SEVEN FOOD TRUCKS WORTH TRACKING
Story and photos by Kaitlin Hill
With endless variety, low prices, and a novelty that hasn’t yet worn off, it’s no wonder food trucks are still popular, even 149 years since the first meal on wheels hit the street.
A LESSON IN HISTORY
Food historians tend to agree that the first food truck can be attributed to Walter Scott, a Rhode Island man who cut windows into his wagon’s cover to sell sandwiches and coffee to night-owl journalists in 1872. As wagons transitioned to automobiles, the concept of food trucks evolved as well. In the 1950s, ice cream trucks were road-ready with their signature jingles and frozen treats. And, in the 1960s, “roach coaches,” named for their substandard sanitation practices, served burgers to suburban-bound gardeners and home servicemen.
The early 2000s found food trucks being transformed from gritty to gourmet, with professionally trained chefs like Roy Choi behind the wheel. Choi, a Culinary Institute of America graduate, is credited with spurring the modern food truck movement with his Korean-Mexican taco truck, Kogi, based out of Los Angeles.
Now, nearly 20 years later, food trucks seem to be on every corner. Parked at breweries, wineries, farmers markets, and even weddings, there is a food truck for every occasion and every cuisine. Here are a few favorites that find their way to Hunt Country.
Ammar Ikram of Flavour by Kaitlin Hill
Established in 2016, Flavour is the brainchild of husband and wife team, Ammar Ikram and Emily Casanova. Ikram’s Pakistani roots and Casanova’s time spent in Charleston inspire the unique menu, which could be described as Halal with a southern twist.
“I call it global fusion,” Ikram says. “It’s Southern comfort food mixed with Middle Eastern influence.”
Meat lovers will rejoice when devouring the short rib “Sammy.” Ikram stacks a brioche bun sky-high with tender short rib, pickled onions, arugula, and creamy cilantro sauce. Or try the chicken quesadilla, which is big enough to feed a football team and absolutely oozing cheese. They have vegetarian tacos, too.
For now, the truck is parked behind Blend Coffee Bar in Ashburn on Fridays from 4 – 8 p.m. and weekends from noon to 8 p.m. And, it is also available to hire for private events all over Virginia.
“If you are open to a new concept with familiar food, come try me out,” Ikram says.
For more information, check Flavour out at eatflavour.kitchen/about or find them on social media @eat_flavour.
From Tuscany with Love truck by Kaitlin Hill
FROM TUSCANY WITH LOVE
To find From Tuscany with Love, follow the smell of fresh tomato sauce and look for the long lines. The bright blue, Sterling-based food truck, owned and operated by chefs Luciano and Sabrina Catanusco, is a fan favorite for its lovingly crafted and authentic Italian fare. Luciano explains the recipes are what “we grew up with as children” and “inherited from our mothers and grandmothers.” Other recipes come from Sabrina, who owned two restaurants in Tuscany before coming stateside.
The meatball sub is a crowd-pleaser and the cannoli makes for a tasty finish. They also have daily specials inspired by fresh ingredients. Whatever you order, come hungry because the portions are extremely generous. The truck makes stops all over Virginia, from Hamilton to Herndon, and is available to hire for private events with specially tailored menus.
To book a private event, visit their website fromtus- canywithlove.com.
HAPPY FAMILY RANCH
Happy Family Ranch by Kaitlin Hill
Run by husband and wife team Juan and Maria Pineda and their daughter Andrea, the Happy
Family Ranch truck is aptly named. They make customers feel like family with a warm welcome and food made with love.
Maria and Juan started the family business in 2013 when they bought a 125-acre Midland, Virginia farm. Six years later, they opened the food truck to share their wares.
“We always had this passion for Mexican food,” Maria says. “So, we decided to share that with the community.”
At the farm, they raise Angus beef, Wagyu beef, and Yorkshire pork, which the Pineda family sells at farmer’s markets and features on their food truck menu. They offer Birria tacos, carne asada quesadillas, and a classic cheeseburger showcasing their homegrown Angus beef.
If you find them early enough, they even have breakfast burritos with chorizo. As you enjoy your order, stick around to chat with Maria, Juan, and Andrea, who are as nice as their food is delicious.
“We personally want to thank the community because they believe in us and they keep inviting us to different events and different places,” Maria says.
The community support shows — The Happy Family Ranch truck was named Fauquier Times Readers Choice Best Food Truck of 2020. You can find the Pineda Family at farmer’s markets, breweries, wineries, and festivals from Warren- ton to Ashburn and everywhere in between, or hire them for a private event.
To find the food truck, visit happyfamily-ranch. net/foodtruck.
THE INSIDE SCOOP
For a sweet treat, look no further than The Inside Scoop. What at first glance looks like a standard ice cream truck is actually a “mobile ice cream parlor,” says owner, operator, and ice cream man Daniel Azar.
Raji Azar of The Inside Scoop by Kaitlin Hill
Daniel and his brother Raji offer sundaes, milkshakes, banana splits, root beer floats, and custom ice cream cookie sandwiches, all featuring their organic, grass-fed, non-GMO ice cream.
