Pssssst…Utah has a secret.
We have really good food here.
Don’t get me wrong- there’s really BAD food here, too. Utah is not exactly the culinary center of the universe for a reason. Chain restaurants are everywhere. But from meals on the cheap to a butter-knife steak, there are nuggets of fabulousness- if you know where to look.
Salt Lake is dotted with awesome taco carts. With a sizable Hispanic population, these tacos are the real deal. I’m talking about the little guys, maybe a buck or two apiece. But partly due to food permit laws and party because, well, it’s Utah, we’ve been slow to the food truck craze.
After decades of Mr. Ice Cream Man rolling around our neighborhoods with frozen treats, why did this concept take so long to catch on? Maybe they just weren’t in the same cities I was. I think my first experience with good food from a truck was five years ago, before my brother’s wedding on Maui.
But when I think of the food truck mecca, it’s Portland, Oregon. They are everywhere. Every kind of cuisine is represented. And in a foodie town like Portlandia, these are no joke- we’re talking really good food. When we visited Portland on our monster road trip last summer, there was a converted Betty on every corner, selling something delicious from inside.
I recently learned that on Thursdays during the summer, SLC’s food trucks gather downtown at lunchtime. Clearly, John and I were going to have to investigate. I’d only heard of two trucks here in recent years- the Better Burger Truck was relatively new, and the Chow Truck was established and apparently delish. We made a deal to share everything and order from multiple trucks. I’m so lucky to have a guy who loves food as much as I do.
Sushi! Wood-fired pizzas! Burgers! Sub sandwiches! Peruvian food! Asian fusion cuisine! And CUPCAKES! All in mobile little vans or teeny trailers. I had no idea Salt Lake had so many food trucks. We made the rounds, reading the menus carefully. Our mouths were watering at the options, and deciding what to order was suddenly extraordinarily important. We had to get this right!
After some serious consultation, we divided and conquered. My last stop was the cupcake truck. How adorable is this?
After gathering our purchases, John and I were both pretty excited. We felt like this guy!
We arrived after the lunch rush, so some trucks had run out of things. It made it easier to order, narrowing down our options. Our spread included a taco (chicken), two sliders (beef and tofu), and root vegetable chips from the Chow Truck, a cheeseburger from the Better Burger Truck, and a couple of treats (red velvet and carrot cake) from So Cupcake.
John is simultaneously overjoyed, anxious, ravenous, and impatient in that photo. He’s ready to eat.
We shared everything, getting a taste of all of the different flavors. We said very little, other than variations on the word, “Yummmmmmmmm.” Our dining location was a shaded little table on the grassy area of the Gallivan Center. Newly remodeled, this outdoor amphitheater and events area is tucked right into downtown Salt Lake City and is home to some awesome concerts under the stars and wintertime ice-skating. Today, it was a perfect urban oasis for a lunch date.
The verdict? Well, we couldn’t try everything this go-around, but everything we tasted was delicious. A slight breeze, 82 degrees and sunny, lounging in the shade with my best friend- those things probably made the food taste even better.
Bonus: John said, “We should do this every week!” I agreed. Guess who has a lunch date next Thursday?
WITH A CUPCAKE.