As proper food bitches, we’re always ready to rendezvous with unique eats where ever we can maneuver the truck. As truck drivers, we usually have Instagram entree envy and are hard pressed for healthy meals that aren’t chocked full of mystery meat so we’re always in the lookout for tasty treats.
We found a few local eats to tickle your tastebuds on our adventures we’d like to share. Our requirements? Maneuverability of the truck, not fastfoodified, and on our usual route. We also give our heartfelt promise none will give you butt slushees 20 miles down the highway.
Kannika’s Thai food. Ontario, Oregon.
If you travel to the Pacific Northwest by way of i84 into Oregon, across the street from the Love’s truck stop, there is a small group of food trucks in the parking lot of Pacific Pride. And we’re here to say, it’s the best Thai food we’ve had! And we experience a lot of Thai food. We’re here to say, you will be in shock AND awe by the fact that it comes from a food truck, and not a high dollar swanky restaurant somewhere in Portland. This isn’t some trust-fund hippie food truck either. The owners are super down to earth. The husband is an ex-trucker and his wife is from Thailand.
What we got:
Chris and I are both creatures of habit so get the same thing each visit. I always order the Shrimp fried rice. The shrimp is always super fresh. And for those newer to Thai food fried rice is always an easy win. Boring I know, but you can tell a lot of a place by their fried rice. Chris usually orders the shrimp Pad Thai. He said, she puts a small sprinkle peanuts on top with a tiny pile of granulated sugar in the corner side of the serving container. This is in case you like your Pad Thai a little sweeter with some crunch. Otherwise her recipe has a perfect blend of the peanut sauce with a slight sweetness you’d expect from traditional Pad Thai. Our only dislike, she leaves the tails on her shrimp. But worth the time it takes to rip them off, because the shrimp are YUGE!
Last time we stopped through, she was closing up shop but insisted in staying long enough to make us some chicken pad Thai. So we jumped at the chance to give a it a try. Let me tell you, it was worth the stop. Large chunks of chicken with her signature peanut sauce made the whole trip to Oregon worth it. We had enough food for dinner, lunch and dinner the next day.
The portions are large enough food for a few meals. So make room in your truck fridge before you order. This isn’t some cholesteraunt- she makes every order fresh, when you order. So make sure you have that 30 minute rest break to stop your clock.
Nothing one would expect from a food truck in Ontario, Oregon for sure. Our first visit, Chris even went back and gave them an extra $10 tip because we both ate for $14. And had another serving or two for the next day. He still tells them they aren’t charging enough! Check them out on Yelp for hours of service and location.
La Mesa Mexican Restaurant. Council Bluffs, Iowa.
Ready to walk out with that mexi-glow? Get your grubbin’ at one of our faves. La Mesa offers typical Tex-mexish faves. But we wanted to include them. Because, Mexican. Near a truck stop. Walking distance. What more can I say? No chain chow spicyrrhea here. La Mesa is next to the TA in Council Bluffs, so park and walk your cranky ass over.
What we got:
For us, iced tea, chips, salsa, and table guac is a complete food group. We’re also a couple that believes in ordering appetizers for the main course so we can share. But at these two Mexican restaurants, we always get a full-sized dish. Chris usually orders a seafood chimichanga dripping with cheese sauce. No rice. No beans. This place gets it right in his book. He says, “they grill the seafood before frying the chimi. You have too, otherwise, it’s tasteless and who wants a tasteless chimi slathered in cheese sauce that’s mushy by the time you’re finished? Grilling the seafood first gives it a char and won’t make the chimi sog out under the pressure of all that cheesy goodness on top.”
I’m from Arizona and judge all Mexican places on their salsa. Nothing worse than being salsa fucked at a new restaurant. La Mesa delivers on heat but not so hot you can’t eat after. My go-to order is street or fish tacos with lots of limes on corn tortillas. And the answer is always yes, extra guac. Always extra guac. This trip I ordered the loaded nachos with what? Extra guac. I didn’t even made it through the oversized portion! But didn’t ask for a box. I didn’t care for how much the chips sogged out before I got a third of the way through. Next time, I’ll go back to my usual.
Check them out on Yelp for more details.
Onto our nerdy little secret stops
Best place for Snackies: Toot n Totum Dalhart, Texas.
Yeah Dalhart, TX. Home of meat plants and dust. We love taking old 54 whenever we get a chance. Tons of Hidey-hole parking and the smell of cow dung is always an attraction. But old 54 is a great tone saver cut through if you can handle the weather and lack of scenery. Toot n Totum has a wide variety of drinks you can’t find anywhere else. It was here we found our love of Dust Cutter lemonade and XL bags of beef jerky. They also have a few grab and go prepared meals and a Mexican food restaurant next door. Much better than you’re hot dog in a stick at the other truck stops. The only problem, we’ve never eaten at the Mexican place their hours are short and they’re hard to catch. And we’re always rolling through town at midnight or later. Maybe one day, we’ll get a chance to check them out. They also recently remolded the parking lot and fuel island so it’s a tad easier to navigate. Plus, clean and well-stocked bathrooms are always a nice change for us lady truckers. I’d recommend a stop if you need to fill your drink up and want something a little different.
Hat Six Travel Plaza Evansville, WY
Another one of our favorites. Sure it’s a “travel plaza” but they have mad respect for truckers unlike most of the snotty “Plazas” out there today. The extensive drink selection is a plus, but they have a Moe’s inside. And who doesn’t love to hear the chime of “Welcome to Moe’s” when you walk in the door. They have plenty of space between spots so if you’re one of those who can’t back your ass up, you’ll love it here. Otherwise, fill up the cooler and grab a burrito and get back on the road.
Check em online:
We plan on making this a regular part of our blog. If you have any you’d like us to check out or add, please let us know in the comments. Or scream at us on Twitter @gothamexpressll