TAMPA — A new food truck featuring gourmet sandwiches, salads and South African kotas debuts in SoHo tonight.
Wicked 'Wiches will be dishing its goods at the Drynk Soho, at S Howard Avenue and Platt Street, from 6 p.m. until 4 a.m. (the better to catch the crowds after the bars close).
Although the truck's Facebook page touts the toastwich, the most intriguing menu item is the kota (South African slang for quarter).
The menu describes a kota (a.k.a. bunny chow) as "a South African fast food dish consisting of a hollowed out loaf of bread filled with savory slow roasted meats. A key characteristic of a kota is created when the juices from the meats and fillings soak into the walls of the bread, thereby rounding the 'wich off with the fusion of flavors and textures.''
The menu lists four kinds of kota ($3.75): one with Sloppy Joe filling, another with slow-simmered fresh turkey, a curry coconut chicken and a bourbon mango pork.
All we can say is yum. Probably safe to say there's no other outlet for kotas around these parts.
Back to the toastwich ($7.50): Toasted bread filled with beef, ham or chicken "smothered in freshly shredded cheeses and fire toasted from above creating a gooey cheesy melt..."
Also on the menu: smash balls ($3.75), either beef and lamb or turkey, duck and chicken (sort of a hand-held turducken), and panino.
And since Mom always said to eat your greens, there's a menu of seven salads ($7.95) with various dressings and toppings, including chicken, turkey and pork.
The Tampa Bay area lags well behind other cities in food trucks, which are one of the biggest food trends in other cities, such as Miami and Orlando, where the food truck scene has exploded in the past year.
The Taco Bus is already wildly popular in Tampa and St. Petersburg (with its mobile version drawing raves during a recent appearance at Bonnaroo) and Da Kine Hawaiian Cafe is building a big fan base from its trailer parked on S Dale Mabry in Tampa.
If Wicked 'Wiches is a hit, maybe Tampa Bay is poised for its own food truck scene.