3030 Grape Street, South Park
(Has gone out of business since this article was published.)
I won't often admit to consulting Wikipedia, but while researching what is meant when people refer to a "Paleo diet" — based on the premise that our bodies are actually better off only digesting the types of food available to our caveman ancestors — I came across this gem: "Advocates claim that followers of the diet may enjoy a longer, healthier, more active life, unlike our ancestors."
I'm not out to debunk Paleo. Some of the strongest, fittest people I know have adhered to this diet and could quite literally toss me across the room for attacking its merits. However, it's a gimmicky premise for a food truck.
The Not So Fast! truck recently made an appearance at the Tuesday Curbside Bites event, in the Gala Foods parking lot, South Park. It claims to be "the first Paleo & Primal friendly fast food truck in San Diego," so stuff like grains and dairy are out, while local meats and wild-caught seafood are in. I braced myself for one of the lettuce-wrapped burgers that anchor its menu.
Actually, an egg bun is an option, and so is cheese, and I applaud the move. Nice that every customer doesn't have to wrestle with the idea of trapping a burger patty within a loose, leafy construction.
However, I'm a team player, so I stuck with the lettuce wrap. I did accept the offer of cheese, because I'm not a caveman and don't feel the need to eat like one. (Actually, the Wikipedia entry didn't make it immediately clear whether stone-age humans ate lettuce wrapped burgers.)
Now, I showed up early to the event only to find that my first two choices — the lamb and elk burgers — were unavailable. A shame, because the lettuce-wrapped lamb, feta, and tzatziki burger sounded pretty good to me.
Instead I went with Zee Wild Boar, a "BBQ spice wild boar patty" with herb-grilled vegetables. Here we go, I thought, a lean, game meat. Lettuce. Finally, a food truck to feed me well, even sell me an organic sports drink to go with it. Perhaps healthy eating was at long last within my reach.
I wouldn't find out right away. Not that I have any right to complain. It does say "Not So Fast" right in the name of the truck right? In the end, it took nearly 25 minutes for me to get that grilled boar patty on a bed of lettuce.
I can complain about how it tasted. Well, that it didn't taste great, and that — dumb's on me for this one — this healthier-than-thou Paleo meal was just as meaty and greasy as any burger I could get around town. A little gamier, but ultimately not as enjoyable and a huge pain in the ass to eat without a proper bun. And ten bucks. The lamb would been 12.
The real issue came later in the evening, as I settled into my seat to watch Steve Martin play bluegrass to a smiling audience at Humphrey's. That's when the churning started, the occasional sharp pain and heaviness in my belly. Apparently Paleolithic ingredients don't respond well to live music, even of the folksy variety. Or maybe my modern-era temple of a body just can't handle hunter-gatherer fad diets.