucks at The Brig, lines here tend to be long—and justified by the intense (and delicious) grilled cheese sandwiches.

  • Dogtown Dogs

    Dogtown Dogs

    The California Dog, with avocado, arugula, basil aioli, tomatoes, and fried onions is pretty much not your average hot dog.

  • Free Range

    Free Range

    Free Range is indisputably one of LA’s best food trucks, and while everything on their menu is great, it’s their Original Free Range LA Chicken Sandwich that made them famous. Their tempura-fried chicken is unbelievably juicy and flavorful, and their Portuguese buns are the perfect width and density. Unlike so many other food trucks in LA, Free Range has a consistent daily schedule, so you always know where to find them—we like to hunt them down at the adorable Melrose Place farmer’s market on Sundays (just make sure to arrive early, before the line gets too crazy).

  • The NoMad Truck

    The NoMad Truck

    A roaming extension of the New York restaurant of the same name, food trucks really don’t get more gourmet than this one. Chef Daniel Humm, co-owner of the lauded Eleven Madison Park (and NoMad), works with a rotating roster of different iconic LA chefs on the mobile NoMad’s menu. The truck’s first partnership was with chef Roy Choi of Kogi and Commissary, who dreamt up a chicken dumpling burger with shrimp, chili, and ginger for their menu in the fall. While you won’t always see that masterpiece on the menu, you can expect to find their notorious chicken burger, elevated seasonal salad offerings, and milk and honey soft serve.

  • The Lobos Truck

    The Lobos Truck

    Any food truck that has a whole menu section dedicated to ‘wachos’ is in a league of its own. (For the uninitiated, wachos are waffle fries with nacho toppings). This fleet of trucks offers some seriously decadent American comfort food using quality meats and organic produce—you can get anything from creamy mac n’ cheese with their spicy diablo sauce to a chicken, bacon, and ranch salad, to a beef burger with garlic aioli and cheddar on a Brioche bun.

    Baby's Badass Burgers

    Baby’s Badass Burgers

    This truck has been on the LA food-truck scene since 2009, and they’re still selling out of their gourmet half-pound burgers as fast as they can grill them. We recommend the Cover Girl, a turkey burger with Swiss, sautéed onions, lettuce, tomato, and “Baby’s Special Sauce”.

Fusion

  • Pico House

    Pico House

    The chefs behind Pico House are all roommates, and the truck gets its name from the moniker they’ve lent to their LA pad. Born of a desire to find healthful, satisfying food, their mobile collaboration serves up whole grain bowls made with meats, veggies, house-made pickles, and fresh herbs. If that sounds uninspired, consider their Robertson Short Rib bowl: sautéed broccoli stems, Swiss chard, pickled red onion, and tomato chutney—plus, of course, the short rib and a pasilla pepper and broccoli purée—sit atop their mix of ancient grains, which includes farro, barley, wheat berries, and rye.

  • Bowled & Beautiful

    Bowled & Beautiful

    If you’re looking to come away from a sea of food trucks with something moderately healthy, this truck is for you. While Bowled & Beautiful still offers a variety of indulgent comfort foods (blondie bars, truffle fries, and tater tots are just a few), our favorite from their menu is the Barbie Bowl: greens with brown rice, black beans, grilled chicken breast, corn relish, and their creamy chipotle sauce. Pro tip: ask for a fried egg or an avocado on top.

  • Arroy

    Arroy

    This long-standing truck is best known for their Thai fusion and excellent taste in music (you can expect Kendrick Lamar and A to blare from the speakers). Our favorite orders are the Spicy Street Corn (insane) and Chicken and Beef Brisket Thai Sliders.

  • Kogi

    Kogi

    Food trucks are a staple of LA’s cultural identity. While they may be popping up in every major city across the world, it all started in Los Angeles. More specifically, it started with the Mexican food trucks that drove to construction sites, until the concept was revolutionized by Roy Choi and his Kogi truck, where he invented a hybrid of Korean and Mexican deliciousness (think kimchi on tacos instead of salsa).

Pizza

Seafood

  • Kim-Bob Rex Sushi Burrito

    Kim-Bob Rex Sushi Burrito

    These guys are a serious favorite at #goophq, and one that’s staunchly defended, as there are other sushi burrito trucks in the city that don’t execute the concept nearly as well. Our order is the Best Friend with spicy mayo on the side and wrapped in nori.

  • Cousin's Maine Lobster

    Cousin’s Maine Lobster

    Founded by actual cousins Jim and Sabin, who both come from Maine but now live full-time in Los Angeles. The organization has expanded in big ways since the early days, now boasting trucks in more than 10 cities, a brick-and-mortar on Santa Monica, and mail-order lobster feasts available through their website. That said, the LA trucks are the originals. Lobster is shipped in fresh from Maine, and rolls are served both warm and cold (we actually like them equally—it kind of depends on your mood and taste).

Tacos

  • Taco Zone

    Taco Zone

    While this Echo Park staple is considered a truck because it’s technically located inside a truck, it only has one location: In the parking lot of an Echo Park Von’s. It’s best known as a late-night spot (it’s always crowded on Friday and Saturday nights with people on their way home from bars), but locals come here for dinner, too. The al pastor and carne asada are both great—as is the horchata, if that’s your thing—but the local order of choice is the suadero, which is like a brisket. Get a generous helping of the fresh salsa, which might be the best part of the entire operation.

