Totally Pretentious Food Truck Review: Rolling Ficelle

DC is known for many things: hoards of sweaty red tourists crowding on our metros and sidewalks walking four astride; young, eager and painfully self-important congressional staffers who aren’t very well paid; old, bloated and painfully self-important lobbyists who are overpaid.

For the last couple of years, it’s also been known as a food truck mecca. OK, perhaps I’m over-exaggerating a bit.

Following the lead of much cooler and hipper cities such as Austin and Portland, our very own lil’ol DC has itself a food truck scene. And like summer interns working on the Hill and shopping at Forever 21, DC has thrown itself headlong into the trend.

So like the trendy blogger I am, I’m going to review some of these fine rolling establishments, starting with Rolling Ficelle.

First of all: How the hell do you pronounce Ficelle??? You pronounce it “skinny long baguette-type bread.” But you could just call it, “quite delectable.”

I did not take this picture. Some other food truck expert did.

Today happened to be Truckeroo, a gathering of rolling culinary artists all in one high-brow location, in this case, the Navy Yard. It’s kinda like Bocuse d’Or, but for food trucks. I happen to work in downtown DC, near that Algonquin Rondtable for bike messengers, Farragut Park. So I knew my food truck options would be limited today.

After perusing the Twitter, the name Rolling Ficelle caught my eye. Now, I am a connoisseur of food trucks, yet I was unfamiliar with this Rolling Ficelle. Must be new, I thought. But alas, no! They’ve been around since at least May. And they are really, really proud of this Ficelle bread stuff. It’s made at some Lyon Bakery. Whatevs.

I meandered over to fine Farragut Square at about 12:15 and got in line. It wasn’t especially long, but I know how these things can go. Even a short line can take an excruciating amount of waiting. I settled in, eyeing my fellow alfresco diners and their painful sartorial choices (please, if you must buy Tom shoes to help the poor children, do not wear them. Keep them in your closet or use them as house slippers, for which they are clearly intended.)

The wait was, surprisingly, only about 13 minutes. I say surprisingly, but when you really think about it, they are pre-made sandwiches for heaven’s sake. There were about 7 sandwich options to chose from, all of them named after artists, including Rothko, Calder, etc. There was also a delectable-sounding Frieda Kahlo salad with jicama and watermelon.

I placed my order and handed over my money. The prices were terrific — $8.95 for a DeKooning sandwich (roast beef, provolone, tomato, crushed cherry red pepper relish, draped with a light horseradish aioli), Ms. Vicker’s chips and a sour cherry lemonade that was really refreshing. A bargain for the area, let alone a food truck. I can’t remember the last time I paid less than $10 for lunch and didn’t have to bring it from home. Just a sandwich would have been $6.95.

Since I had paid to little to begin with, I wasn’t expecting much, so when I got a long skinny and hefty sheath of white after about two minutes of waiting, I was very surprised by both the size and the quickness of my repast. I hurried with my bundle back to work, heartily proclaiming my conquest to co-workers I happened to pass along the way.

Dear reader, the sandwich was delightful. A revelation, if you’ll indulge me. The ingredients: fresh and plentiful. The bread: delectable, satisfyingly crunchy on the exterior, heavenly soft on the interior. The roast beef: succulent and satisfying. The aioli: an alluring, ambrosial surprise clinging gently to the delicious bread. The red pepper relish: piquant and the perfect accompaniment. The tomatoes: ruby-red slabs of juiciness.


The balance between beef, cheese, veggies, red peppers and aioli was heavenly. The slightly spicy red peppers provided an interesting counterbalance to the smooth lemony garlic-mayo mixture. Neither the meat nor the cheese overpowered the sandwich. This is a gourmet sandwich properly prepared and sold at a reasonable price, I thought to myself with satisfaction.

And they have a credit card machine.

I’m saying I liked it. You should go. It was very yummy. I’m giving it four out of four truck wheels.