10 Great Places to Eat from a Food Truck

Aug. 21, 2011— -- Some of the best meals these days come out of trucks, says James Cunningham, host of Eat Street, a Cooking Channel show about street food. Cunningham says many trucks are run by chefs who lost jobs or restaurants during the recession and decided to try out their skills in mobile kitchens. "Stuff being handed off the carts is literally gourmet — as good as I've gotten from the best restaurants in the world." Social media has also fueled the trend, making it easy to track down trucks on Twitter and Facebook. Cunningham shares some favorite trucks, carts and vans with Larry Bleiberg for USA TODAY.

The Grilled Cheese Truck

Los Angeles

Forget your diet if you plan to track down this truck serving modern versions of classic comfort food. The cheese is melted between slices of Texas toast that's buttered on both sides. Cunningham's fond of the Cheesy Mac and Rib sandwich, which includes macaroni and cheese, barbecued pork and caramelized onions. Other sandwiches feature double-cream brie, Gruyere and habanero jack cheese. Twitter: @grlldcheesetruk; thegrilledcheesetruck.com

The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck

New York

New York's familiar soft-serve ice cream truck gets a makeover with this imaginative shop on wheels. Cones come with wild toppings like ground wasabi peas. But Cunningham swears by the Salty Pimp: vanilla ice cream with dulce de leche sauce, rolled in sea salt and dipped in chocolate. "The combination of the salt and the chocolate and the cold of the ice cream is just delicious." Twitter: @biggayicecream; biggayicecream.com

Maximus Minimus


You'll be in hog heaven when you spy this pig-shaped truck. The chef specializes in all things porcine, and is committed to natural ingredients. Although the menu includes chicken and mac and cheese, Cunningham swears by the pulled-pork sandwich. Top it with maximus sauce made with beer, six-pepper blend, onions and fruit juices, or minimus, which has tamarind, honey and molasses. Twitter: @somepigseattle; maximus-minimus.com

Big Egg

Portland, Ore.

Portland has one of the highest concentrations of food trucks on the continent, so you can be sure the Big Egg is something special. "Their passion is breakfast and everything that has to do with eggs," Cunningham says. He suggests the Monte Cristo sandwich. It comes with one egg served with grilled ham, gorgonzola cheese and maple glaze, served between slices of vanilla cardamom brioche French toast. Twitter: @thebigegg

DC Slices


There's nothing wacky or outrageous about the slices served from this truck. It's just good fresh pizza, made with fresh dough, homemade sauce and hand-grated cheeses, and baked aboard the truck. "They really take their time and they're passionate about it and it really stands out," Cunningham says. "It's so good." Twitter: @dcslices; dcslices.com

Spencer On The Go!

San Francisco

The owner of a popular bistro decided to mix things up when he bought a used taco truck and filled it with French chefs. Now you can get take-away curried frog's legs, sweetbreads and escargot from the side of the road. "This isn't street food, this is haute cuisine. It beats any French restaurant," Cunningham says. Twitter: @chezspencergo; spenceronthego.com

The Mighty Cone


For all the appeal of a taco, it's usually a two-handed undertaking. This food truck has changed things up by making an ice cream cone-shaped taco shell, freeing the second hand for a drink. Cunningham says he was impressed by the innovation — and the tacos. "They've taken the basic taco shape and made it user friendly." Twitter: @themightycone; mightycone.com

Stefania's Pierogi

Hoboken, N.J.

A mother-son team offers a food truck rarity: Polish comfort food. Cunningham grew up eating pierogies: dumplings stuffed with potato filling, sauerkraut and cheese, and served with sour cream. He also likes the homemade kielbasa. "It's all really fresh. You can buy almost anything premade, but it shows when the chefs really take their time." Twitter: @PierogiTruck

La Dominique Creperie


Crepes are served on the streets in Europe, but this Philly cart is different. It's run by a former sculptor. "He's a perfectionist," Cunningham says. "Every single crepe is a work of art." Cunningham's favorite? The strawberry-banana-Nutella crepe. "The flavors are so perfectly balanced that they play off each other." 33rd and Market streets

The Rolling Stove


This truck packs a secret weapon: a wood-burning stove. It makes what some call Miami's best burger, but Cunningham's a fan of the Sloppy Jerk: ground beef with caramelized onions slathered with Jamaican-style jerk barbecue sauce. "The spice is so perfect; you taste the meat as opposed to all the spice," Cunningham says. Twitter: @TheRollingStove; therollingstove.com

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