My friend Hatherly was supposed to meet me at the Lobsta Truck, but she had a baby¹ so it was up to Mike the Viking and myself to buckle down and eat bougie food from a truck.
I feel compelled to address what other reviewers have commented on, which is the apparent dissonant image of a food truck serving lobster. What I think is surprising and strange is that people find it surprising and strange. The food truck phenomenon stopped being gristle tacos years ago, but even Angelinos insist on feigning amazement² over the never-ending parade of unique eats made available from mobile dispensaries. Lobster rolls seem like a perfect inhabitant of this new food truck land; an expensive lunch one buys themselves only rarely, which works out well since it it’s rarely nearby anyway.
But let me discuss the food before I continue down Navel Gazing Avenue. There was a line of 15 people before the truck opened, and when I turned to count as I left, was closer to 30 deep (the line extends down the block away from us on the left):
The Viking surprised me – and I think himself – by deciding at the last minute to order the crab roll instead of a lobster roll. Both crab and lobster are offered with either mayonnaise or drawn butter, and I made the executive decision to have his crab with butter and my lobster with mayo. I overheard someone mention that the rolls were “really small” and to get two, but at $11 each I was all, I’m going to need to pick up an extra sugar daddy for that business.
This image is very nearly actual size.
The rolls are certainly no submarine sandwiches, and while I could have eaten three I was also happy with just one. The crab was fresh and sweet and even the Viking felt it was a good portion for the price. I think getting it with butter was smart, since it turned out that “mayonnaise” actually means “mayonnaise with a lot of Old Bay in it”:
My lobster roll was delicious and I’m not sorry I got it, but if I’d known the mayo was seasoned I would have gone for butter instead. The lobster just barely escaped being completely overwhelmed by the spices, and the crab would have been lost entirely.
Lobsta Truck’s clam chowder was pedestrian and I didn’t take a photo of it. I am an acknowledged clam chowder jerk, right down to my sense of entitlement from having grown up in the Pacific Northwest where, like it or not, Ivar’s sets the standard. Lobsta’s chowder is a standard cream-base soup, lacking complexity and mouthfeel. The clams in it, however, were pristinely tasty, and I desperately want them to let me make their chowder for them to show those clams the good time they deserve.
Despite the scoff-inducing $4 pricetag for a whoopie pie, I ordered one anyway and was not disappointed that I was disappointed — I really, really don’t need a $4 whoopie pie habit.
It was just okay. I found the cake grain inappropriately large and sturdy for a whoopie pie, and the filling had no trace of marshmallow flavor at all, just a run-of-the-mill vanilla buttercream. And once again we have zero salt in a very sweet baked good (as confirmed by the ingredient list on the package), a mistake I am finding increasingly amateur.
I had a genuine moment of food regret as I handed over $33 to the nice fellow working the truck. Thirty-three dollars! For lunch! I guess we’re eating lawn clippings for dinner again. But the rolls themselves were worth the splurge, and as we drove away I saw a group of people sitting on a tailgate eating their lobster rolls, and they’d brought wine and real wine glasses with them, and I was overwhelmed with a buoying moment of love for this food culture. While hundreds if not thousands of people were right at that moment eating some pile of overcooked excrement at Olive Garden, five people in the Valley of Los Angeles were drinking white wine and eating fresh, sweet lobster rolls while a 75° January breeze ruffled their hair.
¹ Two years ago, but she still has him so I guess she likes him. I’m not sure she likes him 100% when he keeps her from eating lobster rolls, though.
² I don’t mean we shouldn’t be amazed, we should be, but at the luck of living here, not at the limitless medium of the food truck.