For Pacific Beach resident Nolan Hietpas, taking that left led to one of the best burgers he's had in a while. “I saw a sign on Garnet saying something about food trucks, so I decided to check it out,” said Hietpas, who was walking to the beach with his wife Becky Hietpas, along with mother-in-law Mary Quiring and brother-in-law Steven Quiring, both visiting from Minnesota. “Once I got close and could smell that barbecue, I knew I made a wise choice.”
The other members of the group opted for lighter fare from the Not So Fast! food truck, such as blackened salmon with sauteed zucchini, sweet potato hash, and the El Pavo Diablo, a free-range turkey burger with roasted red peppers, grilled jalapenos, and spicy garlic aioli.
Those specialty gourmet menu items, and just about any other cuisine – from Asian to Cajun to Cuban to Thai – are available from an array of food trucks that gather on Wednesdays from 5 to 9 p.m. at 875 Garnet Ave. in the ACE parking lot. The trucks rotate each week and usually offer an exceptional example of street food staples such as burgers, burritos and brats for the hungry gourmand.
“We are excited to finally be in Pacific Beach,” said Christian Murcia, who runs the gourmet food truck booking service Curbside Bites with his wife Danielle. Curbside Bites, which has a network of more than 250 food trucks in Southern California, is responsible for scheduling the trucks each week.
“We had PB on our radar for a while but could not do anything there until the rules were changed in San Diego,” he said.
Last fall, the City Council unanimously passed new rules for mobile food trucks to operate citywide, and then in March the Coastal Commission approved the regulations for the coastal areas, which paved the way for food truck Wednesdays in Pacific Beach.
“PB is a unique community that supports small business owners and also has a lot of residents who love fresh, good food,” said Murcia, who started booking the food trucks for PB in March. “We've already had quite a few people come by and tell us how excited they are about it.”
Murcia makes sure there is a diverse rotation of trucks – usually four to five – each week at the PB location to keep a variety of flavors in play. “These gatherings are like pop-up food courts, and we want to make sure there is something for everyone,” he said. “We want it to be a unique event.”
On a recent cool spring evening, a group of friends visiting from Chula Vista made their way through the parking lot of food trucks and found a few favorites. “These crab cakes are so delicious,” said Jenn Ortiz, who ordered them from the Two for the Road truck.
Her friend, Kaye Lara, was munching on Cajun fries from Mr. Dash. “These are sooo good. Just the right amount of spice,” she said, as she hustled to catch up with her group, who were walking west while eating and laughing their way down Hornblend Street.
“We wanted to see how it would go in Pacific Beach,” Murcia said. “We are happy with the reception so far.”
When: 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays
Where: 875 Garnet Ave., in the ACE parking lot at Bayard Street and Garnet Avenue.
Info: To find out what food trucks are booked for Pacific Beach, visit www.curbsidebites.com or follow them on Twitter @curbsidebites. Most of the San Diego food trucks are also on Twitter and tweet where they will be every day.