Thursday, March 21, 2013

Pgh Taco Truck (Mobile)

"Americano" Taco with Angus Ground Beef, Cheddar Jack, and Truck-made Salsa at Pgh Taco Truck
The "Americano": Angus Ground Beef, Cheddar Jack, Truckmade Salsa

If you are what you eat, then any minute now I just might turn into a taco!

I have said before that I didn't used to like tacos, but the excellent taco shops that popped up recently in Pittsburgh have changed my mind.

The newcomer to the taco scene is James Rich's Pgh Taco Truck, which officially opened for business in January, and it has quickly converted me from being an occasional taco fan to quite the taco fanatic. Now, as a matter of full disclosure, James is one of my best friends, so I realize my enthusiasm may be biased. But, my stomach doesn't lie. I said I never used to like tacos before. Now, I actually crave James' tacos, and I give myself pretty much every excuse to stop by his truck for one of his latest inventions. Still not convinced? Ask one of the many people who have been willing to wait more than an hour in line for James' tacos!

And what creative inventions they are! Korean BBQ steak with kimchi; beer braised pork with pineapple salsa; butternut squash with smoky salsa; curried organic potato with red peppers, spinach, and name it. On some occasions he has offered exotic meats like ostrich and wild boar paired with pumpkin butter, while the Lenten season has brought with it fish options like flounder with guacamole and cherry tomato. The menu changes daily, though some of the favorites are always or frequently featured. In addition to delicious flavor combinations, James also carefully sources his ingredients from local shops like Marty's Market, Clarion Farms, and Greek Gourmet, ensuring that the quality of his tacos is always top-notch.

For now, due to restrictive mobile food truck laws in the City of Pittsburgh, Pgh Taco Truck can most often be found in the private parking lot of my favorite coffee shop, Coffee Buddha, which works out just perfectly for me. It also regularly ventures out to its other local small business partners in Braddock (Ink Division), South Side (Commonwealth Press), the Strip District (Bar Marco), and Oakland, and new vending locales are always being planned. Like the menu, the operating hours varies day-to-day, so it is best to follow the truck's whereabouts on Twitter or Facebook. In addition, exemplifying the collaborative spirit of Pittsburgh's chefs, James has cooked with other local chefs, and is also instrumental in organizing the North Hills Food Truck Roundup, which appears to be turning into a monthly event at Coffee Buddha.

Being a friend of James', I was privileged to witness every behind-the-scene step of making this food truck dream of his a reality: from the inception of the idea, the acquisition of the truck in Denver, the kitchen installation in Indiana, the purchase of the solar panels that provide power, the design and planning, the heart and soul, the blood and sweat, the excitement and anxiety, the ups and downs... While you may not have knowledge of any of this, you can certainly taste the hard work that goes into this labor of love. James is not making tacos out of a truck for the wealth and glory, or because he needed a job. He is making tacos because he loves it, and he is damn good at it.

And that, my friends, is why you need to go enjoy a taco or ten from the Pgh Taco Truck.

The Pgh Taco Truck at Coffee Buddha
Pgh Taco Truck + Coffee Buddha = Marriage made in heaven!

The Pgh Taco Truck kitchen
Inside the Pgh Taco Truck kitchen

Beer Braised Pork Taco with Pineapple Salsa at Pgh Taco Truck
Beer Braised Pork with Pineapple Salsa

Jerk Chicken Taco with Avocado Cream at Pgh Taco Truck
Jerk Chicken with Avocado Cream

Korean BBQ Beef Taco with Kimchi at Pgh Taco Truck
Korean BBQ Steak with Kimchi 

Curried Organic Potato Taco with Spinach, Red Peppers, and Feta Cheese at Pgh Taco Truck
Curried organic potatoes, red peppers, spinach, and feta

Flounder Taco with Guacamole and Cherry Tomato at Pgh Taco Truck
Flounder with Guacamole and Cherry Tomatoes

Braised Pork Taco with Coleslaw at Pgh Taco Truck
Pork with Coleslaw

Ostrich Taco with Caramelized Onion, Jalapeno, and Pumpkin Butter at Pgh Taco Truck
Ostrich with Caramelized Onion and Pumpkin Butter

Butternut Squash Taco at Pgh Taco Truck
Butternut Squash with Smoky Salsa

The Pgh Taco Truck Mascot
The Taco Truck mascot? :)

Truck info:
Pgh Taco Truck
(412) 841-9234
On the web:
On Facebook:
On Twitter:

Pgh Taco Truck on Urbanspoon