Contrary to popular belief, I have a few people close to me who would feel intimidated stepping into a fine dining establishment. This is why, gourmet trucks like Chef Youkhan’s Tasting Spoon is so important. I can lure them to a food truck and then have them eat the same things you’d find on the menu.
Those of you who know Chef Joe will know about his stint as executive chef at the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel. When he launched his own gourmet food truck earlier this year, the menu focused predominantly on hearty, Italian-style cuisine. Therefore, when I visited this week and found some luxurious and decadent food, I was excited to give them a try.
You will still find the Italian offerings such as pizzas — yes Chef Joe has an oven on the truck — and the Bianca ($11) was really delicious. Five different cheeses top a thin crust, including smoked mozzarella, ricotta, fol epi, brie and rosemary goat cheese. A drizzle of truffle oil and a handful of arugula makes for a gooey, cheesy pizza, but with a fresh finish from the greens.
The Carbonara pizza ($10) consists of a black peppercorn cream sauce, caramelized onions and crispy pancetta.
I’ve had Arancini ($6) before and these soft rice balls are mixed with a braised short rib ragu, giving it this very rich flavor. Served with their signature San Marzano marinara — which I can’t get enough of — it is one of those things which tastes good even cold.
Calamari Taco ($4) was really surprising. Fried calamari is enveloped into tortillas and drizzled with a Calabria chile aioli and topped with a lime cilantro slaw. Absolutely delicious! You get the crispiness from the calamari and the crunchiness from the slaw — perfect textural contrast in a mouthful.
The piece de resistance has got to be the Foie Gras Slider ($16). Ahhh but it’s not just foie that’s in this sandwich. Luscious pork belly sits alongside the silky foie with arugula and tomato and a dollop of the Calabria chile aioli. Seriously it was an insane mouth-gasm. I would go broke if I kept trying to satiate my cravings for this brioche-based sammie.