When you think of food trucks in Santa Cruz County, pasta, salads and smoothies probably aren’t the first menu items that come to mind.
At Charisma Catering Co. though, chef Roman Trujillo strives to offer non-traditional food truck meals that are healthy and delicious.
“Basically I want to bring to this town something different … something that people really want,” Trujillo said, adding later: “I try to bring something different to the table.”
We’d heard about Trujillo’s food truck from the NI graphic designer Priscilla Bolaños, who is a frequent customer. We’d also seen some of the salads he’s delivered to her.
The first time we paid him a visit, however, Charisma Catering Co. was closed because Trujillo, a Le Cordon Bleu Scottsdale Culinary Institute graduate, had burned himself.
A week later we tried again, and this time not even the cold weather and rain could stop us.
Trujillo prepared us a patty melt, which Norma had never tried, as well as pesto parmesan penne pasta with chicken and a garlic toast, and an organic mixed greens Caesar salad with chicken and bacon.
“(I) try to keep it low carb, so instead of adding croutons, we do bacon,” Trujillo told Murphy as he whipped the salad up.
The bill for the three-person meal came to $41.40, which included two smooties and a tip.
Other items on the menu include cheeseburgers; protein bowls; cheese fries, bacon ranch fries and loaded fries; smoothies; and Trujillo’s signature Hulk smash burger, an all-beef patty on a jalapeño cheddar bagel bread with bacon, green chile, avocado, and Monterrey Jack cheese.
Patrons Iza Perez Carlos and Francheska Martinez both ordered a hamburger and called the food delicious.
“I like the quality of the food. Compared to a fast food restaurant, I’d rather spend my money on something that is better, nutritious,” Martinez said, adding that she’s eaten there about once a week since it opened in August.
Perez, whose first time eating at the food truck was that day, agreed.
“It’s something different here in Nogales,” she said. “Most carts have tacos, carne asada. This is something more nutritious.”
The green-and-white truck’s appearance is different as well. The distinctive logo on its side is a play on the traditional skull-and-crossbones, with the bones replaced with a knife and fork. The menacing demeanor of the skull is softened a bit by a chef’s hat, as well as a nearby painting of three spirits reaching for a fruit hanging from a blossoming tree.
Trujillo has set up a patio outside the truck with several tables and chairs, a tarp, and speakers to play music.
“(I) try to make it as comfortable as possible for my clients,” he said.
And if you only have time to grab your food and go, customers can speed up the process by texting in their orders.
IF YOU GO:
Location: 30 E. Calle Sonora, in the Alex’s Tire Pros parking lot
Phone: (520) 223-7796 (you can call or text to place an order)
Hours: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday
Payment: Cash, debit or credit