If you work in downtown Los Angeles, you've probably noticed the food truck Brun's Creole Soul Kitchen, whose slogan is "bringing LA to L.A." That's where we recently found New Orleans native Brun Trumble, who really does cook everything from scratch in the truck.
What you want to get is a po' boy made on fresh bread from Leidenheimer Bakery in New Orleans. Yeah, that's right; Trumble gets his bread from his hometown. "A lot of people don't know what a po' boy is," says Trumble. So he's posted the official definition of the sandwich in the window.
Trumble was in college at LSU in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit. His girlfriend was from Los Angeles, so the two of them headed back to her hometown. Homesick for New Orleans food, he started cooking up Creole food and po' boys at various farmers markets, dive bars, parties — and at the occasional pop-up, mostly on the Eastside of town.
Trumble started his truck this past spring. He eventually wants to have his own bar or neighborhood place with Creole cooking, cold beer and some great music. Meanwhile, he's stocked the truck with New Orleans' favorite potato chips, Mexican Coca Cola and Jarritos sodas. And he stands ready to take your order for some Creole soul cooking.
The po' boy sandwiches come either in the full 10-inch length or the 5-inch half sandwich on a soft split roll. Pecan-smoked pulled pork is lush and melting tender; the fried shrimp is crunchy and sweet. The roast beef has some fine gravy. I don't know about the Poutine Po-Boy, as you have to be more of a poutine fan than I am for that one. But there's no stopping the poutine craze.
The menu also has some crazy mash-up fillings, with names like the BeastMaker (roast beef and shrimp, sort of a Creole surf 'n' turf) or Son of the Beast (roast beef and Cajun meat pie), some of them thought up by faithful customers. One lady used to order the BeastMaker and then had the idea to substitute the pulled pork for the beef. She liked that even better, telling Trumble that it put her in the mood to go make some babies. And so he dubbed that combo the BabyMaker.
Trumble can make more than sandwiches, though. He learned to cook from his mother and worked in restaurants in New Orleans before Katrina, and if you talk to him for even a little bit, his love for the food of his hometown comes through.
He's got Creole meat pies, which are like empanadas, only filled with roast beef and that delicious gravy. "The Spanish were in New Orleans before the French," says Trumble. "What's jambalaya but a sort of paella?" His truck also serves Creole tacos: check out the Okra Banh Mi Taco filled with fried okra, chipotle crema, salsa verde and banh mi slaw. Specials might include eggplant étouffée, gumbo, Cajun sausage or fried catfish po' boys — and in season, crawfish pies.
Po' boy sandwiches are $6 to $13. Check Trumble's website for a schedule of where to find the truck on any given day. Or follow him on Twitter at @BrunsKitchen. Check out the sweet little film about Trumble on his website.