Gastrobus Serves Up Sustainable, Organic Cuisine… in a Truck

By Tsz on December 11, 2009


I’m a woman of strict principles… food principles that is. They include:

1. Eat 3 square meals a day.
2. Include vegetables alongside each meal (even if it’s only in the garnish).
3. Avoid salads at all costs. Thanks to my upbringing by germophobic parents, uncooked vegetables just don’t seem right by me.
4. Always drink water with food instead of soda to prevent muddling of flavors.

And my newest one, to never chase after food trucks.

You won’t find me obsessively following the latest truck du jour’s Twitter page, tracking it down like an unsavory paparazzi or driving to the opposite ends of LA at inconvenient times just to taste their offerings.

I guess I’m an old-fashioned girl regarding food trucks as I would much rather have them chase after me. After all, what’s the point of having a restaurant on wheels if I still have to go to it? Besides, nothing makes for a better anecdote then having a serendipitous run-in with a food truck and hitting it off fabulously.

Well, that was exactly what happened to me last week. My good friend was showing me around the Los Feliz Farmers Market when I first laid eyes on Gastrobus. Although it was hanging out in the back corner, it beckoned me with its striking yellow paint job.

Having struck my curiosity, my friend and I walked cautiously past the mushroom booth and around the coffee stand to check out the handwritten menu that stood next to the yellow bus, I mean, truck.

The Gastrobus’ menu is short and focused, with a handful of a la carte items that you can piece together into a full meal or have individually as a small snack. My friend and I already had breakfast, but after reading the phrase, “apple & almond pancakes with toffee syrup,” we were sold.

With a fist-full of dollar bills in our hands, we ordered their apple and blueberry pancakes. As we waited for our food, we struck up a conversation with our server, who is the wife to the chef, Antonio Medina. Together, the husband and wife duo are the owners.

The idea for it arose from their frustration of having differing work schedules—with one being an educator and the other a chef, the only time they saw each other was when they’re sleeping—not exactly quality time. So they jumped off the entrepreneurial diving board and became the proud parents of the Gastrobus. At the beginning of each week, they stock up from the farmers market and create a menu that best utilize the fresh, organic produce, meats and dairy.

And it shows, as the apple pancake was amazing. A fluffy pancake cloaked thin slices of crisp apple and crushed almonds, which was then drizzled with a complex toffee syrup and a small mirepoix of candied apple.

The blueberry pancake was of a lighter fare, with plump blueberries encased in a wheat pancake and topped with a lemon-scented yogurt. My only wish was that the topping was sweeter.
Perhaps seeing how my friend and I were in sheer bliss, Antonio sent over a few samples for us to try. My friend and I were only too happy to oblige him.

The first was a grown-up parfait made of persimmons, grapes, walnut and yogurt. The stars here were the fruits, both unbelievably full of flavor. The yogurt, while delicious, seemed to hinder the dish with its strong tartness however. We ended up moving it to the side to uncover the rest of the fruit cache.

The other sample was the potato galette with peanut sauce—a mashed potato griddle cake topped with a luscious sweet and spicy peanut sauce. The sprinkling of green onions added a burst of freshness and contrast as well as satisfying my principle of having vegetables with my meal. It was the highlight of the meal and definitely a dish I would gorge myself on if I had enough funds.

It was such a delightful meal that maybe I’ll just “happened” to be at the Los Feliz Farmers Market next weekend…

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  • mattatouille

    hm…a burger tastes perfect with a coke though :)

  • Tsz

    You may have a point there…

  • Cleo Coyle

    Oh, you had me at "a small mirepoix of candied apple." Great post. Fabulous photos. So glad you also shared the love story of the Medinas, the married couple who run the truck. A most worthy Top 9. Congrats!!

    ~ Cleo Coyle
    author of The Coffeehouse Mysteries
    Coffeehouse Mystery.com
    “Where coffee and crime are always brewing…”
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  • Jeannie

    Delicious looking fastfood indeed. Wish we have those trucks here.

  • Tsz

    Cleo: Thank you kindly! Been waiting for the right moment to use the word, mirepoix since I first learned it :D

    Jeannie: Just you wait… food trucks will take over the world!