RoliRoti’s porchetta sandwich lived up to its hype with crunchy, glassy bits of skin and tender, flavorful meat piled onto bread with a little bit of arugula. Owner Thomas Odermatt told us the recipe can be traced back to the Italian immigrants who worked in his family’s butcher shop in Hombrechtikon, Switzerland (which is where he got his start in the rotisserie biz, cleaning fat out of the trays under the rotisseries). He now has four full-blown mobile rotisserie trucks—when he started the business about nine and a half years ago, he had to get the truck custom fabricated. His next move: making the trucks run on biodiesel. The porchetta will still run on pork.
Also in the custom-fabricator camp: Pizza Politana, which was serving crunchy, salty, thin-crust pizzas out of a wood-fired oven from Naples mounted to a converted motorcycle trailer.
Next door, the Hapa Rama booth, only a few months old, was turning out impressive-looking bowls of handmade noodles with organic pork and chunks of organic fried chicken on top. We couldn’t snag one due to the line, but a fellow at a neighboring table let us snap a pic of his (thanks, @epicureanzealot!). Hapa, which got its start as a heavily attended pop-up restaurant, is bringing some modern techniques to the traditional ramen bowl, like sous vide and super-low-temp stock-making. One example: cooking eggs for about an hour at a low temperature to get a really creamy yolk but have them still hold their shape.
Tacolicious’s tacos surprised us with well-seasoned, juicy, dripping, tender braised meats, like a smoky chicken tinga with bits of chorizo. Owner Joe Hargrave (full disclosure: He is Roxanne’s former boss’s husband) told us that they ended up focusing on braised meat tacos after coming out and “really screwing up” by trying to fry up stuff like steak to order and not being able to serve customers in a timely manner. It seems to be working.
“Gamja fries” at Namu, a neo-Korean stand, were a new twist on stoner food: a pile of skin-on french fries covered in chopped short rib, kimchee relish, and mayo.
Finally, some of our favorite stuff was from 4505 Meats, including a big old sloppy roasted pig sandwich dripping with juice. It was a sweet/spicy combo with pickled jalapeños and a radish and chile slaw. Another winner from owner/butcher/meat maestro Ryan Farr was a juicy, snappy sausage, made with local brewpub Magnolia’s Spud Boy IPA beer. We ate it plain on 4505’s homemade sesame bun. It didn’t need any condiments to taste delicious.