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Over the Weekend: The Food Truck Smackdown

Jonesing for a fried or folded, sweet or savory food-truck fix, I headed to the Food Truck Smackdown on Friday night. I admit I was hoping to find part ROT Rally, part food fight and part monster truck battle when I got there.

Unfortunately there was no ROT or monster truck rally, but instead lots of folks came out and rallied around a cause: Ten for 10: Water for Africa. In fact, I was happily surprised by how jam-packed and crowded the parking lot outside Sunset Lounge became soon after the doors opened. Way to go, philanthropists/food truck enthusiasts of Dallas. Y'all raised some good water money for Africa, and then celebrated by drinking a whole lot of vodka and Stone Brewing Co. beer.

Food Truck Roll Call Gandolfo's Nammi 3 Men and a Taco So-Cal Tacos Gennarino's Enticed Ice Jackalope

As usual, I attempted to eat one of everything. Making my way from truck to truck, I tried some salsa and a couple of tacos from So-Cal Tacos, a chicken Bahn Mi from Nammi, Gandolfo's roast beef sandwich creation, Enticed sugar free orange-pineapple ice, Gennarino's fried tomato risotto ball, and finally, Jackalope's vegan BLT.

Here's who smacked whom.

Gennarino's smacked the English language. The adorable yet unintelligible thick Italian accent on this truck is intense. As I waited for a batch of fresh fried bites to emerge from the Gennarino's truck I stared awestruck at the gentleman screaming out of the truck's big window. Something about Prada and Dolce & Gabbana I think. Their fried ball of tomato risotto was tasty. Not a bad snack at all. While I didn't get to mouth-smack their fried pizza, I am very interested in doing so at some point in the near future.

Nammi smacked Gandolfo's. This time, anyway. The first time I tried Nammi's Bahn Mi it left me choking on their dry bread, which featured chicken bits of questionable quality inside. Friday night, however, the bread was soft and moist and packed with crisp veggies and flavorful chicken that didn't worry me one bit. Now, don't get me wrong, I love me some Gandolfo's, but Friday night they came packing their less-than-deli-like sub-style bread rather than their marble rye, which tastes so damn good. Thus their sandwiches were good, but they could have been better. And thus, they got smacked.

So-Cal Tacos smacked 3 Men and a Taco. 3 Men just didn't quite have the ordering process down. Some trucks had multiple lines, some just handed out what they had as it was ready, but 3 Men decided to take orders and shout names out to the disorganized/confused crowd/line/waiting area. Comparing tacos to tacos at these two trucks is an apples to oranges situation, so I will just say I really, really liked the crunch on the fish tacos at So-Cal, and leave it at that.

Jackalope smacked one of its own employees. New to this whole food truck thing, with a sad-looking white second-hand truck that reminded me of an exhausted, pale and nearly lifeless vegan in dire need of a little protein, Jackalope made a grave mistake. They let their exhaust fill the inside of their truck, causing an employee to hit the deck. At least that's what it looked like anyway. An ambulance was called, and the tofu marched on. My "BLT" was tasty but not what I expected. It was comprised of toasted rye, a smoky meat-substitute product, tomato and a pesto component that made for an interesting sandwich, though not at all a BLT, or even a "BLT." Either way, I helped celebrate Vegetarian Awareness Month by eating it, and I feel good about that.

Enticed smacked orange and pineapple together. Since they were the only truck offering dessert, that was my last smack. A refreshing few bites of their sugar-free orange-pineapple flavor was all I needed to complete the night. My advice is to slurp Enticed fast; it melts before you can say "homemade tiger's blood."

I've done a bit of research and discovered that there were some winners from the smackdown, voted on by the crowd. Nammi won best food and best overall. Gennarino's won best concept, and "Squeals on Wheels" is still just a figment of your imagination. At least I have yet to see proof that they actually exist.

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