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Parksville food trucks satisfy carnivore cravings

I adore food trucks and try to visit a few whenever I travel to a new city. But as fate would have it, I've been missing out on exploring food trucks close to home in Central Vancouver Island. So when I heard that our local trucks would be gathering at an outdoor Christmas market in Parksville on December 15h, I was determined not to miss another opportunity to sample what the restaurants on wheels nearby are cooking. Turns out, it's a whole lotta flavourful MEAT.

The Extreme Eatz Food Truck has been rolling around Central Vancouver Island since the summer of 2012, bringing bacon to the people (along with Montreal smoked meat and more). I love the look of this truck - black and flaming, it's hard to miss, and the bacon-themed Christmas decorations are a nice touch for the holiday season.

I ordered one of Extreme Eatz' signature dishes - their Bacon Poutine  with Montreal smoked meat and honey mustard dipping sauce. Being a patriotic Canadian, I think poutine is pretty great on its own, but I can't deny the fact that chunks of thick-cut bacon and shreds of Montreal smoked meat does make it even better. I wasn't sure about the honey mustard dipping sauce at first, but the sweetness cuts through the saltiness of the fries and adds an extra flavour element. Best thing about the poutine, hands down, was the gravy - rich and thick with great meaty flavour.

 The second food truck I visited was Traditional Texas BBQ  from A.A. Catering. While this truck doesn't have the great paint job of Extreme Eatz, it does come equipped with another very attractive accessory - its own smoker! After ordering, I stood out of the rain and wind under the trailer-sized smoker's awning as a mouth-watering and meat-scented smokey cloud wafted over me, the perfect way to get my taste buds interested in what was coming.

I ordered Texas BBQ's pulled pork sandwich and salmon chowder. The truck has a few accompanying sauces for their meats, and I was encouraged to try them and choose the one I enjoyed most with my pork. I went with their South Carolina BBQ sauce which had a nice dark colour and good zing to it. I was a bit disappointed not to see more Texas-inspired sauces to try - hey, if it says Texas on the sign, I'm going to be looking for Texas flavours. But the large portion of freshly-smoked pulled pork made up for it, piled high on a soft bun. The Salmon Chowder was great too, and I am PICKY about my chowders, having spent my childhood summers in New England. It was piping hot, thick and flavourful with a nice balance of seasoning - perfect December food truck fare that warmed the rainy chill right out of me.

The Karma Coffee cart was also on hand with their Vancouver Island-roasted coffee. Karma Coffee prides themselves on selling only certified organic, ethically sourced and fairly traded coffees with small-batch roasting that keeps their beans fresh and flavourful. The cart was busy with all the locals and tourist visitors stopping to warm up with a cup of coffee, cider or hot chocolate.

After my first taste of what Parksville food trucks have to offer, I'm looking forward to trying more trucks and carts around Central Vancouver Island, as well as making repeat visits to Extreme Eatz and Texas BBQ for my next carnivorous craving.

To learn more about these food trucks, or find out where they'll be serving next - visit Extreme Eatz facebook page, Texas BBQ's facebook page, and Karma Coffee's facebook page or follow them on Twitter at @ExtremeEats, @bbq_texas and @KarmaCoffeeCda

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