First Look: My Kitchen and Ay Chihuahua Taqueria Food Trucks
An unloved Kapahulu parking lot gets two tasty new tenants.
Two new food trucks set up shop on Kapahulu Avenue, turning this empty lot into a tasty new spot in the neighborhood.
Photos: Bridget Kitson
There’s no shortage of good food stops in Kapahulu, but when it comes to tasty food, there’s always room for more. My Kitchen set up shop in a parking lot that had been chained off for years, improving what was an eyesore along the colorful stretch of Kapahulu Avenue. Fronting an abandoned antique shop, there are now brightly colored picnic tables topped with jars of fresh flowers. Strings of lights criss-cross overhead, and at night the small space is bright and full of delicious smells.
As soon as I stepped past the bright blue fence, I was greeted by the owner of two trucks, My Kitchen and Ay Chihuahua Taqueria. Sharif Wagdy, a veteran in the food industry, explained the extensive and varied menus. The two trucks work together to serve a mix of Greek, Mexican and local cuisine. The breakfast menu (served until 11 a.m.) is short but sweet, including an acai bowl, berry parfait, French toast, spicy breakfast burrito and breakfast burger. The breakfast dishes range from $9 to $14, making them some of the cheaper options on the menu. The all-day menu is much longer and includes starters, salads, sandwiches and plates. The sandwiches, all served with fries, run from $12 to $15, which isn’t bad for the amount of food you’re getting. The plates are a little on the pricier side, costing between $18 and $25. Vegetarian options are marked, and there are daily specials apart from the usual menu. These include a pasta of the day, panini of the day and a seafood plate of the day.
Seating area outside the two trucks on Kapahulu Avenue.
Being a big seafood fan, I decided to try the shrimp Greek salad ($13). Greek salads have a reputation for being oily, but this one was pretty well balanced. Big chunks of tomato, cucumber and onion were complemented well by the freshly grilled shrimp, and plenty of feta to top it off. This dish makes for a satisfying and refreshingly light meal.
You can’t say too much about a spot’s Greek food until you try its gyros. The lamb gyro ($15) was served with fries and a spicy mayo dip. The dip is the owner’s personal creation. Not being a fan of ketchup, he came up with this peppery sauce to complement the fries, tacos and more. It has a little bit of a kick and balances spicy and tangy flavors but isn’t overwhelming. It’s most comparable to something of a chipotle tartar sauce. It’s a versatile sauce that makes otherwise ordinary dishes a little more interesting. The pita was warm and fresh. The lamb was cooked perfectly and tossed with grilled peppers and tomatoes. The thick-cut fries were lightly seasoned. Topped with a little sprig of basil, the plate was a blend of fresh, warm flavors. Safe to say My Kitchen passed the gyro test.
The lamb gyro ($15) was served with fries and a spicy mayo dip.
The tacos from Ay Chihuahua Taqueria impressed this California taco snob.
The adjacent truck, Ay Chihuahua Taqueria, has a much shorter and simpler menu. Bright hand-painted signs posted on the side of the truck list Mexican fare including tacos, burritos and quesadillas, all with multiple filling options. The tacos can be ordered a la carte ($4 to $5) with chicken, fish, shrimp or steak, or in a combo plate with rice and beans ($10 to $12). The burritos range from $10 to $12 depending on the filling, and the quesadillas range from $8 for plain cheese to $12 for one with steak.
Having grown up in California, I can be a bit of a snob when it comes to tacos. I was pleasantly surprised by Ay Chihuahua Taqueria’s original take on this classic street food. The tacos were topped with mixed greens, mango salsa and grilled onions and sat on a warm corn tortilla covered with the same spicy mayo sauce that’s served with the fries. All together it made for a balanced and flavorful few bites. I tried both the fish and shrimp tacos ($5 each). All too often I come across fish tacos that are too dry, but the fish was tender and the shrimp had a pleasant, smoky, fresh-off-the-grill taste.
Wagdy, the owner, was attentive and welcoming. The whole experience was exactly what you’d want from a food truck: personal, casual and friendly. There’s no shortage of charm in the bright décor and service. If you’re lucky you might get a little visit from Kairo, the owner’s puppy who prowls the lot. He’s small, cute and quick to show some love to customers.
One of the perks of visiting here: Meeting Kairo, the resident dog.
Parking is a little tricky, as it usually is on Kapahulu Avenue. There’s limited space on the street, so it might be best to park in the neighborhood and walk a block or two. In typical small business fashion, My Kitchen and Ay Chihuahua Taqueria are cash only, so come prepared. But don’t let these small inconveniences deter you; this spot is well worth a visit for the fresh food and good vibes.
My Kitchen and Ay Chihuahua Taqueria, 471 Kapahulu Ave., (808) 838-9196