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Along with employees Jason Quinn and Jesse Brockham, the owner of The Lime Truck, Daniel Shemtob, celebrated the truck's third anniversary in June. The trio behind the Mexican-inspired cuisine brought the truck to number five on our list of 101 Best Food Trucks in America 2013. But they don’t serve just any boring old Mexican food. These three put their own twists on traditional Mexican dishes, which results in menu items like the ahi tuna poke nachos and carnitas fries. In fact, their food is so popular that they won season two of Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race. We caught up with Shemtob to talk about the truck, their inspiration, and most importantly, the food.
When did you launch your truck?
June 2010 (Three-year anniversary!!).
What was the inspiration for going into this business?
I wanted to be in a business that I was passionate and excited about. Food is such a creative an amazing industry, and it also is a demanding one, but if you are passionate about it, you get a response that’s rewarding and fulfilling.
What's the story behind the name?
There are a lot of stories of how our name came about, but the main reason we chose "The Lime Truck," was that it was non-descriptive of our food, which is important since our menu has ranged from classic American to really odd but flavorful small town ethnic dishes. We also wanted to have a clean-sounding name to kind of relieve some of the hesitations a new truck diner would have due to the history of the trucks being "roach coaches."
What's the inspiration for your cuisine and recipes?
It's based a lot on where I grew up. I grew up in Irvine and Newport Beach in Orange County. My high school was 45 percent Asian, which is amazing because I can't stop loving Asian food and flavors. I also grew up in Southern California so Tex-Mex was very common and delicious. Lastly, I was raised in a Middle Eastern household so I am accustomed to that as well. I think when you can pull from so many regions with no boundaries you are able to line up amazing flavors, and that’s where we get all of our inspiration.
What's your signature dish? Is it also your most popular dish?
Our signature dish is probably our carnitas fries, which happens to also be our most popular. The carnitas fries are a 12-hour pulled pork, with homemade guac, chipotle honey slaw, crema, and cotija cheese.... on top of a bed of fries. It's magical when soft tender pulled pork hits crispy little fries.