The French phrase á la carte references the practice of ordering individual dishes rather than a complete meal. At Bend’s Á La Carte’s food truck, customers choose from specialty fries, salads, tacos and rice bowls.
I tried several of the most popular dishes, including the gorgonzola bacon fries ($10.50), the pork curry taco ($3.75), the spicy shrimp taco ($3.75) and the cart-made mint lemonade ($5).
The gorgonzola bacon fries were extraordinary. Crispy shoestring fries were dressed with cajun seasoning, gorgonzola aioli, gorgonzola, bacon and green onion. The toppings — especially the aioli — were evenly distributed throughout the thinly cut fries and almost every bite was dripping with flavor. The Cajun seasoning added a hint of spice underneath the smoothness of the fresh gorgonzola and the saltiness of the bacon.
The pork curry taco was similarly exceptional. The slow-cooked shredded pork was accompanied by coconut milk curry, feta, roasted peanuts, green onion, radish, cilantro, cabbage and a side of lime.
First I tasted lime, then the curry, the pork and finally the juiciness of the cabbage, which added an excellent crunch. The radish garnish was pickled and finely grated, adding an element of freshness.
After I tasted the gorgonzola bacon fries and the pork curry taco, the bar was set high. I tried the spicy shrimp taco next. It was prepared with wild-caught Gulf shrimp sautéed in olive oil and chili-lime seasoning, chipotle-citrus sour cream with pineapple salsa, cotija, sweet onion, cilantro, radish and cabbage.
The flavors weren’t as immediately impressive as the other two dishes.
I enjoyed the citrus of the pineapple salsa and devoured the taco. It wasn’t until I had eaten the whole taco that I noticed the heat building in my mouth.
In addition to the regular menu, last week’s specials included a pineapple shrimp rice bowl, pork curry rice bowl and fries with Tajín seasoning.
The food truck attendant affirmed my decision to order the gorgonzola bacon fries and instead of handing me a buzzer, said to come back in 3-4 minutes.
When I arrived several minutes later, my food was waiting for me. At the window, there were also three bottles of salsa: guajillo sesame, pineapple habanero and serrano cilantro.
The garage doors of The Lot’s seating area were wide open on a rainy summer afternoon. As I enjoyed my meal, I watched the rain fall while I stayed dry inside the covered seating area. Á La Carte is joined by Fricken Faco, Maki Maki Sushi and Burgz N Dogz in The Lot.
Location: The Lot, 745 NW Columbia Street, Bend
Contact: 541-728-3849, alacartebendoregon.com
Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. daily
Price Range: $3.50-$11
Cuisine: Fries, salads and tacos