Sometimes the universe has a funny way of giving you a hug. The day I came to New York to find an apartment, that happened. I landed at LaGuardia around 9am, grabbed a taxi and was in the city by 10am to meet a friend who would be helping me with my hunt, and by 10:05a.m. I had a steaming hot empanada in my hands. Right at the intersection my friend and I had planned to rendezvous, there sat a shiny brown food truck!
I was stoked to stumble across Nuchas Empanadas. They had just parked and were setting up shop as I waited outside their window.
I noted a couple of things you don’t see in Chicago. First off, it was parked at a major intersection (on the main avenue, not the small side street!). Secondly, they had a pop out bar with utensils and room to dine. They also have 2 windows, ability to bake these hot little pockets on board, and plenty of room for several workers inside. One day, Chicago, one day.
The menu was organized by meat, vegetarian, and sweet empanadas. Given this was my first visit, I wanted to get the typical Argentine empanada with beef, onion, peppers, potatoes, and olives. I took my first bite, and it was surprised by how juicy, hot, and crunchy this little empanada was. The dough was substantial enough to carry the weight of the hefty stuffing without falling apart when I bit into it, while still being delicate and light in texture. The juiciness was the most surprising part; perhaps from the picture you can see all the gooey awesomeness. Again, I was surprised the bread hadn’t become soggy from all that liquid. It was piping warm, literally steaming on the cold New York morning.
There was a cool detail on each of the empanadas: each was marked with an letter embossed into the corner for easy identification.
So, all in all my first New York food truck experience was pretty awesome. As I’ve talked to new acquaintances here and we inevitably start talking about food trucks (obvi), I’ve compiled a few initial suggestions of food trucks and carts to start with. Up this week: apparently there’s a food cart that cannot be missed at 53rd St. and 5th Ave., just a short walk from my office on 42nd and Madison. The best part of this recommendation was I was specifically told not to be fooled by the other vendors who flocked to this intersection to piggy back on the success of the famous cart, which can be identified by their yellow shirts. I am quite intrigued.
If you have any suggestions of carts you want me to hit in the NYC area, hit me up in the comments below!