Go to Barcelona on the Go, Gorge on Quince While You Can

Enormous empanadas from Barcelona; rubber ducky from Oklahoma St. hotel...
Enormous empanadas from Barcelona; rubber ducky from Oklahoma St. hotel...

Fifth entry in our series where we promise to review, for better or worse, every "high-end" roach coach that visits the Weekly's world headquarters. No one visits us next Monday because it's the Fourth of July holiday--but when will YOUR mobile food truck come? Inquire with Jessica Ford at jeford@ocweekly.com!

Quite the successful summer for local Argentines--their national soccer team is plowing through the World Cup (hijos de la gran puta, carajos pendejos--sorry, Argentina knocked out Mexico this past weekend...no more Argie insults until the end of this review, I promise), and their luxury loncheras are burning circles around the competition in Orange County. I say the title for the best non-Mexi truck vendor in la naranja falls between Piaggio on Wheels and Barcelona on the Go in overall presentation, execution, and unique offerings--if we have more trucks like these instead of pretenders likes some that shall remain nameless, then this damn trend will transform into something permanent.

Barcelona is the Lionel Messi of the two (with Piaggio being Carlos Tevez, delivering on the hype), easily the most ambitious in the county in terms of overall presentation--a reprint of Picasso's Guernica on the side, and jarred sauces for sale from the excellent La Española Market in Harbor City (where they get all their sausages and spices). I even saw small planters of herbs near their ordering window--are they going to grow their own herbs for use and feature a movable garden, or were they just for show, like Messi's presence at the Cup?

Barcelona doesn't bother much with fusion, and that's a good thing being Spanish food is such a rarity in this county--there's Black Sheep Bistro, Picante in Ladera Ranch and a pseudo-take at She Who Shall Not Be Named. The menu is full-fledged Spanish, with dishes from across the Iberian nation, making the name of the truck a bit of a misnomer given how downright jingoistic Catalans are with their culture. It's a menu to be tried from start to finish over the course of weeks, a challenge I'm happy to embark on. Start with the empanadas gallegas, possessors of perhaps the best empanada shell I've ever seen and tasted--ridged on the edges with the uniform, intense folds of a cupcake liner, pockmarked wherever air bubbles don't jut out of its golden-brown shell. It's buttery, collapsing into shards that embed themselves on your clothes, a shell every savory empanada (and pasty, for that matter) should aspire to. Inside, though, the chicken was under-seasoned--I noted saffron touches, but something seemed off. Tasty, and I'll order again, but given that initial rush of the crust, it performed like Messi has in this Cup--beautifully, but no goal...yet.

Oh, that slaw...
Oh, that slaw...

No such broken promises with an opened-face Catalan sandwich--a moist, peppery, grilled sausage, a roll whose bottom gets reduced to a delectable mush due to said juices, and a mix of grilled and pickled vegetables so tasty they could (and maybe do?) sell it as a stand-alone salad. The only problem I had with the dish might've been out of my own making, though. Since it was an open-faced sandwich, one must eat it with knife and fork. I did such a thing, but noticed that some cuts were slicing through the butcher paper below the sandwich and adjoining it to each bite. Annoyed, I took out the butcher paper in its entirety and continued the meal. At the end of it, my desk shined with sausage juices because the knife penetrated through the Styrofoam container. I'd say to make the dish a bit less juicy, but the moistness of the meal imparts great flavor. Maybe a sturdier butcher paper or container--or maybe I'm a culinary klutz? I say the latter, but the former explanation might have some merit.

My Barcelona meal concluded with one of the great sweet snacks on Earth: quince paired with

Blessed Junipero Serra doing something good for once--blessing Barcelona's quince-and-cheese combo
Blessed Junipero Serra doing something good for once--blessing Barcelona's quince-and-cheese combo

cheese. In Barcelona's case, it was a Manchego, firm and a bit salty to counter the sticky-soft sugar rush that is cajeta de membrillo (quince boiled down into a block). There is no preparation in this other than going to a market and finding the right pairing--and that's what makes their selection so perfect. I wonder, though, if the masses--most of whom couldn't tell you what quince was if you shoved a ripe one in front of them--overlook the quince and cheese in favor of their more familiar desserts like flan and churros. If you go, order it if available--at three dollars and containing five blocks, it's one of the most simplistically brilliant desserts in the county, and one you won't find in many places--actually, I do believe only the Brits, French, Argies, and Mexis appreciate such a pairing, and we all know those cultures rule over everyone else.

I didn't even try Barcelona's tortas españolas, the paella, the other meat dishes. The pricing is a bit high, but you know those Argentines--they demand high standards and reach them, multiple failed economies and coups notwithstanding. Sorry, but those pinche carajos beat my beloved Tri--do go eat here, and eat again. And get the quince--if not available, DEMAND IT. And gorge on something grand.

Find Barcelona on the Go at--where else?--www.barcelonaonthego.com

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