As the temperature continues to drop, causing everyone to pull out their winter gear, Penn students question their typical lunch choices: are food trucks worth the venture into the cold? People who are unfamiliar with these trucks gape in awe at those people who are willing to suffer the arctic tundra just for this food. Despite the cold, some food trucks are truly worth the loss of feeling in your fingers and the snot dripping down your nose. Here are some of my favorites outside of the Quad.
1. Magic Carpet
People who have never tried Magic Carpet might be confused by its forest green awning, mystical logo gape and loyal customers willing to wait in a line stretching past the Lower Quad Gate for some vegetarian delight. However, anyone that has tried this Mediterranean, vegetarian mecca knows that it is worth the wait. Their famous Magic Meatball Sandwich warms you as you bite into pita filled with smooth melted cheese and saucy ‘meatballs’. Another popular favorite, the El Gringo, is a vegetarian chili that is sure to out-do your mom’s favorite recipe. Finally, don’t try to leave without grabbing a cookie. Whether it is the original banana chocolate chip or the double chocolate raspberry, I could eat dozens of these fresh, homemade cookies every day. They’re even healthy (or as healthy as a cookie can truly get)! Although Magic Carpet may seem like a girly truck to most boys who love their “meat” and “hoagies,” guys, too, are surprised by the truck’s enchantment and soon become loyal customers.
Just steps away from Magic Carpet, Lyn’s never seems to have a problem gathering customers. Whether its 10:30 AM or 1:00 PM, there are always students, workers, doctors and university employees waiting for this savory, sandwich cart. Starting off the day with their warm bacon, egg and cheese sandwich will ensure that your stomach stays quiet through that brutal hour-and-a-half lecture everyone dreads. Their eggplant parmesan pita gathers fans with its flavorsome, crunchy eggplant in an easy-to-eat pita roll. With every option you can imagine, no meal ever exceeds five dollars – always a plus for students on a budget. Additionally, this food truck is fast and efficient, always speeding through the line of custom-made orders. After you get hooked and have been there enough times, Lyn doesn’t even have to ask for your order. She just says, “egg white, spinach, onion, wrap with ketchup, right?”
After walking past Magic Carpet and Lyn’s, your stroll up Spruce St. lands you at yet another sandwich truck. Hemo’s entices those students who yearn for a hearty, meaty lunch. A typical favorite is the grilled chicken sandwich, often filled with sizzling vegetables, gooey cheese and a giant fried egg. The best part of going to Hemo’s is their special sauce that fills your mouth with finger-licking flavors of unique honey-mustard. These sandwiches are sure to leave you full and satisfied. Another beloved choice is the cheesesteak, which even appeases true Philadelphians – not an easy task. Its fresh, thinly sliced meat and warm cheese come together perfectly on a soft hoagie roll. Hemo’s will definitely not disappoint.
Although this cold weather makes us all want to stay snuggled under layers and layers of blankets in our cozy beds, I promise that these three food carts are worth the long wait and venture into the cold.