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Food Truck Alert: Frysmith gourmet fry truck

July 23, 2009 |  5:26 pm

Rajas-fries-high-res

Are you one of those people who suddenly bolts out of bed at 3 a.m., hops in the car and heads for Tommy burger because you just can't shake your craving for chili-cheese fries? Then you'll be excited to hear that come mid- to late August a French fry truck called Frysmith will join the caravan of gourmet food trucks that have been rolling and Twittering around town in previously unimagined numbers.

Its owners, Brook Howell and Erik Cho, who are married and both 29 years old, have been quietly working on the idea since March. Both graduates of UC Berkeley, Howell and Cho have long been interested in food. Cho is Korean and grew up in Baldwin Park. His mother ran a couple of burger restaurants and he spent time in those kitchens as a youth. The experience fostered his current love of fast food and L.A.'s thriving burger culture. Howell majored in literature but secretly wanted to be a baker. Her first food-truck love was New York's Dessert Truck.

The couple, who live in Burbank, pursued careers within their chosen fields (Howell worked for a magazine and Cho in the film industry) before deciding to focus on a food truck.

"I'd been following the food truck thing for a while. New York has a really vibrant food truck culture," says Howell. "Kogi kind of showed us that this is something viable that L.A. would be into." Once they settled on the medium,they had to choose a food to sell. Cho wanted to do something with fast food but didn't want to do burgers. Then he had lunch with a friend who had never had chili-cheese fries and it hit him that he could build a meal on top of fries using all of his favorite flavors and ingredients.

Here's what's on the Frysmith menu so far:

chili-cheese fries; vegan chili fries (tomatoes, mixed beans and soyrizo); rajas fries (roasted poblano chiles, caramelized onions and shawarma-marinated steak with Jack cheese); kimchi fries (kimchi with Kurobuta pork belly, onions and cheddar cheese); and chicken sweet potato fries (organic chicken in tomatillo-tamarind sauce over sweet potato fries topped with cashews).

Then there's the truck itself. Rather than leasing a truck, Howell and Cho opted to buy one and have it built out for their specific purposes. It took months to get their plans for the truck approved, but now they're well on their way to transforming the plain truck into a snazzy, rolling 18-foot kitchen with two deep fryers, an oven, a grill and a charbroiler.

Best of all, the truck is diesel and the couple is determined to switch out the canola oil with obsessive regularity to keep the fresh-cut fries tasting clean. As a result they are going to run the truck on all that delicious potato-y oil.

Howell says she's still not exactly sure where the truck's main haunts will be. "We want to see what the demand is because there are a lot of trucks out there," she says. True, but who doesn't love fries?

-- Jessica Gelt

Photo: Rajas fries. Credit: Frysmith

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