The evening debate: What’s for dinner? As we sit in the hotel brainstorming the idea, I pick up the Destination Missoula visitor guide. As we review some of our finds wandering the downtown, my eyes scan the Dining section and I silently yell “Eureka!” As we ponder the last restaurant, I propose another idea, “Food Trucks?” My wife puzzled, “They have food trucks here?” I mention the sidebar that mentions Tuesday evenings trucks are parked at Scott and Toole in Missoula. Not wanting to drive, but willing to walk I find the trucks are not too far away. My wife obliges my cravings and prepares for a walk.
As we turn the corner down Scott pass the Safeway, my pace picks up. It’s because I see the teal camper of Tias Tamales on the corner of Toole from where we stand. My wife laughs, because she notices my pace and says, “you are obsessed.” God bless her that she can handle my addiction. We walk up and three trucks are setup for this routinely scheduled food truck pod. Here today are Tias Tamales, Family Meal Truck, and Clove Cart Pizza Peddlers.
Family Meal Truck
I immediately head for Family Meal Truck and scan the menu written on the truck. I’m drawn to the sandwiches and street tacos, but the special “Southsider” gets my stomach growling. The Southsider is a local fried green tomatoes, crisp Daily’s bacon (local premium meat), buttermilk dressing, topped with greens on a toasted Le Petit (local bakery) baguette. As I order, I recognize some more writing on the truck.
At the time, I was excited to see a truck focusing on keeping it local. When I researched the ingredients, I found my Southsider was very local (as noted above). When my order was called, my lips smacked on the opportunity to try it. The green tomatoes were lightly breaded and sized perfectly to call the baguette home. I am not a big fan of ranch, but this ranch erased my dislike. It was cool and fresh and did not have a sour taste to it. I dabbed a little hot sauce to try and I wish I had gone full throttle. It gave the sandwich another dimension and really brought some heat.
After my stomach and taste buds agreed, I walked over to thank the Chef. The truck is home to Chef Katy Roy, a Le Cordon Bleu Culinary graduate, chef for over 10 years, with previous experience as an Executive Chef in San Francisco. She moved to Missoula with her husband where she worked the kitchen at The Red Bird, a fine dining restaurant in downtown Missoula.
The truck I first saw when I turned that corner seemed to be very popular. As I approached the pod’s corner, a family was completing their tamales’ order. Tia was happily slinging tamales for the family sitting at the patio-like seating along the the sidewalk. My wife was hungry after eating a slice of pizza from Clove Cart and wanted to try a tamale. She enjoys Mexican food, as she grew up in Texas, so the tamale had her eye. She ordered the traditional pork one. After ordering, I couldn’t believe what happened next. My wife who usually picks out items in order, said yes to avocado, slaw, and pickled onions (I would have bet avocado). I am so glad she added those, because it really brought an “ahhh” feeling to it. The slaw had a hint of lime and added a little kick, the pickled onions weren’t soaked in pickle juice, and the avocado was delicious.
Clove Cart Pizza Peddlers
At first glance, it looks like your ordinary pizza cart. And I’d admit, I thought it was ordinary. Then you find out it was a pickup truck frame converted into a handmade brick oven pizza cart powered by four pedal stations. I wish I could have watch setup and take down now of the oven. Though what you are more interested is in the pizza. My wife first tackled her hunger here. As I stood in amazement of the newly found pod, she handed over a slice of pizza. The slice was crispy and thin with a nice arrangement of pepperoni.
Of these three trucks, I think Missoula has a worthy scene to check out. I did find more trucks after my visit based on Twitter suggestions and reviewing the trucks’ schedules. If visiting the area, I would start with these trucks. If you are in Missoula on Tuesday, head to Toole Avenue and Scott Street for the evening’s pod from 5-8pm.
Want to find them?
Clove Cart Pizza Peddlers