It’s a slow Friday at work, and your mind wanders to your evening plans. You’re in the mood for something outdoors, but nothing too crowded. You’re hungry, but can’t commit to a cuisine. Perhaps you’re a fan of dad bands that cover Smash Mouth and Third Eye Blind.
If so, Truckeroo is calling your name.
The monthly summer festival features 15 food trucks, and the next one returns to the Bullpen, just outside Nationals Park, this Friday. It’s easy to get overwhelmed amid the blaring music and glaring sunlight, so we’ve highlighted some affordable ($10 or less) options for Truckerooters on a budget. (Yes, we made up that word.)
4 to 11 p.m. on June 29, Aug. 10 and Sept. 28. The Bullpen, 1201 Half St. SE.
You’ve probably seen this bright food truck around the city before, enticing passersby with exclamations like “Udderly Irresistible!” or “Where EVERY day is Sundae.” And it's hard to go wrong with ice cream, especially when it’s surrounded by a buttery croissant or topped with a chocolate glaze and powdered sugar. Orange Cow’s $6 croissant ice cream sandwich happens to be both.
For those avoiding sticky fingers, the $3.50 ice pops — available in regular, gummy bear or watermelon-cucumber lemonade — serve as a great palate cleanser.
They’re not the pinnacle of authenticity, but they sure are tasty. Tacos Matadores offers up hearty, hefty tacos for a reasonable price — $4 per taco. The offerings run the gamut of typical taco fare — steak, chicken and carnitas — wrapped with flour tortillas in lieu of the traditional corn and topped with iceberg lettuce, tomatoes and a pleasing blend of Mexican cheeses. Plus, a side of house salsa. If you’re hungry and craving carne, these tacos will get the job done. (Note: Tacos Matadores is not on the roster of trucks appearing at the June 29 Truckeroo.)
Ravenous and in a rush? No problem. DC Empanadas has a range of traditional and . . . shall we say, Americanized empanadas, with a cacophony of fillings — beef, barbecue pork, buffalo chicken, spinach and a trio of cheeses — and quirky names like “Divine Swine” and “Speedy Gonzales.” Plus, each empanada is only $4. As an added bonus, you can actually eat them quickly without making an enormous mess, which is more than you can say for most food truck fare.
We heard that people either love or hate DC Slices, so we simply had to give it a try. The slices — available in cheese, pepperoni and the popular buffalo chicken — are $5 a piece or $9 for two. The rate is pricey for the vegetarian option, which, to be frank, tastes like the pizza available in a dimly lit bowling alley. But the buffalo chicken is more likely to please.
Despite the impressively long menu, few items from BBQ Bus are cheap enough to make the cut ($10 or less) if you’re really trying to watch your wallet. A pulled pork or pulled chicken sandwich with one side (old-school Southern classics such as collard greens, mac and cheese, baked beans, a sophisticated spin on slaw and even watermelon) will cost $10, but the large portions ensure you get the most for your money. The meat is tender and flavorful, and you can dress it up to your own taste with their array of barbecue sauces, ranging from spicy, to sweet and with such region-specific options as Memphis and Carolina style.