Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Food Truck Diaries, Volume 15: The Rolling Chef

Posted By on Tue, May 24, 2011 at 8:00 AM

Have I mentioned how much I love Tucsons street food?
  • Have I mentioned how awesome Tucson's street food is?

The Rolling Chef is a flame-emblazoned food truck run by the former executive chef of fine-dining establishment Anthony’s in the Catalinas. It can be found on the corner of Stone Avenue and Pennington Street between 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., weekdays; and outside of the Music Box Lounge at 6951 E. 22nd St. until the wee hours on weekends.

Chef Carlos Aponte said he was let go from Anthony’s in the Catalinas when the recession hit and sales plummeted. It was a bit of a blow—he’d worked at El Parador, opened City Grill for Sam Fox and worked at fine New York restaurants, earning accolades and an impeccable reputation along the way—but there was precious little time to mope around.

“Basically, I had to make my own economy,” says Aponte. “It came down to what would be the most profitable, what would take the least to get started, and what is trendy.”

The result: The Rolling Chef, which has been wowing downtowners with gourmet, street-style tacos, cheese steaks and roast-beef sandwiches. For the moment, it’s about the closest thing Tucson has to the now-famous Los Angeles food truck Kogi BBQ, and Aponte is forever adding to the menu.

Aponte’s tacos are stuffed with shredded Angus beef, pit-roasted pork and other things he carefully roasts over special wood until it all collapses into tender shreds. It is then stuffed in a tortilla from the Anita Street Market and topped with coleslaw and caramelized onions, or cabbage salsa and lime, and handed over to you for the paltry sum of $1.

There's also talk of a teriyaki chicken taco topped with Asian salad and pineapple, but that's still in the development stages.

The Rolling Chef is down this week—it's getting a new engine—but should be back next week.

You can follow the truck on Twitter here.

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