by Nicki Wood
Chef Avila, formerly of 360 Bistro and City House, is piloting the truck once known as Red Pony Catering. He calls his operation Jay Jay's Good Food Truck, and Bites colleague Chris Chamberlain and I visited him at the somewhat windswept corner of Fifth and Crutcher streets in East Nashville — sandwiched between public housing and the interstate, just outside the shadow of the stadium.
Odd spot, but Avila has his reasons: When he lived in Hawaii, the food trucks always sought out remote locations to avoid traffic and conflicts with locals over parking. To be sure, there's no problem with parking at Fifth and Crutcher.
Given the recent discussion of Cuban sandwiches, we had to try the MVOTCS — My Version of the Cuban Sandwich, meltingly tender beer-braised pork, firm sliced ham and cheese on Cuban-style roll sourced from a Nolensville Road bakery, pickle on the side. A generous portion, the sandwich was big enough to satisfy a hungry person, or share between two smaller appetites.
The pork shreds were also rolled into the Porky Bean Burrito, with a few spoonfuls of Mexican-style rice, some tender adzuki beans and satiny fresh spinach, rolled tight as a drum, no leaks or drips, and packed with ingredients to the last bite. The pork took on an almost confit texture, rich and buttery.
Avila moved to the street in front of City House last week, and spent Friday evening at Yazoo taproom. Find Avila and Jay Jay's on Twitter at @JayJaysTruck