18820 Pacific Coast Hwy.
Malibu, CA 90265
By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
When COVID-19 hit the restaurant industry, limiting people’s ability to sit-down and dine at restaurants, Malibu native Alla Rockwell got creative, serving up fresh fare from Rockwell Kitchen, a stationary food truck perched on Pacific Coast Highway.
“Rockwell Kitchen is not your average food truck experience,” Founder and Executive Chef Rockwell shared in a statement. “Yes, we’re in a truck, but my hope is that people can let go of any preconceived notions beyond that and come visit us to enjoy fresh food to feel good about.”
Rockwell explained that as a “farm-to-table dining experience,” things that are fresh, seasonal and local drive the menu.
“It’s like rummaging through Mom’s kitchen, but Mom’s kitchen is the whole of the Malibu food community,” she explained. “Those local ingredients are core to the experience; if the foundation is fresh and delicious, you want to let that shine through rather than overcomplicating it.
“Simple can still be interesting. If the farmer behind your vegetables really cares about their product, that is definitely going to come through in the taste.”
Rockwell was a pastry cook at Nobu Malibu and Ink, executive pastry chef at TWIST Eatery, and sous chef at BOBO Venice before creating her own catering and craft service company, Rockwell-Venice, which Rockwell Kitchen now handles.
The stationary food truck shares a space on Pacific Coast Highway with Boardriders—on the point of Topanga Beach—allowing for panoramic views of both the Pacific Ocean and Santa Monica Mountains.
“We’re not your typical food truck,” Rockwell Kitchen’s website promises. “We haven’t cut any corners to get you quick, delicious food. From a chef-driven menu to our fresh ingredients chosen with care—there has been utmost thought into the dishes we serve.”
In addition to a menu of staples, Rockwell serves up daily specials, which are based on inspiration from local finds.
The food portion of the menu at Rockwell Kitchen is split into Morning Fuel, With Your Hands, Carbs and Large Plates.
Beginning with a breakfast selection, I sampled J’s Burrito—scrambled eggs, flour tortilla, Dominican-style beans, avocado and rice. Diners have the choice to add bacon, as well as substitute tofu instead of egg. This burrito has heft, but is not overly heavy. It comes paired with a salsa that is not too spicy, blending the flavors together well.
The next dish was from the With Your Hands offerings: BLT, crafted with bacon two ways, romaine, spring mix, tomato, sourdough boule and chive aioli. There’s an option to add egg for those interested. The chive aioli makes the dish here, which pairs well with a generous portion of bacon, making this a next-level BLT experience.
During my visit, I did not get a chance to sample things from the Large Plates portion of the menu, but items like Shrimp Scampi (tail-on shrimp, rice and house scampi) and Tofu Steak (grilled tofu and local vegetables served with a house sauce) might tempt me back.
From the Carbs menu came the Kouign-Amann Danish and Salted Caramel Brownie, both of which have since been removed from the menu, but were delicious and bodes well for what is available now, which includes four flavors of Muffin (double chocolate, blueberry, coffee cake and monkey bread) as well as Croissant (chocolate, almond or plain).
To wash down a meal, Rockwell Kitchen has a Coffee Bar, serving up things like an Americano, Espresso and Flat White. Not a big caffeine drinker—especially at 6 p.m., when I completed the review—I opted for a Hot Chocolate, which again, at Rockwell Kitchen, is an elevated take on a classic choice.
The truck also has a selection of On Tap beverages, of which I tried Babe Kombucha in its watermelon cucumber flavor. I would not typically order kombucha, but I am glad I did. This one comes bursting with flavor, the watermelon really coming through.
My dining experience, which took place in mid-December, was a grab-and-go situation, with everything enjoyed from my kitchen table. Next time, I can imagine picking up some fuel from Rockwell Kitchen and heading down to the beach for a picnic—the location and menu make it the perfect place to do just that.
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