I have to admit, I was a bit worried when my office moved to a new building recently. Sure, the new place is great — spacious, modern (built just for us, don’t you know), plenty of amenities, and ample parking. If it were a condo, I’d sell my house and move in posthaste. It’s even highly secure — you need a keycard to get in, and there’s a little man in a uniform to stand in the lobby and shake his head at you if you can’t get in.
Still, there was one concern: where the hell would we eat?
The old building was surrounded by restaurants. An Irish pub, a pizzeria, a Thai joint, even a microbrewery ‘n’ grill. Walk a little further, and there was Indian food, a burgeratorium, Chinese takeout, and more. A veritable cornucopia of artery-clogging goodness awaited us outside the walls of our corporate cubbyholes. On particularly desperate days, the onsite cafeteria provided a wide array of bland, rubbery foodlike substances. Culinary kings, we were.
Our new digs are, sadly, not so strategically situated. Sure, we’ve got an overpriced seafood restaurant across the street, for those times when we need to wine and dine visiting VIPs on the company dime.
(I will never be allowed to wine, nor dine, visiting VIPs on the company dime, by the way. Or on anyone else’s dime, for that matter. When important people visit, they lock me in a supply closet with a cheese sandwich and a pail to pee in. It’s something the business types around here call ‘risk management’.)
So if we’re not dropping thirty bucks on lobster thermidore brunches — and trust me, we’re not; I don’t even own the sort of pants it would take to meet that place’s dress code — what are we to do for food?
Enter ‘the trucks’.
“Who made it? When? And how? Are those peas? Was that a finger? Who knows?”
The trucks are our lunchtime loophole. These savory saviors show up right across the street at around ten in the morning, and serve our food intake needs well into the afternoon hours. People stream from blocks around to play ‘culinary roulette’ with the hot meals served from the back windows of these repurposed ice cream trucks. Do we know what we’re getting, exactly? No. Can we see the food being prepared? Hardly. Do the proprieters understand any English, outside of the names of their dishes and enough numbers to ask for exact change? It’s reasonably clear that they do not. In short, it’s a little slice of heaven right on our doorstep.
See, there’s something liberating about eating a ‘burrito’ handed to you by some stranger on the back of a dark shadowy truck. And if there’s more liberation in believing the warm foil-wrapped mass in your hand really is a burrito only because you pointed to a picture of a burrito-resembling object when you handed over your five bucks — well, I’ve been there, too. Three times a week, in fact. And the truth is, you feel as though if you can eat that and live through your afternoon status meeting, then you can survive anything. For chrissakes, you’re eating lunch off a truck! From some guy! Who made it? When? And how? Are those peas? Was that a finger? Who knows? You must be invincible!
The best part is, there’s not just one truck. Oh my, no. There are no less than four trucks in service, each with a different culinary specialty: the Asian truck, with curries and rice dishes; the Middle Eastern truck, serving falafel, gyros, and kebabs; the Mexican truck, offering the aforementioned burritos; and the Italian truck, with pizza and subs. Sure, they all start with the same mystery meat, and slather it with duck sauce, tabouli, tabasco, or marinara, respectively, before nuking and serving it up to us. But it feels like variety. And the illusion of lunch options is plenty good enough for me. The heartburn’s the same, regardless. Viva la vehicular cuisine!Permalink | 5 Comments