1 iPhone, 1 tank of gas, 30 bucks, and an empty stomach. A couple days ago, I set out to test drive the brand new Roaming Hunger app. As a hungry RH employee, the journey was both rewarding and delicious. The app did its job, and so did I (by eating copious amounts of street food). I crossed town and met up with some great truckers, all thanks to my handy dandy iPhone.
Released to the wild (iTunes Store) this week , the new app has reinvented the way you eat. Open the app, which you’ve obviously stationed on your home screen, and discover a plethora of meals waiting to be found. It’s really easy to use; the app knows your location, so the first thing you’ll see is a list of trucks near you. Then you have the option to plug in the food you’re craving (sweet, savory, vegetarian) and what meal you want to find (breakfast, lunch, dinner, late night, or open now). Press “done” and you’ll see a list of every food truck that pleases your fancy. Calexico Cart? What’s that? Click away and again you’re questions are answered. Each truck has a profile (much like on the RH site), complete with the truck’s location, its distance from you, when it’s open, what’s on the menu, and more. You can even click “Get Driving Directions” to avoid the hassle of switching between apps (#firstworldproblems). The app also has a map option for the visual folks out there. Little red tacks of goodness point you in the right direction. Finding food has never been easier.
After checking the app for a real-time map of potential eats, I decided to start my journey in West LA and work my way back to Hollywood. The time: 12:15PM. It was high lunchtime in Los Angeles, but unfortunately for my grumbling stomach, it was high traffic time too. I sat for what felt like hours on Santa Monica Boulevard, watching the heat ripple off the hood of my 1986 Volvo 240. The busted air conditioning didn’t help my desperate situation. I checked the app (at a stoplight of course). The target was close. I looked up to see Vchos, an oasis in a dessert of cars. 1 point for Roaming Hunger!
Vchos is a gourmet tapas truck, inspired by Latin American cuisine. Lucky for me, they were parked right on the red dot, so I didn’t have to search for them. I waited in line before meeting Donny, the truck’s owner. I asked him what I had to try. “Ever had pupusas?” I had, but nothing like his. He whipped me up a piping hot pork, bean, and cheese pupusa, served with curtido (Salvadorian coleslaw). The bottom of the pupusa was crunchy, but the top was extremely tender. Inside was a savory blend of flavors, kept together with the sticky cheese that filled the pupusa. Donny’s second favorite is the shrimp & potato taquito. Leave it to the chef to lead me in the right direction! This essentially looked like a deep fried taco. The shell was crunchy and rich and was filled with an overflowing amount of deliciousness. The grilled shrimp tasted smoky, cut by the extra smooth mashed potatoes that surrounded it. I was tempted to stick around and try everything on the menu, but the iPhone was calling my name. Oh wait, that was just a text.
Pupusa = $3.50
3 Taquitos (plenty to share) = $7
I headed through Beverly Hills, devoid of lunch trucks for the afternoon, and ended up on LA’s Miracle Mile. It was a madhouse of red thumbtacks. I scrounged for parking and battled “Tow Away,” “Street Cleaning – Monday,” and “Permit Only” signs in my quarterless Volvo until I found a less-threatening spot in the shade. My pleather seats thanked me.
Roll’N Lobster popped up first on the app, so I sauntered on over to say hello. Manager Carolina Arechiga greeted me with a piping hot sample of their Clam Chowdah. Their menu claims it’s the “best you’ve ever had” and they don’t lie. This stuff was creammmmmY! Little crustacean surprises popped up every now and then, rich in flavor and character.
Clam Chowdah = $5
Down the way, I found Taylor, her truck Steel City Sandwich, and their mascot, a parrot named Chicken. It was his birthday yesterday, by the way. Happy belated! This truck brings quality Pittsburgh fare to Angelinos citywide. Taylor explained that she brings something new to the food truck community in LA. Her sandwiches stand out in a sea of Philly Cheese Steaks because she reps a different Pennsylvania vibe. I had the Yinzer with capicola (Italian ham). Maybe I should’ve started here, because this sammie was HUGE. Capicola, provolone, fresh cut fries, Italian slaw, tomato, and lettuce were piled high between two hearty slices of Italian bread. This sandwich had so much going for it; it was bound to succeed. The flavors combined to create an authentic taste that’s appetizing and seriously filling.
The Yinzer = $7
It was 1:50PM. The clock was ticking. I was overly stuffed, but wasn’t willing to give up yet. The app said that the Wien Truck was parked at Sunset & Vine until 2. Dare I race traffic to reach savory salvation? The suspense built as I sat back where I began in LA’s infamous traffic. Would the truck wait for me, or would the app prevail again? Sure enough, all I found at the intersection was more traffic. My stomach thanked the app for its accuracy, though I had gotten my hopes up for a hot dog. Guess that mean’s I’ll have to double-check the app. You guys wouldn’t mind another article like this, right?
After a tiring day of gorging myself on some of LA’s best street food, I decided that this app is well worth downloading. It was accurate and easy to use, even for those of us crazed by hunger!
I spent a grand total of $22.50 on a lunch that could’ve fed four. As for that leftover $7.50…I’ll call that lunch for my Volvo.
Gourmet food is right around the corner. All you need is an iPhone, a few bucks, and a hungry stomach. I can’t think of a better way to spend a summer day than by exploring the country’s latest culinary trend on wheels.
But don’t just take my word for it. Hit the road and give the app a test drive yourself. Based on my experience, I’m sure it won’t disappoint. Where’s your next lunch parked?
by Sienna Mintz