Above: One more must-try The Breakfast Reuben: pastrami brisket, Swiss cheese and house-made Thousand Island dressing with a sunny-side up egg, all encased in a Portuguese muffin
In what seems like no time, food trucks have become standard fare on main thoroughfares around Stamford’s downtown and Harbor Point. Turn the corner and you’ll run into another one parked near you, offering specialties that satisfy a craving you didn’t know you had. Hard to keep up, for sure, so we thought we’d tell you about the latest generation of trucks out there, each housing one of our city’s own rising culinary stars (to find them, follow them on social media). Though each menu is something worth revisiting—from morning to late night—here’s our take on what you should try first, no matter the time of day.
1. The Brunch Box
2. Nosh Hound
American with Asian Influence
1 The Brunch Box
There’s no better way to start the day than with The Brunch Box’s breakfast sandwich, a bacon, egg and cheese (and tomato and lettuce) with what’s been missing: hash browns and sriracha mayo. Encased in a soft, slightly sweet Portuguese muffin, this breakfast sandwich has got it all in every bite—the protein of egg and cheese, smoky saltiness of bacon, freshness of lettuce and tomato, crunch and comfort of a ring of hash browns, and creamy heat of seasoned mayo. It’s a damn good sandwich you’ll find yourself craving at lunch, too.
There are also healthy options at The Brunch Box, including oatmeal, or Greek yogurt with house granola and seasonal fruit. But an eggs Benedict sandwich at your desk can ease the Monday morning blues, while Lox Box, a smoked salmon sandwich with cream cheese, tomatoes, red onions, capers and dill, can make the transition to lunch a lot better.
To drink, locally roasted Bonjo coffee, brewed by the drip method, is a big draw. Organic lemonade, brightened by fresh mint and ice, is a refreshing option.
The Brunch Box, whose chef/owner JIMMY MARCELLA is a Stamford native, can be found downtown and at Harbor Point from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
2 Nosh Hound
Nosh Hound makes devourable sandwiches and snacks with contemporary, New American and global influences. Its signature is the Korean Cheesesteak, which gives the Philly classic some Seoul with grilled Bulgogi, marinated shaved steak, caramelized onions, American cheese and sriracha mayo on a brioche roll. The Southern Sammie, chicken breast soaked in buttermilk, battered and fried, and layered with Nosh Hound’s sweet pickles, slaw and Cajun-spiced mayo, is one of the most popular sandwiches. You can order either from Nosh Hound’s Lunch or Hangover menus.
This truck’s sides are fun. Churrasco Cali is fried mashed cauliflower nuggets, served with a dollop of spicy, fresh green chimichurri sauce, a sprinkle of Parmesan, and crunchy crushed hazelnuts. Not your usual street snack. And for truffle oil lovers, there are Fungus Fritters, deep-fried potato-mushroom sticks, flavored with truffle oil and served with a lemon-truffle mayo.
Warning: Don’t arrive at Nosh Hound too close to 2 p.m., or you may discover that the Peking Duck tacos (braised duck, sweet hoisin sauce, cucumber salsa and sour cream with scallions) are sold out.
Nosh Hound, started by Stamford native SAM RALBOVSKY and MAYCIE MARINGER, can be found at Veterans Park and Ridgeway Shopping Center several times a week.
With a menu inspired by the Pacific Islands, the Hapa food truck has a strong and original identity. Chef-owner CHRIS GONZALEZ was born in the Philippines, raised in the U.S., and lived in Hawaii before moving to Stamford.
News flash: The Hapa Burger is one of the best burgers in all of Fairfield County. First, there’s the unusual bun, baked a lurid shade of purple as it’s made of ube, a purple yam popular in the Philippines. The roll has a slightly sweet flavor and cushions the burger, a well-seasoned, hand-formed patty of grass-fed beef, and spot-on toppings of pork belly—which adds texture and richness—caramelized onions, cheddar, lettuce and tomato. It’s a juicy burger worth following. Get it with long skinny fries sprinkled with furiake, a mix of seaweed and sesame, and drizzled with spicy-sweet mayo.
The Korean short rib taco and Philippine chicken adobo taco are packed with the soft, flavorful, long-simmered meats. The short rib is topped with purple cabbage slaw, and the chicken adobo with fresh salsa. Tacos are served in a box with a side of sticky white rice sprinkled with furiake.
Something healthy but just as mouthwatering? The poke rice bowl is fresh and colorful, with chunks of marinated yellowfin tuna and topped with pico de gallo, pomegranate seeds, yuzo sauce and trout roe.
Hapa, started by Stamford resident Chris Gonzalez, can be found at Veterans Park, 300 Atlantic Street and Half Full Brewery.
Photographs courtesy of The Brunch Box, Nosh Hound and Hapa