  • Guerilla Tacos

    Guerrilla Tacos

    With a location rotation that includes all of the city’s best coffee shops ( Alfred, Blue Bottle, Dinosar, and more), Guerrilla is widely considered to be one of the best trucks in LA, no matter who you ask. Chef Wes Avila’s approach brings the complex flavor profiles he honed at restaurants like L’Auberge and Le Comptoir to the humble taco. The menu changes seasonally, and Avila bases his recipes on whatever’s at the farmers’ market, but the sweet potato taco (he was kind enough to share the recipe with us after our Road to Table event in LA) is always on the menu—for good reason. Make sure you have at least one on your ticket.

Coffee & Dessert

  • Coolhaus

    Coolhaus

    This truck is a staple, in other words you can’t talk about food trucks in LA without mentioning Coolhaus. Here, you can expect the best handmade ice cream sandwiches served in crazy-amazing combinations. Each truck is stocked with at least eight ice cream flavors at a time, like avocado sea salt, balsamic fig and mascarpone, beer and pretzels, and coconut negroni. At least five cookie flavors are always available, too: imagine everything from pumpkin pecan whoopies to gluten-free salted caramel macarons to pedestrian-by-comparison chocolate chip. Also of note: the sandwiches are served in edible wrappers.

  • CVT

    CVT

    Served out of a 50-year-old truck named Charlie, CVT offers soft-serve the way it was meant to be served—simple. Your only choices are vanilla, chocolate, or a twist of both, with an option of added sprinkles or sea salt. But you only really need two topping options when the ice cream is this good.

  • Van Leeuwen

    Van Leeuwen

    Whether you’ve had Van Leeuwen on the streets of Brooklyn or parked up on Abbot Kinney, it’s instantly recognizable by its sunny yellow truck. They’re particularly famous for their vegan ice cream, a combination of cashew milk, coconut milk, cocoa butter, and carob beans that’s incredibly creamy and indulgent (and a major victory for the dairy-sensitive). They’ve got a few locations now, but you can always track their many food trucks on their website.

  • Warbler Coffee

    Warbler Coffee

    Okay, so technically this isn’t a food truck—it’s a tricycle. Headquartered in Santa Monica, this direct trade, micro-roast coffee company operates out of a three-wheeled vehicle outfitted with a brewing and kegging system that produces top-notch nitro cold brew. You can usually catch them somewhere in Santa Monica or Downtown, and they’re also available for private booking.

Bonus

  • India Jones Chow Truck

    India Jones Chow Truck

    This Indian restaurant on wheels specializes in frankies: roti-wrapped lamb, paneer, or mushrooms prepared with chopped onions and tamarind chutney. Of course, just because it’s a food truck doesn’t mean you have to feel limited to food you can eat sans cutlery. Chef Sumant Pardal’s menu also includes a variety of excellent curries—we’re partial to the saag paneer and the veggie coconut offerings.

  • Vchos

    Vchos

    Vchos mobile pupuseria—named after Central American slang for “young people”—is in the business of amazing Salvadoran food with a twist. Made from scratch daily—and naturally gluten-free—the pupusas are stuffed with standard choices ranging from the loroco and cheese to chicken and spinach, and are served with pickled cabbage and salsa. Also of note: their caramelized Colombian plantains, which come with mashed beans and house-made salvi cream.

  • Tumaca

    Tumaca

    The two-person team behind this relative newcomer serves up an amazing Spanish menu, usually from in front of local coffee shops all over town. The main draw is their Barcelona-style pan tumaca sandwiches, which are prepared with freshly baked toasted ciabatta bread, tomato, and extra virgin olive oil as the base. Fillings range from Spanish serrano ham with caramelized onions, roasted green peppers, and salsa, to an eggs and chorizo offering, to free-range pork loin with manchego cheese and piquillo peppers.

Recipes from goop x Cadillac LA

  • Coolhaus Dirty Mint Chip Ice Cream

    Coolhaus Dirty Mint Chip Ice Cream

    Coolhaus’s signature ice cream is the perfect base for all kinds of flavors, but mint chocolate chip is one of their most famous options. The fresh mint lends a right-out-of-the-garden taste that’s warmed and tempered by brown sugar.

    Get Recipe
  • NoMad Tomato and Peach Salad

    NoMad Tomato and Peach Salad

    The multiple elements of this salad make it seem difficult, but the most complicated thing you have to do is just roast the peaches (which, particularly with the addition of the tin foil, is both easy to execute and clean up). It’s definitely one of those dishes you can rely on for impressing guests.

    Get Recipe
  • Guerrilla Sweet Potato Tacos

    Guerrilla Sweet Potato Tacos

    Based on a comfort dish he cherished as a young kid, sweet potato tacos are a staple at Wes Avila’s truck. The contrast of warm, soft potatoes with fresh, tart feta and crunchy corn nuts makes for flavor that’s complex but still feels like comfort food. We love how you can feel Wes’s passion for the dish even in his ingredient list.

    Get Recipe
  • Jon &  Vinny's LA Woman

    Jon & Vinny’s LA Woman

    This is the perennial favorite at Jon & Vinny’s—straightforward, salty, and so satisfying. Such a simple recipe relies on the quality of the ingredients, so don’t be afraid to splurge on good burrata and olive oil. If you don’t have time to make pizza dough from scratch, check and see if your local pizza joint will sell it to you.

    Get Recipe
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