The world of food trucks really resonates with me as a person. I see food trucks almost as rogue restaurants run by people who really thrive on the freedom that comes from independence and creativity, and people who aren’t afraid of taking some serious risks. I see a lot of similarities between food trucks and bloggers, because I see bloggers as the rogue writers, the writers who’ve bucked the system to do their own thing.
Same kind of people, two different worlds, both doing their own thing so they can create something worthwhile without limitation. So maybe this is why I love them so much. The risks they take enable them to make some seriously delicious food with control of quality ingredients, much like bloggers are able to take risks with writing to create something you would never find in a print publication.
And? They make amazing food. So, there’s that.
This is exactly what I thought about as I ate at Umami, another one of Fort Collins’ fantastic food trucks. Umami launched their remodeled airstream trailer in June 2012 and have been going strong ever since. You can find them at CSU with a limited menu during the week and at New Belgium on the weekends with a full and more flavorful menu. My Scoop Blog Network partner, Kara at Faces of Fort Collins, wrote their profile back in May, which shares the story of Martin and Chelsea and all that they’ve gone through to get the truck up and going.
I’ve been to Umami a lot and I’ve had quite a bit from their menu, although there’s still so much to try because they are constantly doing new things in the kitchen and coming up with new menus. I first tried them at the very first Food Truck Rally last year that was in the Pateros Creek parking lot. So many people were excited to try them out that there was a crazy long line and subsequently they were quickly selling out. But, despite the long line and the limited menu, I was impressed at first taste. I ordered the grilled shrimp ninja bowl with basmati rice, sautéed vegetables and teriyaki sauce. It was bright and fresh with crispy vegetables and made me crave more, especially the sweet and savory sauce. I had also ordered a side of edemame (but failed at getting a photo). I think it’s great to be able to get a side of something healthy and shareable from the side of a truck.
On my most recent visit, I was joined by The Preschooler, who is a huge fan of food trucks for a kid his age, for a meeting with my Scoop Blog Network blogger, Erica at Farming Fort Collins. We met up at CSU to catch Umami for lunch during the week. We ordered the Ooh-Mah-Mi tacos – Sweet chili marinated pork on three double stacked corn tortillas topped with tangy Asian slaw, siracha raita, and fresh cilantro.
These tacos were tangy, and a little bit spicy. The Preschooler wanted these for his lunch, but they were a tad too spicy for him. I was happy to swap lunches with him. These were hefty tacos filled to the brim with crunchy slaw and dripping with siracha sauce. Loved them. Absolutely loved them.
We also ordered the pork dumplings - 6 pork dumpling seared on the griddle on a bed of rice and covered with peanut sauce. Again – the peanut sauce! I don’t know what they put in there, but it’s a hell of a lot better than all of the other peanut sauces I’ve had in Fort Collins. There’s something about the lightness of the sauce – most of the other peanut sauces are tick and heavy, while this is light and yet still packed with savory nuttiness. You know, mix that in a bowl with some rice on it’s own and I’m a happy camper. But, that brings us to the rice – rice is a simple, unimaginative filler ingredient, but the rice at Umami is surprisingly sweet, which lends some complex flavor profiles to simple dishes. This is how you know that there is an expert hand in the kitchen.
Erica ordered the Ninja Bowl with chicken, rice, sautéed vegetables, and coconut sauce. I think I’ve come to the conclusion that their sauces are like the cherry on top of a cake. They are all very tasty and well prepared. The coconut was no exception, and maybe even better than the peanut sauce.
It’s clear to me from each of my dining experiences at Umami that there is a level of freedom from the kitchen that reflects in the flavor. It’s a strong spice, a freshness, a crispness – the taste of no limitations.
Umami Mobile Eatery
Various locations, but most often at CSU during the week, New Belgium lot on Saturdays
Kid Friendly? I’m pretty sure all food trucks are kid-friendly
Parking: CSU parking is a pain. The trucks are on Pitkin. Don’t forget to pay for parking there. Saturdays at New Belgium are easier.
Healthy Options? Absolutely. This is one of the main focuses, besides quality ingredients.
Budget Friendly? Everything is under $10.
Recent Health Inspection: Unknown - broken Health Inspection site