ANCHORAGE, AK – The smoky scent of barbecued pork drifts down Spenard, followed by hints of sugar and fried dough. A man in plaid cruises past on a 10-foot tall bike, looking as if he just escaped from the circus. As you round the corner you catch sight of the windmill first, followed by the trucks, which are bright bursts of color against the gray and dusty parking lot. You grin. It’s time to eat.
Anchorage is in the infancy of a great street food transformation. Mobile food trucks have popped up across the city in the past couple years, slinging everything from juicy skewered meats to Alaska-grown beet sliders and decadent artisan cupcakes. They are just in time, because the people of Anchorage have caught wind of the food truck movement and are hungry. We are a city that loves to eat.
One of the appeals of a food truck for chefs is that it is a viable alternative to starting a restaurant. After finishing her culinary arts degree at University of Alaska Anchorage, Kathy Robinson of Wheel Good Food was inspired to start a business, but she wasn’t ready to dive into a full-fledged restaurant. Momma’s Grizzly Grub was born when three Wasilla women were chosen as contestants on the Food Network’sThe Great Food Truck Race this past season. Quitting their jobs to start a food truck on television won them hearts across the nation. For John D’Elia of Urban Bamboo, it’s all about the food.
“I am bringing local foods and fresh flavors to the streets. It’s time to put Alaska street food on the map,” D’Elia says.
Urban Bamboo got its start at the Spenard Farmer’s Market, located under the windmill in the parking lot of the legendary Chilkoot Charlie’s. D’Elia was inspired this winter to start organizing other food trucks after he saw how the market brought people together. The Spenard Food Truck Carnival debuted this spring, and is now held every Thursday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. It’s grown to include eight or nine food trucks each week, serving everything from hot dogs to Cajun jambalaya to quinoa salad. The mainstays are Wheel Good Food, Urban Bamboo, and Tiers from Heaven, but new trucks have appeared recently, including Cajun Justice and Eat A Different Sandwich.
I went to Eat A Different Sandwich, which specializes in American style homemade sandwiches. The “Pig’s Eye” consisted of Alaska-smoked ham, goat cheese, and tarragon aioli on a soft, sweet Hawaiian roll. It was a huge sandwich, rich and decadent, and came with a side of Taco Loco tortilla chips. I had more than one person ask me where it was from while I was licking my fingers.
Find the entire article by Shannon Kuhn at anchoragepress.com <here>