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I’ve spent the last 4 years walking past the delicious sights and smells of the food trucks parked on SMU’s Hilltop. In a quest to diversify my lunchtime cuisine, I finally decided to take a tour of three different trucks parked on the campus one day. After a small sample of what each truck had to offer, I finally understood all the hubbub about food truck grub-ub. There are a variety of trucks that roll through SMU each semester and the chefs inside are cooking up huge flavors in tiny kitchens that can satisfy any kind of passing-period food mood.
Gaucho Empanadas: The first stop on my Hilltop food truck tour was at Gaucho Empanadas. I was a little nervous to try this truck because I’ve never had an empanada, but like I said, I was on a quest to diversify my cuisine. I stayed within my comfort level, though, and ordered the brisket and chicken BBQ empanadas. What shocked me the most was the size of these meat-stuffed pastries! Each empanada was about the size of my palm, completely contradicting the bite-sized ones I had envisioned. The outer pastry was crispy and flaky, and the perfect accent to the tender meat packed inside. I was mucho impressed with Gaucho. Hannah Rogers, a graduate student at SMU, also loves the unique taste Gaucho brings to SMU.
“I’ve stopped here probably more times than I should have this semester,” Rogers chuckled. “I’m just a huge fan of these empanadas and I really like the variation it adds to on-campus dining.”
For those who are more adventurous in their first-time empanada endeavors, you can try the salmon empanada with tomatoes and cheese. The truck also serves fresh-pressed juices for the perfect sweet and savory meal. This restaurant on wheels has mastered the combination of big Texas flavor with a South American twist.
Egg Stand: The next stop on my food truck tour was at Egg Stand. Eggs are one of my top five favorite foods, making additional charges completely egg-ceptable to add an egg to any meal. So, when I looked over the Egg Stand menu and realized every sandwich is served with an egg, I knew I was in for a juicy meal and deal. I ordered the CB, which is a ground angus beef patty served with caramelized onions, butter pickles, cheddar cheese, chipotle ketchup and topped with, you guessed it, an egg! The sandwich was hot, fresh, bursting with flavor and just as good as any high-priced burger at a fancy restaurant (that probably makes you pay extra for the egg). Overall, it was an egg-cellent first-time experience. Egg Stand meals are only served on wheels, so visit the Egg Stand weekly schedule to see where the truck will crack its windows open for business each week.
Ruthie’s Rolling Café: To top off my tasty tour of food trucks on the Hilltop, I stopped at Ruthie’s Rolling Café to get my hands on one of the best grilled cheeses in Dallas. Grilled cheese sandwiches were one of my go-to dinners as a kid, so I held the standard pretty high for Ruthie’s. I decided to combine my Texas roots with my pure love for grilled cheese sandwiches and order The Boss: BBQ brisket and cheddar cheese on sourdough bread.
A TASTE AS BIG AS TEXAS! This grilled cheese lives up to its moniker THE BOSS sharp cheddar & chopped beef bbq pic.twitter.com/8wkg23C2ry
— Ruthiesrollingcafe (@Ruthiesrolling) February 16, 2017
I didn’t even need to swallow my first bite to understand why Ruthie’s is named one of 15 essential Dallas-Fort Worth food trucks by Dallas Eater. Sorry mom, but there’s a new Boss in town and your homemade grilled cheese sandwiches are fired! Another popular item is the Italian Hippy (grilled chicken, mozzarella, tomatoes and pesto on whole grain wheat), but you can also get a sweet twist with the Nutella Nirvana (Nutella and frosting on sourdough topped with cinnamon sugar). Since Ruthie’s is always on the go, you can check out Ruthie’s Rolling Café schedule to find out where Ruthie will be rolling next.
Photos by Janelle Giordano. Infographic by Janelle Giordano. Map by Janelle Giordano.