Crave Maine food truck parked at Absolem Cider Co. in Winthrop. Photo by Leslie Bridgers

Although many food trucks tend to stay within a certain city or region of the state, Crave Maine chef/owner Tim Lewis makes the most of the fact that his restaurant is on wheels. Based in the Waterville area, he has a policy that he’ll go anywhere within a two-hour drive, which covers most of Maine.

I came upon Crave Maine parked outside Absolem Cider Co. in Winthrop, near Augusta, and while I highly recommend a visit to this pastoral spot no matter where you’re based, you’ll be able to sample Lewis’ Mexican- and Asian-inspired menu in southern Maine, too, this summer, when he plans to make frequent appearances at Schooner Mini Golf in Saco, which is reopening soon under new ownership.

A professional chef for 25 years, most recently at a summer camp, Lewis and his wife launched Crave Maine in 2020 during the pandemic, seeing the shutdown of restaurants as an opportune time for him to fulfill his longtime dream of owning a food truck.

The Korean BBQ chicken sandwich from Crave Maine food truck. Photo by Leslie Bridgers

Lewis said he’s trained in a wide variety of cuisines, but when it came to creating his own menu, he zeroed in on his favorites, though that still makes for an eclectic selection, well represented alone by my Korean BBQ Chicken sandwich ($16, with a bag of chips) – a marinated chicken thigh topped with Korean barbecue sauce and his Margarita red cabbage slaw on a brioche bun.

It was an unusual order for me – I normally don’t gravitate to Korean or barbecue flavors – but I was in the mood for a chicken sandwich, so I decided to take a chance on something different. Although it was saucy, the flavors from all the components were well balanced, so nothing was overpowering, and I appreciated that the sandwich was thin enough to eat easily without it becoming a mess (I needed a clean hand for that cider).

Crave Maine’s fried Brussels sprouts. Photo by Leslie Bridgers

I also ordered the crispy fried Brussels sprouts ($15), similarly Asian-inspired in flavor, and though it seemed a steep price for a starter or side dish, it was a big order that could be shared among several people. Although I love that the rise in popularity of Brussels sprouts has meant more frequently having a lower-carb appetizer option, I stopped ordering them as much after experiencing more misses than hits. Too crisply fried and they taste bitter, and too soft is what got them a bad rap in the first place. But I’m glad I gave Crave Maine’s a go – they were just right.

The sprouts are still on the latest version of Crave Maine’s menu, now for $14, but the sandwich I had has fallen off, though Lewis said he still has everything to make it should anyone ask. Currently, the Korean barbecue chicken is featured in a burrito ($16) and kimchi fried rice ($16), both of which you can also get with beef brisket, shrimp or pork belly.

Although Lewis points to the Jumbo Crab Rangoons ($13) as one of his most popular items, I think the best embodiment of his style is in his quesadillas, like The Scorned Woman ($16), with crispy chicken, sweet chili and spicy Thai sauce, green onions, shredded cheese and ranch dressing, or the Baja Shrimp ($18), with hibachi shrimp, yum yum sauce, cilantro, cotija cheese, shredded cheese and pickled red onions. Don’t think about combinations of flavors too much, though; like the truck itself, you just have to roll with it.

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