As I walked away from the El Dugout truck in Inwood one evening, my mind immediately starting racing to apartment prices in the area. I was jealous of everyone that had easy access to this beautiful food cart, probably my new favorite in the city.
The subway ride back down south probably convinced me not to seriously look for a new home, but the hunger for more patacones was fresh by the time I finally did arrive.
The specialty of the truck and what most people are ordering, is the patacón ($4.50-5.50, below) a sandwich of marinated shredded beef, pork, chicken, or carne asada, put between two large fried plantain slices which act as the typical bread. The most expensive, the "full" runs only $5.50, and combines three shredded meats which have been so perfectly marinated, lettuce, tomato, and a white (or was it pink) sauce that gives a hint of spiciness. The red marinade juices and this sauce start mixing while you eat, creating such a mess of ecstasy that is dribbling down the sidewalk at your feet.
The truck is always busy, from the time it opens in the early evening [UPDATE: now open every day during afternoons] until closing as the sun comes up, and getting your order could take 10 minutes or so. No matter, order a tequeño ($1, below), a simple cheese stick wrapped in dough and deep-fried. It is served with a tiny cup of pink mayo, but can be eaten with or without it depending on your mood.
Loud cars thump by with raggaeton or hip-hop, while club-goers from across the street grab a bite before or after their dancing and drinking. I can imagine quite a rowdy/drunk scene here late in the night, but the early evening was all joy and smiles from those seeking their dinner.
Personally, I'm now obsessed with the Patacón Pisao, the nickname of the truck which translates to flattened plantain. I expect to be spending many late nights returning to Brooklyn on the long A train ride south.