Thursday, June 30, 2011

Hard Shell Chicken and Beef Tacos from the Austin Grill Food Truck Paired with 2010 La Ardilla Moscato de Valencia

Austin Grill Tacos with 2010 Lar Ardilla Moscato de Valencia-1

The recent growth of gourmet food trucks is a good thing.  It is a particularly good thing if you live in a place that has some healthy competition among a number of these creative vendors.  In Washington DC, we are lucky enough to have a great variety of these young entrepreneurs. We have a sufficient number of trucks to warrant a website and an app for both iPhones and Android phones that shows you (in real time) where all the food trucks are located.  Go to Food Truck Fiesta to locate the trucks and find out about the App.

Austin Grill Truck

At the moment, Food Truck Fiesta lists 55 trucks with 12 more on the way.  With only a couple of exceptions, these trucks are all offering some unique cuisine.  These are not the hot dog trucks of our childhood.  About a month ago, I decided to make it my mission to methodically and scientifically work my way through each of these food trucks.  I started today with the Austin Grill food truck.

Austin Grill Truck (2)

I will be honest and tell you that today’s wine pairing represents about 30 seconds worth of forethought.  Here is my story.  I was walking home from a meeting in NW DC and realized it was closing in on noon…my stomach let me know before my watch did.  So I pulled out my Food Truck Fiesta App and found the trucks that happened to be on my route home.  I selected Austin Grill.  Austin Grill specializes in Tex Mex and today had a $7 special that included two hardshell tacos (one with grilled chicken and the other with grilled steak), rice and beans.

Austin Grill Tacos with 2010 Lar Ardilla Moscato de Valencia

At first, the tacos did not seem to be anything particularly special; corn shells, diced onion, diced tomato, lettuce and shredded cheese.  However, after the second bite, the magic started to happen.  The secret ingredient is the exceptionally well seasoned grilled meat (both the chicken and the beef).  Included in this seasoning is a hint of heat that accentuates the rest of the flavors.  The beans are better than average, and the rice is a unremarkable.  The reason to buy these tacos clearly lies in the perfect grilling and seasoning of the meat – worth the price of admission.

2010 Lar Ardilla Moscato de Valencia

Paired with this little lunch time treat was a 2010 La Ardilla Moscato de Valencia.  When I saw the taco special at Austin Grill, I immediately thought of this Moscato I had tried just the night before.  I really enjoyed this wine.  It is intensely floral on the nose with crisp citrus, and complimentary flavors of citrus, honey, and apricot.  Many times with Moscatos, the sweetness buries the fruit flavors.  Not so with the La Ardilla.  I did not have to hunt for the flavors.  And this wine had a very pleasant surprise – a light effervescence.  The first impression is a wonderful balance between the sweet and the fizz that make this wine both fun and refreshing.

2010 Lar Ardilla Moscato de Valencia-1

When I purchased the tacos, I was expecting a little piquance and therefore immediately thought of the 2010 La Ardilla Moscato de Valencia to balance the heat with the sweet, fruit, and effervescent components.  The tacos did not have as much heat as I expected, but the pairing still worked exceptionally well – particularly on a hot-almost-July day in DC.

Other pairings that I might try with these tacos would be:

  • Beef taco: Zinfandel, Malbec, Syrah, Shiraz, Spanish Rioja.
  • Chicken taco: Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc.

When you have a choice, support our DC Food Trucks.  I want to see them stick around and continue to surprise us with their creativity.

Austin Grill Truck (3)

In vino veritas, buen provecho.