‘The Great Food Truck Race’: Nom nom nom nom

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There’s just no stopping the Nom Nom Truck.

For the second week in a row, the Los Angeles-based Vietnamese sandwich truck -- specializing in banh mi sandwiches -- has cruised to easy victory in this competition pitting food trucks against each other as they travel the country and see who can raise the most money. The competitors can’t use social media, but they can get wily. And that’s just what the Nom Nom truck did as the herd headed to its latest pit stop in Santa Fe, N.M. The truck’s operators wisely planted a story in the local media heralding their arrival. The result? Lines, lines everywhere.


In this week’s ‘truck stop’ challenge, host Tyler Florence told the contestants they had to send a teammate to buy local chiles -- this was, after all, Santa Fe -- and incorporate them into a special for the day. Noted chef Eric DiStefano, owner of the El Coyote Cafe in Santa Fe, would go to each truck undercover and choose the best special of them all. The winner would get immunity.

DiStefano really wanted a banh mi chile sandwich, but was turned away: The lines were so backed up outside the Nom Nom truck that the team’s members made a snap decision: They would bow out of the challenge because they just couldn’t spare a teammate to go get the chiles and conjure up a special. It was a bold move. And it paid off. The Nom Nom truck hauled in more than $3,000 -- an astonishing amount.

This week, the Ragin’ Cajun truck from Hermosa Beach and the Spencer on the Go truck from San Francisco, which specializes in high-end French food, raised the least amount of money. Luckily for the French, they had the best chile special of the day, earning them immunity.

It’s sad to see the ‘Crazy Cajunness’ go -- they added lots of flair and flavor. But they just didn’t craft a savvy enough business plan to pull in customers.

This is one competition where having the best food just isn’t good enough.

A few random Tyler thoughts: I think Tyler is sorely underutilized by Food Network, so I’m glad to see him hosting this show. (And I love how he cracked himself up while throwing down the chile challenge!) I am also trying to get a bead on his wardrobe. It’s clear he’s partial to the plaid shirt-and-tie combo. Add to that the Wayfarers, the collarless jackets.... How would you describe the look he’s rocking?

-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch