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Food Truck Friday: Duos

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Duos is the latest in the NUVO Food Truck Friday series. For profiles on other food trucks in Indianapolis, check out "Indy's food trucks flourish."

When it comes to local dining, chef Becky Hostetter is a legendary character. Even carnivores loved Essential Edibles, the vegetarian restaurant she and husband David ran out of an old church basement on Vermont St. in the '90s. When that project ran its course, Chef Becky became the personal chef for none other than the Irsay family. Thus, it's fair to say that if Indy's food truck movement accomplishes nothing else, its role as pretext for making Ms. Hostetter's food available to a general public again counts as a triumph.

"Slow food made fast," is the Duos truck's motto. And with their emphasis on fresh, locally sourced foods and original, seasonally inspired recipes, Hostetter, along with kitchen collaborator John Garnier, bring a level of ambition to Duos' offerings not found among the other trucks.

Hostetter was poring over culinary magazines and cookbooks the afternoon we found Duos in White River State Park across from the NCAA Hall of Champions. "I'm trying to move into this fall mode, and I know I have to reconsider how to do warm things and be able to make them function properly and move out the window quickly," she says.

Duos hit the streets for the first time last December, so Hostetter and Garnier are cold-weather tested. "The way that we've structured our menu gives us a lot of freedom," Hostetter says. "We've found a little formula and then we can fiddle each week."

Duos makes the most of the creativity the food truck format offers. We ordered the orzo pasta ($7), a dish combining tender, rice-like pasta with feta and parmesan cheeses, broccoli florets, Kalamata olives and shaved almonds. This dish provided a sophisticated take on comfort food – it was warm and dusky-tasting at first, with Mediterranean flavors that blossomed with each successive bite. A kale salad ($5), with arugula, fresh peach slices, walnuts and blue cheese with a ginger miso dressing was a worldly way to get one's greens. By turns sweet, tart and rich, it made a thoroughly satisfying midday meal.

We washed everything down with homemade Red Zinger iced tea ($1.50) and a handcrafted root beer from Maine ($2.50).

Lest meat eaters shy away, Duos typically offers a sandwich or some other livestock-derived treat. On this day, there was a meatball sandwich ($8) made with beef from top-shelf provider Fischer Farms in Dubois County and Romano cheese.

"Every day I look forward to being in the street with people," says Hostetter. "We've got a good team and we're in a flow now."

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