For the past several months, there’s been a new menu logging some miles around the local cuisine scene — Anna Andriese’s Haute Skillet food truck.
A typical weekly schedule for the festive blue truck involves lunchtime visits to the parking lots of various San Luis Obispo businesses, but Haute Skillet has also made appearances at wine festivals, wineries and private catering events.
As is the case with most food trucks, it sports a full kitchen that many cooks would envy, from an oven and range right down to a griddle, fryer and salamander broiler.
“I was able to design it exactly the way I wanted to,” said Andriese. She and her husband, Steve, scoped out several food trucks in Los Angeles for ideas on design and menus, but “I wanted to take all those and make something all my own.”
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The resulting Haute Skillet name is a riff on the trendy and sometimes high brow haute couture fashion, she explained, “but we’re just having a lot of fun with it.”
Andriese has been fueled by a passion for food and cooking her entire life, and ultimately honed her baking and pastry skills at the prestigious Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in Napa Valley. She brought that knowledge to bear at such restaurants as Giuseppe’s in Pismo Beach, where she was the pastry chef before revving up Haute Skillet in March. (A former Giuseppe’s co-worker, Meleanna Handley, is now Andriese’s “trusty sidekick” on the truck.)
While obviously skilled on the sweet side of things, Andriese is also in the driver’s seat when it comes to savory. Though the standard Haute Skillet menu is focused by necessity and design, the truck’s catering menu ranges from chimichurri steak skewers to chicken Parmesan, tri-tip to taquitos, pastas to pan-seared salmon.
For Haute Skillet fans, Andriese’s baking expertise shows up in the house-made ciabatta breads for her made-to-order sandwiches.
Favorites are the “Pigalious” pulled pork with Jack cheese and cilantro, and the P.L.T. with slices of pastrami that have been crisped up bacon-style on the griddle. Other temptations include the Haute Philly with thinly sliced roast beef and pepper Jack cheese, the TBA turkey sandwich with bacon and avocado, and the CapresAA with heirloom tomatoes, arugula and avocado.
You can also get a Side o’ Fries or the decadent Pulled Pork Fries, a popular concoction that Andriese created one day when she ran out of ciabatta bread but still had leftover pork.
For healthier but no less tasty options, go for one of Haute Skillet’s salads, such as the chicken Caesar on flatbread or the Truck Salad with baby greens, candied pecans, feta cheese, grapes and a sweet balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
Andriese also comes up with daily specials, which might range from a roast beef sandwich, to butternut squash soup, to a grilled cheese and tomato soup.
Her ideas are typically driven from whatever fresh local produce is available, and she noted that “everything is made fresh from scratch,” right down to the coleslaw, salad dressings and hand-pulled pork. “We really take a lot of pride in what we do.”