June 24, 2013

Food Truck-O-Rama: El Corazon and Bite Into Maine

The O-Rama series returns! Remember Thai-o-Rama? Portland area food bloggers ate at all 12 Portland Thai food restaurants and had so much fun that we O-rama'ed for another year on various topics. Enthusiasm eventually waned, but now that food trucks have come to Portland, we've come out of retirement to O-rama again! 

A. of Portland Food Map coordinated the effort as usual, and I volunteered to cover El Corazon and Bite Into Maine. I first saw El Corazon at Flea Bites, the First Friday food truck and vintage shopping event at Portland Flea-for-All. It was their premiere, so they sold out while I was waiting in line. 

Not to be deterred, I sought them out for lunch on Saturday, where I found them in their usual spot on Commercial St. at the bottom of Franklin St. They were serving tacos, burritos, taquitos, tamales, and their Sonoran (bacon-wrapped) hot dog.  

I ordered a round of tacos, carnitas ($2.50) and two fish ($2.75 each), and some potato and cheese taquitos ($3.75 for 3). (Yes, tacos and fried tacos, thank you.) The carnitas filling was a little dry, but tasty and simple. The corn tortillas are substantial as far as support, but light in texture indicating that they're housemade. 

The Baja fish taco was excellent, with a spicy, creamy sauce, crunchy slaw, and small bites of lightly fried white fish. I very much enjoyed these. 

A. got a carne asada burrito ($5.50), and while it disappeared quickly, I took a bite that was very flavorful. In addition to the meat, the burrito was full of refried beans, rice, cheese, guacamole, sour cream, and salsa verde. 

The taquitos were great too - crunchy and full of mashed potato (I was expecting those tiny adorable potato cubes) and cheese and then covered in more cheese, sour cream, and guac. Very decadent. 

Topped off with a pineapple agua fresca, we had a filling, inexpensive lunch that was a great sampling of Mexican food. I recommend you seek out El Corazon. They post their schedule on their website, and also use Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to announce their daily location.  

My next food truck lunch came from Bite Into Maine, the lobster roll cart in Fort Williams park in Cape Elizabeth. Bite Into Maine has been there for a while (this is their third year), and owners Sarah and Karl have been instrumental in helping to change the legislation that allows food trucks in Portland. So they're sort of the godparents of the Portland food truck movement. 

The BIM cart is parked scenically on the top of a hill overlooking the lighthouse at Fort Williams and the ocean beyond that. When I went, it was a beautiful day with many tourists lining up for lobster rolls.  

After chatting with Sarah and Karl (who are wicked nice), I ordered a picnic style lobster roll ($13.95) and a corn, cucumber, blueberry salad ($3.95). Picnic style lobster comes dressed with hot butter and celery salt and is served over a bed of cole slaw inside the split top buttered, toasted bun. Rolls are also available Maine-style with mayo and chives, Connecticut-style with hot butter, Wasabi, Curry, and Chipotle. 

This was easily the best lobster roll I've had. I don't tend to order them too often (pricey, potentially bad), but I would if they were all like this one. The lobster was tender, in bite-sized pieces (avoiding ending up with lobster meat in your lap), with a nice crunch from the cole slaw. The addition of butter was seamless, adding a nice flavor without overwhelming the meat. 

The corn, blueberry salad was good as well with red onion and cilantro, but paled in comparison to the delicious lobster roll. BIM also sells Maine Root soda, Moxie (and Diet Moxie, which I did not know existed), whoopie pies, and kettle chips—lots of great treats to round out your lunch. 

The food cart does travel (I saw them at a beer festival on Friday night), but for the most part is at Fort Williams daily from 12-6pm. Check their schedule before you go.