Barcelona On The Go

Categories: Mobile Meals
Dave Lieberman
The food truck frenzy continues apace: this weekend saw the launch of the Barcelona On the Go truck at Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa. When I arrived at 3:30, the line was about twelve people long; when I got to the front, the line had grown to about twenty, and when I left at about 5:00, people were having to leave space for the liquor store's patrons to leave. Clearly a popular opening.

The menu is in English and Spanish; this seemed odd (most Barcelonins are immensely proud of their Catalan language and it is required by the Generalitat de Catalunya that every restaurant in the province be printed primarily in Catalan) until I learned that Esteban Nocito, the proprietor, is not Catalan but Argentine, which explains the flatiron steak with chimichurri.

Regardless their bona fides--Argentina is arguably the most European country in the Americas--their menu is a list of tapas and dishes that would not be out of place in a Barcelona bar.

There were three people in black shirts taking orders and cooking, and a few "ambassadors" standing around distributing menus (I never got one) and introducing the concept. It took nearly thirty minutes to get ten people through the line; it would have been better to press one of the "ambassadors" into service taking orders, allowing two people to cook and one to expedite.

As I waited, I noticed the OCHCA's inspection sticker on the passenger side of the front windshield. Passed. What was that about mobile trucks being unsanitary and dubious? If it's good enough for OC's notoriously anal-retentive food police, doubters, it should be good enough for anyone.

Dave Lieberman
The orange flan was available for the taking on the shelves, so it was dessert first. The flan itself was excellent; eggy, creamy, with the perfect caramelly brown disc on top. The custard was not strongly (if at all) orange-flavored; the orange in the dish seems to have come from the candied orange peel on top, which was excellent. Orange peel can be tough, especially in large pieces, but this candied to nearly crunchy. Add some of the orange peel directly into the flan and this is a winner; I've had flans at sit-down restaurants that couldn't hold a candle to this. At $3, it's a steal.

The remainder of the food took a very, very long time to show up; I was five pours through an eight-wine tasting in the basement of Hi-Time before it showed up. Heads turned jealously--who was this man who managed to get food delivered to the bar?--and the questions began.

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