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The Mandoline Grill Truck rolls in trendy Vietnamese cuisine with a healthy edge

Posted By Karen Young On May 3, 2010 @ 11:36 pm In Featured,Food,Food Trucks,My Daily Find,spotlight | No Comments

BY SUZY LI

I have to admit I’ve gotten a little caught up in the whole gourmet food truck craze. Although the food is generally fantastic, I have been getting a bit turned off by the fact that I have to stand in line for 40 to 90 minutes and then sometimes have to pay close to full-service restaurant prices — yet I continue to go.

Banh Mi ($6) Photos: Courtesy Mandoline Grill

I recently discovered the Trux Map website, which posts food truck locations around Los Angeles once the trucks have tweeted where they will be.  You can  find the most popular trucks (with massive lines) as well as the new emerging trucks (with lesser lines).

On a recent Wednesday,  I noted the Mandoline  Grill Truck was in North Hollywood.  Needing a quick outing, I decided to do a drive by, telling myself that if the line was short, I would stop, and if it was long, it simply wasn’t meant to be. To my delight, there were only a handful of people and by the time I’d examined the menu (which was very well priced— $6 average), there was no line at all.

The truck serves Vietnamese based food with a Hawaiian twist — and an added emphasis on healthy food. They offer several Banh Mi, a Vietnamese sandwich served on a baguette;  Bun-rice noodle salads, each with a vegan option along with grilled beef or pork or a Chicken Curry; and Cha Gio — a vegan crispy spring roll.

Bun-Rice Noodles ($6)

There was a special Banh Mi featuring a Hawaiian BBQ Short Rib. When I couldn’t decide between that and the Chicken Curry, I was graciously offered a  sample of each. Both were delicious, so I ordered both the Short Rib sandwich and the Curry Chicken Bowl (the Curry is also served as a sandwich on a 12 inch baguette).

The Short Rib sandwich is made up of an almost 18 inch long baguette (and I might add that it was one of the best baguettes I’ve had since the last time I was in Paris) filled with meat and veggies, cucumber, shredded carrots, shredded daikon radish, cilantro and fresh chili pepper slices. It was quite filling and might be enough to share, especially if paired with the Spring Roll ($4 for 2).

Chicken curry can be ordered in a bowl or sandwich.

I saved the Curry bowl, similar to a Thai yellow curry, and filled with chunks of carrots, onions, and tender boneless chicken, for my teenage “curry-fiend” son when he came home from school.”This is REALLY good,” he kept repeating. Sadly for me, he inhaled it so quickly that when I went to check on him (okay, I was really hoping to sneak a bite), there was nothing left to sneak!

Sandwich combos served with one Spring Roll and either a soda ($9) or iced coffee ($10) are also available. I was really pleasantly surprised, not only at the excellent flavor and quality of the food, but the good-sized portions and the reasonable prices.

Cha Gio spring rolls. (2 for $4)

A plus about this truck is that it is based in the 818 and comes to this side of the hill regularly. The truck is somewhere in the Valley, for now mostly East Valley, every other Wednesday.

I’m planning to return the next opportunity I get…I haven’t tried the Noodle salad or the Spring Roll yet and honestly can’t wait to do so!

The Mandoline Truck has its roots in North Hollywood.

This week, The Mandoline Grill will be at Lankershim and Magnolia in North Hollywood on Wed., May 5 12:00pm – 2:30pm and on Friday, May 7 at Universal Toyota 3550 Cahuenga Blvd. West on Friday  12:00pm – 2:30pm.

Website: www.mandolinegrill.com

Suzy Li is  a pediatrician and the mother of two boys — Walter Reed Middle School (8th grade) and Harvard-Westlake (10th grade).

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