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LOS ANGELES (TheStreet) -- Once a staple of construction sites and nightclubs exits, the food truck has emerged as an unlikely vehicle for a culinary revolution.

From Los Angeles to Miami and New York, the once ubiquitous "roach coach" has found new life amid the economic downturn as cash-strapped foodies look for gourmet bargains. Emboldened by




and Web sites like


, the food truck revolution revved up as trucks began to linger outside office buildings.

The Grilled Cheese Truck tempts Los Angeles pedestrians with the classic sandwich.

One of the first trucks to make the gourmet conversion was the

Kogi Korean BBQ-To-Go

, a taco truck that travels around Los Angeles. Kogi brings together two of the city's most popular cuisines, Mexican street food and Korean barbecue. The menu includes $3 grilled calamari tacos, $5 spicy pork quesadillas and Korean short-ribs sliders. The line of customers can stretch to biblical lengths.


Grilled Cheese Truck

also began it's upwardly mobile ascent in Los Angeles at the Grilled Cheese Invitational, where its owners realized the potential of their cheese-stuffed sandwiches. This truck's options go beyond cheddar on wheat bread with its squash-filled "harvest melt" and pulled pork. Potential diners can follow the truck's whereabouts on the company's

Twitter page

, but don't expect to be the only one in line.

In San Francisco, the mobile food offerings are more specialized with the

Creme Brulee Guy

. This one-man operation sells torched delicacies out of a Mission Street-based cart. Its options include high-end desserts for $3. San Francisco's

RoliRoti Gourmet Rotisserie

offers dishes made with sustainable ingredients. At farmer's markets around the city, butter-bronzed birds are served straight from the grill on plates or in to-go bags.

In Miami,

Latin Burger and Taco

, co-owned by Food Network star Ingrid Hoffmann, has been making the local gourmet rounds at car washes and nightclub parking lots. The company's glossy black and pink truck looks every bit Miami Beach. The truck sells a "Latin macho burger" with chorizo and Oaxaca cheese and a "three amigo taco" stuffed with shredded chicken, pulled pork or chicken mole.

In New York, sidewalk vendors have long been a staple of the culinary landscape. The

Calexico Cart

works out of the Brooklyn restaurant by the same name, offering gourmet Mexican street food at carts stationed around Manhattan during lunch. Menus change almost daily and feature taco treats like roasted pork shoulder in tomatillo sauce and pulled chicken in sesame adobo sauce.

New Yorkers looking for a truck experience should head to Union Square and try the

Bistro Truck

navigated by Moroccan-born chef Yassir Raouli. This moveable feast offers Eastern Mediterranean staples like meatball tajine with jasmine rice, lamb couscous with veggies and fava bean soup. Leave room for the creme brulee, a house specialty.


Reported by Michael Martin of in Los Angeles


Michael Martin is the managing editor of -- a luxury travel and lifestyle guide based in Los Angeles and London. His work has appeared in In Style, Blackbook, Elle, U.K.'s Red magazine, ITV and BBC.