Not too fancy for your mouth

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Usually, my eyes don’t see the light of morning before 9 a.m. So, when I learned I’d have to be up at 7 a.m. to spend the day on the Wicked ’Wich food truck, my stomach sank a little. When I was reminded that my day would consist of serving truck-made sandwiches, macaroni and cheese and corn pudding to the masses, I decided I could make the sacrifice.

Our day started out at the commissary, which is where the magic happens for food trucks. Outside, trucks were lined up side by side, like concert attendees in their seats before the show starts. As The ’Wich was cleaned top to bottom, food was prepped for the day.

“The difference is that we prep 20 items on our truck where the other trucks prep six to seven items,” said owner Chris Jarosz.

Once everything was ready to go, we hit the road. Our first stop was 12th and O streets where the regulars and some new customers came running out of their offices to get their lunch. Prep cook Shane Davis made funny one-liners to go with every customer’s name. A crowd pleaser: “Paula Abdul, here is your American Idol.”

One suspicious customer suggested that their food was too gourmet for her taste buds to handle. Leila Mann, handling the orders on the truck’s iPad, assured her that it was “not too fancy for her mouth.” The customer agreed and got her Pittsburgh-style sandwich, which Jarosz described as a one-handed four-course meal that includes Provolone cheese, seasoned fries and an oil-based slaw.

After all, the company’s motto is “We’re not health food, we’re mental health food.”

After lunch was served, we got a chance to eat. I opted for the vegan portabella sandwich, which was topped with tomatoes, lettuce, vegan cheese and a vegan sauce. And as with every Wicked ’Wich item, it was loaded with french fries.

We parted ways with 12th and O and headed to the Old Soul on L Street to refill on bread for the truck and coffee for us. We filled the truck up with gas and took a bathroom break at Arco then headed out to Rocklin for a Halloween event at an elementary school.

The ’Wich normally serves about 20-30 people at one stop with three people on staff. There were more than 300 people at this event, so two more people were called on the truck. With the head count now at six, we all got to know each other a lot more. Teamwork was a necessity.

Since they don’t use any frozen food, the food was prepared while they serving the crowd. The fries were rinsed and then thrown on the grill.

“People complain that other fries are crispier, but those are frozen. Our fries are not chemically enhanced,” said Jarosz.

At the elementary school, a costume-clad ninja was in complete awe of this mobile food service he had never seen before. “Where does the food come from?” he asked. When he was told it was made on the truck, he let out a deep breath and a “whoa.”

And, after my exciting day on the truck, I shared his sentiment.