TLT restaurant review
Jason Quinn and Daniel Shemtob teamed up to start The Lime Truck in 2010, and two years later their first brick-and-mortar restaurant opened in Westwood. Now, they boast two more locations, one in Newport Beach and one in the Irvine Spectrum, and their truck continues serving Orange County. The Lime Truck, or TLT for short, distinguishes itself with imaginative flavours and fresh produce.
Their food can’t be described as one particular style. It has Mexican influence, as seen in their tacos and burritos, but they are not completely authentic. On TLT’s website, the owners say their goal is to “please the palate” but experiment, and TLT succeeds in pleasing the palate more often than not. The Pork Belly Adobo Taco (PBAT) sandwich stands out on the menu as a favorite, along with the All Day Brunch Burrito. The arugula on the PBAT adds a peppery component to complement the seasoned pork, and the ciabatta bread creates the perfect balance between soft and chewy. TLT gets its produce from Melissa’s Produce, so you know what you’re eating is fresh. The Brunch Burrito might be a little expensive, but it’s worth it for the sweet meat that blends with the surrounding flavours of cheese and pepper sauce.
For beverages, I recommend the limeade because it comes with free refills and contains fresh fruit. The restaurant rotates the offering of flavors daily.
Another noteworthy aspect of TLT, besides the food, is its ambience. The Spectrum location offers indoor and outdoor seating, giving you the option of which one to choose. The lighting indoors is dim; whether you like that or not is up to your personal preference. Waiting in line doesn’t take too long, even though TLT tends to be busy.
Quinn, one of the co-founders, left TLT and now owns restaurant called “Playground” in Santa Ana, while Shemtob continues as TLT’s Executive Chef. When the two first started, they weren’t experienced in food trucks. They were dedicated to their idea, though, and used all of their savings. TLT succeeded because Orange County residents appreciated the fresh food. The Food Network show “The Great Food Truck Race” featured TLT on Season Two in 2011. For the show, the staff of TLT spent 7 weeks driving across America. They loved meeting all the new people.
Despite all the changes, TLT retains its original spirit of bringing fresh food to Orange County. It hopes to expand to several more cities and continue developing new dishes.
LOCATION: 705 Spectrum Center Dr, Irvine, CA 92618, Phone: 949-727-1414, www.tltfood.com
PRICES: Tacos $3-4, Burritos $8-9
OPERATING TIMES: Open 9 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday
RECOMMENDED DISHES: Brunch Burrito, Pork Belly Adobo Taco