Get on Board: Denver Food Trucks
Happily, Denver’s on board the culinary trend that’s been sweeping urban culture for the past couple years, and the pickings are hardly slim—the Mile High City’s fleet of food trucks serves up eats from tacos to kebabs and cupcakes, proving that grub from a truck can rival fare from the finest kitchen. Plus, hit up the food-truck scene for lunch or a walk-by snack, and you’ll get to soak in the city sights and sounds while you sup. It all feels decidedly urban and hip.
Here are three of our favorite restaurants-on-wheels, but be sure to hit the streets and taste for yourself.
Serving up: Perfectly dense and crisped corn Venezuelan arepas stuffed with straightforward, delicious ingredients and topped with tangy (highly recommended) or spicy sauce
We’re hooked on: The “Vegan”—seasoned black beans, avocado and sweet plantains. The combination of savory (by way of beans), creamy (by way of avocado) and sweet (by way of plantains) is impeccable. Just be sure you have cash on hand, since this cart doesn’t accept credit cards
On top of that: The Quiero Arepas menu is entirely gluten-free (and features many local and organic ingredients), and the truck itself—dubbed the “Arepita”—runs on natural gas, boasting status as a low-emission vehicle through the Clean Energy Program
Serving up: Hot dogs and brats that defy all expectations of the genre (think “Alaska Reindeer Sausage,” “Southwest Buffalo” and “Louisiana Red Hot” dogs; there’s even a sans-meat option for vegetarians and vegans)
We’re hooked on: The “Elk Jalapeno Cheddar Brat”—Colorado-raised elk, mixed with diced jalapenos and cheddar cheese, and made perfect when topped with caramelized onions (we’re not the only ones addicted; this artisan sausage was recently featured on Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate”)
On top of that: Every Wednesday is “What the ##%$!! Wednesday” at Biker Jim’s. As if the regular menu wasn’t zesty enough, the hot-dog guru offers such specialty brats as Guinness beer brats, Hungarian sausages, pheasant—rattlesnake, even—for a hump-day kick
Serving up: Scoops of natural ice cream (throughout Denver and Boulder and beyond) in flavors with a surprising twist, like coconut rum, cardamom honey, lemon cream, and—for the dairy-averse—wild berry mint sorbet
We’re hooked on: Sea salt caramel ice cream—decadently savory and sweet—as well as the design of owner Jackie Cuyler’s truck: pink, white, blue, and cute as a button, it’ll put you right in the mood for a treat
On top of that: If you don’t feel like trekking all over the Front Range for your favorite scoops, just stave off cravings until Saturday, where the truck stays put at the Cherry Creek Farmers’ Market
WORD ON THE STREET
Tips for making the most of the food-truck scene:
Follow your favorite food trucks on Twitter for down-to-the-minute updates on their whereabouts. Denverstreetfood.com is the ultimate hub for information on the carts, and features a comprehensive list of mobile eateries with links to each truck’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
Find a fleet of trucks parked in Civic Center Park each week, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11 am to 2 pm, through September 20 during Civic Center EATS Outdoor Café. With outdoor umbrella-topped seating, views of the city skyline and an array of street eats to choose from, it’s the perfect way to while away a lunch hour (or two). Click here for more info.
Throwing a bash and need a caterer? Hire a food truck to roll in and open shop. Many of the Mile High’s street-food vendors are available to cater gatherings both large and small—and they’re an instant party-starter. To get started, go to denverstreetfood.com, click on “hire a food truck” and fill out the inquiry form.