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The Tampa Taco Bus serves authentic Mexican fare, vegan and gluten-free options. Credit: amanderson2.

By Amy Drew Thompson

The Lime Truck recently took home the honors (and the cash) in the latest season of Food Network’s hit “The Great Food Truck Race,” and cities across the nation have been granting licenses to grill on-the-go. Tampa is no exception. Its recent “Food Truck Fiesta” drew some 3,000 would-be gourmands, a turnout that so impressed city officials it’s gone monthly. Guests at Tampa hotels who aren’t around for the event (held the first Wednesday of every month in Lykes Gaslight Square Park) need not worry, as the most mouthwatering mobile diners are out every day serving up seriously fashionable foodie fare.

If you’re in town for the Fiesta, the Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk and its sublime riverfront pool sit less than a quarter-mile from the park – and offers easy access to all the downtown attractions including the Florida Aquarium and Ybor City entertainment district. The Tahitiian Inn Café and Spa, a quick 10-minute drive, offers a surprising boutique experience – on-site spa, restaurant and live entertainment – with proximity to Tampa’s cruise terminals. It’s also less than two miles from Da Kine Hawaiian Café, a popular fixed-location truck featuring traditional Aloha-state lunch plates.

Both properties are minutes from the Tampa Taco Bus (yes, an actual bus), a city fixture serving authentic Mexican eats 24/7. Its popularity is so ingrained in Tampa Bay residents, a new location recently opened in St. Pete, a muy-casual alternative to guests at the elegant and historic Pier Hotel, where they’ll have their pick of upscale dining and attractions like the Salvador Dali Museum within walking distance.

Looking to eat Boricua? Hit the family-owned La Guaguita for empanadas, mofongo, alcapurrias and other delights. Other popular trucks – like Wicked ‘Wiches, Fire Monkey and Killer Samich – loop from city to white-sand beaches and back. Residents and visitors can keep tabs via Facebook, Twitter and the Web, honing in on locations when the cravings hit.

Come hungry, intrepid eaters!

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Freelance travel writer and former PLAYGIRL editor Amy Drew Thompson probably wouldn’t kill you for the last serving of the Tampa Taco Bus’ cochinita pibil. Probably. Visit her compendium at www.amydrewthompson.com

Tagged: Florida

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