Buttermilk Truck is Everything That is Right (And Wrong) With Food Trucks in L.A.
Oh food trucks… you are everything I love and hate about lunchtime in Los Angeles. I love you, because you bring fun and interesting food to my neighborhood every day, saving me from another visit to [insert boring fast food chain near you office here]. You get me outside, and interacting with people on the street. You make my lame co-workers willing to eat a less than healthy lunch they would otherwise balk at (“Korean buffet? Meh… Kogi is outside? Let’s do it!”) But there are a lot of you. And not all of you are good. And sometimes you are hard to find. And you have made me hate the words “fusion tacos” and “seasoned fries”. And most of you take too long. (Isn’t street food supposed to be fast?) And some of your concepts are ridiculous, and not well thought out. And if it wasn’t for you I could probably get away with pretending Twitter doesn’t exist. Did I mention there are too many of you?
Clearly my relationship with food trucks is complicated, but my fat stomach was still pretty excited to move to L.A. and be unleashed into the wild street food scene. When I first got here, Kogi was already on my radar (I don’t live under a rock), but beyond that I didn’t quite know where to start. Thankfully (?) a few names kept popping up over and over again. Grilled Cheese Truck (how could that be bad?), Cool Haus (I like ice cream sandwiches!), India Jones, Komodo… and of course, The Buttermilk Truck, which for some reason I kind of brushed off. (Here’s where I admit I’m an idiot.) For some reason the whole “buttermilk” thing didn’t register with me. Buttermilk pancakes? Buttermilk biscuits? It didn’t click (I think I thought it was dessert or something?) until I heard the words fried chicken and waffles.
I want to go to there.
Sadly for lunchers the chicken and waffles are only on their late night menu… so I had to make due with buttermilk pancakes, french toast, and breakfast sandwiches. (It’s a tough life.)
Their signature item is probably the Buttermilk Biscuit Sandwich. It’s $3.50 and comes with fried egg, cheese, and your choice of applewood smoked bacon, chicken apple sausage, or tocino (?) I know what bacon tastes like, so I went with the chicken apple sausage instead (not realizing that tocino was a Filipino style sweet pork that’s been cured and sliced- and clearly what I should have ordered!) Hilariously, they make sure you don’t mind runny eggs when you order (a fact I pointed out in my first installment of 7 Reasons To Hate L.A. Lunch’ing.) I supposed it’s nice of them to check, but who doesn’t want a runny egg! It’s one of the best parts of this completely amazing sandwich.
The runny egg, the salty meat, the buttery biscuit. So good. If you’re expecting a super fluffy and tall buttermilk biscuit you might be disappointed, but these are no less tasty and the fact that they are a bit dense (but not dry) preserves the integrity of the sandwich. Oh, and I have to mention the rosemary flavored, garlic hash brown ball. It might be the best 50 cents I’ve ever spent on a truck.
Even better (for me) were the Hawaiian Bread Breakfast Sliders ($5). Admittedly I grew up on the East Coast, so sweet Hawaiian egg bread has never been a part of my “must order” repertoire… until now. Lord help me, those slightly sweet and fluffy buns mixed with the shoyu flavored eggs, sauteed onions, and the Portugese sausage. If you were going to make an argument for loving to eat breakfast for lunch, these sliders should be at the top of the list.
The sliders or breakfast sandwich alone isn’t really enough for lunch… but that’s ok. Everything is cheap enough, that you can get more than one thing without going over the $10 mark. Like french toast sticks (3 for $2.50, 5 for $4). I loved the Hawaiian sweet bread on the sliders… dip the same bread in egg, skillet it up, cover it in cinnamon and maple syrup and watch my love grow.
But the real winner on the sweet side is the pancakes. They usually have a few options to choose from (plain are $4 an order, filled are $5) like buttermilk or blueberry… but I couldn’t help order the red velvet with chocolate chips. And that giant blob on top? That’s not whipped cream. Or butter. That, my friends, is cream cheese frosting. Yes, you heard me. Cream cheese frosting, atop red velvet pancakes that have been studded with chocolate chips. Remember that part in the first paragraph about using food trucks to eat things you’d probably never order for lunch in a regular restaurant. This is mine. Holy fuck these were good. And I love that they’re small, and can totally be eaten with your hands. (Syrup these bad boys at your own risk… it is truly not needed.)
The only bad thing I can really say about the Buttermilk Truck is the wait. These guys take a while… even when there is a very short line. Yesterday during lunch it took us about 30 minutes from the time we got to the truck to the time we got our food (15 minutes before we even got to order), and the line was only about 5-6 people long. “Quality” blah blah blah “make things to order” blah blah blah. I get it… your food is good, and maybe this is why. But street food is supposed to be cheap, fast and portable. I’m willing to eat pancakes with my hands (that’s fun!) but I don’t want to wait 30 minutes to get them. (Clearly this is just a bluff. I will wait if I have to… their food is so damn good. Just don’t tell them I said that.)
Chances are I’m not saying anything that many of you don’t already know. The Buttermilk Truck has been written about a ton, and I’m sure a lot of you have already sampled it for yourself. But deep down inside I know (or at least I hope!) that I’m not the only idiot who didn’t realize what the Buttermilk Truck was all about. I can’t be the only one who wrote it off, thinking it wasn’t really a lunch truck… but some sort of dessert thing. Well, this write it up is for you people. The Buttermilk Truck is a lunchtime keeper.
THE + (What somebody who likes this place will say)
- There is nothing I love more than eating breakfast for lunch.
- I like that everything is under $5, so you can get more than one thing and keep your lunch under $10
- Red Velvet + Chocolate Chips + cream cheese frosting = best… lunch… ever
- I love sweet Hawaiian rolls
- Those hash brown balls are great.
- Runny eggs FTW!
- $3.50 is too much to pay for a tiny breakfast sandwich
- Sorry to break it to you but pancakes aren’t street food
- This truck takes too damn long!