In lieu of dining in, many Texans have turned to food trucks, which have a built-in advantage in the COVID-19 era: fresh air in the great outdoors. Customers can queue up at safe distances and satisfy their hunger for good food. A trek across the state reveals these intriguing offerings that can be served in a jiffy. Takeout has never tasted better or been more convenient.
1. Arlo’s Curbside
With a delicious plant-based menu, Arlo’s Curbside caters to Austin’s growing throngs of vegans. Crowd favorites include the bac’n cheezeburger, featuring a soy- and gluten-free patty made in-house, with Arlo’s proprietary seitan “bacon,” melted vegan cheese, ketchup, mustard, mayo, tomatoes, onions, pickles, and lettuce. Devotees will insist that the burger be topped with the signature macaroni, too.
Want vegan street tacos, fries, Frito pie, or tots? They’re all yummy. Although cooked to order, dishes are dispensed quickly. Trucks are usually parked in four locations: Cheer Up Charlies, The Grackle, Spider House, and Crow Bar. Service is from lunchtime until late-night; hours vary by location. Check online for ordering and pickup options, too.
2. The DoughCone
When the sweet tooth strikes, the question these days is often doughnut or ice cream? In Houston, you don’t have to choose, because The DoughCone packs everything into one punch. This dessert dream consists of a scratch-made soft and fluffy cone crafted from cinnamon-sugar doughnut dough (baked, never fried) and filled with fresh ice cream made with milk, sugar, and Madagascar vanilla bean.
And that’s not all: The cone’s interior is swept with sauces such as Nutella or Biscoff cookie spread, and the ice cream is adorned with any number of fancy toppings. One of the current popular choices is the Double Oreo Milkshake, but you can mix and match any number of fruit, candy, and cookie options. The truck’s whereabouts and hours are also updated on Facebook Stories and Instagram Stories. Ask about vegan options at the ordering window, too. The DoughCone will also come to your location by prior arrangement.
3. Cow Dog
Eateries come and go in the Trans-Pecos region of West Texas, but a constant for more than a decade is Cow Dog, the hot dog food truck next door to Plaine Coffee. The name comes not from the proliferation of cattle dogs you see in the Big Bend area but for its 100 percent Hebrew National beef franks, which are served up from the kitchen inside the light-blue truck.
One of the classics is the dog topped with green chiles and Fritos, but fan favorites also include The Artisan, topped with apple-apricot chutney, Tillamook cheddar cheese, and stone-ground white-wine Dijon mustard. For something really special, order the Asado Flop—two crispy mashed potato patties topped with spicy shredded pork, cilantro, onions, and a sour cream squiggle. Typically open Wednesday through Saturday at lunchtime.
4. La Gloria Margarita Truck
Beloved San Antonio chef Johnny Hernandez takes his show on the road with his new La Gloria Margarita trucks. The fleet of bright-pink food trucks brings the party to locations around the Alamo City, dispensing signature house margaritas—frozen or on-the-rocks—as well as margaritas in varieties such as mango and prickly pear. The cocktails must be purchased with food items, such as bistek, al pastor, and al carbon taco kits; Mexican street corn; or packages with chips, salsa, and queso.
Check social media for the day’s locations, which varies from Crockett Park in downtown San Antonio to neighborhoods including Alamo Heights, Dominion, and Stone Oak. Ask about delivery options, too.
5. Drew’s Place
With about 30 years of cooking under his belt, Drew Thomas knows how to make people happy with his soul food. At Drew’s Place, the chef whips up addictive dishes from the kitchen at his family restaurant and dispenses them through the Drew’s Place food truck parked in front—a move prompted by the pandemic.
Top picks include fried chicken, smothered pork chops, and fried catfish, best accompanied by black-eyed peas, collard greens, green beans, mac-and-cheese, and cornbread muffins. Don’t even think about skipping dessert; wife Stephanie turn out peach cobbler and cheesecake that shouldn’t be missed. Call ahead or use the app for orders to reduce wait time for cooked-to-order plates.
6. Camo Hippie Chow Hall
This Central Texas truck became famous after it won the Food Truck Championship of Texas in 2019. The husband-and-wife team of Blake and Kelli Oseen—he was a combat engineer in the U.S. Army, she was Miss USA and a soap opera star—put a showbiz-style military spin on food-truck fare.
Among their innovations is the award-winning Brave Taco packed with fried avocado and brisket, as well as the “jalabenero” wings, and the vegetarian spring rolls topped with Thai chile sauce and sriracha mayo. You can find them at 8307 W. Adams Avenue.
AAA Travel Alert: Many travel destinations have implemented COVID-19–related restrictions. Before making travel plans, check to see if hotels, attractions, cruise lines, tour operators, restaurants, and local authorities have issued health and safety-related restrictions or entry requirements. The local tourism board is a good resource for updated information.
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