Friday, August 19, 2011

Meals on Wheels: Long Island City Food Truck Lot

(Rickshaw Dumpling Truck, one of the Top 20 Food Trucks in America, now in LIC)

Long Island City Food Truck Lot (43-29 Crescent Street)
Monday - Friday 11AM - 3PM

Food trucks have heightened in popularity so much recently that they even got their own reality series, but the struggle to find locations to park and sell their treats has been the subject of controversy, forcing several trucks to downsize to carts in an effort to move to the sidewalks to avoid excessive ticketing in metered spaces.  There's even a New York City Food Truck Association.

One of the best solutions to the dilemma of where to park a food truck has been the creation of lots in which the vendors can park during lunch and dinner hours.  A food truck terrace even took over the outdoor spot formerly occupied by Tavern on the Green in Central Park.  The newest of these lots recently opened in Long Island City near the Citicorp buildings, and boasts a space that can hold up to sixteen trucks at any given time (although there are typically only three or four on any given day). Click here for a list of participating food trucks, which run the gamut from dumplings to lobster rolls, chicken tikka masala to artisan ice cream, cupcakes, and french fries with dips.

The best way to see which trucks will be present on any given day is by checking the lot's Facebook or Twitter updates.

I jumped at the chance to try the Rickshaw Dumpling Truck, where you can get six dumplings and a side dish for $9... and the tangerine-limeade was perfect in the sun.

The chicken & basil with toasted sesame soy dip truly are some of the best steamed dumplings in the city.  Steamed al dente wrappers with juicy, flavorsome filling.

Sides included a generous bag of edamame and a cool chili sesame noodle salad that we devoured.

And who could pass up the Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream truck for a scoop of Gianduja ice cream (chocolate-hazelnut) shining with ribbons of warm caramel.  This ice cream is insanely velvety, and some of the most delicious ice cream to cross my lips.  They even offered various baked treats, as well as an affogato (vanilla ice cream covered in espresso).

There were a few nice tables and some patio umbrellas for sitting, as well as plenty of room to stand.  My next visit will be when I see the Red Hook Lobster Truck roll into the lot, which if the trends mean anything, should be next Wednesday (although just because a truck was present on a certain day one week doesn't guarantee it the following).

What are your impressions of the LIC Food Truck Lot?  Any tips or favorites to share?

Rickshaw Dumpling Truck on Urbanspoon

Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream on Urbanspoon

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