Saturday, October 3, 2009

Border Grill Truck - Video Review

Someone's in the kitchen with Mary Sue Milliken, and that someone is The 99 Cent Chef ! It's not every day this Chef get's to literally rub elbows with one half of the "Too Hot Tamales," but when you're invited to film with Mary Sue and her three chefs, that's the way we roll (in their shiny new Border Grill Truck). It was a real treat to hang out with everyone in this cool taco truck -- it is one well-oiled operation.

This month The 99 Cent Chef steps out of the kitchen then pulls out all the f-stops for a month-long film foray series introducing his readers to L.A.'s bursting lunch truck renaissance. Here's a way to taste gourmet-level street food for a price that even the chintzy chef and his thrifty readers can appreciate.

Future video posts include the truck that is spearheading it all, Kogi Korean BBQ Truck, newcomer Nom Nom Truck (featuring Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwiches) and a couple of stops at some favorite old-school taco trucks and food carts (in MacArthur Park).

The Border Grill Truck puts a modern and deliciously inspired spin on Mexican taco truck fare -- for an affordable price. I made a beeline to a Yucatan Pork Taco.

The corn tortilla tasted handmade with a soft light texture, and the chunks of braised orange-hued achiote pork are pungent with spice. I especially enjoyed the cool taco slaw topping of red pickled onion with jicama and orange.

How does it compare to a typical taco truck? Classic crunchy deep fried carnitas tacos are a true pleasure and my favorite every time, but Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Fineger's take on the taco are scrumptiously welcomed.

Other tacos at the Border Grill truck are made with chicken and carne asada, and two veggie ones feature avocado or roasted potato. The truck parks near where I'm working lately, so return visits are planned; I have my eye on Peruvian Ceviche served in a hard shell corn tortilla cone next.

I've been dining on Susan and Mary Sue's fine, tasty fare since the days of their original restaurant on Melrose Avenue, and I always look forward to killer margaritas and mojitos with imaginative appetizers during Happy Hours at their current restaurants including: Cuidad downtown, The Border Grill in Santa Monica and Street (from Susan Feniger) in Hollywood.

Border Grill Truck - Video
Play it here. The video runs 3 minutes, 12 seconds.

The Border Grill Truck menu is shown below and online here, and visit the website for latest menu and prices. Taco prices are $2-$3. Quesadillas and Peruvian Cevechi are $5. On the website, the ingredient list includes: organic rice, beans, coffee and sustainable seafood.

Keep your eye on Twitter to see when they're in your neighborhood. Hours vary but skew 10am -6pm. and later on Friday and Saturday (best to follow on Twitter - click here).

Coming up, join The Chef as he prowls through the noir nighttime neon-washed streets of Koreatown for a Short Rib Taco from Kogi BBQ Truck, and then on sun-splashed asphalt under Santa Monica palm trees, as he hunkers down to chew a crunchy- crusted Vietnamese Banh Mi Sandwich from Nom Nom Truck.

With The 99 Cent Chef as your culinary tour guide, you will see parts of L.A. not in any guide books! Zagat, forget about it - this is street food at its finest! So do keep checking back. Hey, I even throw in a couple of 99 cent taco truck recipes!

99 Thanks to the patrons and chefs of the Border Grill Truck: Dino, Vanessa, Anthony and Mary Sue.

Click here to embed or view video on youtube.

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