I write to you today as a former food truck skeptic. I’d eat every doubtful word that ever crossed my lips if there were any room left in my stomach after my Saturday night chow-down at the grand opening of the Cedars Food Park at Dallas Heritage Village.
Eighteen of the city’s most popular food trucks gathered in the clearing in Dallas’ first city park to feed hundreds of hungry patrons, most of whom were already avid food truck diners. Folk band The Sicklies played tunes best enjoyed from one of the many rocking chairs on front porches of 19th century homes. I chose to enjoy them from the front porch of the saloon, staffed by the bartenders of Lee Harvey’s, with a pilsner from Deep Ellum Brewing Company in one hand and a pulled pork po’ boy from Rockn’ Rick’s in the other. The classic combination of tender pulled pork flavored by a tangy, sweet barbecue sauce and dill pickle chips in a buttery toasted roll changed the way I will think of mobile cuisine. I won’t say it was the best pulled pork I’ve had in Dallas, but it was one tasty sandwich.
Jump if you love mobile munchies.
When you go hungry to a park with essentially eighteen different restaurants all serving a full menu, there are no easy decisions about what to have for dinner. Menus ranged from Cajun, to Vietnamese, cheesesteaks to sushi, and back to tacos. That’s why I didn’t bring one empty stomach. Oh, no. I brought four. My food truck sampling team took the park by storm.
Red beans and rice from Cajun Tailgator’s were so-so, and would have been better if the sausage hadn’t been so scarce. It’s hard to knock fried bread but the beignets, though generously doused in powdered sugar, were just ok. My grilled cheese sandwich from Ruthie’s Rolling Café knocked my cheddar-loving socks off. I composed my build-your-own soul soothing sandwich of sharp cheddar, ham, caramelized onions, dill pickle slices, and something called slop sauce (that they were mum about the contents of) on sourdough bread, grilled until slightly crispy on the outside and not so overloaded with toppings that is wasn’t fluffy on the inside. This was heaven in a paper boat, accompanied by a dill pickle wedge.
From there, we decided to hit up The Butcher’s Son for a sampler of sliders on brioche rolls. The Dead Elvis was a hit with the salty, gooey combination of Nutella, peanut butter and bacon, though I could swear The King’s favorite had some banana in it. The Mac-N-Beefy slider with its braised beef, macaroni and cheese, barbecue sauce and cheddar, was all novelty and not enough flavor. The beef was a chewy contrast to the mushy mac and cheese. The barbecue sauce was undetectable, and the unmelted cheddar formed a smooth surface for the macaroni to use as an escape hatch. It was a bit of a textural disaster. The Southern Hospitality was a winner with chicken chipotle jack sausage, onion, barbecue sauce, and cheddar. The chipotle chicken sausage had a great spicy flavor without all the grease of typical smoked sausage.
Dessert options were plentiful, but we couldn’t pass up a chance to try Coolhaus. It’s worth mentioning that when you’ve shared the same ice cream sandwich four friends and there are no spoons involved, they become family. With so many options, we decided to try two gourmet ice cream sandwiches. We had them both smashed between chocolate chocolate chip cookies, since cookie options were dwindling by this time. The browned butter and bacon ice cream was a little light on bacon flavor. Between the bacon, butter and cream, Coolhaus managed to create an ice cream that is actually greasy. The salted caramel, however, was absolutely delicious. The cookies were chewy enough that they didn’t send the ice cream running for the other side when you bite into them, but crunchy enough not to get soggy when the ice cream starts to melt, and they just got better the more ice cream they absorbed. This wasn’t just ice cream, this was a bonding experience that has the potential to end wars, or at least diffuse minor disputes between neighbors.
The Cedars Food Park at Dallas Heritage Village will be open Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. and Thursday from 5:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. The Food Truck Finder will be your best bet for keeping up with which trucks will be there and when. If you haven’t jumped aboard the food truck band wagon just yet, it’s only going to take one visit to the Cedars Food Park before you’re hooked.