I was absolutely thrilled to be invited to Slummin’ Gourmets one-year anniversary celebration. If you follow me on Twitter, you know how much I love their amazing food. I felt that it would be a unique experience and also an opportunity to meet other fans. But more importantly, I wanted to show them my support.
Slummin’ Gourmet’s invite was mysterious; it was sent through Facebook with a date, no location, no menu, and no price. Nonetheless, I accepted the invite and it was amazing to see 50 other people accepting their invite within a 24 hour period.
It wasn’t until the morning of the event that I received an e-mail from co-owner Angie Lin. The body of the message simply read:
20510 Earlgate St.
Diamond Bar, CA 91789
I was fortunate there was no traffic on any of freeways I traveled and I easily arrived at 6pm. In the parking lot, I spotted the trucks from Slummin’ Gourmet and Waffles de Liege. Angie warmly greeted me and escorted me to the entrance of a warehouse that featured cabinets and laminate flooring. Angie introduced me to her family and as we walked inside, she announced my name to the people already seated.
Tables were set for 8 and I was fortunate to sit with a group of devoted Slummin’ Gourmet fans. Derek and Theresa confessed that Slummin’ Gourmet is their favorite truck. Keith coordinates Gourmet Food Truck events and mentioned how Slummin’ Gourmet would have lines from start to finish. Amy may have been one of their earliest fans as she attended their first event which was held one year ago in the parking lot of the same warehouse.
Co-owner and Executive Chef Tony Lu began by introducing his team. They immediately disappeared and re-appeared with the first dish – chilled melon soup, compressed melons, mint, and a prosciutto chip. The soup was refreshing and I finished off with the prosciutto chip which was similar to small, crisp bacon without any fat.
Tony introduced the second dish: salmon and tuna tartar with sesame won ton crisp. Not only was this a work of art, it was delicious. I scooped the salmon and tuna tartar with a won ton crisps and enjoyed every bite. The sesame seeds on the won ton crisp made it an interesting presentation. I could see another truck serving something similar with tortilla chips.
The attendees really started getting into each dish and as Tony finished introducing each course, everyone enthusiastically applauded in anticipation. The third dish contained asparagus, baby frisee (similar to endive), mushrooms, poached egg and Parmesan froth. Now, I don’t know about you, but Tony’s creations constantly exercise my searching ability in Google (i.e., Parmesan froth). How many food trucks do you know that offer food of this caliber?
The asparagus was sliced lengthwise and the poached egg was placed on top of the baby frisee. What made it visually interesting was the placement of the parmesan froth over the egg. It gave the poached egg a mysterious appearance. The sliced mushrooms and Parmesan froth definitely complemented an otherwise bland baby frisee lettuce.
The next dish was “Chicken and Waffles”. It was a creative collaboration between Slummin’ Gourmet and Waffles de Liege. The aged cheddar and corn waffle was topped with crispy skinned Jidori chicken, maple butter, sweet corn gravy and drizzled with a balsamic reduction. Jidori chicken is extremely fresh and is usually brought from farm to table in less than 24 hours. This was my favorite dish as the Jidori chicken was super moist and very flavorful. In addition, the drizzled balsamic reduction blended well with the maple butter.
Next up was the braised beef short rib, wasabi pommes puree, crispy shallots and gochujang jus. While I savored the flavor of the short rib, I packed this one “to go” for my wife. She thanked me and said it was absolutely delicious. Gochujang jus is Tony’s version of the classic demi glace infused with a traditional Korean chile paste to add a slight hint of heat and sweetness. Tony’s culinary training is classical French and many of his dishes are prepared in this manner.
Believe it or not, the Slummin’ Gourmet and Waffles de Liege team served us dessert. It was another fine collaboration with Waffles de Liege. A Belgian Liege waffle was topped with rum raisin ice cream and farmers market apples, caramel sauce and candied pecans. Given a choice, I would rather eat savory vs. sweet, but I managed to polish off the entire dessert because it was so delicious.
Slummin’ Gourmet prides itself on excellent customer service. Consistent with that mission, each dish was plated and served by a member of the Slummin’ Gourmet or Waffles de Liege crew. Soft drinks, coffee and chilled bottled water were distributed by the crew and they managed to repeat the offering several times that evening.
The experience that Slummin’ Gourmet offers is very rare among food trucks. Not only do they offer innovative and delicious cuisine, they offer it with a personal touch. Both Tony and Angie are “hands on”. They greet their customers by name and they make their regular customer feel extra special on Twitter and Facebook. If you have an opportunity to sample their food, I strongly recommend it!