Supper Truck, I hardly knew you! Inexplicably and to the detriment of my taste buds, I wasn’t graced with your delightfully creative interpretation of Southern cuisine until your very last day of serving Albuquerque. So, why do I miss you so much already? Most likely it’s the lost opportunities to partake of Southern cuisine inspired by the dynamic food truck scene of Charleston, South Carolina, one of my very favorite culinary destinations in America. It begs a paraphrase of a time-honored question “is it better to have loved and lost the chance to further enjoy your edgy, contemporary, fusion twists on classic Southern comfort food favorites than never to have loved them at all?”
The Supper Truck rolled into town in September, 2012, inviting Duke City denizens to “put a little South in your mouth.” Savvy diners (in whose ranks I obviously don’t belong) responded immediately and with a rare fervor, according “best of the city” honors in both the Alibi and Albuquerque The Magazine‘s annual “best of” issues for 2013 and 2014. More than perhaps any other motorized conveyance in Albuquerque, The Supper Truck brought people together, its crepuscular rays seemingly beckoning the city’s hungry huddled masses yearning for great Southern cuisine.
Fittingly, The Supper Truck served its last meals while parked on the south side of the Marble Brewery on an unseasonably warm Saturday. For regulars the event was akin to one last pilgrimage to a beloved culinary shrine which had assuaged their hunger and pleased their palates for more than two years. For newcomers (like me) and curiosity-seekers wondering if The Supper Truck warranted all the hullabaloo, it was an event that would ultimately leave us with mixed emotions–regret for not having visited sooner and sheer pleasure for having partaken of a rare excellence in esculence.
The Supper Truck’s closure was precipitated by a combination of family needs and staffing issues. Founding owner and heart of the operation Amy Black is willing to sell both the truck and naming rights to the right person with the rare combination of drive, creativity and community-mindedness which epitomized her purview. To say a new owner will have Shaquille O’Neal sized shoes (22) to fill is a vast understatement. Should an owner with such gumption emerge, I’ll be in line shortly thereafter.
The South takes its grits very seriously–so much so that unbeknownst to Yankees and those of us not blessed to have been born in the South, there are ten commandments of grits. One of the principle commandments considers it blasphemous to eat Cream of Wheat and call it grits. The Supper Truck’s grits are every bit as good as the best grits we enjoyed while living on the Mississippi Gulf Coast for nearly eight years. These gourmet-quality grits are made with grilled shrimp, bacon, roasted red pepper coulis, green onion, parsley and white wine cream sauce over creamy stone-ground South Carolina grits. They’re so good even Yankees will enjoy them.
While the Old South tends to hold fast to tradition, the contemporary South has embraced change, particularly in the culinary arena. At the forefront of this evolution is the city of Charleston, South Carolina (where Amy cut her teeth) which has become a bastion of culinary expansiveness. Though Charleston has a very vibrant Vietnamese culinary community, it’s unlikely they’ve seen anything like The Supper Truck’s South Carolina meets Vietnam offering of a fried chicken banh mi. Yes, a fried chicken banh mi. The canvas for this unlikely but uncommonly delicious sandwich is a fresh, locally-baked baguette into which are piled-on house-seasoned fried chicken, pickled daikon and carrots, cucumber, jalapeño, cilantro and a housemade momo sauce of Sriracha, mayo and lime juice. It’s one of the best banh mi we’ve ever had. Ever! Anywhere!
The Supper Truck’s tacos are on par with Cafe Bella’s street tacos and the scallop tacos at Eli’s Place (formerly Sophia’s Place) as my favorite tacos in the metropolitan area. Traditionalists might decry them as nontraditional and unconventional even as their taste buds experience one foodgasm after another at every bite of their sheer deliciousness. The shrimp taco ( grilled shrimp, Sriracha sour cream, Asian slaw, pickled red onion and cilantro on a grilled corn tortilla and the Hoisin BBQ beef taco (Coca-Cola braised New Mexico beef, Sriracha-Hoisin bbq sauce, Asian slaw, pickled red onion, cilantro on a grilled corn tortilla) don’t even need red or green chile to make them addictive. I’ll miss these most of all!
Among foreigners (anyone who’s not from the South), boiled peanuts (sometimes called goober peas) may just be the most hard to grasp of sacrosanct Southern culinary traditions. In the South, unroasted and unshelled peanuts are boiled in salt water for hours, rendering the peanuts soft and salty. Then they’re consumed while still hot and wet. The Supper Truck’s boiled peanuts are terrific, the type of snack you might offer friends in hopes they’ll snub it so you can enjoy them all yourself.
Supper Truck, I miss you!
The Supper Truck
Albuquerque, New Mexico
LATEST VISIT: 20 December 2014
# OF VISITS: 1
BEST BET: Hoisin BBQ Beef Taco, Shrimp Taco, Fried Chicken Banh Mi, Grits, Boiled Peanuts