‘Food Truck Nation’ – Fine dining on four wheels
It’s not often you hear restaurant owners say nice things about food trucks, what with the business they tend to take away. So when Los Angeles-based chef and restaurateur Brad Miller extols their virtues on his new Cooking Channel series “Food Truck Nation,” his words resonate.
“Some of these people are putting out sometimes Michelin-level food on food trucks,” he says. “The cool thing about all these food trucks for me is just that they have so much creativity and so much energy and the reason is because when people find out about them, they go to them. … Because people are checking their Instagram or checking their Twitter, they’re checking their Facebook just to go for that cuisine. They’re going there specifically for those food items, for exactly what you’re doing.”
In the six-episode half-hour series, which premieres Tuesday, Jan. 22, Miller heads to different points across the country to sample some of the unique and varied creations coming out of these mobile kitchens, such as the surf and turf burrito from the Bibuta food truck in Minneapolis; the Belgian waffles topped with cookie butter from Belgian Waffle Crafters in Durham, N.C.; the funnel cake courtesy of Drizzle Truck in California; and the wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizza produced in under 90 seconds by Blue Fire Pizza in St. Paul, Minn.
But in Tuesday’s opener, Miller stays local to check out Billionaire Burger Boyz in South Central Los Angeles, home of the Hello Burger, which is an oversized beef patty stuffed with Cajun grilled shrimp.
“It’s like literally a burger where they cook cheese and shrimp in the inside of the burger and it has like two fried eggs on it, and a lobster. It’s insane,” he says. “You take a bite and it’s like leaking shrimp. Cannot not hear about it if you live in L.A.”
And while that was a culinary delight, Miller says equally as impressive was the subject of an episode airing later in the season, Bibuta’s surf and turf burrito. The invention of owner and master sushi chef Billy Tserenbat, it’s filled with raw tuna and wagyu beef and was, says Miller, “one of the best things I have ever tasted.”
“They do the rice paper on the outside; that’s your tortilla, sort of,” he explains. “And then on the inside he does tuna, scallions and then he does basically like a reduction of soy sauce, sugar, ginger and a little bit of sesame seed oil and he just purees that up and that gets drizzled over that. And then he does the A5 wagyu cut in little pieces, cut into strips, and he actually sears them … with salt and he gently places them in the burrito and then rolls it up with the sushi rice and paper.
“I was shocked,” he continues. “I mean, the whole crew was like, ‘This is one of the best things I’ve ever tasted.’ And it’s in Minnesota. It’s really cool.”