Vore, Tong Tong, Las Palmitas 

Dine & Dash

click to enlarge Vore Grilled Cheese Gastro-truck - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Vore Grilled Cheese Gastro-truck

Vore Grilled Cheese Gastro-truck

Mobile business, on.fb.me/1aL77Fz

I've been wanting to check back in on Vore since reviewing it in June, mainly because the menu has since turned over somewhat. For instance, there's now the Billy Club ($12), which promises a mustard-lubricated beatdown of Gruyere, cheddar, smoked turkey, bacon and Black Forest ham (the German style, not a local piggy, to be clear). Except that when you put it on Udi's gluten-free bread, it's actually a surprisingly tiny affair that's neither wide nor thick nor feeling like 12 bones of bite.

The combo of classic deli flavors works fine otherwise, and Vore's signature grill char provides crunch before the gooey cheese grabs hold in the layered core. As a french fry substitute, a generous portion of included, barely battered, peppery haricots verts totally works, especially when dipped in a zingy, ranch-ish sauce. Devouring it at Curbside Cuisine, I'm only baffled by a sign that invites indoor seating from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., but leads to a locked door marked "enter here." — Matthew Schniper

click to enlarge Tong Tong - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Tong Tong

Tong Tong

2036 S. Academy Blvd., 591-8585

While taking photos for this week's Best Of issue, I of course had to eat. Which meant starting with tteokbokki, and a lot of it, for just $5.99. It's a sesame-flecked plate of soft, starchy, compressed rice tubes plus onions and cabbage, bathed in gochujang (fermented red chili and soybean sauce). A streetside grab-and-go version I tried in Korea was one of the hottest things I've ever eaten, but this version's mild with a sweetness in the finish.

Next, my waitress tried to push me toward more American-friendly lunch plates than the golbaengi-somyun (freshwater snails, $15.99), which she called "hard" and spicy. If she meant tough and chewy like a burly clam, then yes, they are, but when treated to more gochujang, they aren't without reward, finishing with a fine, mushroom-like flavor complexity and a scant brine note. Bek Se Ju rice-corn wine ($10/375ml bottle) cuts building heat with a floral, thin acidity launched up front by an earthy, Korean red ginseng infusion. — Matthew Schniper

click to enlarge Las Palmitas - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • Las Palmitas

Las Palmitas

6805 Corporate Drive, #110, 260-9393, on.fb.me/1RcbCt8

Las Palmitas makes sense: think Chotchkie's from Office Space, improved enough to outlive the nearby TGI Friday's that died last July. The restaurant may have changed owners in 2010, but for all the actual space cares, it's still 1996. The "patio" area, safe from inclement weather inside the mall, implies a breezy atmosphere with crossbeams and dangling strings of pottery, next to a dark and forgettable lounge.

Lunch overflows with cheap plates and cheap booze. I devoured the solidly sized enchiladas verdes plate ($6.45) of two rolled tortillas full of juicy chicken under pepperjack and a sauce that brought heavy lime and child-friendly spice, plus refried beans and rice. House-fried chips come with house-made salsas: a pedestrian blended salsa and a nice chopped take with cabbage bits. Service came lightning fast, whether for takeout, sit-down or the abundant liter-mugs of beer. Of note, I was the only patron not drinking. — Griffin Swartzell

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