It was another beautiful sunny day on the Miracle Mile 5700 Wilshire Blvd. block and, as always, it was loaded with lots of temptation – 10 food trucks to be exact. But it was a tweet from fairly new food truck Willoughby Road, Classic Southern Cuisine Redefined, that caught my eye:
@willoughbyroad willoughby will be at 5700 and wilshire from 12:00 to 2:00 come try our new cod po boy with sauteed bacon fennel kale and sweet mustard sauce
A food truck that serves up healthy cod and kale? I had to try it!
- tender & crunchy Cornmeal Crusted Cod Po' Boy Burger with Sauteed Bacon Fennel Kale & Sweet Mustard Cilantro Jalapeno Aioli (the sauce steals the show!)
- 8-hour smoked & 1-hour braised Harissa Brisket Tacos with Cotija Cheese & Thai Slaw
- soft & creamy black pepper 4-Cheese Mac
The Cod Po' Boy special ($7) was definitely the star, and I'd totally go back for more. Although the cornmeal crust was a bit salty, the Atlantic cod was super tender and fresh. (Their product is brought in and made fresh daily.) The green Sweet Mustard Aioli, made from a blend of cilantro, jalapeno, mustard, and a few secret ingredients, was so delish I wish it came with more to dip. I really enjoyed the soft warm sesame seed bun it was served on, as opposed to the traditional baguette. And the heaping mound of kale (with sinful bits of bacon) definitely tricked my taste buds into thinking I was getting a healthy balance of veggies compared to all the carbs we were consuming – thank you Evan for sharing with me!
The Harissa Brisket Tacos ($7) were pretty big and we thought a great value for the price. The flavor of the 8-hour braised meat had so much depth – ancho chile, chocolate, coffee, harissa, vinegar. And the Thai Cabbage & Radish Coleslaw it was topped with helped balance out the spice.
The texture of the 4-cheese Mac ($3) was soft and creamy. But the black pepper seasoning really stood out – this ain't your mama's mac.
The unique flavorings in all 3 items really added a hint of sophistication to Southern cuisine I'd never had before. After speaking with chefs Jeshua Garza & Adrian Ochoa about their culinary backgrounds I soon learned why. Both chefs studied together at Le Cordon Bleu in Pasadena. After graduation, both went on to work for famed chefs – Ochoa for Ludovic Lefebvre at Bastide, and Garza for Ming Tsai at Blue Ginger. Garza later refined his BBQ skills working at his Uncle's highly acclaimed real-pit Blue Ribbon BBQ in Massachusetts. The two came together to sell their own refined Southern cuisine at Eagle Rock's Sunday Farmers Market, which shortly after took off as Willoughby Road.
P.S. It was just before the truck left today that the two humble chefs let me in on a little secret – not their recipes of course, they could never do that – the truth is they can barely figure out how to work their twitter account. Pretty ironic considering today's tweet helped them gain 2 new "biters," and after reading this review, hopefully tons more. Enjoy!