Our weekly bite explores the city's food trucks, one at a time, highlighting our favorite mobile dishes and snacks.
The Truck: Little Green Cyclo
The Cuisine: Sustainable/Organic Vietnamese Street Food
Specialty Items: Garlic noodles, bahn mi, rice & rice noodle plates
Worth the Wait in Line? At peak lunch time, a total 15 minutes from the end of the line to food in hand.
While exploring the food truck world, it becomes clear that there is a divide of expectations that make it tough for the vendors. On one side, are people who demand big and cheap food to come from the truck, the mobile equivalent of a fast food joint, slinging just enough salt and grease to make it tasty. On the other, are those who want the convenience and novelty, but also expect high quality ingredients and food pedigree. Not that Yelp is an institution of good sense or advice, but those dual desires at odds are very much on display there, in particular with Little Green Cyclo.
Using organic ingredients, Niman beef, and Mary's chicken, it appeals to those looking for a higher-end experience on wheels. The Shaking Beef Garlic Noodles ($11), one of the most expensive dishes I've purchased at a food truck to date, is so rich with butter and truffle oil that it demands to be shared. Those looking for a deal find the price outrageous and compare it to little hole in the wall spots in the Tenderloin, but it's hard to argue with the level of quality ingredients (the truffle oil being the exception), and if you like garlic noodles, it's a good dish. While the beef was juicy and the noodles have good chew with plenty of garlic, the richness overwhelmed me as a solo diner.
The housemade Sweet Potato Tater Tots ($3), though, are the common ground where every diner will find happiness. The wonderful little sack of tots are fat, golden nuggets, crisp and relatively greaseless, with a choice of dipping sauces. The pineapple-agave one we tried added a touch of aioli richness with just enough sweetness to accent the tots. Perhaps even more impressive was that, despite feeling like the whole fried-sweet-potato-thing is played out, we couldn't stop eating these. With a texture firmer than mashed potatoes, yet softer than potato tater tots, the starchy skin crackles and gives way to a perfect mix of salty and sweet. It's something everyone can agree on.