TNT Diner

Summer’s last food truck roundup brings lumpia, curry tacos, Japanese waffles — and beer

Donna Gross, co-owner of Arnold’s Happy Days food truck, hands R.C. Campbell his order.
Donna Gross, co-owner of Arnold’s Happy Days food truck, hands R.C. Campbell his order. Staff file, 2015

Prepare your stretchiest pants and dig out your camping chairs from the garage for one of the area’s largest gathering of food trucks.

It’s also the last of the big food truck roundups of the summer.

Mobile Food Fest will be from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday at Sprinker Recreation Center in Spanaway. The event has 27 trucks signed up to serve.

Sponsored by Pierce County Parks and Recreation, it aims to introduce park goers to local mobile restaurants.

The event is moving from Sprinker’s parking lot to the grass outfields at the baseball complex.

That will mean plenty of grass seating. But diners who want to be off the ground should bring their own chairs or blankets because seating will be limited.

Of the 27 restaurants serving, 14 mobile restaurants are from the Tacoma area and 13 are from Seattle, Renton, Bremerton and elsewhere.

Here are my critic’s picks.

TACOMA-AREA TRUCKS

Arnold’s Happy Days: The Tacoma-based truck specializes in burger-fry-drink combos ($10-$11.50), sandwich wrap meals ($8) and hot dogs ($6). Saturday, the special will be the Jammin’ Burger with bacon jam and a fried egg.

Budha Bear Bagels: The Puyallup-based truck will serve its menu of bagel sandwiches made with smoked salmon, turkey, ham and other choices ($7.50-$9). Try the Budha Burger with a half-pound Angus patty with sauteed onions, peppered bacon, three cheeses and barbecue sauce on a bagel ($9). Also, five-cheese macaroni and cheese with bacon ($7).

The Frying Dutchman: This Milton-based food truck serves tempura beer-battered fish and chips ($5-$12), prawns and chips ($6-$12), chicken strips and fries ($5-$9) and the always excellent Cajun cod tacos ($12). For vegans, check out the tofu tacos ($10). The handmade dill tartar is outstanding, but be sure to ask for the housemade cocktail sauce. It packs extra horseradish and lemon.

Hometown Dogs: This Lakewood hot dog truck is an outpost of the non-profit organization Centerforce. Its Chicago Dog is the closest to the real deal you’ll get in the area, all the way down to the Vienna beef, the celery salt and sport peppers. There’s also a Detroit Dog, New York Dog, Seattle and a veggie dog.

P&J’s Waffle Delights: This truck from two local teachers will have its usual offering of sweet-and-savory waffles ($7-$13). Be sure to try the L.O.L, which pairs a waffle with fried honey garlic chicken. The sweet bacon is a bacon-stuffed waffle with fried butterscotch-caramel chicken.

The Thirst Responder: This mobile business from Tacoma’s Jonz Catering will serve beer from its ambulance-themed truck. Saturday’s tap list will include Coors Light, Rainier and Manny's Pale Ale. Plus assorted wines.

Thyme Well Spent Catering: Chantel Jackson will serve four tacos: Curry tacos with Sriracha slaw, pulled pork tacos with a honey glaze, a jerk chicken taco with pineapple-mango salsa and a chicken taco with tzatziki and tomato-basil salsa. They’re $3 each or three for $7. She’ll also make her Philly steak sandwiches ($7), one of which comes with ghost pepper cream sauce, jalapenos and crushed Hot Cheetos (pack Tums).

SEATTLE-AREA TRUCKS

Beanfish: This Japanese waffle truck is a don’t miss. It’ll serve its fish-shaped waffles with filling choices of sweetened red beans or vanilla custard for sweet choices. For savory fillings, the truck will serve peppered bacon, cheddar cheese and green onions or a waffle filled with kalbi beef, pepperjack cheese and kimchi. Priced $3.65-$6.39.

Chicago West: Like Hometown Dogs, this Seattle truck will serve a Chicago dog ($7), but there’s also a Chicago beef ($10), a sandwich impossible to find in the Tacoma area. They even sell those topped with giardiniera, the pickled condiment.

Mobile Food Fest

Details: 11 a.m.-6 p.m.Saturday, Sprinker Recreation Center, 14824 C St. S., Tacoma; piercecountywa.org/mobilefoodfest.

The lowdown: Free event sponsored by the Pierce County Parks and Recreation Department. The event is moving from the Sprinker parking lot to the grass outfields at the baseball complex.

Bands: North of 50 Band will perform from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.; Cannibal Hamster from 2-3:30 p.m. and Slim Wizzy from 4-6 p.m.

Tacoma-area trucks: Arnold’s Happy Days, Budha Bear Bagels, Curbside Urban Cuisine, Hometown Dogs, Josefinas Burrito Boy, Lumpia World, On The Grind Espresso, Pit Stop Grill, P&J’s Waffle Delights, South Beach Cuisine and Espresso, The Frying Dutchman,The Thirst Responder/Jonz Catering, Thyme Well Spent Catering, Viet Nom Nom.

Other trucks: Athenas Food Truck, Bean Fish, Blackstar Kebob, Chicago West, Chick N Fix, CJ's Philly, Crave by Suite J, Crisp Creperie, Kama’Aina Grill, Mini..the doughnut, Seattle Chicken Over Rice, Tornado Potato, WOW! Sushi Burrito.

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