Little Bits

The little truck with the big menu has been a fixture in Garberville for what feels like forever. So when Cole Moody bought the business a year ago, he wasn't going to fool with what he affectionately calls the "glorified snack shack." It's the only truck he ever stopped at, much less loved. "It's a fast food restaurant but with real food."

Sandra Jiminez is in there cooking up homemade salsas, fish, shrimp, carne asada, ground beef and chicken for rice bowls, burritos, tacos, sandwiches and whatever else she comes up with for specials twice a week. Those specials, ranging from enchiladas to Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, sell out fast.

Ever since the truck first hit the road, the smash burger has been No. 1. And no wonder — it's a double-decker of "two ice cream scoops of beef smashed on the grill with bacon, onions and our special sauce," says Moody. The meatless need not miss out as smash fries are on the board, too, with all the cheese, sauce and fixings of the classic burger on fresh, hot French fries.

You can usually find the Little Bits truck parked in front of the Stone Junction Bar. Summertime means refreshing, fruity agua frescas on tap and longer open hours to enjoy them.

Sweet Treats Ice Cream Truck

Hear that tune tinkling in the distance?If you're in McKinleyville, grab a couple bills and run to the corner because it might be Paula Tweedy making the rounds in her Sweet Treats ice cream truck. Keep an ear out for Disney tunes, Beach Boys and some Elvis. "I have to listen to it for four hours a day so it's gotta be good!" she says, noting it's some children's introduction to the King.

Tweedy first got into the mobile ice cream business 22 years ago as a mom looking for a business that allowed her to bring her kids along. That ended up making a whole lot of children happy. "It's something that the kids just totally love." Ice creams go from $1-$3.50 and she keeps a stock of 25-cent candy, too. "There are kids out there who can't afford an ice cream and I just want them to be able to get something."

Sweet Treats is the only family-owned ice cream truck in town, so she takes different routes around McKinleyville, hitting different neighborhoods so as many kids (big and small) get the joy of standing by the truck with the pink eyelashes on the headlights and scanning the options painted on the side. The classics are all there: creamsicles, fudge bars, vanilla sandwiches and strawberry shortcakes. The youngsters love the character ice creams, like SpongeBob with his bubblegum eyeballs, the rotating cast of Ninja Turtles and Power Puff Girls. Tweedy says grown-ups melt for her favorite: the Mississippi mud sandwich swirled with chocolate.

Sweet Treats rolls into Arcata once a week, too, and you'll see the blue truck at events like Annie & Mary Day in Blue Lake, summer park concerts and on local campuses just before summer vacation. Scout her location on Facebook. Beware the Super Sour Bomb pop, she warns — that name is no bluff.

Patino's Mexican Food

Standing in a gas station lot under the shadow of the giant hammer marking Pierson's Building Center is the Patino's Mexican Food. And in front of that most days is a cluster of customers waiting on quesabirria tacos. The juicy, cheesy Tijuana specialty filled with stewed beef and Monterey jack cheese, and doused and dipped in consommé, takes about 14 hours for Beatriz Cruz and her husband Rodrigo Patino to make, from pot to grill to the last sprinkle of chopped onion and cilantro.

Rodrigo is partial to the fajita burrito, but the chile relleno — a la carte or swathed in rice, beans and a soft flour tortilla — is no slouch with its firm and flavorful chile stuffed with queso blanco and smothered in a thicker than usual smoky, tangy sauce.

Summer corn shows up on a stick as elotes dusted with cotija cheese and garnished with mayonnaise and tajin, or in bowl form as esquites. Refreshing, lightly creamy horchata, hibiscus-infused Jamaica and tart tamarindo agua frescas are always homemade and will soothe if you went too hard on the house habanero salsa. And while the weather is warm, you might want to sweeten the deal with fruit cups that hit your sweet, sour, cool and spicy cravings — mango, watermelon, jicama and pineapple, all drizzled with chamoy tajin and a squeeze of fresh lime.

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About The Author

Jennifer Fumiko Cahill

Jennifer Fumiko Cahill

Jennifer Fumiko Cahill is the arts and features editor of the North Coast Journal. She won the Association of Alternative Newsmedia’s 2020 Best Food Writing Award and the 2019 California News Publisher's Association award for Best Writing.

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