And the list of flavors is seemingly endless. The Inside Scoop hand dips classics like vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and cookie dough, alongside butter pecan, blueberries and cream, mint chip, orange sherbet, black raspberry, moose tracks, and birthday cake.
With all those flavors, Azar is often asked for his favorite. “Honestly, it depends on the weather,” he says. “When it’s hotter, I feel like I want mint chip. When it is rainy or I’m feeling in more of a ‘Seattle mood,’ I’m going for java chip. But most other days, it’s the peanut butter ones or the cookie dough.”
Whatever the weather, tracking down this family-run business is worth it. They are based in Fairfax but travel all over Virginia and love to do corporate events, weddings, fundraisers, and birthday parties. Azar’s dedication to providing frozen treats to his customers is only matched by his love for his family that helped him build his business.
“I love my parents very much,” Azar says. “They have helped me throughout the entire process, emotionally, physically, financially. I can’t thank them enough.”
To get the inside scoop on The Inside Scoop, visit theinsidescoopcreamery.com or find them on Instagram (@tiscreamery) and Facebook (@theins- idescoopicecream).
Nomad Provisions by Kaitlin Hill
Nomad Provisions, established by owners Georg and Karen Seyrlehner earlier this year, is making a splash with their rotisserie-roasted meats and chef-crafted sandwiches. Georg started his chef career as a pastry chef with a degree from the San Francisco Baking Institute. When he moved to Paris, Virginia, he had the idea for a mobile food trailer offering sandwiches, wraps, salads, and a slew of sides that showcase “The Art of Rotisserie Cooking.”
While the focus is on the rotisserie, take note of the bread variety and spreads, too. His Caprese sandwich is served on ciabatta, the rotisserie chicken sammie with gouda is on a Portuguese sweet roll, and the vegetarian Middle Eastern wrap is on fresh lavash.
“And we make all our own spreads and do some pretty unique ones,” Georg says. Most unique is the smoked tomato and herb spread. “I don’t know anyone in this area smoking tomatoes and putting that on a dish,” he says, laughing.
Perhaps the result of his days running a wine bar, Georg, Karen, and the truck partner with Virginia’s vineyards, offering custom tastings paired with the vineyard’s wine.
As for where to find the food trailer, “Most of the time we stay closer towards Upperville and Middleburg,” Georg says, as he prepares for service outside 50 West Vineyard. “We’re at Mt. Defiance, we’re at Slater Run quite a bit.”
And for catering and working with high-end restaurants, he goes back to his pastry roots, offering artisanal bread, baked goods, and custom plated desserts.
For more information about where to find the truck or how to book an event or culinary consultation, visit nomadprova.com.
TWO SMOOTH DUDES
Best known for its loaded, gourmet tater tots, Two Smooth Dudes is actually named for its signature pineapple smoothie. Max Bawarski, a physical education teacher at Providence Elementary School in Fairfax, formulated the idea for Two Smooth Dudes as a side hustle nearly seven years ago. An advocate for balance, Bawarski created a menu with both indulgent and healthy options to satisfy any craving.
Photo courtesy of Two Smooth Dudes
If you’re looking for decadence, try Maryland crab tots that are covered in crab, slathered in lobster bisque, and drizzled with remoulade for good measure. And for pizza fans, try the Italian tots with melted mozzarella, tomato sauce, and Italian seasoning. On the lighter side, Two Smooth Dudes has wraps that can also be salads like the quinoa wrap with sautéed veggies, tomatoes, and cucumbers finished with balsamic vinaigrette.
“You can make everyone happy with our options and a lot of people like the healthy choices,” Bawarski says.
Or just cool off with a fresh pineapple smoothie that has a touch of organic blue agave and is served inside a whole pineapple. Two Smooth Dudes is based in Manassas but can be found at local markets or booked for private events.
For more information, visit twosmoothdudes.com.
MAMA’S DONUT BITES
“We kind of fell backward into donuts,” Rod Hosein, the owner of Mama’s Donut Bites, says. “And then we came up with the cider donut recipe and it put us on the map.”
Apple cider donuts from Mama’s Donut Bites.
Hosein started the truck in 2011 with his mom and sister after his mom, Jeanette, lost her job.
“‘Mama’ is my mama,” he shares. “She got laid off … and we just needed something to keep her busy.”
The bright pink food truck sells mini apple cider cake donuts that are fresh from the fryer and coated in cinnamon and sugar. Customers have a choice of dipping sauces and toppings, including raspberry, caramel, white chocolate, chocolate, powdered sugar, and sprinkles. Mama’s Donut Bites got their start at the Vienna Farmers Market, where they still return frequently, but they will travel essentially anywhere for an event.
“We do a lot of weddings, mitzvahs, all that good stuff … and we go anywhere,” he notes.
Perfectly portable in their paper baggies and only one bite (maybe two, if you’re being polite), the minis at Mama’s are the perfect sweet treat for any event or a Saturday morning stroll through the farmer’s market. ML
To track the truck, visit mamasdonutbites.com or follow them on Facebook at Mama’s Donut Bites.
This article first appeared in the August 2021 Issue.