Being relegated to North Austin for work has its pros and cons. The biggest pro is that I drive against traffic to and from work, so I’m rarely caught in any bumper-to-bumper frustration during my commute. The downside of working in the great white north a few miles from downtown is the lack of food trucks frequenting the area (we need to eat delicious food from mobile kitchens too, you know!). Anyhow, thanks to a socially savvy creator of Korean-Mexican fusion, I was able to partake in some delicious and creative fare without having to cross any zip codes.
Chi’Lantro has an East (Korea, presumably South) meets West (Mexico) vibe running through their menu, along with some American favorites to offer someone for everyone. The name is just a mash up of kimchi and cilantro*, and for anyone who knows me, you’d think it would be a total deal breaker**. Well, I faced my fear and ventured out to try this border-crossing food truck***. After a brief Twitter check, I tracked them down to a hotel parking lot less than a mile away, and off I went.
The first thing I noticed was the growing line congregating a few minutes before noon in a secluded parking lot. This certainly bodes well if people seek out a food truck in the middle of nowhere. The second thing I noticed is they process credit card payments using an iPad and Square, which isn’t really relevant to this post other than it is really cool! While waiting in line I decided on a burrito, and told myself I could try the tacos, quesadillas, burgers, or hot dogs another time. The big question, though, was which burrito to go with.
When it was my turn to order, I asked if I should go with the spicy pork or spicy chicken. He made that easy by saying they didn’t have chicken today, but that, and I’ll paraphrase, “the beef is bangin’ “. Naturally, I went with the beef. In an effort to enjoy the full experience I added a side of spicy fries, because what goes better with a Korean-flavor burrito than some piping hot freedom French Mexican Korean French fries covered in spicy pepper. The burrito was ready first while they were frying up a fresh batch of fries, so I cradled it and took in that unmistakable buttery smell that told me the tortilla had been crisped up nicely on the flat top. A few minutes later the fries were ready and in my possession.
The first bite of the burrito was magnificent. My mouth said it felt like a burrito, but was confused by the flavors of Korean BBQ! The crunchy cabbage salad, soft rice, and gooey cheese sang perfect backup to the beef. But the sneak attack surprise? A whole fried egg! Wrap it all up and you get an award-worthy burrito that can scarcely be called a burrito. The fries were pretty good, but nothing to call home about. Though intimidatingly covered in crushed pepper, they’re not too spicy. The spicy mayo dip on the side was delicious, but still not enough to bring me back for more.
All said, I’m really looking forward for the next time Chi’Lantro BBQ is back in my neck of the woods. I can see it becoming a regular occurrence, as long as they’re willing to visit. I mean, come on, they have two trucks, I’m sure they can spare one!
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* I guess the apostrophe is the American component.
** For those who don’t know me, I have something in my system that makes cilantro taste like soap.
*** Don’t read into that, just because it is Mexican cuisine in a truck in Texas…