In the past year, I’ve resigned myself to a few truths about myself and my dining tastes and behavior.
I will never get sick of quinoa.
If I start eating roasted and salted cashews, I won’t be able to stop.
And I don’t like eating food from a truck.
I’ve done a pretty stand-up job of avoiding the food truck madness since I last pontificated on the subject in November. I haven’t tried the Flying Pig Truck even though it’s super cute and super pink. I haven’t chased after the Grilled Cheese Truck for another taste of the atrociously good cheesy mac and rib sandwich I sampled this past March. And I didn’t attend the LA Street Fest in February even though everyone in the LA dining community seemed to be going and Chef Ludo Lefebvre was there frying up his famous chicken and my friends shared food and conversation with Jonathan Gold and then told me all about it in explicit detail later. (I was only a little bit jealous.)
Even with the launch of some decidedly respectable trucks with decidedly respectable eats (like the Dim Sum Truck), I’ve still maintained the position that I don’t like waiting in lines for food I have to eat on the sidewalk without a glass of wine or proper set of dining utensils. I wasn’t going to rob myself of a proper dining experience – even for the most delicious of fare.
Of course, if there was a way to combine the two – trucks and comfortable eating conditions – maybe, just, maybe I’d take another bite of the food truck scene…
And maybe, just maybe, I might like it a little tiny bit…
This past Sunday afforded me the perfect opportunity to have my cake and eat it too. I can think of no better way to experience a food truck than at a Rosé tasting party hosted at a friend’s house and catered by the World Fare Bustaurant. No chasing, no lines, no stains on my dress from eating on a curb – only delicious pink wine and soul-satisfying food.
With sun streaming over my friend’s backyard, chilled bottles of Chateau La Rame Rose and Chateau Simone Palette Rouge at the ready, and a patio table covered with bowls of fresh fruit, I was primed and poised for my first truly enjoyable food truck experience.
At first glance, the World Fare Bustaurant manned by Chef Andi Van Willigan, who has worked with Gordon Ramsay and Michael Mina, is not an obvious choice for an upscale wine tasting party. There is nothing particularly ritzy about the bustaurant’s signature Bunny Chows that are inspired by South African street worker food. Hollowed out loaves of bread are judiciously stuffed with a choice of either chicken curry, Worcestershire braised short rib with horseradish crème fraiche, barbecue braised pork with sweet corn jalepeño relish, and vegetarian chili ($4). Even when eaten with a fork on the upper deck of the bus where there is seating, this is potentially messy grub. The type of thing that doesn’t make for a dainty or light lunch, and doesn’t necessarily pair well with a glass of sparkling Rosé.
But the supple shreds of short rib are Piedmontese, the chicken in the popular chicken curry bunny is organic “jidori,” and the mac & cheese balls ($3) are infused with a kiss of truffle. It’s not high class, but it is high quality – the type of fare that can bring opposing worlds like “the wine crowd” and “the street food crowd” together in perfect harmony.
While I typically gravitate toward lighter lunches like salads (note: World Fare does offer salads on their Blackboard Specials menu), I was smitten with the short rib bunny, truffle macaroni & cheese balls and the salty fries served with either mustard crème fraiche, spicy remoulade or BBQ sauce ($3). With wine glasses firmly in hand, those in my vicinity attacked the spicy remoulade dipping sauce in a manner that some might reserve for a sporting event or soccer viewing party. I similarly attacked the freshly baked chocolate chip and pecan cookie – one of the better versions I’ve had in recent memory. I was less enamored with the overtly sweet barbecue braised pork bunny and the similarly over-the-top butterscotch bread pudding with butterscotch pod de crème that I also had the opportunity to sample.
While I am still not completely at ease with the food trucks (or even bustaurants serving Piedemontese beef and really good chocolate chip cookies), in this setting, it was a welcome dining experience. On Sunday, two very different worlds collided and that world was a very pleasant place for me reside for an afternoon. Especially since I didn’t spill a single drop of food or wine on my striped Anthropologie summer dress.