Friday, October 22, 2010

The Sandwich Place that Hangs Out by My Office: The Jalopy

Mobile food establishments in Austin are a trend bordering on omnipresence - if you have a front yard here, there's a good chance someone's going to start selling food from it in the near future.

The quality varies widely, but there's pretty stellar stuff out there, and The Jalopy, an eyecatching venture that generally hangs out at Enfield and San Antonio St, is definitely stellar. I say "generally hangs out" because The Jalopy is a food truck, not a trailer. Self-propelled Freighliner FL80, totally street legal, and sometimes The Jalopy hangs out in other places. And I say "eyecatching" because the truck is painted head to toe, panel by panel, by a freakishly talented bunch of artists in styles ranging from the surreal to pop to impressionist. One issue for trucks as opposed to the Airstream trailers you see everywhere, particularly this one, is that they're really tall. Takes some clever planning to get everything to work when your kitchen is 8 feet above your customers. My favorite of the clever planning bits: To collect your order, you stand at the bottom of a gently sloped, lavender, 6 foot sandwich slide as your tinfoil wrapped packed of goodness slides down.

The food is less varied than the design, but no less artful. The thing the Jalopy does is rotisserie chicken sandwiches. And the rotisserie chicken sandwiches they do rock (there are also a couple of veggie options). I think that's part of the trick to a good mobile food venture: do something specific, and do it well.

I've tried three of the sandwiches, and the each share a common, almost tart, kick that comes from the complex brine the chickens are marinated in before roasting. The Suite 701 is built around a tomatillo salsa, the Foletto around pepperocini, and the Son Hong around Asian spices and some tricky little herb slaw. These are not dry sandwiches, and they're not "with lettuce and tomato" sandwiches. Bread options? Just the one: a gorgeous italian white bread, light and toasted with a bit of olive oil These are rock-and-roll fully created units, just as they are, every little interaction of the flavors thought through. There are bad neighbors, there are good neighbors, and there are awesome, awesome neighbors. Like this one.

The Jalopy Rotisserie and Press on Urbanspoon


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