Pizza West Hills

Malibu Wines & Beer Garden Launches Monthly Food Truck Extravaganza

Malibu Wines & Beer Garden’s monthly Food Truck Extravaganza features high-quality vendors to pair hearty bites with its curated wines and craft beers.

Malibu Wines & Beer Garden debuted last year in West Hills in a rather dramatic location: the barn and stables at the former estate of silent-film star Francis Lederer. The family behind Malibu Wines pours its Saddlerock and Semler wines in the expansive outdoor bar and garden, along with some of the Valley’s best craft beer. (There are some attractive indoor nooks, but most people choose to sit under the canopy of trees and twinkling lights.)

While there typically is a food truck or two on-site to supply tasty eats, now the garden is hosting a Food Truck Extravaganza on the first Saturday every month. I got a taste of their March 2 offerings, which were worth a detour.

Manager Dylan Comita selects vendors for both the West Hills and Malibu locations. He says that trucks reach out to them almost daily about participating in the lineup, which changes from month to month. What’s the criteria? Dylan makes it clear: The food must be “excellent.”

Three trucks were parked out front: Baby’s Bad Ass BurgersCousins Maine Lobster and Kream Kong Ice Cream. However, I focused on the three vendors in back.

Two Doughs is the only Food Truck Extravaganza vendor that appears at Malibu Wines & Beer Garden on a weekly basis, firing pizzas in their mobile wood-burning oven every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. They serve two types of pizza. Neapolitan-style pies feature naturally fermented dough, and deep-dish pizzas utilize more rustic dough.

Their “thin crust” pizzas are supple and flame-pocked and often tout creative toppings. “Frenchie” riffed on French onion soup, featuring caramelized onions, garlic oil, mascarpone and Gruyere cheeses, a sunny-side-up egg and Sherry vinegar gastrique. Their soft, “thick crust” pepperoni pizza with crisped cheese edges co-starred tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, sharp Parmesan shavings and a basil leaf for brightness.

Black Sugar Rib Company is helmed by Nolo Rodriguez who says he learned many meaty lessons from father Indolfo, who worked at Musso & Frank for 34 years. (Indolfo recently retired from their grill with “The Meat Whisperer” moniker.) Nolo developed recipes for his “California”-style barbecue while working for LA Metro. He started by selling slabs of ribs to co-workers and now smokes meat full-time, appearing around town and for catering gigs with a mobile rig that burns hickory wood.

His signature spice-rubbed pork ribs are available by the rack or as part of three-meat samplers. I’d recommend ribs, pulled pork and smoked chicken, which is surprisingly juicy considering they utilize boneless, skinless breast meat. Black Sugar also sells beef sausage links, pulled pork sandwiches, and decadent pulled pork nachos featuring corn tortilla chips showered with molten nacho cheese and BBQ sauce.

Maravilla Latin Cuisine food truck specializes in Cuban and Colombian cuisine. Yes, they have tacos, but plates and empanadas truly star. Andres Nunez is Colombian, and wife Kimberly Nunez is Salvadoran-Cuban. They’re preparing Latin home cooking that showcases both cultures. Colombian empanadas feature crunchy golden masa stuffed with your choice of pulled beef, chicken or soy chorizo. Ropa vieja is another viable option—a Cuban plate starring tender shredded tri-tip stewed with tomatoes, peppers and onions, plated with black beans, fried plantains and steamed white rice.

The Food Truck Extravaganza lineup won’t look exactly like this next time, but based on my initial experience it’s clear that the Malibu Wines & Beer Garden crew is committed to making the food worthwhile.

23130 Sherman Way, West Hills, 818-578-4146