Case in point: Two new trucks have entered the food fray in the District (and probably more that I haven’t tried or heard about yet). The Aahhs on Wheels, a kind of soul food truck (now with turkey burgers!), debuted June 15, while Phonation, a rolling pho and banh mi parlor, just hit the streets Monday.
Both have connections to either a truck or a restaurant that you might recognize.
But, Abbott adds, they are “doing different stuff” from he does at Oohhs & Aahhs. He just gave them permission to riff off his restaurant’s name.
“I allowed them to do that,” Abbott says about borrowing The Aahhs handle. “I knew that it would be a lot more difficult to do a startup without any name recognition.”
The other newbie on the streets is Phonation, jointly operated by Rachel D’Ruan and her aunt-adoptive mother Ann Doan, who created the short menu for the pho-and-banh mi truck. You might remember D’Ruan as the operator behind the short-lived Phonomenon truck, which went down in flames last summer in spectacular fashion. D’Ruan can’t talk about the old business and really doesn’t want me to associate it with the new one — perhaps afraid it will taint its new truck smell.
Earlier this year, before the truck even launched, I had the chance to preview some of Phonation’s menu. I found myself tickled with Doan’s kitschy creation — the rice-heavy banh mi burrito, which re-creates some of the flavors of the Vietnamese sandwich, just without the satisfying crunch of the French roll. It’s a fusion dish that doesn’t embarrass its French-Vietnamese roots, nor smack of a cheap Chipotle knock-off.