Mobile Truck · Los Angeles, California
Aye que rico!
If you find yourself driving around Hollywood and see a bunch of dancing Latin people surrounding a musical food truck, you can safely assume you’ve just found the new Dominican food sensation soon to take Los Angeles by storm. Lidia’s Dominican Kitchen, (formerly known as Jimmy’s Chicken to Go-Go) is a new food truck that successfully captures authentic, Latin cuisine and dishes it out in party form. Did I mention it’s all on wheels? Have I mentioned it’s also delicious? Well, it is.
A short history: While casually shopping in West Hollywood, many months ago, I had the fortune of meeting Lidia and we shared a brief conversation about our mutual love for Latin cuisine. I expressed my frustration about how there were so few authentically good Latin restaurants in Los Angeles. And by Latin, I wasn’t talking about tacos. I was talking about Puerto Rican food, Dominican food, finger-licking, homemade, fried-up, Caribbean style comfort food. Stuff my grandma makes.
Lidia then proceeded to tell me how she was coincidentally opening up a Dominican food truck in the near future. “What!?” I thought to myself, “is wishful thinking really this easy!?” Maybe I should start thinking happy winning-the-lotto thoughts and see what’s happens…
Ok. So, flash forward to today. I get an email at 1:26 am… The time has come… the truck is HERE.
I got to check out Lidia’s special soft opening that happened earlier today on Beverly and La Brea. They were parked right in the lot of the temporarily defunct Valeros gas station. I roll up and am greeted by loud Latin beats, a happy intermingling crowd, dogs and their owners and a smiling Lidia and her crew. There’s something about Latin music… I couldn’t help but dance while in line. This man (below) with his arm behind his back was actually dancing too. Or at least was trying some new wacky gringo moves.
To my heart’s delight, her menu features all my favorites:
Pasteles, Tostones, Quipe, Arroz con Gondules and Pernil! There are also three kinds of desserts, two kinds of yuca and three different empanadas. Not to mention various bebidas tropicales like Malta and Tamarindo. Huh. So I guess heaven for me is a lot like the Caribbean. AND it’s a truck!
I loved the fried yuca, especially with the delicious homemade mojo and super spicy garlic butter. The chicken empanada was really good and had a slight kick to it while the ground beef was flavored nicely and tender. The sweet caramelized onions inside were also a nice touch. These were probably some of the tastiest empanadas I’ve had in a long time. No joke.
The tostones were not the crispy, salted kind that I am use to making at home but nevertheless, they were very good. I’m gonna guess that she doesn’t use a yellow (ripe) plantain, nor green one, but it’s somewhere in the middle to give it that slightly sweet, soft texture.
Though she was SUPER swamped with customers, Lidia graciously took a moment to pose with family, friends and fans.
She even obliged me and let me snap a pic behind the scenes.
The only thing that stopped me from ordering everything off her menu was the fact that she had run out of a lot of food items by the time I got there in the evening. (A good sign!)
Prices are just right. With items ranging from $2-16, there’s truly something on this menu for every appetite. Lidia obviously put a lot of time into planning this truck and the well-rounded menu and happy staff reflected that.
I am definitely coming back when she has her Grand Opening on Sunday, July 31st (1pm to 8pm) and I’m bringing friends! I look forward to trying Lidia’s marinated Rotisserie Chicken and of course… the Pernil (slow roasted pork).
If you go, don’t forget your dancing shoes!
BYB Tip: Lidia Caters!
**Update: As of early 2012 the truck is on hold in LA for now. This message appears on her website:
DONDE ESTA THE TRUCK?
Dear loyal customers of LA,
Sorry we’ve been missing in action but Lidia’s Dominican Kitchen food truck has been contracted to feed folks abroad! Actually, just in another state, but we will be back on the streets of LA soon! Please check in from time to time to see what we are up to! Thank you for ALL you support in the past!
Looking forward to feeding you soon!