I attended the last Food Truck Festival at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia where I happened to find a truck that I hadn’t seen before. The bright primary colors and bold graphics of the After School Special Truck immediately attracted my attention and despite my desire to beat the LA traffic, I stopped by to check it out. While I only ordered “Ana’s Meatloaf Burger” and had it wrapped up to go, after talking to the owners of the truck, I thought that it was definitely worth a return visit.
After my annual Spring Break vacation, the After School Special Truck was close enough for me to experience without the hassle of LA traffic. I was delighted to see both owners, James Bailey and James Campbell, onboard again. Since my initial visit, the menu hadn’t changed and so it was my opportunity to sample some of the offerings that I wanted to experience during my first visit.
Executive Chef James Bailey has impeccable credentials. He is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, or as my wife likes to say, “The Other CIA”. James has also had executive chef positions at Citron in Palm Springs as well as Perla in the Sheraton Delfina Hotel in Santa Monica.
James Campell is no slouch either. He has had many successful years in the catering business and it was at the Sheraton Delfina where he met James Bailey and they immediately connected.
Unfortunately, James Campbell’s Mother, Elizabeth “Betty” Campbell suddenly passed away. She was a beloved school teacher and taught thousands of children over a 36 year career. After they collaborated a bit, they developed a business strategy and decided to execute it in the form of a Gourmet Food Truck. To honor both of their Mothers, their recipes are from Mothers in their family, but with a Chef inspired twist.
The sandwiches are named after the Mother’s recipes and have been enhanced with a gourmet twist. In fact, Betty’s Pot Roast Sandwich and Mary’s Fried Chicken Torpedo are named after their own Mothers. While the names may seem rather plain, the sandwiches are not ordinary. For example, the Fried Chicken Torpedo comes with a delicious jalapeno slaw inside. The vegetables are marinated and then match sticked so that they are both easy to eat and don’t overpower the fried chicken. It also has a slight bit of heat which makes for a very satisfying experience.
- A sandwich featuring braised bacon
- A twist on the American classic chili cheese dog
- A chef inspired version of the tuna melt
James Campbell mentioned that when they receive enough “likes” on their Facebook page, they will solicit their followers for a “Mom of the Week”. They would like to take a recipe from the “Mom of the Week” and give it a special chef’s twist and offer it as a special on their truck. In addition, the “Mom of the Week” will be featured on their website.
After School Special donates a portion of their proceeds to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. In addition, they have a separate collection for Make-A-Wish and donate the entire amount to that charity.
I look forward to my return visit.