May 13th, 2010
Ashka’s East Meets West: Food Trucks, Engage
In 5 Words: Indian, Mexican, Optimus, Samosas, Naan
You’re lucky that Ashka Parikh is an enterprising young woman, because in Houston a food truck is a difficult beast. She was rejected 3 times when trying to set up shop and has to drive her shiny giant “Optimus Prime” truck down to the commissary every morning. That’s right: every. single. morning.
As chance would have it, she puts as much dedication into her food as she does her business and you will have a myriad of delicious options to choose from when you stop by the truck, located in the parking lot of Ace Hardware at 1502 Durham. The food is divided between Mexican and Indian cuisine with offerings running from tortas and breakfast tacos to tandoori chicken and fish curry.
I enjoyed the Daal Makhni (yellow lentils cooked overnight with herbs) and my companion tried a helping of the Saag Paneer (homemade cheese in creamed spinach). I liked my plate – the saag paneer was excellent and the spinach was full of flavor – but with so many other options on the menu I’d be hard pressed to order it on my next visit. The portions were massive and each came with a round of naan that had just been cooked. It’s not just a novelty place an order and see them pop some dough in the oven and a few minutes later get a piping hot piece of bread. Fresh naan makes all the difference.
We also each ordered two samosas and I’m glad we did – there was no way I was going to share. They were hot, crispy and delicious. Completely vegetarian with potatoes, peas and some spices. They come with a smooth cilantro and green chile chutney on the side that is a fantastic one-sided love affair; more flavor than heat. You get two of these for $2 and they could be a meal by themselves.
Clearly we followed the Indian food route, but there are a lot of other things I really want to try, especially the breakfast tacos (.99!!) that come with chorizo. Both the Indian and Mexican menus are extensive – far too long to list here – but there is something for everyone. The service was beyond impeccable; there’s an outdoor seating area and while we ordered at the window the friendly staff brought the food to our table. It’s almost as if they’re taking the truck out of the “food truck” experience.
You can find the food cart on mobile cravings, but the hours listed actually incomplete. The truck is now open until 10:00 pm every day. Ashka says she plans to expand her hours even more, hoping to catch the late night crowd from the Washington bars. I look forward to the day I can have crispy samosas at 2 am out of a truck I now think of as Optimus Prime.
Ashka’s East Meets West
1502 Durham Dr Houston TX 77007
Mon – Fri 7:00 am – 10:00 pm
Sat 8:00 am – 10:00 pm
Sun 11:00 am – 10:00 pm