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Gourmet-food trucks find haven in Santa Monica

January 4, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Los Angeles "foodies" have been using Twitter to chase down their gourmet goodies, often driving around town to chase the Kogi BBQ truck. Gourmet-food trucks now have a place of their own on 14th Street and Santa Monica Boulevard. It's a "gourmet food court on wheels." At the corner of 14th and Santa Monica, they are cooking up a little healthy competition.

"I think this is great. I think this is a little bit of heaven. A little bit of heaven on a street corner," said Santa Monica resident Adam Barber.

A former car sales lot is now a mobile food court featuring gourmet options like sushi.

"It's really, really good," said Sarah Bessade, a resident of Santa Monica. "It's really spicy and not expensive and pretty great."

The trucks serve up good food with a side of creativity, using names like "Barbie's Q" and "Fishlips." They're all a part of a booming new industry.

"There were, 10 months ago, five of these gourmet food trucks in existence in Los Angeles, and today they are approaching 60," said the parking lot's owner, Steve Taub. "The food is incredible. The food is from every ethnicity."

Despite no advertising at all there has been a steady flow of customers on this first day of the mobile food court. Some of these people were simply driving by, while others are some of the tens of thousands of people that have been following these gourmet trucks on Twitter.

"I follow on Twitter, and I am very excited and was very excited that this is going to be a regular thing here," said Pitita Alcala.

"Twitter is sort of the key to the success of all these trucks because your mobility is a blessing and a curse," said Barbie's Q owner John Bowler. "On one hand, you can go anywhere; on the other hand people have to find where you are."

Some city officials and restaurant owners have tried to put the brakes on these food trucks in other parts of town, but with few rules on the books pertaining to these businesses, truck owners hope that this new "mobile food court" will help keep moving them forward in the new year.