City Bites introduced readers to Donna Kyd and her fabulous food truck Bite This in 2010 — it was a few months after Kyd set up shop in a private parking lot on Scott Street across from Westboro’s Trailhead Paddle Shack. The trailblazing truck goes beyond (but does not exclude) typical chip truck fare. It’s more home cooking than fast food; more comfort food (with a dash of global gourmet) than restaurant-style, but it’s the kind of food that’s easy to crave. Trust me.
The truck has developed a ravenous following perhaps in spite of the fact that Bite This doesn’t have a website or a Facebook page; Kyd hasn’t done any marketing and only recently joined twitter thanks to the insistence of one of her employees.
When the truck moved to its new permanent digs at 181 Richmond Rd. across the street from the Superstore two weeks ago, only its 26 twitter followers and die-hard regulars knew about it. It’s easy to miss if you’re not looking out for it as you drive past, even though there’s a path of colourful Adirondack chairs and a large graffiti-style sign.
The good news for those of us who thought Kyd had simply shut down the Scott Street location for the winter (like she did each of the last two winters) is that she’s going to tough it out through the cold this year — committing to try it out until Christmas.
She recognizes that the challenge is getting customers to think about eating at a food truck, even in the cold weather. She has plans for pretty landscaping and picnic areas out front of the truck when the warmer weather returns.
Meanwhile, the truck is being winterized with a shelter attached to the front so customers can stay warm while waiting for their orders — and waiting is part of the shtick here: everything is made fresh-to-order and can take longer than you might expect — but it’s always worth the wait. Many customers chat with Kyd while she cooks and she’ll talk about her latest culinary inspiration, say, a batch of butter chicken, while pulling six giant chocolate chip cookies out of the oven (first come, first served).
The most popular regular items include a “big honkin’ 6.5 oz juicy burger” made with fresh local O’Brien’s beef; the “Curry it up!” sandwich made with mango chutney, homemade curry, caramelized onions, and tandoori chicken wrapped up in warm naan bread (my perennial favourite); and Kyd’s take on traditional Pad Thai — she calls it Thai-One-On.
I had the noodles on my most recent visit, and while not necessarily textbook Thai street food, it’s exactly the kind of dish you want it to be. The firm rice noodles are tangled with sprouts, fresh coriander, and tender slices of chicken that tasted like actual chicken, rather than some kind of paper product. Tons of crushed peanuts add necessary crunch. I enjoyed the feeling of standing out in the cold, with steam rising up my nostrils as I dug into the Chinese take-out container with chopsticks — slurping up the comforting carbs all slicked with tangy, spicy sweet and sour sauce. It’s the poutine of a new generation.
Cost: Thai-One-On $8 (Curry It Up $7, Burger $7)
Hours: Monday to Wednesday, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.; Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. or 4 p.m.; closed Sunday.
BITE THIS, 181 Richmond Rd., 613-709-1487.