Up until yesterday mid-afternoon, I was a Food Truck Virgin, much to my chagrin, after all, we at the Punch, have joined the food truck phenomenon on both coasts.Â We covered it west to east first as the world of truckies and its die hard followers was going strong in LA before it hit the DC market with the same fierceness.Â Alas, I have many a time, walked by the plethora of food trucks in DC, gaping at the sheer number of office workers (I imagine them to all work for consulting firms for some reason, just by their attire) standing in line patiently waiting for their gyro, their lobster roll, their wrap, their shawarma, their pork bun, or something meaty filled, hot and messy, so then they could pop a squat in the park alone with a book, or with co-workers.Â Hmm. I was an outsider looking in.
Then I saw these trucks infiltrating my own Arlington neighborhood, Court House in particular, even right outside of my very apartment building. Hmmm. Now I didn’t have to Metro into the city, I had these guys staring right at me, enticing all passersby with their greasy wafts of tastiness, their colorful witty truck names, their carnival calls.Â But still, I didn’t cave in for a few reasons.
1) I am very suspect of anything coming from a truck
2) I hate standing in line
3) I thought all the food from food trucks were meat filled or very ethnic, and I am not a big meat eater and my digestive system doesn’t handle spicy foods very well (TMI? probably, I’m also lactose intolerant)
4) If I’m not attending a luncheon or having a lunch meeting, I usually am found at a cafe with WiFi and I eat it there or I run to a deli and bring my sandwich or salad back up to my apartment, where I eat in silence (that strange sound … silence) and it appeared with food trucks, the true ritual was to find a spot in a park, and there really aren’t any parks around where I live
5) I wouldn’t know were to start, there were too many choices and I didn’t want to have a sign that said “Food Truck Virgin” on my forehead, as I walked from truck to truck, getting in the “Food Truck Pros’” way.
That all rang true until yesterday around 2pm, after an appointment I found myself in Food Truck Haven, McPherson Square.Â I decided it was time. So I made my way to the busy park and just as I suspected, the food truck “in” crowd was in a familiar space.Â Some were sitting in their khakis on the grass, laughing and chatting about this project and that debate, while others took up park benches, talking with friends and colleagues, or just sitting by oneself, staring into nowhere or reading a book, or concentrating on his or her meal intently.
I passed over a few trucks on one side and made my decision, all though I was curious what was on the other side of the square, I didn’t feel like crossing back and forth. I went with something safe, Papa Adam (the kid on the side of the truck was really cute) and ordered the “chicken shawarma on pitta” for $6.99 and a bottle of water so in total it was $8.80. As I waited in the steaming hot (either coming from the truck or from the unseasonably warm sun beating down on me) for my food, I was like, “Wow, I’m really doing this!”Â The gent asked if I wanted it spicy, and I gave him a vehement NO. Then I had it in my hand in a Styrofoam (really? still?) container and I scouted the area. I don’t sit on grass unless there are layers of blankets so I found a clean park bench, unfortunately with the sun still bearing down on me and ate in peace, no book, definitely checking my Android here and there, but the birds, the groupings of people, the families, the professionals on lunch, all seemed to keep me company.Â It was a common ground, everyone was there for the same reason. To get out of their office or home and enjoy a quick meal and the outdoors.
As for my shawarma, it was very satisfying, the chicken was flavorful, there were crispy cucumbers and juicy tomato slices, the pita was good, not too dry, and the sauce was delicious. The only downer was the sandwich, which was wrapped in foil, was REALLY hard to eat. It was totally messy and basically a 10 napkin lunch. Not only was it messy, I felt a tiny bit embarrassed as the juices, meat, and veggies, kept falling out of the pita. It’s not a first date type of lunch.
Well, there you go. I am no longer a Food Truck Virgin and will I go back again? Oh for sure. In fact, I may make it a goal to try a new one each week.Â I may even become a regular.
Pamela Lynne Sorensen is the founder of Pamela’s Punch, a platform for profiling people who "make it happen" in the Capital region, reviews & topical blog posts. She launched Punch Enterprises, a connector consulting business in 2015 and Pacific Punch based in LA, in 2012. Pamela comes from an extensive background in sales and business development from a variety of industries, has been involved with charities and fundraising for a number of years and holds several Board and leadership positions. She currently resides in Arlington, VA. Follow her on Twitter at @pamelaspunch.