Here's the scenario: You're downtown and you're craving a bite of something good, but want to avoid the chaos of Bele Chere proper. May we suggest heading to the The Lot, Asheville’s food truck court at 51 Coxe Ave.
Nate Kelly, owner and operator of the Lowdown food truck, says the Lot will remain open for the duration of Bele Chere (Friday through Sunday). The core vendors responsible for the creation of downtown's first mobile-food court — the Lowdown plus fellow street-food mavericks Gypsy Queen Cuisine and Our Taco Truck — will lay first claim on the four-space lot, with the remaining spot being offered offered to a rotating cast of food trucks that includes El Kimchi (Mexi-Korean fusion), Pho ya Belly (Vietnamese) and Melt Your Heart (gormet grilled cheese).
What can you expect to find? Not much in the way of shade, but plenty of good food and refreshing, alcohol-free drinks (yes, you can put the beer down for just a minute and re-hydrate).
The Lowdown will offer many of the standards that have made the truck a favorite among street-food connoisseurs. Kelly’s menu will include a pulled-pork barbecue sandwich, served with pickled okra and red slaw, a Thai peanut chicken salad wrap and the BTLP, a winner of a sandwich made with fresh and slightly spicy pimento cheese, bacon, lettuce and tomato. For the kids (or kids at heart), Kelly and co. will offer a pesto-slathered grilled cheese (seasoned, homemade curly fries optional) and strawberry lemonade. http://thelowdownfoodtruck.com
Gypsy Queen Cuisine offers some of the best falafel in town — girl's got street cred, after all. Suzy Phillips, owner and operator of the food truck, was born in Lebanon and continued to cook by her mother's side even after heading to the U.S. Now, Phillips turns out food inspired by the sun-drenched climes of her homeland. That aforementioned falafel is fried crunchy, topped with pickled vegetables and a garlicky tahini sauce and wrapped in a pita. Phillips also offers a great fattoush salad, a cooling concoction of crisp romaine lettuce, toasted pita chips, tomatoes and cucumbers, tossed in a sumac vinaigrette. Expect other Middle Eastern standards like hummus and tabouleh salad, all made just as fresh as it gets. http://www.gypsyqueencuisine.com
Our Taco Truck will be there, too, offering what Marni Graves refers to as Arizona/New Mexico-style. So, what's on the menu? "Tacos!" laughs Graves. Yes, yes. Tacos will include spicy chipotle pork as well as the South American chicken chimichurri, both standards on the truck. Graves will also serve some variation of a veggie taco using seasonal goods. "Probably squash," she muses. Also, the current Blind Pig Battle Food Truck champion will offer some of the goods that brought the truck to victory, including the Mexican street food-inspired Elote (grilled corn on the cob spread with housemade mayo, cotija cheese and spices). Graves will also serve churros, dusted with cinnamon and sugar. "They're delicious and we make them fresh every day and serve them hot," Graves says. "It's perfect festival food." (For more information, visit Our Taco Truck's Facebook page.)